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This book has been prepared by The Directorate of
School Education on behalf of the Government of Tamilnadu.
This book has been printed on 60 G.S.M. paper.
Printed by Web Offset at :
Sri Murugan Offset Printers, Sivakasi - 626 123.
Extensive reading has become the need of the hour. This supplementary Reader is intended to develop reading skills. Basic skills have been practised in the English Reader. Further development is taken care of in this book. Besides global and local comprehension of a story the student should be able to analyse the events, the characteristics of the persons in each story, the hints of important ideas and their development into continuous writing.
Questions given under ‘For Readers’ Practice’ contribute to the understanding of the story. Questions under ‘Self Evaluation’ enable them to practise answering questions in the annual examination.
Besides two short stories written by tamil writers Pudumaipithan and Sundara Ramaswamy, one by the Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, there are three other stories by English writers, viz., Guy de Maupassant, O.Henry and James Herriot. The overall effect of reading these stories will be a regional, national and international outlook on human life and culture.
Reading skills developed in the English Reader and strengthened by this Supplementary Reader should enable the students to read any other writing in the media and the book world. Extensive reading is an accomplishment of a good user of any language. Imaginative thinking, analytical process and synthetic approach should stand them in good stead in future studies and career. It is hope that teachers will use this strictly as an extensive reader and not as a text to be taught in classrooms. Home reading, class discussion and internal assessment are recommended for teaching this book. All the strategic competencies developed in the Reader will be of great help in managing
the expansion of general knowledge through this book
CONTENTS Page No.
1 HOLIDAY 1
2 THE NECKLACE 10
Guy de Maupassant
3 THE GIFT OF THE MAGI 21
4 REFLOWERING 29
5 EVERY LIVINGTHING 41
6 KAANCHANAI 49
Phatik Chakrabarti, leader of the gang, suddenly had a bright idea. Lying by the river was a huge säl-tree log, just waiting to be made into a mast. Everyone must help to roll it along! Without giving a thought to the surprise, annoyance and inconvenience that would be caused to the person who needed the log for timber, all the boys fell in with this suggestion. They got down to the task with a will; but just then Phatik’s younger brother Makhanlal came and solemnly sat on the log. The boys were rather non-plussed by his haughty, dismissive attitude.
One of them went up to him and nervously tried to push him off, but he refused to budge. Wise beyond his years, he continued to ponder the vanity of all childish games.
‘You’ll pay for this ’, said Phatik, brandishing his fist. ‘Clear off.’
But Makhanlal merely adjusted his perch and settled down even more
immovably on the log.
In this kind of situation, Phatik ought to have preserved his supremacy over the other boys by delivering immediately a hearty slap on his wayward brother’s cheek-but he didn’t dare. Instead he assumed a manner implying that he could, had he so wished, have meted out this customary punishment, but he
wasn’t going to, because a more amusing idea had occurred to him. Why not, he proposed, roll the log over with Makhanlal on it?
Makhan at first saw glory in this; he did not think (nor did anyone else) that like other worldly glories it might carry dangers. The boys rolled up their sleeves and began to push - ‘Heave ho! Heave ho! Over we go! ’With one spin of the log, Makhan’s solemnity, glory and wisdom crashed to the ground.
The other boys were delighted at such an unexpectedly quick outcome, but Phatik was rather embarrassed. Makhan immediately jumped up and
threw himself on to him, hitting him with blind rage and scratching his nose and cheeks. Then he made his way home tearfully.
The game having been spoilt, Phatik pulled up a few reeds, and climbing on to the prow of a half-sunk boat sat quietly chewing them. A boat-not a local one-came up to the mooring-place. A middle-aged gentleman with a black moustache but grey hair stepped ashore. ‘Where is the Chakravartis ’house? he asked the boy.
‘Over there,’ replied Phatik, still chewing the reed-stalks. But no one would have been able to understand which direction to take.
‘Where?’ asked the gentleman again.
‘Don’t know,’said Phatik, and he carried on as before, sucking juice from the stalks. The gentleman had to ask others to help him find the house.
Suddenly Bagha Bagdi (a servant) appeared and said, ‘ Phatik - dädä, Mother’s calling you.’
‘Shan’t go,’ said Phatik.
He struggled and kicked helplessly as Bagha picked him up bodily and carried him home.
His mother shouted furiously when she saw him: ‘You’ve beaten up Makhan again!’
‘I didn’t beat him up.’
‘How dare you lie to me?’
‘I did not beat him up. Ask him.’
When Makhan was questioned he stuck to his earlier accusation, saying, ‘He did beat me up.’ Phatik could not stand this any more. He charged at Makhan and thumped him hard, shouting, ‘So who’s lying now?’ His
mother, taking Makhan’s part, rushed and slapped Phatik’s back several times heavily. He pushed her away. ‘So you’d lay hands on your own mother?’ she screamed.
At that moment the black-grey gentleman entered the house and said, ‘What’s going on here?’
‘Dädä!’ said Phatik’s mother, overwhelmed with surprise and joy. ‘When did you come?’ She bent down and took the dust of his feet.
Many years previously her elder brother had gone to the west of India to work, and in the meantime she had had two children; they had grown, her husband had died-but all this time she had never seen her brother. At long last Bishvambhar Babu had returned home, and had now come to see his sister.
There were celebrations for several days. At length, a couple of days before his departure, Bishvambhar questioned his sister about the schooling and progress of her two sons. In reply, he was given a description of Phatik’s uncontrollable wildness and inattention to study; while Makhan, by contrast, was perfectly behaved and a model student. ‘Phatik drives me mad,’ she said.
Bishvambhar then proposed that he take Phatik to Calcutta, keep him with him and supervise his education. The widow easily agreed to this. ‘Well, Phatik,’ he asked the boy, ‘how would you like to go to Calcutta with your uncle?’ ‘I’d love to,’ said Phatik, jumping up and down.
His mother did not object to seeing her son off, because she always lived in dread that Makhan might be pushed into the river by him or might split his head open in some terrible accident; but she was a little cast down by the eagerness with which Phatik seized the idea of going. He pestered his uncle with ‘When are we going? When are we going?’ - and couldn’t sleep at night for excitement.
When at last the day to leave came, he was moved to a joyous display of generosity. He bestowed on Makhan his fishing-rod, kite and reel, with permanent right of inheritance.
When he arrived at his uncle’s house in Calcutta, he first had to be introduced to his aunt. I cannot say she was over-pleased at this unnecessary addition to her family. She was used to looking after her house and three children as they were, and suddenly to loose into their midst an unknown, uneducated country boy would probably be most disruptive. If only Bishvambhar had insight commensurate with his years! Moreover, there is no greater nuisance in the world than a boy of thirteen or fourteen. There is no beauty in him, and he does nothing useful either. He arouses no affection; nor is his company welcome. If he speaks modestly he sounds false; if he speaks sense he sounds arrogant; if he speaks at all he is felt to be intrusive. He suddenly shoots up in height so that his clothes no longer fit him-which
is an ugly affront to other people. His childish grace and sweetness of voice suddenly disappear, and people find it impossible not to blame him for this. Many faults can be forgiven in a child or a young man, but at this age even natural and unavoidable faults are felt to be unbearable.
He himself is fully aware that he does not fit properly into the world; so he is perpetually ashamed of his existence and seeks forgiveness for it. Yet this is the age at which a rather greater longing for affection develops in him. If he gets at this time love and companionship from some sympathetic person, he will do anything in return. But no one dares show affection, in case others condemn this as pampering. So he looks and behaves like a stray street-dog.
To leave home and mother and go to a strange place is hell for a boy of this age. To live with loveless indifference all around is like walking on thorns. This is the age when normally a conception forms of women as wonderful, heavenly creatures; to be cold- shouldered by them is terribly hard to bear. It was therefore especially painful to Phatik that his aunt saw him as an evil star. If she happened to ask him to do a job for her and- meaning well-he did more than was strictly necessary, his aunt would stamp on his enthusiasm, saying, ‘That’s quite enough, quite enough. I don’t want you meddling any more. Go and get on with your own work. Do some studying.’ His aunt’s excessive concern for his mental improvement would then seem terribly cruel and unjust.
He so lacked love in this household, and it seemed he could breathe freely nowhere. Stuck behind its walls, he thought constantly of his home illage. The fields where he would let his ‘monster-kite’ fly and flap in the wind; the river-bank where he wandered aimlessly, singing a rägä of his own invention at the top of his voice; the small stream in which he would jump and swim now and then in the heat of the day; his gang of followers; the mischief they would get up to; the freedom; above all his harsh, impetuous mother; all this tugged continually at his helpless heart. A kind of instinctive love, like an animal’s; a blind longing to be near; an unspoken distress at being far; a heartfelt, anguished cry of ‘Mä, Mä’ like a motherless calf at dusk; such feelings perpetually afflicted this gawky, nervous, thin, lanky, ungainly boy.
At school there was no one more stupid and inattentive than he. If asked a question he would just stare back vacantly. If the teacher cuffed him, he would silently bear it like a laden, exhausted ass. At break-time, he would stand at the window staring at the roofs of distant houses, while his classmates played outside.
If a child or two appeared for a moment on one of the roofs, in the midday sunshine, playing some game, his misery intensified.
One day he plucked up courage to ask his uncle, ‘Uncle, when will I be going home to see Mother?’
One day Phatik lost his school-books. He never found it easy to prepare his lessons, and now, with his books lost, he was completely helpless. The teacher started to beat and humiliate him everyday. His standing in school sank so low that his cousins were ashamed to admit their connection with him. Whenever he was punished, they showed even greater glee than the other boys. It became too much to bear, and one day he went to his aunt and confessed like a criminal that he had lost his school-books. ‘Well, well,’ said his aunt, lines of annoyance curling round her lips, ‘and do you suppose I can buy you new books five times a month?’ He said no more. That he should have wasted someone else’s money made him feel even more hurt and rejected by his mother. His misery and sense of inferiority dragged him down to the very earth.
That night, when he returned from school, he had a pain in his head and was shivering. He could tell he was getting a fever. He also knew that his aunt would not take kindly to his being ill. He had a clear sense of what an unnecessary, unjustifiable nuisance it would be to her. He felt he had no right to expect that an odd, useless, stupid boy such as he should be nursed by anyone other than his mother.
The next morning Phatik was nowhere to be seen. He was searched for in all the neighbours’ houses round about, but there was no trace of him. In the evening torrential rain began, so in searching for him many people got oaked to the skin-to no avail. In the end, finding him nowhere, Bishvambhar Babu informed the police.
A whole day later, in the evening, a carriage drew up outside Bishvambhar’s house. Rain was still thudding down relentlessly, and the street was flooded to a knee’s depth. Two policemen bundled Phatik out of the carriage and put him down in front of Bishvambhar. He was soaked from head to foot, covered with mud, his eyes and cheeks were flushed, he was trembling violently. Bishvambhar virtually had to carry him into the house.
‘You see what happens,’ snapped his wife, ‘when you take in someone else’s child. You must send him home.’ But in fact the whole of that day she had hardly been able to eat for worry, and had been unreasonably tetchy with her own children.
‘I was going to go to my mother,’ said Phatik, weeping, ‘but they brought me back.’
The boy’s fever climbed alarmingly. He was delirious all night. Bishvambhar fetched the doctor. Opening his bloodshot eyes for a moment and staring blankly at the ceiling joists, Phatik said, ‘Uncle, has my holiday-time come?’ Bishvambhar, dabbing his own eyes with a handkerchief, tenderly took Phatik’s thin, hot hand in his and sat down beside him. He spoke again, mumbling incoherently: ‘Mother, don’t beat me, Mother. I didn’t do anything wrong, honest!’
The next day, during the short time when he was conscious, Phatik kept looking bewilderedly round the room, as if expecting someone. When no one came, he turned and lay mutely with his face towards the wall. Understanding what was on his mind, Bishvambhar bent down and said softly in his ear, ‘Phatik, I’ve sent for your mother.’
Another day passed. The doctor, looking solemn and gloomy, pronounced the boy’s condition to be critical. Bishvambhar sat at the bedside in the dim lamplight, waiting minute by minute for Phatik’s mother’s arrival.
Phatik started to shout out, like a boatman, ‘More than one fathom deep, more than two fathoms deep!’ To come to Calcutta they had had to travel some of the way by steamer. The boatman had lowered the hawser into the stream and bellowed out its depth. In his delirium, Phatik was imitating them, calling out the depth in pathetic tones; except that the endless sea he was about to cross had no bottom that his measuring-rope could touch.
It was then that his mother stormed into the room, bursting into loud wails of grief. When, with difficulty, Bishvambhar managed to calm her down, she threw herself on to the bed and sobbed, ‘Phatik, my darling, my treasure.’
‘Yes?’ said Phatik, seemingly quite relaxed.
‘Phatik, darling boy,’ cried his mother again.
Turning slowly on to his side, and looking at no one, Phatik said softly, ‘Mother, my holiday has come now. I’m going home.’
FOR READERS’ PRACTICE
I. Answer the following questions:
1. How did Phatik tease his brother?
2. Why was Phatik’s mother unhappy?
3. Who was the new visitor?
4. What was the suggestion made by the visitor?
5. Why did Phatik’s mother agree to send him to Calcutta?
6. Why was Phatik reluctant to go to Calcutta?
7. What kind of reception did Phatik receive in Calcutta?
8. Why did Phatik dislike his school?
9. What were the incidents that increased Phatik’s misery in Calcutta.
10. Why did Phatik run away from his uncle’s house?
11. In what condition was Phatik brought back?
12. What was the doctor’s advice?
13. What do you think happened to Phatik in the end?
14. List out three things Phatik enjoyed in his village, which he missed in Calcutta.
15. What was the attitude of Phatik’s aunt towards Phatik?
II. Read the passage given below and answer the questions:
There were celebrations for several days. At length, a couple of days before his departure, Bhishvambar questioned his sister about the schooling and progress of her two sons. In reply, he was given a description of Phatik’s uncontrollable wildness and inattention to study; while Makhan, by contrast, was perfectly behaved and a model
student. ‘Phatik drives me mad,’ she said. Bhishvambar then proposed that he take Phatik to Calcutta, keep him with him and supervise his education. The widow easily agreed to this. ‘Well, Phatik,’ he asked the boy, ‘how would you like to go to Calcutta with your uncle?’ ‘I’d love to’, said Phatik, jumping up and down.
1. What were the celebrations for?
2. What was the complaint of Phatik’s mother?
3. How was Makhan different from Phatik?
4. Why did Bishvambar suggest that he would take Phatik to Calcutta?
5. What did Bishvambar promise to do?
6. How did Phatik react to the suggestion?
I. Rearrange the following sentences in the correct sequence:
1. Phatik’s uncle offered to take him to Calcutta.
2. One day Phatik lost his school bag.
3. Phatik’s mother could not control Phatik in the village.
4. Phatik found that he was an unwelcome guest in Calcutta.
5. Phatik agreed to go to Calcutta.
6. Phatik gave away all his collections to his brother.
7. Phatik’s aunt was annoyed by his carelessness.
8. Phatik’s aunt was not pleased at his arrival.
9. Phatik reached his uncle’s house.
10. Phatik ran away from his uncle’s house.
1. Write an essay on how the life of Phatik in Calcutta differed from his life in village by developing the hints given below:
Phatik - village boy - father died - lived in village with mother and brother - gang leader of village - established his authority over his brother - indifferent to others - made his mother unhappy - wild in behaviour - inattentive in studies - flying kites - aimless wandering in village - was like a monarch - Calcutta - affection was missing - confined to four walls - no company in school - inattentiveness conspicuous - cousins enjoyed when he was punished - aunt scolded for losing books - His vanity gone - he longed for love.
2. Under what circumstances did Phatik agree to go to Calcutta?
Phatik - fatherless boy - wild in behaviour - inattentive in studies - brother behaved well - log on the river bank - wanted to roll - Makhan disobeyed - quarrel - visitor arrives - Phatik indifferent - At home mother furious - complains to her brother, the visitor - uncle offers to
educate Phatik in Calcutta - Reasons for the mother’s approval - Phatik’s agreeing - Phatik has no idea of future.
Guy de Maupassant
She was one of those pretty, charming young ladies, born as if through an error of destiny, into a family of clerks. She had no dowry, no hopes, no means of becoming known, appreciated, loved, and married by a man either rich or distinguished; and she allowed herself to marry a petty clerk in the office of the Board of Education.
She was simple, not being able to adorn herself; but she was unhappy, as one out of her class; for women belong to no caste, no race; their grace, their beauty, and their charm serving them in the place of birth and family. Their inborn fineness, their instinctive elegance, their suppleness of wit are their only aristocracy, making some daughters of the people the equal of great ladies.
She suffered incessantly, feeling herself born for all delicacies and luxuries. She suffered from the poverty of her apartment, the shabby walls, the worn chairs, and the faded stuffs. All these things, which another woman of her station would not have noticed, tortured and angered her. The sight of the little Breton, who made this humble home, awoke in her sad regrets and desperate dreams. She thought of quiet antechambers, with their Oriental hangings, lighted by high, bronze torches, and of the two great footmen in short trousers who sleep in the large armchairs, made sleepy by the heavy air from the heating apparatus. She thought of large drawing-rooms, hung in old silks, of graceful pieces of furniture carrying bric-a-brac of inestimable value, and of the little perfumed coquettish apartments, made for five o’ clock chats with most intimate friends, men known and sought after, whose attention all women envied and desired.
When she seated herself for dinner, before the round table where the table cloth had been used three days, opposite her husband who uncovered the tureen with a delighted air, saying: ‘Oh! the good potpie! I know nothing better than that-’ she would think of the elegant dinners, of the shining silver, of the tapestries peopling the walls with ancient personages and rare
birds in the midst of fairy forests; she thought of the exquisite food served on marvellous dishes, of the whispered gallantries, listened to with the smile
of the sphinx, while eating the rose-coloured flesh of the trout or a chicken’s wing.
She had neither frocks nor jewels , nothing. And she loved only those things. She felt that she was made for them. She had such a desire to please, to be sought after, to be clever, and courted.
She had a rich friend, a school mate at the convent, whom she did not like to visit, she suffered so much when she returned. And she wept for whole days from chagrin, from regret, from despair, and disappointment.
One evening her husband returned elated bearing in his hand a large envelope.
‘Here,’ he said, ‘ here is something for you.’
She quickly tore open the wrapper and drew out a printed card on which were inscribed these words:
The Minister of Public Instruction and Madame George Ramponneau