NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 1 The Portrait of A Lady

Class 11 English Chapter 1 NCERT Solutions The Portrait of a Lady Free PDF Download

NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English

Class 11 English Chapter 1 Question 1.
the thought was almost revolting
Answer:
The thought that the author’s grandmother was once young and pretty raises a doubt in the mind of the author. He finds it too hard to believe, as he had always seen her in the same old and wrinkled physical condition for the last twenty years.

Question 2.
an expanse of pure white serenity
Answer:
It refers to the calm, peaceful and serene character and conduct of the author’s grandmother. She is compared to the peaceful winter landscape in the mountains. She was always attired in spotless white clothes and had silver hair. She, thus, presented a picture of pure white serenity.

Question 3.
a turning-point
Answer:
It refers to the point where the author’s relationship with his grandmother changes drastically after they move to the city-house. The grandmother is unable to accompany the author to school as he travels by motor bus. Neither is she able to help him in his lessons. Although they share the same room, a sort of distancing occurred in the relationship.

Question 4.
accepted her seclusion with resignation
Answer:
This shows the author’s grandmother’s passive submission to her secluded life after she gradually loses touch with her grandson. When the author was given a room of his own, the common link of friendship between the two was snapped. However, the grandmother accepted her fate without complaint. She rarely talked to anyone in the house and was busy spinning the wheel and reciting her prayers. Even when she relaxed, it was to feed the sparrows.

Question 5.
a veritable bedlam of chirpings
Answer:
It refers to the noise, confusion and chaos caused by the chirping of the sparrows that scattered and perched around the author’s grandmother. The grandmother sat in the verandah and broke the bread into little bits and threw it to the sparrows. Hundreds of sparrows collected around her and created a noise by their continuous chirping.

Question 6.
frivolous rebukes
Answer:
It refers to the casual and light-hearted rebukes of the grandmother to the sparrows. That day she realised that she would die and so was having some fun with the sparrows by scolding them for small mistakes. The grandmother had developed a special bond with the sparrows. The sparrows came in huge numbers and the grandmother fed them with little bits of bread. Sometimes she also used to scold them. The sparrows perched on her legs, shoulders and even sat on her head but she smiled and never shooed them away.

Question 7.
the sagging skins of the dilapidated drum
Answer:
It points to the shabby and deteriorated condition of the drum. The grandmother celebrated the homecoming of the author by collecting the women of the neighbourhood and getting an old drum. For several hours she beat the worn out drum and sang the songs related to the homecoming of warriors.

The Portrait of a Lady Understanding The Text

Question 1.
Mention the three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad.
Answer:
The first phase of the author’s relationship with his grandmother was when the author’s parents went to live in the city and left him with his grandmother. She took utmost care of him right from waking him up in the morning to getting him ready for school. They were always together and enjoyed an easy companionship.

The second phase was when the author’s parents asked them to come to the city. This was the time when Khushwant Singh’s relationship with his grandmother changed. The author went to an English school. She could no longer accompany him nor could she help him in his studies. She continued getting him ready for school and asking him about his studies, as they shared the same room. However, she rarely talked to him after learning that he was learning music at school. Slowly the friendship between them weakened.

The third phase came when the common link of friendship, the room they shared, snapped when the author moved to the University and was given a room of his own. His grandmother accepted her seclusion with resignation.

Question 2.
Mention three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school.
Answer:
The author’s grandmother -was disturbed -when he started going to the city school because
(i) She could not go with him to leave him to school, as he went in the school bus. This broke her connection with the author and disturbed her.
(ii) In the English school, she could not help him with his lessons in English and Science because she neither knew English nor Science. Thus she had no faith in what was being taught there, and thus she was disturbed.
(iii) She was unhappy that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures in the school. Instead, music was being taught which, to her, had indecent associations. This disturbed her the most.

Question 3.
Mention three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up.
Answer:
The three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up were

  1. She now spent most of her time at her spinning wheel, spinning thread.
  2. While spinning, she continued reciting her prayers, rarely leaving her spinning to talk to anyone.
  3. During the afternoons she relaxed for a while to feed the sparrows. While she sat in the verandah breaking the bread into little bits, hundreds of little birds collected round her. It used to be the happiest half-hour of the day for her.

Question 4.
Mention the odd way in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before she died.
Answer:
Just before the day the grandmother died, a change came over her. She did not pray. She collected the women of the neighbourhood, took an old drum and started singing. Next, morning, she was taken ill due to overstraining. The doctor said it was a mild fever and will go away, but the grandmother thought differently.
She told everyone that her end was near and she would spend the last few living moments in prayer and would not waste her time in talking to anyone. She lay peacefully in bed praying and before anyone could suspect, her lips stopped moving. She passed away peacefully.

Question 5.
Mention the way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.
Answer:
In the evening, when the author and his family members went to grandmother’s room to take her for the last rites, they saw thousands of sparrows sitting scattered on the floor near her. They were silent. There was no chirping. The author’s mother offered them some bread but the sparrows took no notice. After the grandmother’s body was taken away, the sparrows flew away quietly. Thus, the sparrows mourned her death and paid their silent tribute to the grandmother in a unique manner.

The Portrait of a Lady Talking About The Text

Question 1.
The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this?
Answer:
The author’s grandmother was a truly religious lady. She hobbled about the house in her spotless white clothes, always counting the beads of her rosary and reciting prayers. When the author was in the village with her, he would always find her saying morning prayers while she bathed him and dressed him in the hope that her grandson would learn them by heart. The grandmother would always go to the village school with her grandson because the school was attached to the temple.

While the children were taught, the grandmother would sit inside the temple and read scriptures.

When they moved to the city and the author got busy in his education, she started devoting her time to prayers. He always found her lips moving in silent prayer and her hands counting the beads of her rosary. She was doing the same when she went to receive him at the station when he came back from studying abroad. The last moments of her life were spent in praying rather than talking to her family members. All these instances show that the grandmother was a religious person.

Question 2.
Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change?
Answer:
Changing circumstances affected the relationship between the author and his grandmother. In the village, the author and his grandmother spent most of their time together. She used to get him ready for school, accompany him to the school and help him in his studies. But moving to the city proved to be a turning point in their friendship. They still shared the same room but the grandmother could no longer accompany him to school or help him in his studies. The grandmother did not like the kind of education being given to the author at the English school. She became disturbed and rarely talked. She reconciled herself with spinning and feeding the sparrows.

The gap in their friendship was further widened when the author went to the University and was given a room of his own. She accepted her loneliness and gave more time to praying.

However, their feelings for each other never changed. The author still respected her and she kept on loving her grandson. She went to the station to see him off when he was going abroad for higher studies. Further, when he returned from abroad after five years, she celebrated his homecoming by singing songs and beating the drum.

Question 3.
Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances to show this.
Answer:
Yes, it is true that the author’s grandmother was a very strong personality. She was a highly religious . and conservative lady who hated modern views and ways. She had very strong personal likes and dislikes. Being a religious lady and a widow, she could be seen hobbling about the house in a spotless white dress, counting and reciting the beads of her rosary.

She had certain rigid ideas about life. She liked the village school as it was attached to the temple and children were taught prayers and about God. She hated the English school in the city for various reasons. When she came to know about the music lessons there, she rarely talked to the author. Moreover, when the author was leaving for abroad, she showed no emotion and was not even sentimental.

She was a strong and determined character, as she led her own kind of life and never compromised with her principles. She loved the narrator deeply but never showed her sentiments or emotions.

Even when she knew that she was dying, her strength of character did not allow her to show any sorrow or regret. All this shows that she was strong in character.

Question 4.
Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost?
Answer:
Yes, I have known someone like the author’s grandmother. She was none other than my own grandmother. She was old, but not as old as the author’s grandmother. Neither- did she wear white. She was also fat and hobbled around the house. But she had a very strong voice. She was very religious and fasted a lot.
I was very close to her and we shared a very strong bond. Since the time I can remember, I had seen her taking care of my small needs. She loved me unconditionally.

She was one of my closest friends and we also had secrets. If someone scolded me, I would run straight to her and she would hug me. The sweetest gesture of her was hiding foodstuffs from others so that I could eat them.

After she died, her death left a void in my life which I have been unable to fill. Even while writing about her, I have tears in my eyes. I miss her presence a lot. I will always cherish the moments that I shared with her.

The Portrait of a Lady Thinking About Language

Question 1.
Which language do you think the author and his grandmother used while talking to each other?
Answer:
The author and his grandmother used to live in a village and belonged to a Punjabi Sikh family. Therefore, they must have used their mother tongue, Punjabi, to converse with each other.

Question 2.
Which language do you use to talk to elderly relatives in your family?
Answer:
My elderly relatives are well versed in English and Hindi. I feel at home greeting them in English but like to converse with them freely in Hindi.

Question 3.
How would you say ‘a dilapidated drum’ in your language?
Answer:
The expression used in our language for a ‘dilapidated drum’ is ‘phata-purana dhol.’

Question 4.
Can you think of a song or a poem in your language that talks of homecoming?
Answer:
There are many folk songs and poems singing of the exploits of brave warriors. All these talk of their homecoming after winning a battle.

The Portrait of a Lady Working With Words

I. Notice the following uses of the word ‘tell’ in the text

  1. Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary.
  2. I would tell her English words and little things of Western Science and learning.
  3. At her age one could never tell.
  4. She told us that her end was near.

Given below are four different senses of the word ‘tell’. Match the meanings to the uses listed above.

  1. make something known to someone in spoken or written words
  2. count while reciting
  3. be sure
  4. give information to somebody

II. Notice the different senses of the word ‘take’.
1. to take to something: to begin to do something as a habit
2. to take ill: to suddenly become ill

Locate these phrases in the text and notice the way they are used.

III. The word ‘hobble’ means to walk with difficulty because the legs and feet are in bad condition.

Tick the words in the box below that also refer to a manner of walking.

Answers
I. 1. Her fingers were busy telling the beads of her rosary — count while reciting
2. I would tell her English words and little things of Western Science and learning — give information to somebody
3. At her age one could never tell — be sure
4. She told us that her end was near — make something known to someone in spoken or written words

II. The instances where these phrases have been used in the story are given below
1. “She took to feeding sparrows in the courtyard of our city house” — The grandmother began to feed the sparrows as a habit when they shifted to the city.
2. “The next morning she was taken ill” — It refers to the author’s grandmother’s sudden illness.

III. The words that also refer to a manner of walking are shuffle stride. waddle swagger trudge slog

haggle shuffle stride ride waddle
wriggle paddle swagger trudge slog

The Portrait of a Lady Thing To Do

Talk with your family members about elderly people who you have been intimately connected with and who are not there with you now. Write a short description of someone you liked a lot.
Answer:

My Grandmother

I lost my grandmother when I was twelve, but I still recollect her. She loved me affectionately and I liked her a great deal. She was quite old then, but she could move about with ease. I was her constant companion during her visits to temple, market, garden or to the houses of friends and relatives. Other members of the family would taunt me as granny’s watch dog. She was my shield. I ran to her arms when my father or mother would get angry or thrash me. I miss the bedtime stories she used to tell me. Those highly fanciful stories were full of deeds of bravery or adventure and end on a note a success. They inspired me to do noble deeds in fife. She was equally careful about my health and studies. She would make me drink milk and eat fruit to maintain a sound physique. She was good at drawing and helped me in writing alphabets. She also gave ready-made solutions to all my problems. She would bless me whenever I got success in any field—studies, sports, song, poetic recitation, poster making or fancy dress competition. Sometimes I miss her a lot.

The Portrait of a Lady Short Questions and Answers (2 Marks)

Question 1.
Why was it hard for the author to believe that his grandmother was once young and pretty?
Answer:
The author had always seen his grandmother as a very old woman. For the past twenty years he had seen her as an old lady with white hair and countless lines running across her face. Because his first impression about his grandmother was one of being aged, it was hard for the author to believe that his grandmother was once young and pretty.

Question 2.
How does the author describe his grandfather?
Answer:
The portrait of Khushwant Singh’s grandfather was hung above the mantelpiece. He wore a big turban and loose-fitting clothes. His long white beard covered the major part of his chest. He looked a hundred years old. To the author, he did not look the sort of person who would have a wife or children; he looked as if he could only have lots and lots of grandchildren.

Question 3.
What stories of the grandmother did the author treat as ‘Fables of the Prophets’? Why?
Answer:
The author treated his grandmother’s stories about her childhood and the games she used to play to be as old as the ‘Fables of the Prophets’. He had always seen his grandmother as an old, wrinkled, stooped woman and could not imagine her as a young child. Thus, he considered her stories about her childhood to be a fantasy and a myth.

Question 4.
Describe the author’s grandmother. Was she young and pretty once?
Answer:
The author’s grandmother was short, fat and slightly bent in stature. Her silvery white hair was scattered over her wrinkled face.
Khushwant Singh remembers her hobbling around the house in spotless white clothes with one hand resting on her waist to balance her stoop and the other busy in counting her beads.

It was difficult for the author to believe that once she too was young and pretty as he had always known her as an old woman. She had been the same for the last twenty years. To the author, she was beautiful but not young and pretty.

Question 5.
Elucidate the phrase ‘not pretty but beautiful’ with reference to the chapter.
Answer:
To the author, the grandmother was not pretty but beautiful. She was beautiful in a peaceful way. He remembered her counting the beads of her rosary untiringly. Her silver locks lay scattered untidily over her pale, puckered face and her lips constantly moved in an inaudible prayer. She was like the winter landscape in the mountains, serene and content.

Question 6.
Why could the grandmother not walk straight? How did she move around the house?
Answer:
The grandmother was short, fat and her body was bent due to her age. She was forced to put a hand to her waist to support the stoop so that she could not walk straight. So she hobbled around the house while she was moving around, just like a lame person.

Question 7.
Grandmother appeared like the ‘winter landscape in the mountains’. Discuss.
Answer:
The author brings out the inner beauty of the grandmother by comparing her to the winter landscape in the mountains. This comparison shows her calmness and serenity. Moreover, like the winter, the grandmother too was going through the last stage of her life. Just as the mountains are covered with snow and appear white, the old lady was altogether white with her white clothes, white hair and pale skin. Through the comparison, the author brings out the serenity and peacefulness of the grandmother.

Question 8.
What kind of bond did the author and the grandmother share in the village?
Answer:
In the village, the grandmother woke him up every morning and got him ready for school. She would bathe and dress him. She gave him breakfast, got him his slate and inkpot and then accompanied him to school. While he studied at school, grandmother used to read the scriptures in the temple. When the school was over, they would walk back home together and feed the village dogs on the way. Thus, they shared a very strong bond in the village.

Question 9.
What was the daily routine of the grandmother in the village?
Answer:
The grandmother would wake up the narrator in the morning, bathe him and dress him for school before giving him breakfast. Then she would get his writing implements (slate with chalk, reed pen and an inkpot) ready and give them to him. Then she would accompany him to school. While he was in the school, she used to read the scriptures in the temple next door to the school. Then she would accompany the narrator back home and spend the rest of the day with him.

Question 10.
Was the grandmother educated? How can you tell?
Answer:
The grandmother was definitely educated. We can tell this by the fact that when the narrator was studying in the village school, the grandmother used to read the scriptures in the temple while the narrator attended his classes. As she could read the scriptures, possibly understanding them also, we can say that she was educated.

Question 11.
The author and his grandmother were intimate friends. How?
Answer:
The author and his grandmother were very close to each other. His parents had left him with her in the village. So, they spent most of their time together. She used to wake him up early in the morning. She got him ready for school.
She even accompanied him to the school. While returning from the school they enjoyed feeding the dogs. Hence, they were perhaps very intimate friends.

Question 12.
“That was the turning point in our friendship.” What was the turning point?
Answer:
The author used to live with his grandmother in the village, where they were always together. The turning point in their friendship came when the author’s parents called them to the city. They shared the same room in the city but the grandmother could no longer accompany him to school or help him in his studies. Gradually they saw less of each other.

Question 13.
What was the grandmother’s reaction towards education in the English school?
Answer:
The author’s grandmother was unhappy as she could no longer help the narrator in his lessons. She didn’t know English words or about Western Science. She was hurt to know that there was no teaching of God and scriptures in the English school. She didn’t believe in the things that were taught at the English school.

Question 14.
Bring out the contrast between the school education in the village and in the city.
Answer:
The education in the village school was vastly different from the education in the city school. In the village, the school was next to the temple and the priest himself was the teacher. He taught them the alphabet and the morning prayer. But in the city school, there was no teaching of God or the scriptures. English and science along with music were taught in the city school.

Question 15.
Why was the grandmother disturbed when she came to know that music lessons were being given in school?
Answer:
The grandmother thought that music was associated with indecent professions like prostitution. She thought that it should not be taught to decent and gentle persons like her grandson. That is why she was disturbed when she came to know that the narrator was being taught music in the English school in the city.

Question 16.
Which moment of the day used to be the happiest for the grandmother in the city?
Answer:
After the author and the grandmother moved to the city, she felt lonely. Her grandson became engrossed in his studies and she could no longer help him. She spent most of her time spinning the wheel.

She only rested for a while in the afternoon when she fed the sparrows. This used to be the happiest moment of the day for her. The birds came and perched on her legs and shoulders and some even sat on her head. She smiled but never shooed them away.

Question 17.
Describe how the grandmother spent some time with the sparrows every day in the city house. How did she feel at that time?
Answer:
The grandmother usually fed the sparrows in the afternoon by sitting in the verandah and breaking the bread into small pieces before throwing it to them. Hundreds of sparrows gathered there, chirping noisily. Some even perched on her legs, shoulders and head. She felt very happy at this time. It was the happiest time of the day for her.

Question 18.
“i was sure my grandmother would be upset.” What was the author sure about? Was he right?
Answer:
When the author decided to go to abroad for further studies, he was sure that his grandmother would be upset. But she was not even sentimental. She went to bid him goodbye at the railway station. However, she didn’t talk or show any emotion. She was lost in prayer and her hands kept counting her beads.

Question 19.
How can you say that the grandmother was a kind-hearted woman?
Answer:
When she lived in the village, the grandmother used to feed the street dogs with stale chapattis. When she moved to the city, as there were no dogs in the streets, she started feeding sparrows in the house courtyard. She used to break the bread into little crumbs and throw the crumbs to them. The sparrows perched on her legs, shoulders and even sat on her head but she never shooed them away. All these actions show that the grandmother was a kind-hearted woman, particularly for animals.

Question 20.
What was the last sign of physical contact between the author and his grandmother? Why did the author think so?
Answer:
When the author was going abroad for five years for higher studies, the grandmother went to leave him off at the railway station. He could tell that she was still reciting prayers. The grandmother then kissed his forehead lovingly. That kiss seemed to the author as the last sign of physical contact between them. He perhaps tnought that the grandmother, being old, might not survive for five years.

Question 21.
The grandmother’s farewell and reception of her grandson were very touching. Comment.
Answer:
When the author went abroad, the grandmother came to- the station to see him off. She was not sentimental and was silently praying and counting her beads. She kissed the forehead of her grandson as a goodbye gesture. When he returned after five years, she expressed her joy by collecting the women of the neighbourhood and singing for hours about the homecoming of warriors. For the first time, she missed her prayers.

Question 22.
How did the grandmother celebrate the homecoming of her grandson?
Answer:
After five years, the author was coming home. The grandmother went to the railway station to receive him. She hugged him and he could hear her reciting prayers. After reaching home, she gathered the women of the neighbourhood. She got an old drum and started singing songs about the homecoming of warriors. That was the first time since the author had known her that she did not pray.

Question 23.
What could have been the cause of grandmother’s falling ill?
Answer:
When the author came back from abroad after five years, grandmother collected the women from the neighbourhood. She kept singing and thumping a drum for several hours. This overstrained her body and this could have been the cause of her falling ill.

Question 24.
” Why did the grandmother stop talking before her death?
Answer:
The old lady fell ill. She had a mild fever. The doctor told her that she would be all right soon. But the grandmother declared that her end was near. She did not pray that evening. She was not going to waste any more time talking to them. That is why she stopped talking before her death.

Question 25.
“We protested but she ignored our protests.” Who protested and why?
Answer:
The day after the author arrived from abroad, his grandmother was taken ill. She had celebrated his homecoming and perhaps overstrained herself. The doctor said that it was a mild fever and would go away. But she said that her last hour had come.
The author and his family protested about her thinking like this. But she ignored their protests. Thus, she stopped talking to anybody in order to pray and counting the beads of her rosary.

Question 26.
The grandmother has been portrayed as a very religious lady. What details in the story create this impression?
Answer:
The grandmother was a very religious lady. Her lips always moved in inaudible prayer. Her one hand was always busy counting the beads of her rosary. She also read scriptures at the village temple. When she knew her end was near, she lay peacefully in bed praying and counting her beads till death.

Question 27.
How did the grandmother die?
Answer:
The grandmother realised that she was going to die soon. So she continued praying with her fingers busy in counting the beads of her rosary. She did not talk to anyone. After some time, her lips stopped moving. The rosary fell down from her fingers.
Thus, she died a peaceful death.

Question 28.
What role did the grandmother play in shaping the grandson’s personality?
Answer:
The grandmother played a key role in her
grandson’s life from his childhood. She is the one who took care of him from sunrise to sunset. She indirectly taught him how a person should live a religious life with God, scriptures and values as guides. That is why the grandson was more attached to his grandmother.

Question 29.
How did the sparrows pay their homage to the dead grandmother?
Answer:
The grandmother had died. Thousands of sparrows came and sat in the courtyard next to the grandmother’s body. They were totally silent. Even when the narrator’s mother threw some crumbs of bread to them, they did not eat them. When the grandmother’s body was carried off to be cremated, they flew away silently. Thus the sparrows paid a silent homage to the grandmother.

The Portrait of a Lady Long Questions and Answers (6 Marks)

Question 1.
Describe the author’s grandmother’s life in the village in contrast with the kind of the life she led in the city, highlighting her values.
Answer:
The author’s grandmother had been living in the village for a very long time. She was used to the life of the village. She had her fixed routine. She got up early in the morning. After that she used to wake up her grandson and get him ready for school. She accompanied him to the school. She sat in the temple reading the scriptures. Thus she practised all her-values of being pious and dutiful.
In contrast, the city life was just the opposite and its culture did not suit her. Now, she could no more accompany her grandson to his school. Neither could she help him in his lessons. Thus she could not practise properly the values of life which she believed in. When the author went to the university, he was given a room of his own. This made the grandmother even more lonely. But she accepted her loneliness and devoted her time in spinning the wheel, feeding the sparrows and praying, thus continuing to practise her values.

Question 2.
“All over the verandah and in her room right up to where she lay dead and stiff wrapped in the red shroud, thousands of sparrows sat scattered on the floor. There was no chirruping. The sparrows took no notice of the bread. When we carried my grandmother’s corpse off, they flew away quietly.”
Animals recognise and value a relationship established with human beings. Explain this, keeping in mind the relationship established by Khushwant Singh’s grandmother with animals.
Answer:
Animals are said to have no intelligence but they do have feelings and it is out of feeling, concern or love for a human being that they let themselves be. domesticated. They recognise relationships and bond well with humans. The relationship between Khushwant Singh’s grandmother and the dogs as well as the sparrows is just one of them.

The grandmother was a very kind-hearted lady. She loved feeding the animals. In the village she used to carry stale chapattis with her and, on her way back from school, feed the stray dogs. The dogs loved the grandmother and there developed a bond between them.

In the city, there were no street dogs, so the grandmother took to feeding sparrows. The sparrows gathered around her and she threw little crumbs of bread to them. These sparrows sat on her head, legs and shoulders. It was their way of showing affection to her. When grandmother died, they came in huge numbers to mourn her death.

This shows that animals recognise and value relationships established with human beings. It also shows that they are more compassionate, more affectionate and more dependable than most human beings.

Question 3.
A life of dedication and integrity can be lived even without college or university level education, as the grandmother demonstrates. Elaborate.
Answer:
Although the grandmother had no proper schooling and was not formally educated, she lived a life of dedication and integrity. She took utmost care of her grandson. She accompanied the author to the school and while he attended classes at the school, she sat inside the temple reading scriptures.

In the city, when she could not help the author in his lessons, she was upset, but never showed it.

When the author was given a separate room of his own, she accepted her loneliness without any complaint. Later, when the author decided to go abroad for further studies, she did not get sentimental and did not stand in the way of the author’s education. Throughout her life, she lived a life of dedication and integrity without going to college or university. She never compromised with her principles and was a determined lady. She had certain ideas about life and was dedicated to them.

Question 4.
Give a character sketch of the author’s grandmother, mentioning her values.
Answer:
Khushwant Singh presents his grandmother as a symbol of love, care, and affection, as well as a strong character with traditionally religious beliefs. She loved her grandson immensely. She was not physically attractive, but had an inwardly spiritual beauty. In the village, she was actively involved in her grandson’s life, but when they shifted to the city, the bond of friendship was first weakened and finally broken when he went abroad for higher studies. Yet, she always presented a picture of peace and contentment.

Her love for animals was reflected in the way she fed the dogs and sparrows. She did not like the English school but never interfered in the narrator’s education. She accepted every decision of her grandson regarding his life in a calm and composed manner. Even in death, she achieved peace and contentment.

Question 5.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the joint family system. What values do you think children learn from grandparents?
Answer:
‘The Portrait of a Lady’ gives us a picture of human
relationships in a joint family. It is a realistic account of how grandparents give all their time, attention and love to their grandchildren. Grandparents play an important role in inculcating good manners and values in the children. The children imitate their grandparents in a positive way and learn to be good individuals. They learn important human values such as love, compassion, and respect from them.
Grandparents also imbibe religious and spiritual values in children. Children, thus, learn to love and respect God and all its creations. They also learn about their customs and traditions from their grandparents. Many children can even sing religious songs and recite prayers. All this has a very positive role on their character development.

Grandparents share their life experiences with children in order to help them handle different situations. Children thus face adverse situations with a positive attitude and learn to take challenges in their stride. They also learn to be competitive in a positive light. Further, grandparents guide children from time to time to follow the right path in life and respect their parents. Thus, the children become not only good human beings but also good citizens.

Question 6.
The chapter ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ displays the sad reality of old age. Old people face loneliness and seclusion. It gets you thinking about the pain of old age. Write an article about ‘Pain of Old Age’.
Answer:
Pain of Old Age
by Harsh Sharma
Growing old is inevitable. One who is born will get old someday. The energy and exuberance of youth is replaced by the loneliness and sadness of old age. As one’s body gets old, the day-to-day tasks become tedious and tiresome. One starts to become dependent on others.

This leads to emotional insecurity. This finally gives mental trauma to the old as they feel unwanted. They develop the thought of being a burden on others and hence try to remain away from others.

It becomes the duty of their relatives to give them due respect. Our elders dedicate their whole lives in providing us a better life. We should take care of them at a time when they need us the most. However, such care has become a thing of the past. People now send their elderly relatives into old age homes where they live a life of loneliness.

What would have happened if they had treated us the same way? We cannot belittle their importance in our lives. It would be a shameful thing if we do not care for them in their old age.

Question 7.
Why do you think old age needs more attention and care? Does it need someone to be there to look after them? Discuss with reference to ‘The Portrait of a Lady.’
Answer:
Old age is the most sensitive stage of a person. The old are like infants. They are unable to do most of the daily work on their own. This makes them dependent on others physically as well as emotionally.

This is the age when they need full support. They need someone with whom they could share everything. But sometimes, it is the loneliness that kills them emotionally. It leaves them no other option but to accept this period of life silently.

This also happened with the author’s grandmother. They both were living together in the village and were very close to each other.

After some years, his parents brought them to the city. In the city they started to drift apart. But the old lady accepted her loneliness. She rarely talked to anyone.

This shows that the old need proper care and attention from their loved ones. They are emotionally vulnerable and want someone to be always close to them.

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