My Childhood – Answer these questions in one or two sentences each.
- Where was Abdul Kalam’s house?
- What do you think Dinamani is the name of? Give a reason for your answer.
- Who were Abdul Kalam’s school friends? What did they later become?
- How did Abdul Kalam earn his first wages?
- Had he earned any money before that? In what way?
Answer – My Childhood:
- Abdul Kalam’s house was on the Mosque Street in Rameswaram in the former Madras state.
- Dinamani could be the name of a newspaper because Abdul Kalam used to try to trace the stories of the Second World War, which his brother-in-law told him, in the headlines in Dinamani.
- Abdul Kalam had three close friends in school Ramanandha Sastry, Aravindan and Sivaprakasan. Ramanandha Sastry took over the priesthood of the Rameswaram temple from his father; Aravindan started a business of arranging transport for visiting pilgrims; and Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railways.
- During the Second World War, the newspapers were bundled and thrown out of a moving train. Abdul Kalam earned his first wages by helping his cousin, who distributed newspapers in Rameswaram, to catch these bundles.
- Yes, Abdul Kalam had earned some money before he started helping his cousin. He used to collect and sell tamarind seeds at a provision shop, during the Second World War, earning one anna for a day’s collection.
Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph – My Childhood (about 30 words).
Question – My Childhood:
- How does the author describe: (i) his father, (ii) his mother, (iii) himself?
- What characteristics does he say he inherited from his parents?
- Kalam’s father, Jainulabdeen was not a wealthy or educated person. However, he was an honest and generous man, who possessed great innate wisdom. He was self-disciplined and avoided all inessential luxuries.
- Kalam’s mother, Ashiamma was an ideal helpmate to her husband. She believed in goodness and profound kindness, and fed many people everyday.
- The author describes himself as a short boy with undistinguished looks, who had a secure childhood. He is an honest and self-disciplined person, who believes in goodness and deep kindness.
2. The author inherited honesty and self-discipline from his father, and faith in goodness and deep kindness from his mother.
Discuss these questions in class with your teacher and then write down your answers in two or three paragraphs each.
Question – My Childhood:
1. “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?
- 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?
- The author mentions the two major religious groups of India “Hindus and Muslims” as the social groups predominant in Rameswaram.
Yes, these groups were easily identifiable. The factors that demarcated these groups from one another were their dressing sense and the place they lived in. Abdul Kalam wore a cap, which marked him as a Muslim. Besides, he lived on the Mosque Street. On the other hand, his friend, Ramanandha Sastry, wore the sacred thread as he belonged to an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family.
- They naturally shared friendships and experiences. Abdul Kalam was a Muslim while his friends were from orthodox Hindu Brahmin families. However, they were tied with a strong bond of friendship. Besides this friendship, during the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam ceremony, Kalam’s family arranged boats with a special platform for carrying idols of the Lord from the temple to the marriage site. Moreover, events from the Ramayana and from the life of the Prophet were the bedtime stories his mother and grandmother would tell the children of their family. All these incidents show that different social groups co-inhabited in Rameswaram.
- Kalam mentions two people who were very aware of the differences among the two religious groups. One of them was the new teacher of Abdul Kalam’s school, who did not let Abdul Kalam and his friend, Ramanadha Sastry, sit together.
The second person was the wife of Sivasubramania Iyer (Abdul Kalam’s science teacher). She was very conservative and did not want Kalam to eat in her pure Hindu kitchen.
The people who tried to bridge these differences were Lakshmana Sastry (Ramanadha’s father) and Sivasubramania Iyer (his science teacher).
- When Kalam was in the fifth standard, a new teacher came to his class. The teacher was a bigot and could not tolerate Kalam, who was a Muslim, to sit with Ramanandha Sastry, who was a Hindu priest’s son. Thus, he changed Kalam’s seat. This broke the heart of the two boys. When Ramanandha Sastry’s father came to know about it, he rebuked the teacher for spreading communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children. The teacher apologized and regretted his behaviour.
In another incident, Kalam’s science teacher, Sivasubramania Iyer, invited Kalam for a meal to his house. But his conservative wife refused to serve a Muslim in her pure Hindu kitchen.
The unperturbed teacher, served Kalam himself and even invited him for another meal the next weekend. Iyer believed that once a person has decided to change the system, such problems have to be confronted. However, by Kalam’s next visit, Iyer’s wife’s views had changed. She took Kalam inside her kitchen and served him food with her own hands.
Hence, attitudes can change if we take initiative to resolve the differences and be the change we want to see.
- Kalam wanted to leave Rameswaram for further studies. He wanted to study at the district headquarters in Ramanathapuram.
- After giving his consent to Kalam for pursuing his higher studies in Ramanathapuram, Kalam’s father said that he knew Kalam had to go away to “grow” and follow his dreams.
He gave the analogy of a seagull that flies across the sun alone, without a nest. He then quoted Khalil Gibran to Kalam’s mother, saying that their children were not their own. They were the “sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself”. They “come through” their parents, “but not from” them. Parents may give love to their children, but not their “thoughts”, as children have “their own thoughts”.
- The words he spoke reveal his viewpoint. He believed that at some point of time, children will leave their home and parents, to follow their dreams and to grow as an individual. Just like a seagull flies away alone and finds its own food and nest, children will leave their parents to make their own life and family. Parents can merely nurture their children with love. They cannot give them their thoughts. The children have their own opinions and beliefs.
He spoke these words to comfort Kalam’s mother, who was probably hesitant to let Kalam leave Rameswaram. Besides, he could also be consoling his own self for the same.
Question: Find the sentences in the text where these words occur:
erupt surge trace undistinguished casualty
Look these words up in a dictionary which gives examples of how they are used.
Now answer the following questions.
- 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?
- What are the meanings of the word trace and which of the meanings is closest to the word in the text?
- Can you find undistinguished in your dictionary? (If not, look for the word distinguished and say what undistinguished mean.)
1. A few things that can erupt are anger, volcano, tooth, rash, riots, unrest, etc. Erupt has several meanings. Their explanation, with examples, is given as follows:
(i) Start unexpectedly
Example: Riots erupted in the city.
(ii) Start to burn or burst into flames
Example: The spark soon erupted into flames.
(iii) Become active and spew forth lava and rocks
Example: The molten lava erupted out of the active volcano.
(iv) Forceful and violent release of something pent up
Example: The difference in their views soon erupted in a fight.
(v) Sudden appearance on the skin
Example: On the day of the party, a pimple erupted on her face.
(vi) Break out
Example: Eruption of the wisdom tooth gives a lot of pain.
Things that can surge are pride, anxiety, waves, boats, army, etc. The several meanings it has can be explained with the following examples:
(i) Sudden forceful flow
Example: The boy drowned in the surging waves.
(ii) Rise and move forward
The army surged towards their enemy.
(iii) Heave upward under the influence of a natural force
Example: The boat surged in the high tide.
(iv) See one’s performance improve
Example: Hard work helped to surge Sandra’s scores.
(v) A sudden or abrupt strong increase
Example: The surge in the stock market left people in a shock.
(vi) Rise rapidly
Example: As time passed, her tension surged.
2. The following are the meanings of the word trace:
(i) Follow, discover, or ascertain the course of development of something
(ii) Make a mark or lines on a surface
(iii) To go back over again
(iv) Pursue or chase relentlessly
(v) Find or discover through investigation
(vi) Make one’s course or travel along a path; travel or pass over, around, or along
(vii) Read with difficulty
The closest meaning of the word “trace” in the text is “to find or discover through investigation”.
3. No, the word undistinguished does not exist in the dictionary. However, its meaning can be derived from the meaning of the word “distinguished”, which denotes the “special or eminent appearance or behaviour of a person”. Thus, undistinguished symbolises “ordinary appearance or behaviour of a person”.
1. Match the phrases in Column A with their meanings in Column B.
|(i)||broke out||(a)||an attitude of kindness, a readiness to give freely|
|(ii)||in accordance with||(b)||was not able to tolerate|
|(iii)||a helping hand||(c)||began suddenly in a violent way|
|(iv)||could not stomach||(d)||assistance|
|(v)||generosity of spirit||(e)||persons with power to make decisions|
|(vi)||figures of authority||(f)||according to a particular rule, principle, or system|
Study the words in italics in the sentences below. They are formed by prefixingunâ€“ or in â€“ 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 inessentialcomforts.(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 prefix 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.
|(i)||broke out||(c)||began suddenly in a violent way|
|(ii)||in accordance with||(f)||according to a particular rule, principle or system|
|(iii)||a helping hand||(d)||assistance|
|(iv)||could not stomach||(b)||was unable to tolerate|
|(v)||generosity of spirit||(a)||an attitude of kindness, a readiness to give freely|
|(vi)||figures of authority||(e)||persons with power to make decision|
Rewrite the sentences below, changing the verbs in brackets into the passive form.
1. In yesterday’s competition the prizes (give away) by the Principal.
2. In spite of financial difficulties, the labourers (pay) on time.
3. On Republic Day, vehicles (not allow) beyond this point.
4. Second-hand books (buy and sell) on the pavement every Saturday.
5. Elections to the Lok Sabha (hold) every five years.
6. Our National Anthem (compose) Rabindranath Tagore.
1. In yesterday’s competition the prizes were given away by the Principal.
2. In spite of financial difficulties, the labourers were paid on time.
3. On Republic Day, vehicles are not allowed beyond this point.
4. Second-hand books are bought and sold on the pavement every Saturday.
5. Elections to the Lok Sabha are held every five years.
6. Our National Anthem was composed by Rabindranath Tagore.
Rewrite the paragraphs below, using the correct form of the verb given in brackets.
1. How Helmets Came To Be Used in Cricket
Nari Contractor was the Captain and an opening batsman for India in the1960s. The Indian cricket team went on a tour to the West Indies in 1962. In a match against Barbados in Bridgetown, Nari Contractor (seriously injure and collapse). In those days helmets (not wear). Contractor (hit) on the head by a bouncer from Charlie Griffith. Contractorâ€™s skull (fracture). The entire team (deeply concern). The West Indies players (worry). Contractor (rush) to hospital. He (accompany) by Frank Worrell, the Captain of the West Indies Team. Blood (donate) by the West Indies players. Thanks to the timely help, Contractor (save). Nowadays helmets (routinely use) against bowlers.
2. Oil from Seeds
Vegetable oils (make) from seeds and fruits of many plants growing all over the world, from tiny sesame seeds to big, juicy coconuts. Oil (produce) from cotton seeds, groundnuts, soya beans and sunflower seeds. Olive oil (use) for cooking, salad dressing etc. Olives (shake) from the trees and (gather) up, usually by hand. The olives (ground) to a thick paste which is spread onto special mats. Then the mats (layer) up on the pressing machine which will gently squeeze them to produce olive oil.
1. How Helmets Came To Be Used in Cricket
Nari Contractor was the Captain and an opening batsman for India in the 1960s. The Indian cricket team went on a tour to the West Indies in 1962. In a match against Barbados in Bridgetown, Nari Contractor got seriously injured and collapsed. In those days helmets were not worn. Contractor was hit on the head by a bouncer from Charlie Griffith. Contractorâ€™s skull had fractured. The entire team was deeply concerned. The West Indies players were worried. Contractor was rushed to hospital. He was accompanied by Frank Worrell, the Captain of the West Indies Team. Blood was donated by the West Indies players. Thanks to the timely help, Contractor was saved. Nowadays helmets are routinely used against bowlers.
2.Oil from Seeds
Vegetable oils are made from seeds and fruits of many plants growing all over the world, from tiny sesame seeds to big, juicy coconuts. Oil is produced from cotton seeds, groundnuts, soya beans and sunflower seeds. Olive oil is used for cooking, salad dressing etc. Olives are shaken from the trees and gathered up, usually by hand. The olives are ground to a thick paste which is spread onto special mats. Then the mats are layered up on the pressing machine which will gently squeeze them to produce olive oil.
Question: Here is a topic for you to
1. think about;
2. give your opinion on.
Find out what other people think about it. Ask your friends / seniors / parents to give you their opinion.
“Career Building Is the Only Goal of Education.”
“Getting a Good Job Is More Important than Being a Good Human Being.”
You can use the following phrases
(i) while giving your opinion:
- I think that…
- In my opinion…
- It seems to me that…
- I am of the view that…
- As far as I know…
- If you ask me…
(ii) saying what other people think:
- According to some…
- Quite a few think…
- Some others favour…
- Thirty per cent of the people disagree…
- Fifty per cent of them strongly feel…
(iii) asking for others’ opinions:
- What do you think about…
- What do you think of…
- What is your opinion about…
- Do you agree…
- Does this make you believe…
Answer: “Career Building Is the Only Goal of Education.”
- career building is not the only goal of education
- education has varied functions
- makes a person civil, disciplined, confident, knowledgeable and self reliant
- gives a definition to life
- develops insight to make correct decisions
- career is also build in the process
“Getting a Good Job Is More Important than Being a Good Human Being.”
- being good human being is more important
- virtue first step to success
- moral excellence essential for job
- honesty, sympathy, goodwill, helpfulness, generosity, etc. make up the personality
- good personality is very important for getting good job
Question: Think and write a short account of what life in Rameswaram in the 1940s must have been like. (Were people rich or poor? Hard working or lazy? Hopeful of change, or resistant to it?).
Answer: In the year 1940s, the life in Rameswaram might have been very simple. From the account of Abdul Kalam, we gather that the people were not very wealthy. Though religious based segregation existed, people lived in harmony with one another. Yet there were people who did not like different social groups to intermingle. The religions were demarcated by the clothes they wore or the area where they lived. Orthodox Hindu Brahmin families were more rigid. Still, those who displayed their conservativeness and religious stringency were strongly opposed by the others.
The people of the town might have been hard working, as the author mentions how his cousin used to collect bundles of newspaper for distribution. Kalam’s family arranged for boats for the visiting pilgrims. Also, the author himself started earning at the tender age of eight years.
Besides, the Second World War might have affected the lives of the people. The author says that India was forced to join the war and subsequently a state of emergency was declared. Indians waited optimistically for independence.
Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:
Question: During the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam Ceremony, our family used to arrange boats with a special platform for carrying idols of the Lord from the temple to the marriage site,jsituated in the middle of the pond called Rama Tirtha which was near our house.
- What was the annual event held in Rameshwaram?
- Where did the boats carry the idols of the Lord?
- Find a word from the passage that means “images of God”.
- The annual event held in Rameshwaram was Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam Ceremony.
- The boats carried the idols of the Lord in the middle of the pond on the site of the marriage (or ceremony or function).
Question: During the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam Ceremony, our family used to arrange boats with a special platform for carrying idols of the Lord from the temple to the marriage site, situated in the middle of the pond called Rama Tirtha which was near our house. Events from the Ramayana and from the life of the Prophet were the bedtime stories my mother and grandmother would tell the children in our family.
- How did the speaker’s family help in Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam Ceremony?
- What light does the passage throw on speaker’s family?
- Find the word in the passage which means the same “the place where some event takes place”.
- The speaker’s family used to help in Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam Ceremony by arranging boats with a special platform for carrying idols.
- The passage shows that the speaker’s family is a truly secular family which respected other religions also.
Question: After school, we went home and told our respective parents about the incident. Lakshmana Sastry summoned the teacher, and in our presence, told the teacher that he should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children. He bluntly asked the teacher to either apologize or quit the school and the island. Not only did the teacher regret his behaviour, but the strong sense of conviction. Lakshmana Sastry conveyed ultimately reformed this young teacher.
- What brought about a change in the teacher?
- What kind of society did the speaker live in?
- Find the word / phrase in the passage which means “strong opinion or belief”.
Answer – My Childhood:
- The strong sense of conviction that Lakshmana Sastry conveyed brought about a change in the teacher.
- The speaker lived in a society which was truly secular.
Question: His wife watched us from behind the kitchen door. I wondered whether she had observed any difference in the way I ate rice, drank water or cleaned the floor after the meal. When I was leaving his house, Sivasubramaniam invited me to join him for dinner the next weekend. Observing my habitation, he told me not to get upset, saying “Once you decide to change the system, such problems have to be confronted.” When I visited his house next week, Sivasubramaniam Iyer’s wife took me inside her kitchen and served me food with her own hands.
Why did the teacher’s wife watched them from behind the kitchen door?
Why was the narrator hesitant to eat food, with a Hindu family?
Find the word from the passage that means “to deal with”.
Answer – My Childhood:
- The teacher’s wife believed in the segregation of different people. She did not want APJ Kalam to enter her kitchen and serve food. She as a result hid behind kitchen door and saw everything.
- The narrator felt hesitant to eat food with a Hindu family because he felt he was not welcomed in the family.
- Confronted One day, he invited me to his home for a meal. His wife was horrified at the idea of a Muslim boy being invited to dine in her ritually pure kitchen. She refused to serve me in her kitchen.
Question: Sivasubramaniam Iyer was not perturbed, nor did he get angry with his wife, but instead, served me’ with his own hands and sat down beside me to eat his meal.
- Who is “he” and “me” in the first sentence?
- Why was his wife horrified?
- Find the word from the passage that means “agitated / upset”.
- “He” is Sivasubramania Iyer, and “me” is Abdul Kalam.
- His wife was horrified at the idea of serving food to a Muslim boy in her kitchen.
Question: Why did A.P.J. Abdul Kalam call his childhood a secure childhood?
“Kalam’s childhood was a secure one, both materially and emotionally”. Illustrate the fact.
Answer: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam called his childhood a secure one because he had loving and caring parents.-He had all necessary things which included food, clothes, medicine, etc.
Question: Do you think the new teacher deserved the treatment meted out to him? Why/why not?
Answer: Yes, he deserved the treatment meted out to him. He was spreading the poison of communal intolerance among the young minds which was a serious crime. If a teacher indulges in such a mean act he deserves no sympathy.
Question – My Childhood: What was the difference in the attitudes of the science teacher and his wife towards A.P.J. Abdul Kalam?
Answer – My Childhood: Though his science teacher was an orthodox Hindu, he broke the social barriers, and mixed with other religions and commjmities. He invited Abdul home and served him meals and even sat and ate with him. On the contrary, his wife was conservative and refused to serve Abdul.
Question: How did Second World War give opportunity to Kalam to earn his first wages?
Answer: Kalam’s cousin was a news agent. Train halt at Rameshwaram station was suspended. So, the newspapers were bundled up and thrown out from a moving train. Kalam helped his cousin to catch the bundles. He was given money for it.
Question: How does Abdul Kalam describe his mother?
Answer: Abdul Kalam describes his mother by saying that she was an ideal wife and a gentle lady. He learnt from his mother to be gentle and kind. She even used to feed a lot of outsiders every day.
Question: What did Abdul Kalam’s family do during the annual Shri Sita Ram Kalayanam Ceremony?
Answer: Abdul Kalam’s family arranged for a boat with a special platform for carrying the idols of Lord Shri Sita Ram from the temple to the marriage sites situated in the middle of a pond called as Rama Tirtha. His parents even told him stories from the Ramayana.
Question: What characteristics did Abdul Kalam inherited from his parents?
Answer: Abdul Kalam inherited honesty and self discipline from his father and faith in goodness and kindness from his mother. Like his parents even he respected all religions.
Question: What do you know about A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s family after reading the lesson “My childhood”?
Answer: A.PJ. Abdul Kalam tells us that his family was a Tamil middle class family from Rameshwaram. His father Jainulabdeen was not much educated, wasn’t rich but was generous, wise, simple man but very strict and severe. His mother Ashiamma was a generous lady, and used to feed unlimited numbers of people in their home. Kalam’s family respected all religions. They took part in Hindu festivals. His mother and grandmother told him stories from Ramayana. They always showered their love on their children and never forced their thoughts on them.
Question – My Childhood: What incident took place at the Rameshwaram Elementry School when a new teacher came to the class?
Answer – My Childhood: Kalam used to wear a cap and Ramanandha Sastry wore a sacred thread which marked him to be a Brahmin. When the new teacher came he could not tolerate a Hindu priest’s son sitting with a Muslim boy. He ordered Kalam to go and sit on the back bench. This made Ramanandha sad. Abdul started to sit in the last row but it left a bad impression on Abdul. Both the kids narrated the incident to their parents. As a result the teacher was rebuked and reprimanded for spreading communalism and hatred among children.
Question: How did Abdul Kalam earn his “first wages”? How did he feel at that time?
Answer – My Childhood: Kalam was only 8 years old when the second world war broke out in 1939. Then there was a great demand for tamarind seeds. Abdul used to collect those seeds and sell them in the market. His cousin Shamsuddin distributed newspapers. The train would not stop at Rameshwaram and the bundles of newspapers were thrown from the running train. Abdul was employed by his cousin to collect them. This way he earned his first wages. He felt very proud on earning his first wage.
Question: “Once you decide to change the system, such problems have to be confronted.” What system is being refer in the sentence from the chapter “My Childhood”? What are such problems?
Answer – My Childhood: System means system of discrimination on the basis of religion. The system includes the narrow-mindedness and poison of social inequality and communal intolerance. The Brahmins did not allow Muslims to enter their kitchen. The science teacher – a rebel by nature, invited Kalam to his home and proved that if one is determined to face problems and change the system, he will definitely succeed. Though, such indifferences come in everybody’s life but a person should have a broader outlook and overcome the obstacles.
Question: How was the Science teacher Siva Subramaniam Iyer, though an orthodox. Brahmin with a very conservative wife, a friend of Abdul Kalam. Give incidents to support your answer.
Answer – My Childhood: The Science teacher, Siva Subramaniam Iyer, wanted to break the social barriers between the Hindus and the Muslims. He wanted Kalam to be very highly educated as he recognized his intelligence. One day, he invited him over to a meal. His orthodox wife was totally horrified at the idea of a Muslim boy dining in her ritually pure kitchen. He did not mind anything said by his very conservative wife. He rather served the food to Abdul by his own hands. He also sat with him and dined together as well as invited him over again for another meal the coming weekend. Thus, this shows that he was a friend of Abdul Kalam even though Kalam was a Muslim and he himself was an orthodox Brahmin.
Question: ‘Childhood’ is the formative period of a child’s life. The lessons learnt here always stays with a person. Comment on it in the light of the lesson A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Answer – My Childhood: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is one of the finest scientists in our country and was also our eleventh President. From his autobiography “Wings of Fire” it is amply clear that lessons learnt in our childhood not only shape our personality but also decide the kind of person we become. He learnt the lessons of religious tolerance, honesty and self-discipline early in his life. These qualities stayed with him throughout his life and have helped to make him one of the finest President of our country with so many diverse cultures.