Get summary, workbook solutions, questions, answers, notes, pdf, and extras to the story “Childhood Summer” by R.K. Narayan, which is a part of Class 9 English syllabus for students studying under Manipur Board (BSEM).
The story is an excerpt from the author R.K. Narayan’s autobiographical book “My Days,” where he reminisces about his childhood summers. When summer arrived in Madras (now Chennai), the intense heat drove people to cooler places like hill stations. For the author, summer retreat meant visiting his parents, who lived in Chennapatna, where his father was a headmaster.
The story mainly revolves around the author’s grandmother, who took care of him in Madras. She would spend weeks before his summer trip making dried foods to distribute to her relatives, including the author’s sickly mother. She enlisted helpers to pound, grind, knead, and dry the foods on the terrace while paying the author and other younger members to shoo crows away. Besides cooking, she was also adept at gardening, healing people of scorpion bites and diseases, and matching horoscopes for marriages.
The author’s summer trips kept getting delayed as his grandmother was always busy helping others and hoped to find someone else to escort him. Finally, they did travel third class to Bangalore and then took another train to reach Chennapatna. The grandmother carried baskets and tins stuffed with gifts for her daughter’s family, especially the author’s mother, whom she felt needed more care than anyone else.
The grandmother is depicted as the central figure around whom many lives revolve. She used the rental income from tenants to support herself and the author. The story gives a vivid glimpse into south Indian life and the culture of that era.
(A) The grandmother’s task of making things for her relatives became easier because
i. she was an expert.
ii. the uncle stopped to object to her work.
iii. there was a co-operative consumer store in a wing of the house.
iv. the author helped her.
Answer: iii. there was a co-operative consumer store in a wing of the house.
(B) The author’s uncle stopped objections to the activities of the author’s grandmother because
i. he loved the author’s mother, his sister.
ii. he did not want to carry on arguing with his mother.
iii. the author’s mother snubbed him.
iv. he loved the author.
Answer: i. he loved the author’s mother, his sister.
(C) The author’s grandmother was a key-figure in the lives of many because
i. she was highly respected.
ii. she knew how to prepare varieties of edibles.
iii. she supported many with money.
iv. she knew many ways to help the people.
Answer: iv. she knew many ways to help the people.
(D) The author had to delay his journey to his parent’s house because
i. his grandmother was not ready.
ii. the summer vacation was delayed.
iii. his grandmother had to help the neighbours.
iv. his uncle was not ready.
Answer: i. his grandmother was not ready.
Think and write
I. Can you guess if the author’s grandmother was a well-to-do woman? Is there any hint that it was different in the past?
Answer: The story suggests that the author’s grandmother was not particularly well-off. The fact that she rented out parts of her house for income and depended on this rent for survival indicates that she might have faced financial constraints. Additionally, her involvement in various household and community activities, including preparing edibles and being a matchmaker, suggests a more hands-on and perhaps modest lifestyle, contrasting with the life of a well-to-do woman.
II. Which of the following epithets do you think can be applied to grandmother and which cannot be applied to her? Put them in separate lists.
Answer: Applicable Epithets:
- Efficient in her work – The grandmother’s detailed planning and execution of tasks like making sun-dried edibles and her role as a matchmaker show her efficiency.
- Helpful to the neighbours – Her involvement in community affairs, like curing scorpion bites and offering advice for ailments, shows her helpful nature.
- Not efficient – The evidence suggests the contrary.
- Did not care for the author’s holidays – She was involved in her grandson’s life, indicating care for his holidays.
- Made boys do useless tasks like guarding the birds – This task was practical for protecting food, not useless.
- Partial to Gnana which was wrong – Her care for Gnana, her sickly daughter, was out of concern, not partiality.
- Used to quarrel with her son – The story suggests disagreements were not frequent quarrels.
Suppose you are at your grandparents. Now discuss in your group why you would look forward to your school summer vacation and write them down for presentation to the class.
Answer: The reasons for looking forward to a school summer vacation while at the grandparents’ place could vary. Firstly, it offers a break from the regular school routine and a chance to spend quality time with grandparents, learning from their experiences and stories. Secondly, it could be an opportunity to explore new environments or engage in different activities that are not available at home. Additionally, it might include the joy of participating in traditional family events or customs, which are integral to understanding one’s heritage. Lastly, it allows for personal growth and the building of fond memories that last a lifetime.
I. Find out from the text words opposite in meaning to the words given below (the numbers within brackets indicate the paragraph in which the words occur).
- Mild (1) – Ferocity
- Not detailed (3) – Cataloguing
- Smile (4) – Frown
- Annoy (4) – Delight
- Cold (6) – Blazing
- Noisy (11) – Quiet
II. Here is a dialogue between grandmother and uncle. Many words in the dialogue are missing. Fill in these gaps with suitable words from the list given below:
Answer: Uncle: “Mother, I don’t like these foodstuffs scattered everywhere. They look so ugly. There is no space to put my feet on.”
Grandmother: “I’m doing it because I have to. I’ve to take Narayan to his home. I cannot go bare-handed.”
Write a letter to a friend about how you spent your summer vacation at your grandmother’s place.
Date: April 13, 2024
Do you know, I spent my summer vacation at my grandmother’s place in Shillong. Shillong has cool weather. I enjoyed the scenic beauty and tranquil atmosphere there. The pine trees there were a magnificent sight. I wish you could have been with me in Shillong. More about my adventures, like exploring local markets and trying traditional foods, in my next letter.
With best wishes.
1. Where did the author spend his childhood summers?
A. Madras B. Bangalore C. Chennapatna D. Ootacamund
Answer: C. Chennapatna
2. What was the profession of the author’s father?
A. Novelist B. Headmaster C. Government official D. Store owner
Answer: B. Headmaster
20. What did the grandmother do with the sun-dried edibles?
A. Sold them B. Gave them to neighbors C. Stored them for the year D. Sent them to her daughter
Answer: D. Sent them to her daughter
Extra Questions and Answers
1. What was the author’s father’s profession, and where did he work?
Answer: The author’s father was the headmaster of a government high school in Chennapatna, a town in Mysore State.
2. How did the author’s grandmother contribute to the family’s income?
Answer: The grandmother contributed to the family’s income by renting out parts of their house to different offices, stores, and families, keeping only a few rooms for their own use.
12. In what ways did the author contribute to the grandmother’s preparations and what does this reveal about their relationship?
Answer: The author assisted by scaring away crows from the sun-dried foods, a task that earned him small rewards. This interaction highlights a nurturing aspect of their relationship, with the grandmother providing the author with a sense of responsibility and reward for his contributions.
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