NCERT Class 9 Beehive Page No. 131
Thinking about the Text
1. On the following map mark out the route, which the author thought of but did not take, to Delhi.
The route the author had thought of but did not take is given below:
Kathmandu — Patna (Bihar) — Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) — Delhi
All Chapter: CBSE Class 9 English Syllabus 2020-21
NCERT Class 9 Beehive Page No. 132
I. Answer these questions in one or two words or in short phrases.
1. Name the two temples the author visited in Kathmandu.
The two temples the author visited in Kathmandu were the Pashupatinath temple and the
2. The writer says, “All this I wash down with Coca Cola.” What does ‘all this’ refer to?
‘All this’ refers to eating a bar of marzipan, a corn-on-the-cob roasted in a charcoal stove on the pavement (rubbed with salt, chilli powder and lemon), and reading a couple of love story comics and a Reader’s Digest.
3. What does Vikram Seth compare to the quills of a porcupine?
Vikram Seth compares the fifty or sixty bansuris protruding in all directions from the pole of a flute seller to the quills of a porcupine.
4. Name five kinds of flutes.
The reed neh, the recorder, the Japanese shakuhachi, the deep bansuri of Hindustani classical music, the clear or breathy flutes of South America and the high-pitched Chinese flutes.
II. Answer each question in a short paragraph.
1. What difference does the author note between the flute seller and the other hawkers?
The flute seller does not shout out his wares like the other hawkers. He simply plays slowly, meditatively, without excessive display.
2. What is the belief at Pashupatinath about the end of Kaliyug?
At Pashupatinath, there is a small shrine that protrudes from the stone platform on the river bank. People believe that when the shrine will emerge fully, the goddess inside it will escape and the evil period of Kaliyug on earth will then end.
3. The author has drawn powerful images and pictures. Pick out three examples each of
(i) the atmosphere of ‘febrile confusion’ outside the temple of Pashupatinath (for example: some people trying to get the priest’s attention are elbowed aside…)
(ii) the things he sees
(iii) the sounds he hears
(i) The author describes the following scenes of ‘febrile confusion’:
- a group of saffron-clad Westerners struggling to enter the main gate
- a fight that breaks out between two monkeys
- a royal Nepalese princess for whom everyone bows and makes way.
(ii) The things he sees include:
- The Baudhnat Stupa that has an immense white dome, which is ringed by a road.
- Small shops on the outer edge where felt bags, Tibetan prints and silver jewellery can be bought.
- Fruit sellers, flute sellers, hawkers of postcards, shops selling Western cosmetics, film rolls, chocolate, copper utensils and Nepalese antiques.
(iii) The sounds he hears are:
- Film songs from the radios, car horns, bicycle bells, vendors shouting out their wares.
- flute music played by the flute seller.
III. Answer the following questions in not more than 100 − 150 words each.
1. Compare and contrast the atmosphere in and around the Baudhnath shrine with the Pashupathinath temple.
The atmosphere at the Pashupatinath temple was full of chaos and confusion. Priests, hawkers, devotees, tourists, cows, monkeys, pigeons and dogs roamed through the grounds. There were so many worshippers that some people trying to get the priest’s attention were elbowed aside by others pushing their way to the front. Some saffron-clad Westerners were trying to enter the temple. Monkeys were fighting and adding to the general noise. Washerwomen were at their work, while children were bathing.
On the other hand, at the Baudhnath stupa, there was a sense of stillness. There was no crowd and this was a haven of quietness in the busy streets around.
2. How does the author describe Kathmandu’s busiest streets?
Along the Kathmandu’s narrowest and busiest streets, there are small shrines and flower-adorned deities. There are fruit sellers, flute sellers, hawkers of postcards, shops selling Western cosmetics, film rolls, chocolate, copper utensils and Nepalese antiques. Film songs blare out from the radios, car horns sound, bicycle bells ring, stray cows low, vendors shout out their wares. He also mentions a flute seller with many bansuris protruding in all directions from his pole. He contrasts the serene music produced by him with the cries of the other hawkers.
3. “To hear any flute is to be drawn into the commonality of all mankind.” Why does the author say this?
The author considers flute music to be “the most universal and most particular” of all music. It belngs to all the cultures. Though each kind of flute has a specific fingering and compass, every flute produces music with the help of the human breath. Thus, because of its prevalence around the world and its closeness to the human breathing the author says that to hear any flute is “to be drawn into the commonality of all mankind”.
Thinking about Language
I. Read the following sentences carefully to understand the meaning of the italicised phrases. Then match the phrasal verbs in Column A with their meanings in Column B.
1. A communal war broke outwhen the princess was abducted by the neighbouring prince.
2. The cockpit broke offfrom the plane during the plane crash.
3. The car broke down on the way and we were left stranded in the jungle.
4. The dacoit broke away from the police as they took him to court.
5. The brothers broke up after the death of the father.
6. The thief broke into our house when we were away.
(i) break out
(a) to come apart due to force
(ii) break off
(b) end a relationship
(iii) break down
(c) break and enter illegally; unlawful trespassing
(iv) break away (from someone)
(d) of start suddenly, (usually a fight, a war or a disease)
(v) break up
(e) to escape from someone’s grip
(vi) break into
(f) stop working
(i) break out
(d) of start suddenly, (usually a fight, a war or a disease)
(ii) break off
(a) to come apart due to force
(iii) break down
(f) stop working
(iv) break away (from someone)
(e) to escape from someone’s grip
(v) break up
(b) end a relationship
(vi) break into
(c) break and enter illegally; unlawful trespassing
NCERT Class 9 English Beehive Page No. 133
II. 1. Use the suffixes −ion or −tion to form nuns from the following verbs. Make the necessary changes in the spellings of the words.
Example: proclaim − proclamation
2. Now fill in the blanks with suitable words from the ones that you have formed.
(i) Mass literacy was possible only after the ___________ of the printing machine.
(ii) Ramesh is unable to tackle the situation as he lacks ____________.
(iii) I could not resist the _____________ to open the letter.
(iv) Hardwork and ___________are the main keys to success.
(v) The children were almost fainting with ______________after being made to stand in the sun.
(i) Mass literacy was possible only after the invention of the printing machine.
(ii) Ramesh is unable to tackle the situation as he lacks direction.
(iii) I could not resist the temptation to open the letter.
(iv) Hardwork and dedication are the main keys to success.
(v) The children were almost fainting with exhaustion after being made to stand in the sun.
Use capital letter, full stops, question marks, commas and inverted commas wherever necessary in the following paragraph.
an arrogant lion was wandering though the jungle one day he asked the tiger who is stronger than you you O lion replied the tiger who is more fierce than a leopard asked the lion you sir replied the leopard he marched upto an elephant and asked the same question the elephant picked him up in his trunk swung him in the air and threw him down look said the lion there is no need to get mad just because you don’t know the answer
An arrogant lion was wandering through the jungle. One day, he asked the tiger, “Who is stronger than you?” “You, O lion!” replied the tiger. “Who is more fierce than a leopard?” asked the lion. “You sir,” replied the leopard. He marched up to an elephant and asked the same question. The elephant picked him up in his trunk, swung him in the air, and threw him down. “Look,” said the lion, “there is no need to get mad just because you don’t know the answer.”
NCERT Class 9 Beehive Page No. 134
IV. Simple Present Tense
1. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb in brackets.
(i) The heart is a pump that ____________(send) the blood circulating through our body. The pumping action ____________(take place) when the left ventricle of the heart ____________(contract). This ____________(force) the blood out into the arteries, which ____________(expand) to receive the oncoming blood.
(ii) The African lungfish can live without water for up to four years. During drought, it ____________(dig) a pit and ____________(enclose) itself in a capsule of slime and earth, leaving a tiny opening for air. The capsule ____________(dry) and ____________(harden), but when rain ____________(come), the mud ____________(dissolve) and the lungfish ____________(swim) away.
(iii) Mahesh: We have to organise a class party for our teacher. ____________(Do) anyone play an instrument?
Vipul:Rohit ____________(play) the flute.
Mahesh: ____________(Do) he also act?
Vipul: No, he ____________(compose) music.
Mahesh: That’s wonderful!
(i) The heart is a pump that sends the blood circulating through our body. The pumping action takes place when the left ventricle of the heart contracts. This forces the blood out into the arteries, which expands to receive the oncoming blood.
(ii) The African lungfish can live without water for up to four years. During drought, it digs a pit and encloses itself in a capsule of slime and earth, leaving a tiny opening for air. The capsule dries and hardens, but when rain comes, the mud dissolves and the lungfish swims away.
(iii) Mahesh: We have to organise a class party for our teacher. Does anyone play an instrument?
Vipul: Rohit plays the flute.
Mahesh: Does he also act?
Vipul: No, he composes music.
Mahesh: That’s wonderful!
Kathmandu Extra Questions and Answers Class 9 English Beehive
Kathmandu Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type
Where did the writer stay in Kathmandu? Which two different places of worship did he visit? With whom?
The writer, Vikram Seth, stayed in a cheap room in the centre of Kathmandu. He visited the Pushupatinath temple, sacred to the Hindus, and the Baudhnath stupa, the holy shrine of the Buddhists with his acquaintances Mr Shah’s son and nephew.
What is written on the signboard outside the Pashupatinath temple? What does it signify?
Outside the Pashupatinath temple, the signboard announces: “Entrance for the Hindus only”. It signifies that the temple is rigid in the maintaining of its sanctity and holiness as a place of worship. This rule is practiced with inflexible strictness to prevent the temple from being treated like a tourist destination.
What does the author mean when he says “At Pashupatinath there is an atmosphere of febrile confusion”?
The author makes this remark to imply there is hectic and chaotic activity around the temple. There is a huge crowd of priests, hawkers, tourists, and even animals like cows, monkeys and pigeons roaming through the grounds. Inside the temple, there are a large number of worshippers who jostle and elbow others aside to move closer to the priest. Together, they create utter confusion.
Why do devotees elbow others inside the temple?
There is a large crowd of worshippers inside the temple, where everyone is trying to vie for the attention of the priests. As some people try to get the priest’s attention, they are elbowed aside by others pushing their way to the front.
How did the arrival of the princess change the situation?
At Pashupatinath temple, worshippers were trying to get the priest’s attention and were elbowing and jostling each other as they pushed their way to the front. The situation changed as a princess of the Nepalese royal house appeared; everyone bowed and made way for her.
What did the saffron-clad Westerners want?
The saffron-clad Westerners wanted to go inside the Pashupatinath temple. However, as entry to the temple is restricted to Hindus only, they claimed to be Hindus. But the policeman was not allowing them to enter.
Why did the policeman stop the Westerners wearing saffron-coloured clothes from entering the Pashupatinath temple?
The policeman stopped the saffron-clad Westerners from entering the Pashupatinath temple as the entry of non- Hindus is banned in this temple and he didn’t believe that they were Hindus, despite their saffron clothes.
Describe the fight that breaks out between the two monkeys around the temple of Pashupatinath?
The author describes the fight that breaks out between two monkeys in which one chases the other. The monkey being chased jumps onto a shivalinga, then runs screaming around the temples and finally goes down to the holy river, Bagmati.
What activities are observed by the writer on the banks of the Bagmati river?
The writer observes some polluting activities on the banks of the river Bagmati. He notices some washerwomen washing clothes, some children taking a bath and a dead body being cremated on the banks of this sacred river. He also observes someone throwing a basketful of wilted flowers and leaves into the river.
Write a short note on the shrine on the stone platform on the riverbank?
There is a small shrine on the banks of the holy Bagmati that flows below the Pashupatinath temple. Half part of this shrine protrudes from a stone platform. It is believed that when the shrine will emerge completely from the platform, the goddess in the shrine will escape and that will mark the end of the Kaliyug, or the evil period.
What is the belief at Pashupatinath about the end of Kaliyug?
There is a small shrine that half protrudes from the stone platform on the river bank. People believe that when it emerges fully, the goddess inside will escape, and the evil period of the Kaliyug will end on earth.
The writer draws powerful sight and sound images of the activities in and around Pashupatinath temple. List the images.
The poet draws images of mindless activity in and around Pashupatinath temple. Priests, hawkers, devotees, cows, pigeons and dogs roam here and there. Devotees elbow and jostle their way to the front as they try to catch the priest’s attention in an attempt to get preferential treatment. There is a fight between two monkeys, as one chases the other jumping on the shivlinga. A group of saffron-clad foreigners argue to be allowed entry into the temple, hawkers call out their wares. Animals also add to the noise as monkeys run around screaming, cows loo and dogs bark, a completely noisy situation.
How does the writer describe Baudhnath stupa?
The author gives a brief but vivid picture of the Baudhnath stupa. He admires the serenity and calmness of this shrine. The stupa has an immense white dome with silence and stillness its distinctive features. There are no crowds even on the road surrounding the stupa. There are some shops run by the Tibetan immigrants.
The Baudhnath stupa ‘is a haven of quietness in the busy streets around’. Comment.
The narrator observes a sense of stillness at the Buddhist shrine, the Baudhnath stupa. Its immense white dome is ringed by a road with small shops selling items like felt bags, Tibetan prints and silver jewellery.The quietness of the stupa stands out amidst the busy business activities that go around it. Thus, the narrator regards this place as a haven of quietness in the busy streets around.
How is the atmosphere at Pashupatinath temple different from that at Baudhnath Stupa?
The atmosphere at Pashupatinath Temple is noisy and chaotic. People jostle with each other and animals mill around. Hawkers call out their wares. On the other hand, the atmosphere at Baudhnath stupa is calm and serene. There are some Tibetans shops but the huge crowds of Pashupatinath are missing there. There is calm as opposed to chaos near the Pashupatinath temple.
What are the author’s observations about the streets in Kathmandu?
The author finds the streets in Kathmandu are ‘vivid, mercenary and religious’. Extremely narrow and busy, these streets have many small shrines and some images clad in flowers. There are a number of shops selling Western cosmetics, film rolls and chocolate or copper utensils and Nepalese antiques. Stray cows roam about mooing at the sound of the motorcycles. Vendors sell their wares shouting loudly and radios are played at a loud pitch. In addition, the horns of the cars and the ringing of the bicycle bells increase this din.
The writer says, “All this I wash down with Coca Cola”. What does‘all this’ refer to?
‘All this’ refers to the eatables that the writer buys and eats on one of the busy streets of Kathmandu. It includes a bar of marzipan, a com-on-the-cob roasted in a charcoal brazier on the pavement (rubbed with salt, chilli powder and lemon). He finishes of his meal by drinking Coca Cola and a nauseating orange drink.
Which is the route from Kathmandu to Delhi that the writer had planned to take earlier? Which route does he opt for? Why?
The writer had planned to travel from Kathmandu to Delhi by first reaching Patna by bus and train. Then he planned to sail up the Ganges past Benaras to Allahabad, then up the Yamuna, past Agra to Delhi. The shorter option taken by the author is to fly via air, straight from Kathmandu to Delhi. He changed his plans because he was tired and homesick.
Why does Vikram Seth decide to buy an air ticket directly for the homeward journey?
Vikram Seth had travelled from China to Kathmandu via Tibet. It had been a long journey and he was feeling very exhausted and homesick. Though his enthusiasm for travelling tempted him to take a longer route to reach back home, his exhaustion and homesickness impelled him to buy an air-ticket directly for the homeward journey to Delhi.
What difference does the author note between the flute seller and the other hawkers?
The author points out that while other hawkers loudly call their wares to attract the customers, the flute seller plays upon his flute softly and meditatively. He does not indulge in excessive display nor does he show any desperation to sell his flutes. Although the flute player does not shout, the sound of the flute is distinctly heard above the noise of the traffic and of the hawkers.
What does Vikram Seth compare to the quills of a porcupine?
Vikram Seth found a flute seller in Kathmandu standing in a comer of the square near his hotel. He held a pole in his hand which had an attachment at the top around and fifty to sixty flutes were stuck into it that protruded in all directions. The author compares these protruding flutes to the sharp, stiff quills of a porcupine.
Name five kinds of flutes.
As the author listens to the music of the flute being played by the flute seller, he is reminded of different kinds of flutes that he has seen and heard. He talks of the kinds of flutes like the ‘cross-flutes’, the reed neh, the recorder, the Japanese shakuhachi and the Hindustani bansuri. Other flutes are distinguished by their tonal quality like ‘the clear or breathy flutes’ of South America and the ‘high-pitched’ flutes of China.
What effect does the music of the flute have on Vikram Seth?
The music of the flute has a hypnotic effect on Vikram Seth. So much so, that he finds it difficult to tear himself away from the square where this music is being playing by the flute seller. It has the power to draw him into the commonality of all mankind and he is moved by its closeness to human voice.
Why does the author describe the music of the flute as “the most universal and most particular of sounds”?
The music of the flute, according to the author, is the most ‘universal’ because this musical instrument, made of hollow bamboo is found in every culture in the world. But at the same time, its sound is the most ‘particular’ because each flute, though played in almost a similar manner, produces a unique sound.
Kathmandu Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type
Compare and contrast the atmosphere in and around the Baudhnath shrine with the Pashupatinath temple.
The Pashupatinath Temple, sacred to the Hindus, and the Baudhnath shrine of the Buddhists stand in contrast with regard to their ambience. The noisy confusion of the Hindu Temple is the opposite of the peace and tranquility that reigns supreme in the Baudhnath shrine. In the Pashupatinath temple, utter chaos is created by the large crowd of rowdy worshippers who push and jostle each other to reach closer to the priest and the deity.
At Baudhnath stupa, there aren’t many people inside the structure. Confusion is also created by some Westerners who wish to enter the temple and argue with the policeman. The atmosphere at Pashupatinath Temple is made noisy by the large crowds of priests, hawkers, devotees and tourists. Animals like cows and dogs freely move around and the pigeons too contribute to the confusion. Even monkeys play about and fight in the premises of the temple.
How does the author describe Kathmandu’s busiest streets?
The author presents the busiest streets of Kathmandu as ‘vivid, mercenary and religious’. The streets are full of life with large crowds, shops and hawkers calling out their wares. There is a lot of religious activity going on all the time. Besides the well-known religious shrines like the Pashupatinath temple and the Baudhnath stupa, Kathmandu also has small shrines and flower-adorned deities that line the narrow, but busy streets of Kathmandu. It is ‘mercenary’ as it is a tourist place and a lot of business flourishes in the narrow streets.
One can find fruit sellers, flute sellers, and hawkers selling postcard photographs. As in any other tourist place, there are shops selling various things like cosmetics from western countries, rolls of film, chocolates, antique items of Nepal, and copper pots and pans. There is a medley of noises created by radios playing film songs, sounds of car-horns, bells of bicycles and vendors shouting to invite the customers. There are also the cows bellowing as they hear the sounds of motorcycles. Thus, the streets of Kathmandu are full of noise and din.
“To hear any flute is to be drawn into the commonality of all mankind.” Why does the author say this?
The author hears the music of a flute played by a flute seller in a square near his hotel in Kathmandu and is reminded of the various kinds of music produced by various types of flutes found in various cultures. However, the flute is universal, because almost every culture has flutes, though each has a different tone and pitch.
Different cultures have given different names to the flutes such as the shakuhachi in Japan and the bansuri in India. Flutes from different cultures have different fingering methods and ranges of sound. The Indian bansuri has a deep sound, the South American flute emits clear, breathy sound and the Chinese flute gives out loud, high-pitched melodies.
Despite the variety of flutes and the variations in their music, the author emphasises that the music of all the flutes closely resembles human voice. To produce music, every flute needs pauses and breaths in the same manner in which phrases and sentences are uttered in human voice. These pauses and breaths are generated through fingering of the holes of a flute. This characteristic feature of the flutes gives the author a feeling of being “drawn into the commonality of mankind”, which gives him a sense of universality ahd harmony.
What idea do you get about the author from the extract “Kathmandu ”?
The extract “Kathmandu” taken from Vikram Seth’s travelogue, ‘From Heaven Lake’, highlights certain traits of his personality. As a traveller, Seth displays a keen sense of observation, and as a person with a fine aesthetic sense, his ability to capture the vivid details of his surroundings. Vikram Seth draws vivid pictures of the temples of Kathmandu and its narrow, crowded streets. Though he doesn’t say it directly, but his admiration of the Baudhnath Stupa with its serene stillness and his calling it a ‘haven of quietness’ shows he prefers serenity and tranquility.
He also shows his concern as an environmentalist who does not approve of the polluting activities carried on the banks of Bagmati river. Vikram Seth’s fondness for travelling is obvious by the fact that although tired, he still contemplates taking a longer route back home to Delhi. His fondness for music is brought forth when we find him totally enchanted by the music of the flute. He is so fascinated that he has to tear himself away from the square where the flute is being played by the seller.
His choice about reading reveals that when tired, he prefers to read light and popular stuff like love comics and Reader’s Digest. Like a typical traveller, he indulges himself with the eatables he finds available in the bazaar of Kathmandu. Thus, the author emerges as a man with profound fondness for travelling, love for music, keen sense of observation, reflective mind, and an ability to portray places and people realistically.
Where does the author find the flute seller and what are his observations about him?
The author finds a flute seller along with many other hawkers in a comer of the square near his hotel in Kathmandu. But the flute seller’s style of selling his ware differs from that of the other vendors. He does not shout to attract the customers nor does he show any kind of desperation to sell. He carries a pole with about fifty to sixty flutes attached at the top. The flute seller, instead of hawking loudly, places the pole on the ground every now and then, selects a flute and plays upon it slowly and in a meditative manner without ever resorting to excessive display.
The sound of the flute is distinct and clear and can be heard even above the noise created by the traffic horns and the shouts of the hawkers. He does not seem to run a very brisk business and it appears as if playing flute is his chief activity and selling of flutes is incidental to it. The mesmerising music of the flute draws the author to it. He is left spell-bound by its hypnotic notations. The impact is so deep that he has to force himself to leave the square where the flute is being played. This music is etched in his memory and he carries it with him to his home in India.
Kathmandu Extra Questions and Answers Reference to Context
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
I get a cheap room in the centre of town and sleep for hours. The next morning, with Mr. Shah’s son and nephew, I visit the two temples in Kathmandu that are most sacred to Hindus and Buddhists.
(a) Who does “I” refer to in the above lines?
I refers to the writer of the travelogue, Vikram Seth.
(b) Where is he at the time?
He is in a cheap room in a hotel in the centre of Kathmandu at the time.
(c) With whom does the author visit the two temples?
The author visits the two temples with Mr. Shah’s son and his nephew.
(d) Which two temples in Kathmandu does he visit? With which religions are they associated?
He visits the two famous temples of Kathmandu – the Pashupatinath, sacred to the Hindus and the Baudhnath Stupa, sacred to the Buddhists.
There are so many worshippers that some people trying to get the priest’s attention are elbowed aside by others pushing their way to the front.
(a) Which place of worship is the narrator describing here?
The narrator is describing Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath temple, which is sacred to the Hindus.
(b) How do devotees behave inside the temple?
The devotees at the temple push and jostle with others as they try to move ahead and get the priest’s attention. In this attempt, some people are elbowed aside.
(c) Why do you think some people are pushing their way to the front?
Some people are pushing their way to the front to get a clear view of the deity and also to make their offerings through the priest.
(d) What sort of an atmosphere is being created by the crowd in the temple?
The crowd in the temple is indisciplined and unorganized. They are creating chaos and confusion with their unruly behaviour, which is robbing the temple of its sanctity.
A princess of the Nepalese royal house appears; everyone bows and makes way. By the main gate, a party of saffron-clad Westerners struggle for permission to enter.
(a) Which place is being talked about in the above extract?
The writer is talking about the Pashupatinath Temple at Kathmandu.
(b) How had the crowd of worshippers been behaving before the princess appeared? How is their behaviour different now?
The crowd of worshippers were trying to get the priest’s attention and were jostling with each other and were elbowing others aside to push their way to the front, but as soon as the princess appeared, the worshippers bowed and made way for her.
(c) How are the Westerners trying to convince the policeman they are Hindus? Why?
The Westerners were dressed in saffron and were claiming to be Hindus because only Hindus can enter the Pashupatinath temple.
(d) Which river flows next to the temple?
The river Bagmati flows next to the temple.
By the main gate, a party of saffron-clad Westerners struggle for permission to enter.
(a) Which place is the author talking about here?
he author is talking of the famous Hindu shrine – the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
(b) Who are the saffron-clad Westerners at the main gate?
The saffron-clad Westerners at the main gate are a group of tourists.
(c) Why do they struggle for permission to enter?
They struggle for permission to enter because the temple allows entry only to Hindus.
(d) What does this show about the cultural practices of this place?
It shows that the authorities who look after this shrine are very rigid about maintaining the sanctity of the temple as a place of worship. They do not want it to be treated like a tourist spot.
A fight breaks out between two monkeys. One chases the other, who jumps onto a shivalinga, then runs screaming around the temples and down to the river, the holy Bagmati, that flows below.
(a) What are the two monkeys doing?
The two monkeys are fighting each other and chasing each other.
(b) Where are the two monkeys?
The two monkeys are running around the shivalingas and then down to the river.
(c) What is the atmosphere at Pashupatinath Temple?
At Pashupatinath there is an atmosphere of ‘febrile confusion’ as crowds of worshippers and animals jostle and elbow each other.
(d) What is the belief about the shrine that half protrudes from the stone platform on the river bank?
People believe when the shrine emerges fully, the goddess inside will escape, and the evil period of the Kaliyug will end on earth.
A corpse is being cremated on its banks; washerwomen are at their work and children bathe. From a balcony a basket of flowers and leaves, old offerings now wilted, is dropped into the river.
(a) Which river is referred to in this extract?
The river Bagmati that flows through Kathmandu and on the banks of which Pashupatinath temple is situated is referred to here.
(b) What is the significance of this river?
The river Bagmati is significant as it is considered sacred by the Hindus. They worship it like a pious deity.
(c) How is the river being polluted and by whom?
A basket of withered away flowers, leaves and old offerings is thrown into the river from the balcony of the Pashupatinath temple. Corpse are cremated on its banks, washerwomen wash clothes in the river and children bathe in it.
(d) What light does this polluting of the river throw on the people?
Throwing of refuse into the sacred Bagmati river, or polluting it by bathing or washing clothes reflects that these people lack concern for environment. They pollute the very river which they consider to be sacred.
There are no crowds: this is a haven of quietness in the busy streets around.
(a) Which place is being talked about here?
The writer is talking about the Baudhnath stupa here.
(b) How does this contrast with the other place of worship?
While the Baudhnath Stupa is a quiet, still place, the crowded noisy Pashupatinath temple is a place of feverish activity.
(c) Who owns the shops on the ‘busy streets around’?
Many of the shops outside are owned by Tibetan immigrants.
(d) What did the shops sell?
They sold felt bags, Tibetan prints, silver jewellery etc.
Kathmandu is vivid, mercenary, religious, with small shrines to flower-adorned deities along the narrowest and busiest streets; with fruit sellers, flute sellers, hawkers of postcards; shops selling Western cosmetics, film rolls and chocolate; or copper utensils and Nepalese antiques.
(a) Explain the meaning of the word “mercenary”.
The word “mercenary” means interested only in the amount of money that you can be made from a situation even at the expense of ethics. This implies sales in the shops of Kathmandu are not always above board.
(b) How does the author describe the streets of Kathmandu?
The streets of Kathmandu are the narrowest and busiest streets that he has ever seen.
(c) What are the things that the author buys?
The author buys a bar of marzipan, a com-on-the-cob roasted in a charcoal brazier on the pavement (rubbed with salt, chilli powder and lemon), a couple of love story comics, and a Reader’s Digest.
(d) Which things are sold in the market of Kathmandu?
Nepalese antiques, Western cosmetics and film rolls are sold there.
Go home, I tell myself: move directly towards home. I enter a Nepal Airlines office and buy a ticket for tomorrow’s flight.
(a) What route had the writer thought of taking?
The writer had thought of going by bus and train to Patna, then sailing up the Ganges past Benaras to Allahabad, then up the Yamuna, past Agra to Delhi.
(b) Why did he change his plan?
The writer was tired as he had been travelling for many days. He was also homesick and wanted to travel home straight.
(c) How did he plan to travel now?
He planned to fly by Nepal Airlines from Kathmandu to Delhi.
(d) When is he leaving Kathmandu?
He is leaving Kathmandu the next day.
In his hand is a pole with an attachment at the top from which fifty or sixty bansuris protrude in all directions, like the quills of a porcupine. They are of bamboo: there are cross-flutes and recorders. From time to time, he stands the pole on the ground, selects a flute and plays for a few minutes.
(a) What attracts the writer in the market?
A flute seller and the music being played by him attracts the writer.
(b) How is he different from other hawkers?
He plays on the flute to entertain people. He does not cry out to attract buyers.
(c) Why does he sometimes break off playing flute?
The flute seller sometimes breaks off playing his flute in order to talk to the fruit seller.
(d) What does Vikram Seth compare to the quills of a porcupine?
The flute seller’s stock of flutes protruding in all directions from an attachment on the pole was looking like the quills of a porcupine.
I find it difficult to tear myself away from the square.
(a) Which square does the writer refer to?
The writer, Vikram Seth, refers to the square near his hotel in Kathmandu.
(b) What was the writer doing in the square?
The writer was tired and homesick and was going back to his hotel after having bought his air ticket to fly back to India the next day.
(c) Why does ‘he’ find it difficult to tear himself away from the square?
‘He’ finds it difficult to tear himself from the square because he is mesmerised by the sweet notes of the flute-music being played there by the flute seller
(d) Explain the expression ‘tear myself away’. Why does the writer use the expression?
‘Tear myself away’ means to separate forcibly. Hence the expression shows the effort on the part of the narrator to pull himself away from the enthralling music of the flute.
It weaves its own associations. Yet to hear any flute is, it seems to me, to be drawn into the commonality of all mankind, to be moved by music closest in its phrases and sentences to the human voice. Its motive force too is living breath: it too needs to pause and breathe before it can go on.
(a) What does ‘it’ refer to?
‘It’ refers to the sounds produced by different flutes.
(b) How does ‘it’ weave its own associations?
The expression means that each kind of flute produces a different and a unique type of music associated with some particular place
(c) Why is its music closest to the human voice?
The music of the flute is closest to the human voice because pauses and breaths are needed to produce musical notes of the flute in the same manner in which words, phrases and sentences are uttered in human voice.
(d) Why does it draw the author in the ‘commonality of all mankind’?
The flute draws the author in the “commonality of all mankind” because this instrument is found in all cultures and is played in a similar manner. Hence, it seems to connect the whole mankind.