Thinking About The Text
I. Answer these questions in one or two sentences each.
Where was Abdul Kalam’s house?
Abdul Kalam’s house was on the Mosque Street in Rameswaram.
What do you think Dinamani is the name of? Give a reason for your answer.
Dinamani is the name of a newspaper. Abdul Kalam attempts to trace the Second World War’s news in the headlines of this newspaper.
Who were Abdul Kalam’s school friends? What did they later become?
Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan, and Sivaprakasan were his school friends. Ramanadha Sastry became a priest of the Rameswaram temple. Aravindan went into the business of arranging transport for visiting pilgrims. Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railways.
How did Abdul Kalam earn his first wages?
Abdul Kalam earned his first wages by distributing newspapers.
Had he earned any money before that? In what way?
Yes, he earned money before also. He used to collect the tamarind seeds and sell them to a provision shop on the Mosque Street. A day’s collection would fetch him the princely sum of one anna.
II. Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (about 30 words).
How does the author describe:
- his father
- his mother
- The author describes his father as a wise and generous person. He felt happy when he helped others. He did not have much formal education and riches. He was a man of confidence and great wisdom. He avoided inessential comforts and luxuries.
- His mother was a noble and kind-hearted woman. She used to feed a large number of people. She had all the attributes of a typical Indian mother.
- I was born into a middle-class Tamil family. I was a short boy with rather undistinguished looks, born to tall and handsome parents. I studied physics and aerospace engineering and became a scientist.
What characteristics does he say he inherited from his parents?
The author inherited humility and benevolence from his parents. He learnt lessons in honesty and integrity from his parents. He was self-disciplined because of his parents’ exemplary life.
III. Discuss these questions in class with your teacher and then write down your answers in two or three paragraphs each.
“ On the whole, the small society of Rameswaram was very rigid in terms of the segregation of different social groups,” says the author.
- Which social groups does he mention? Were these groups easily identifiable (for example, by the way they dressed)?
- Were they aware only of their differences or did they also naturally share friendships and experiences? (Think of the bedtime stories in Kalam’s house; of who his friends were ; and of what used to take place in the pond near his house.)
- The author speaks both of people who were very aware of the differences among them and those who tried to bridge these differences. Can you identify such people in the text?
- Narrate two incidents that show how differences can be created, and also how they can be resolved. How can people change their attitudes?
- The author talks about the people who belong to various castes and follow various religious preachings. Yes, these groups were easily identifiable. Their dressing, traditions, culture, and rituals were different.
- They did share their personal experiences and friendships. Lakshmana Sastry summoned the teacher who separated the author and his friend in the class and told him that he should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children.
- The school teacher encouraged communal differences and Lakshmana Sastry and Sivasubramania Iyer discouraged this malpractice.
- Influential people can do both the things. A teacher has the ability to bridge communal differences and can play with sentiments of the innocent and ignorant people. This is what the new teacher did. But the Science teacher Sivasubramania Iyer changed his wife’s attitude and showed her the right path.
- Why did Abdul Kalam want to leave Rameswaram?
- What did his father say to this?
- What do you think his words mean? Why do you think he spoke those words?
- Abdul Kalam wanted to leave Rameswaram to study at the district headquarters in Ramanathapuram.
- His father said that he knew he had to go away to grow. He gave the example of a seagull and said that a seagull flies across the sun alone and without a nest.
- He spoke these words because he intended to hone his skills. He knew the harsh reality of life that children may have to live far from their parents to make their career and earn their livelihood. So he showed his wisdom and intelligence in uttering these words.
Thinking about language
Find the sentences in the text where these words occur:The sentences in the text where these words occur are the following:
- . . . a sudden demand for tamarind seeds erupted in the market.
- . . . I can still feel the surge of pride in earning my own money for the first time.
- . . . I would later attempt to trace in the deadlines in Dinamani.
- . . . a short boy with rather undistinguished looks, born to tall and handsome parents.
- The first casualty came in the form of the suspension of the train halt at Rameswaram Station.
Look these words up in a dictionary which gives examples of how they are used.
Now answer the following questions.
1. What are the things that can erupt? Use examples to explain the various meanings of erupt. Now do the same for the word surge. What things can surge?
2. What are the meanings of the word trace and which of the meanings is closest to the word in the text?
3. Can you find the word undistinguished in your dictionary? (If not, look up the word distinguished and say what undistinguished must mean.)
1. An earthquake can erupt. Emotions can erupt. Anger can erupt.
Example: An earthquake erupted in Sicily last night.
Surge means a sudden powerful forward or upward movement. A wave surges. A crowd surges. A storm surges.
Example: Birds search for fish when waves surge towards the shore.
2. ‘Trace’ means to find out, to copy, to draw an outline, etc. ‘Finding out’ is the closest meaning to ‘trace’ in the text.
3. I can’t find the word ‘undistinguished’ in my dictionary because it is not the root word. It is there under the word ‘distinguished’ because ‘undistinguished’ is opposite to ‘distinguished’. It means: not specific, not prominent, not distinct, etc.
Match the phrases in Column ‘A’ with their meanings in Column ‘B’.
- — (c)
- — (f)
- — (d)
- — (b)
- — (a)
- — (e).
Study the words in italics in the sentences below. They are formed by prefixing un- or in- to their antonyms (words opposite in meaning).
- I was a short boy with rather undistinguished looks, (un + distinguished)
- My austere father used to avoid all inessential comforts, (in + essential)
- The area was completely unaffected by the war. (un + affected)
- He should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance, (in + equality, in + tolerance)
Now form the opposites of the words below by prefixing un- or in-. The pre-fix in- can also have the forms il-, ir-, or im- (For example : illiterate—il + literate, impractical—im + practical, irrational—ir + rational). You may consult a dictionary if you wish.
(See NCERT Textbook on pages 76 & 77.)