The Portrait of a Lady | Question Solutions

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The Portrait of a Lady | Question Solutions

The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady Question Solutions

The Portrait of a Lady Question Solutions

-Khushwant Singh

The Portrait of a Lady Question Solutions

TEXTUAL QUESTION SOLUTIONS

Understanding the Text

Q.1. Mention the three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad.

Ans: The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother were as follows:

First, the author’s relationship with his grandmother during their village life was very intimate. The grandmother took full care of him. She waked him up in the morning, bathed him, helped in preparing his lesson, provided him with food, and went to school with him.

Second, during their city life, they shared the same room but the grandmother did not take him to school as the author frequented to school on the bus. In this phase, their relationship began to come down.

When the author got to university then the third phase of their relationship began. In this phase, the author got a room for his own and their relationship became more remote.

Q.2. Mention the reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school.

Ans: When the author started going to the city school, then his grandmother felt disturbed for the following reasons:

First, during their city life, the grandmother of the author could not accompany him to school as he went to school by bus. Their attachment came down and the grandmother felt disturbed.

Second, in the city school, the author began to learn English words and new subjects like western science and the grandmother could no longer help the author in his studies as she used to do during their village life.

Thirdly, in the school curriculum, there was no place for teaching about God and scripture. Instead, the students were given a music lesson which the grandmother thought to be the monopoly of the harlots and beggars.

For all these reasons the grandmother was disturbed when the author started going to the city school.

Q.3. Mention three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up.

Ans: Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after the author grew up were as:

First, the grandmother spent most of her time spinning the wheel.

Second, She kept reciting the prayers from the scripture and kept telling the beads of a rosary.

Third, in the afternoon she spent sometime feeding the sparrows. It was her happiest moment of the day.

Q.4. Mention the odd way in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before she died.

Ans: The author’s grandmother, just before her  death, behaved in the following ways:

The author’s grandmother was caught with fever. The doctor was called in but the grandmother told that her end was near. Despite everyone’s protest, she said that her illness was due to the omission of her prayer on the previous day. So she lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads without wasting a moment. Moments after, the rosary fell from her hand and her lips stopped moving.  A peaceful pallor spread on her face and she was dead.

Q.4. The way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.

Ans: When the grandmother of the author died,  her dead body was laid on the ground and covered with a red shroud. All went for the arrangement of her funeral. In the evening, when the author and others entered her room to take her body for cremation, they saw that thousands of sparrows were sitting on the floor. There was no chirruping. All felt sorry for the birds and the author’s mother fetched some pieces of bread for the birds. She broke the pieces of bread into pieces and threw them to the birds as the grandmother used to do. But the sparrows took no notice of them. When her dead body was taken away for cremation, the sparrows flew away quietly.

Thus the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.

ADDITIONAL QUE SOLUTIONS

Q.1.  Describe the unique relationship of Khuswant Singh’s grandmother with the sparrows.

Ans: In the city house, the author’s grandmother took to feeding the sparrows in the evening. She sat in the verandah breaking the bread into little bits and hundreds of little birds collected round her creating chirrupings. Some came and perched on her legs, others on her shoulders. Some even sat on her head. She smiled but never shooed them away. It used to be the happiest hour of the day for her.

Q.2. How does Khuswant Singh describe his grandmother in ‘The Portrait of a Lady’?

Ans: Khuswant Singh has given a very vivid account of her grandmother in the essay ‘The Portrait of a Lady’.

The author said that his grandmother was very old and wrinkled.  She was short, fat and slightly bent. She took care of the author during the author’s life in the village.  She was very fond of animals especially of the street dogs and used to feed them stale breads. While they shifted to the city house, she started to feed the sparrows. She was a very religious person and prayed to God regularly. The author Singh said that his grandmother was like ‘the winter landscape in the mountain, an expanse of pure white serenity breathing peace and contentment.

Q.3. What was the author’s relationship with his grandmother in the village?

Ans: In the village, the author’s relationship with his grandmother was very intimate. The grandmother took full care of him. She waked him up in the morning, bathed him, helped in preparing his lesson, provided him with food, and went to school with him.

Q.4. What was the author’s grandmother’s view on music lessons in school?

Ans: One day the author announced that the students were given music lessons in the city school, then the grandmother felt very disturbed. She thought of music to have been lewd association with the harlots and the beggars and not meant for the gentlefolk.

Q.5. What did the author’s grandmother do on the previous day of her death?

Ans: On the previous day of her death, the author’s grandmother did not pray. She collected the women of the neighborhood, got an old drum and started to sing. For several hours she thumbed the sagging skins of the dilapidated drum. The author had to persuade her to stop to avoid overstraining.

Q.6. Why was it hard for the author to believe that the grandmother was once young and pretty?

Ans: The author noticed, since his childhood, that his grandmother was an old woman with wrinkled skin. The lock of hair fell scattered over her face. Besides, the author heard that once his grandmother was pretty and young and even had a husband. But the author could not believe it as the old appearance of his grandmother left an indelible impression on the author’s mind.

Q.7. ‘That was the turning point in our friendship.’ What was the turning point in the friendship between the writer and his grandmother?

Ans: When the author and his grandmother went to the city house to live there with his parents, then came the turning point in the friendship between the author and his grandmother. It was because the author started going to a city school in a bus and the grandmother had not to go to the school with the author as she used to do while they were in the village. In the city school, they began to learn some new subjects which was neither understood nor liked by his grandmother. Consequently, the author’s relationship with his grandmother came down.

Q.8. How did the author’s grandmother behave when she came to see off the author at the station?

Ans: When the author was going abroad for higher education, then his grandmother came to see off the author at the station. At that time, she did not talk or show any emotion. Her lips moved in prayer and her mind was lost in reciting a prayer. Her fingers were busy in telling the beads of a rosary. At the time of parting, she kissed the writer’s forehead. 0 0 0.

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