A Gift of Chappals NCERT Class 7 Honeycomb book Chapter 2 Summary, Explanation, Question Answer
A Gift of Chappals Class 7 English Honeycomb book Lesson 2 -Detailed explanation of the lesson along with the meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Questions and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered. Take Free Online MCQs Test for Class 7 Click Here
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Class 7 English (Honeycomb book) Chapter 2 A Gift of Chappals
By Vasantha Surya [from Mridu in Madras: Goruchaka Turns Up]
A Gift of Chappals – Introduction
In this, a girl named Mridu went to her relatives’ house with Tapi, her grandmother. As Rukku Manni, the girl’s aunt opened the door, Ravi and Meena, her cousins rushed out and brought Mridu inside. Mridu took off her slippers and placed them neatly beside another pair of slippers. However, before she could think and ask whom they belonged to, Ravi dragged her to the backyard to show her something secretive.
A Gift of Chappals Class 7 Video Explanation
A Gift of Chappals – Summary
In this chapter, there was a girl named Mridu who went to her aunt Rukku Manni’s home with her grandmother Tapi to visit her relatives Paati, her grandmother and Lalli, Ravi and Meena. As Rukku Manni opened the doors, Ravi and Meena rushed out to bring Mridu and Tapi inside. Mridu took off her chappals and placed them neatly beside a black pair of slippers which was grey with dust and had scrawny footprints on it. Before she could ask or even wonder whom the chappals belonged to, Ravi dragged her to the backyard. There, Ravi showed her a kitten which was saved by him and Meena. They brought the kitten inside and decided to give it a glass of milk. Then, they explained how difficult it was to bring milk to the cat without letting Paati know about it. Paati didn’t like keeping animals at her home and described the ones which the children bring as dirty little creatures. Ravi narrates how he was almost caught by Paati. Then, he explained the importance of this cat and how great the cat’s ancestors were. Suddenly, they were interrupted by a strange noise. Both the kitten, Mahendran and Mridu were alarmed by this strange kreeching noise. Ravi informed Mridu that this kreeching noise was actually being made by Lalli, who was trying to play the violin. The three kids looked through the window and saw Lalli playing the violin. In front of her sat the music master, the person who was teaching her how to play the violin. The master was playing melodiously and the notes issuing from his violin were completely on track. However, Lalli’s situation was the complete opposite. She was stumbling behind the music master and could not play the notes the same way as the music master was playing. The notes issuing from her instrument were totally off-track. Then, there came a wail from the gate, asking for Rukku Manni. However, she ordered Ravi to send the beggar away. Mridu, Meena and Ravi went outside and saw that the beggar was leaning against a neem tree and was already becoming comfortable. When Ravi told him to go away, he started explaining his situation. He said that the women of that house were generous and kind and they were the reason he was able to survive. However, these words had no effect on Rukku Manni and Paati. The beggar then began to show his large feet on which there were large, pink blisters and explained that the sun was so hot that the tar of road had melted away. With sorrow, he expressed that he didn’t have any chappals and couldn’t bear the pain anymore. The children then decided to give the beggar a gift of chappals. The three kids began searching for a suitable pair. Mridu found one – it was the same one she saw when she entered the house. It fitted the beggar’s feet perfectly, so they gave the beggar the chappals. The beggar then went away, feeling grateful for the gift. After a while, Lalli’s music class got over and it was time for the music master to leave. However, he could not find his chappal. The kids then realized that the pair of chappals they had given to the beggar actually belonged to the music master. They tried to hide this from their elders, but eventually, Rukku Manni caught them. She had to give away her husband’s pair of chappals. However, a new situation had arisen, what was she going to give her husband when he would return home and ask for his chappal?
A Gift of Chappals – Lesson Explanation
A smiling Rukku Manni threw open the door. Ravi and Meena rushed out, and Ravi pulled Mridu into the house. “Wait, let me take off my slippers,” protested Mridu. She set them out neatly near a pair of large black ones. Those were grey, actually, with dust. You could see the clear mark of every toe on the front part of each slipper. The marks for the two big toes were long and scrawny.
Protested: complain, retort
scrawny: thin (suggesting skinny toes)
Rukku Manni happily opened the door and welcomed Mridu and Tapi inside. Ravi and Meena rushed out and Ravi pulled Mridu into the house as he wanted to show something to Mridu and didn’t want to waste any time in doing so. Mridu protested that she wanted Ravi to stop pulling so that she could take off her slippers. Ravi stopped pulling her and Mridu was able to take off her slippers. She put them neatly near a pair of other chappals which were large and black. After looking closer, she saw that they had become grey in colour due to all the dust on it. This meant that the owner of the pair of chappals didn’t clean his chappals before wearing them. She also noticed that the chappals were so dusty that one could clearly see the marks of each toe on the front part of the chappals. The marks for the two big toes were long and scrawny, meaning that the two big toes of the owner of that pair were long and scrawny.
Mridu didn’t have much time to wonder about whose slippers they were, because Ravi dragged her to the backyard, behind a thick bitter-berry bush. There, inside a torn football lined with sacking and filled with sand, lay a very small kitten, lapping up milk from a coconut half-shell.
backyard: the garden behind the house
Mridu couldn’t get much time to think or even ask about who the owner of the slippers was as Ravi again began pulling her. He dragged her to the backyard and took her behind a thick bitter-berry bush. Over there lay a tiny kitten. She was inside a torn football lined with sacking and filled with sand. A half-shell coconut lay beside the kitten from which it was lapping up milk.
“We found him outside the gate this morning. He was mewing and mewing, poor thing,” said Meena. “It’s a secret. Amma says Paati will leave for our Paddu Mama’s house if she knows we have a cat.”
Paati: grandmother (in Tamil)
Meena explained that she and Ravi found the kitten outside the gate on that day’s morning only. She said that they felt sorry for the little kitten as she kept on mewing to gain their attention. She also said that this was a secret as their mother says that their grandmother will leave the house if she knows that they have a cat.
“People are always telling us to be kind to animals, but when we are, they scream. ‘Ooh, don’t bring that dirty creature here!’ ” said Ravi. “Do you know how hard it is just to get a little milk from the kitchen? Paati saw me with a glass in my hand just now. I told her I’m very hungry, I want to drink it, but the way she looked at me! I had to drink most of it to throw her off the scent. Then she wanted the tumbler back. ‘Paati, Paati, I’ll wash it myself, why should I put you to trouble’, I told her. I had to run and pour the milk into this coconut shell and then run back and wash the tumbler and put it back before she got really suspicious. Now we have to think of some other way to feed Mahendran.”
creature: living being
throw her off the scent: mislead her so that she won’t understand the real purpose
tumbler: a glass which has no handles
Feed: give food to
After Meena finished, Ravi started complaining about how unfair elders are. He said that people were always teaching kids to be kind to animals and when they are, they scream and order them not to bring the animal near them and even describe the animal as a dirty creature. He then explained how hard it was for him to get just a little milk from the kitchen. His grandmother saw him with a glass in his hand. To mislead her, he lied and pretended that he was hungry and wanted to drink it. However, the way she looked at him confirmed that she didn’t believe a single word of his.Then, to make her less suspicious, he had to drink the most of it. And when she asked for the tumbler, he said that he would wash it himself and that she shouldn’t go to such trouble just to clean a tumbler. He assured her that he ould clean it himself. Then, he had to run and pour the rest of the milk into that coconut shell and then he had to run back to the kitchen before Paati could come and see him. Then, he said that they had to figure out some other way of giving food to Mahendran the kitten.
“Mahendran? This little kitty’s name is Mahendran?” Mridu was impressed! It was a real name—not just a cute kitty-cat name.
impressed: felt or showed admiration
Mridu couldn’t believe that the cute kitten had such a strong name. She was impressed as it was a real name. It wasn’t a cute name which people usually give to their pets.
“Actually his full name is Mahendravarma Pallava Poonai. M.P. Poonai for short if you like. He’s a fine breed of cat. Just look at his fur. Like a lion’s mane! And you know what the emblem of the ancient Pallava kings was, don’t you?” he looked expectantly at Mridu.
fine: excellent, rare
expectantly: confidently, with an expected look
giggled: laughed lightly and repeatedly in a silly way
Ravi said that the kitten’s full name was actually Mahendravarma Pallava Poonai and in short, it was M.P. Poonai. He then told Mridu that Mahendran was a fine breed of cat and his fur was like a lion’s mane. He said that the girl knew that the emblem of the ancient Pallave kings was a lion, meaning that Mahendran was of the same breed. He then looked confidently at Mridu and expected her to believe him. But she giggled instead.
“Think I’m joking? Well, just wait. I’ll show you sometime. It’s clear you don’t know a thing about history. Haven’t been to Mahabalipuram, have you?” he said mysteriously. “Well, when our class went to Mahabalipuram, I saw a statue of his thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s… etcetera, etcetera… Fact is, Mahendran here is descended from that very same ancient cat. A close relative, scientifically speaking, of none other than the lion. The Pallava lion, emblem of the Pallava dynasty!” Ravi went on, walking around the bitter-berry bush, waving a twig up and down, his eyes sparkling. “This cat is a descendant of none other than the Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat! And if I may just remind you, they worshipped cats in ancient Egypt!”
thatha: grandfather (in Tamil)
descended from: a descendent of, or comes from, the same family
When Mridu giggled, Ravi started explaining how what he just said was not a joke. He said he was clear that Mridu didn’t know a thing about history. He mysteriously asked her if she hadn’t been to Mahabalipuram. He then said that when he went there with his class, he saw a statue of the kitten’s ancestor. He told them that Mahendran is a close relative of the Pallava lion which was the emblem of the Pallave dynasty. Ravi went on, walking around the bitter-berry bush, waving a twig up and down as he explained, his eyes shining. Then, he said that Mahendran was a descendant of the Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat. He reminded them that people worshipped cats in ancient Egypt.
How he loved the sound of his own voice! Meena and Mridu exchanged looks.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Mridu demanded.
“Huh! I’m telling you this cat is descended… from the Egyptian cat-god… no, goddess! Bastet! Ya! That’s it!”
demanded: asked in a stern way
bastet: an Egytian goddess
Meena and Mridu listened closely to how Ravi was explaining the relation of Mahendra with the Pallava emblem. They exchanged looks.
Mridu asked what the ancestor of Mahendran has got to do with their present situation.
Ravi then told her that Mahendran is descended from the Egyptian goddess named Bastet.
Mridu still couldn’t understand.
“Well, one of the descendants of that cat-goddess was a stowaway in one of the Pallava ships, and his descendant was the Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat, whose descendant is —” Ravi flourished his twig at Mahendran “— M.P. Poonai here… whoop EEK!” he shrieked, very pleased with himself.
stowaway: someone who hides himself/ herself in a ship or an aircraft to travel unnoticed
pleased: happy, delighted
Ravi said that one of the descendants of Bastet had hidden itself in one of the Pallava ships, and his descendant was the Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat, whose descendant was Mahendran, he waved a twig at the kitten. Then, he shrieked with joy. He was pleased with himself as he thought he had discovered something important.
Mahendran looked up, alarmed. He had just been sharpening his claws on the edge of the coconut shell. But worse than Ravi’s awful whoop EEK was a ‘Kreech…!’ from the window. What a weird sound! If Mridu was startled, M.P. Poonai was frightened out of his wits. Hair standing on end, he bounced up and scurried towards a bamboo tray of red chillies that had been set out to dry. Trying to hide beneath it, he tipped a few chillies over himself. “Mi-a-aw!” he howled miserably.
alarmed: shocked, frightened
sharpening: making something sharp and pointy
weird: strange or unusual
Startled: to move or jump up in fright or alarm
frightened out of his wits: very scared
howled: roared in pain
Mahendran was scared by Ravi’s whooping sound. He had been sharpening his claws on the edge of the coconut shell when he heard Ravi’s whoop EEK. But then came a sound weirder than that and it was a ‘Kreech….!’ from the window. Mridu was startled, but her fright was not near to what Mahendran got. He was firghtened out of his wits. His fur was sttanding on end. He bounced up from the torn football sack and ran under a bamboo tray of red chillies that had been set out to dry. As he tried to hide, a few chillies fell over him. He howled miserably under the tray as he didn’t want to be frightened like that ever again.
The ‘kreeching’ went on and on. “What’s that noise?” said Mridu.
“That’s Lalli learning to play the violin,” grunted Ravi.
noise: unpleasant sound
grunted: made a short, low sound in the throat
The kreeching noise kept on coming from the window. Mridu asked what the noise was.
Ravi replied that the noise was coming from Lalli who was learning the violin.
“She’ll never learn a thing. The musicmaster just goes on playing like a train whizzing on and on, while Lalli’s all the time derailing! Going completely off track!”
whizzing: moving very quickly, often making a high continuous sound
derailing: causing a train to come off a railway track
off track: outside the railway track
Ravi told Mridu that Lalli would never learn how to play the violin. The musicmaster played the violin well like a train moving very quickly and smoothly whereas Lalli, who was trying to follow the master, was going outside the railway track.
Mridu crept up to the window. Lalli was sitting a little distance away, awkwardly holding her violin and bowstring, her elbows jutting out and her eyes glazed with concentration. In front of her, with most of his back to the window, was the bony figure of the music-master. He had a mostly bald head with a fringe of oiled black hair falling around his ears and an old-fashioned tuft. A gold chain gleamed around his leathery neck, and a diamond ring glittered on his hand as it glided up and down the stem of the violin. A large foot stuck out from beneath his gold-bordered veshti edge, and he was beating time on the floor with the scrawny big toe.
crept: moved slowly and noiselessly
bowstring: a stick-like piece of equipment which is used to play the violin
jutting: sticking out further than the surrounding surface
fringe: the part of your hair that is cut so that it hangs over your forehead
tuft: a small amount of hair growing together
gleamed: shone, sparkled
leathery: tough, flexible
glided: moved along smoothly
veshti: dhoti (in Tamil)
Mridu moved noiselessly and slowly up to the window. She saw Lalli sitting a little distance away, holding her violin and bowstring in a weird position. Her elbows were jutting and her eyes were filled with concentration.In front of her, with most of his back to the window, was the musicmaster who looked like a skeleton. He was almost bald with a fringe of oily black hair around his ears and a traditional type of tuft.There was a shiny gold chain around the master’s leathery neck. There was a diamond ring on his hand which gleamed as it glided up and down the stem of the violin. A large foot was sticking out from his gold-bordered dhoti and his large scrawny big toe was moving according to the rhythm of the violin.
He played a few notes. Lalli stumbled behind him on her violin, which looked quite helpless and unhappy in her hands. What a difference! The music master’s notes seemed to float up and settle perfectly into the invisible tracks of the melody. It was like the wheels of a train fitting smoothly into the rails and whizzing along, as Ravi said. Mridu stared at that huge, beringed hand moving effortlessly up the violin’s stem, making lovely music.
stumbled: followed haltingly
helpless: something which cannot be helped
float: go up slowly in the air
settle: fit, go into place
invisible: something is not visible
beringed: The music master is wearing a ring.
effortlessly: without any effort
The music master played a few notes. Lalli tried to follow him on her violin, but the violin looked helpless and unhappy in her hands as though it wasn’t being used properly. There was a lot of difference between Lalli and the music master’s melody. The notes which the master looked as though they were floating up and fitting perfectly into the tracks of the melody which were not visible. It was exactly what Ravi said. Mridu couldn’t take her eyes off the hand which was effortlessly up and down the stem, making melodious music. This was the same hand that had the ring on it.
Squawk! There was Lalli derailing again!
“Amma!” came a wail from the gate. “Amma oh!”
squawk: kreech, high-pitched noise
Lalli made the same kreeching noise which meant she had started derailing again.
Then, suddenly, there came a wail from the gate. Someone was calling Rukku Manni.
“Ravi, send that beggar away!” cried his mother from the back verandah, where she was chatting with Tapi. “He has been coming here every day for the past week, and it’s time he found another house to beg from!” Paati explained to Tapi.
chatting: talking, gossiping
After hearing the wail, Ravi’s mother cried from the back verandah, asking him to send the beggar away. At the back verandah, she, Tapi and Paati were talking with one another. Paati then explained to Tapi that the beggar had been coming to their house every day for the past week and now it was time for him to find another house to beg from.
Mridu and Meena followed Ravi out. The beggar was already in the garden, making himself quite at home. He had spread his upper cloth under the neem tree, and was leaning against its trunk, apparently prepared to take a little snooze while he waited for the alms to appear. “Go away!” said Ravi sternly. “My Paati says it’s time you found another house to beg from!”
snooze: short sleep
alms: money, clothes or food given to poor people
sternly: strictly, sharply
Ravi went towards the beggar and Mridu and Meena followed him. The beggar had already started becoming comfortable in the garden. He had spread his upper cloth under the neem tree and was leaning against the tree trunk. He was preparing to take a little snooze while he waited for someone to give him alms. Ravi went to the beggar and told him to go away. He also said that his grandmother says that it was time for the beggar to find another house to beg from.
The beggar opened his eyes very wide and gazed at each of the children one by one. “The ladies of this house,” he said, at last, in a voice choked with feeling, “are very kind souls. I have kept my body and soul together on their generosity for a whole week. I cannot believe that they would turn me away.” He raised his voice. “Amma! Amma-oh!” Sad his wail might be, but it certainly wasn’t feeble. It began in a deep, strong rumble somewhere in his withered belly, and came booming out of his mouth, with its few remaining teeth stained brown with betel-chewing.
gazed: to look at something for a long time
choked: filled with feelings which were making him sound choked
kept my body and soul together: managed to stay alive
generosity: the quality of being generous or giving
withered: something which was weak and dead-like
betel-chewing: a type of smokeless tobacco
After listening to Ravi, the beggar opened his eyes and gazed at Ravi, Meena and Mridu. Then, he said that the ladies of the house were very kind. It was due to their generosity that the beggar was able to stay alive. He also said that it was unbelievable that they wouldn’t give him any alms and turn him away. He said this in a choked voice. He then raised his voice and cried for Rukku Manni. However, the wail was not feeble. It started in a deep, strong rumble in his withered belly and came booming out of his mouth. The few remaining teeth he had were brown in colour due to betel-chewing.
“Ravi, tell him there’s nothing left in the kitchen!” called Rukku Manni. “And he’s not to come again—tell him that!” She sounded fed up.
Ravi didn’t have to repeat it all to the beggar. What his mother said had been easy for them all to hear, there under the neem tree. The beggar sat up and sighed.
fed up: tired and unhappy
Rukku Manni told Ravi to tell the beggar that there was nothing left in the kitchen for her to give the beggar. Also she told Ravi that the beggar is not supposed to come again. She sounded fed up.
However, there was no need to repeat this to the beggar. Rukku Manni had said it so loud that everyone could hear it clearly. The beggar sat up and sighed.
“I’ll go, I’ll go!” he said wearily. “Only let me have a rest here under this tree. The sun is so hot, the tar has melted on the road. My feet are already blistered.” He stretched out his feet to show large, pink, peeling blisters on the soles of his bare feet.
wearily: tirily, exhaustedly
tar: a substance which is used to construct roads
blisters: boils/ bubbles on the skin, from burns or rubbing
The beggar said that he would go but after a few minutes rest. He then explained that the sun was so hot that the tar had melted on the road and his feet were already blistered. He then showed the blisters to the children.
“I suppose he doesn’t have the money to buy chappals,” Mridu whispered to Meena–Ravi. “Have you got an old pair in the house somewhere?”
“I don’t know,” said Ravi. “Mine are too small to fit his feet, or I’d have given them to him.” And his feet were larger than Mridu’s and Meena’s.
Mridu whispered to Meena and Ravi, saying that she thought that the beggar doesn’t have any money to buy chappals for himself. She then asked if they had an old pair in the house.
Ravi didn’t know. He said that his feet are smaller than the beggar’s or he would have given his slippers to him. Also, his feet were larger than both the girls.
The beggar was shaking out his upper cloth and tightening his dhoti. He raised his eyes and looked fearfully at the road, gleaming in the afternoon heat.
“He needs something on his feet!” Meena said, her big eyes filling. “It’s not fair!”
eyes filling: with tears
The beggar was shaking out his upper cloth and tightening his dhoti, meaning that he was preparing to go back to the road. He looked fearfully at the road which was gleaming in the afternoon heat. He was afraid of the melted tar.
Meenu then said that the beggar needed something on his feet. As her eyes filled with teats, she complained that it wasn’t fair that the beggar had to live like that.
“Ssh!” said Ravi. “I’m thinking about it! Blubbering, ‘it’s not fair, it’s not fair’ isn’t going to help. In two minutes he’ll be frying his feet on that road. What he needs is a pair of chappals. So where do we get them? Come, let’s search the house.” He pushed Mridu and Meena into the house.
blubbering: crying uncontrollably
frying: cooking in heat
Ravi told Meena to be quiet. He said that he was thinking about what to do and crying and repeating a phase wasn’t going to help. He said that in two minutes the beggar would be out on the road and so, he needed a pair of chappals. Then, he pushed the girls into the house and said that they need to search the house to get a suitable pair for the beggar.
Just as she stepped into the verandah, Mridu’s eyes fell on the odd-looking chappals she had noticed when she arrived. “Ravi!” she whispered to him. “Whose are those?”
Ravi turned and glanced at the shabby-looking, but sturdy old slippers. He beamed and nodded. “These are just the right size,” he said, picking them up. Mridu and Meena followed him nervously back into the garden.
glanced: took a quick look at something
shabby-looking: messy or dirty looking
beamed: smile proudly
nodded: shook his head in agreement
As soon Mridu stepped into the verandah, her eyes fell on the pair of chappals she saw when she arrived. She called Ravi and whispered, asking whom those chappals belonged to.
Ravi turned and gave the chappals a quick look and smiled. He said that those were the ones the beggar needed. He picked them up. The girls followed him nervously back into the garden.
“Here!” said Ravi to the beggar, dropping the slippers in front of the old man. “Wear these and don’t come back! ” The beggar stared at the slippers, hurriedly flung his towel over his shoulder, pushed his feet into them and left, muttering a blessing to the children. In a minute he had vanished around the corner of the street.
Ravi dropped the slippers in front of the beggar and commanded him to wear it and never return. The beggar first stared at the chappals, then flung his towel over his shoulder. He quickly put them on and left, blessing the children. In a minute, he had vanished.
The music master came out of the house and took an unappreciative look at the three of them sitting quietly under the tree, playing marbles. Then he searched for his chappals in the verandah, where he had put them.
The music lesson was over and the music master came out of the house. He looked at Meena, Mridu and Ravi disapprovingly. The three of them were sitting quietly under the neem, playing with marbles. Then the music master began searching for his chappals in the verandah and verandah was the place where he had put his chappals.
“Lalli!” he called, after a few moments. She hurried up to him. “Have you seen my chappals, my dear? I remember having kept them here!”
Ravi, Mridu, and Meena silently watched Lalli and the music-master search every corner of the verandah. He scurried around, looking over the railing and crouching near the flower pots to look between them. “Brand new, they were! I went all the way to Mount Road to buy them!” he went on saying. “They cost a whole month’s fees, do you know?”
scurried: moved hurriedly
crouching: being in a position in which your knees are bent and your upper body is bending downwards, this position is used to search for something lost
When the music-master couldn’t find his chappals, he called his student, Lalli. She came running towards him and when she reached him, the music-master asked if she had seen his chappals. He also said that he remembered keeping them on the verandah.
The three children silently watched Lalli and the music-master search the whole verandah carefully for the chappals. He, the music-master, ran around, looking over the railing of the verandah and crouching over the flower pots which were placed there. He kept on saying that the chappals were brand new, difficult to get and expensive to buy.
Soon Lalli went in to tell her mother. Rukku Manni appeared, looking harassed, with Paati following her.
“Where could they be? It’s really quite upsetting to think someone might have stolen them. So many vendors come to the door,” worried Paati.
harassed: troubled with anxiety
After Lalli helped the music-master in the search of his chappals and had failed to find them, she went inside the house to tell the elders about it. Rukku Manni came out in the verandah, looking worried. Paati followed her.
Paati said in tension that it was upsetting to think that someone stole the chappals. She also said that many vendors came there and it was possible that one of the vendors stole them.
Rukku Manni caught sight of Ravi, Mridu, and Meena sitting under the tree. “Have you children…” she began, and then, seeing they were curiously quiet, went on more slowly, “seen anyone lurking around the verandah?” A sharp V-shaped line had formed between her eyebrows. Another straight, tighter one appeared in place of her usually soft, pleasant mouth. Rukku Manni was angry! thought Mridu with a shiver. She wouldn’t be so upset if she knew about the poor beggar with sores on his feet, she tried to tell herself.
lurking: waiting quietly (without attracting attention)
Rukku Manni suddenly saw the three children sitting under the tree and thought of asking them. She began to ask but when she saw that the children were quieter than usual, she went on more slowly. A sharp V-shaped line had formed between her eyebrows and another straighter and tighter line appeared and replaced her soft and pleasant mouth. As a mother, she was able to find out that in some way the children were responsible for the missing chappals. This had made her angry. Mridu realised this and was scared. She then thought that if Rukku Manni knew the reason why the chappals were missing Rukku Manni would not be upset and wouldn’t scold them.
Taking a deep breath, she cried, “Rukku Manni, there was a beggar here. Poor thing, he had such boils on his feet!”
“So?” said Rukku Manni grimly, turning to Ravi. “You gave the music-master’s chappals to that old beggar who turns up here?”
grimly: in a very serious manner
Mridu took a deep breath and told her aunt that there had been a beggar there who had boils on his feet.
Rukku Manni turned to Ravi and asked if they had given the chappals which belonged to the music-master to the beggar which came there.
“Children these days…!” groaned Paati.
“Amma, didn’t you tell me about Karna who gave away everything he had, even his gold earrings, he was so kind and generous?”
groaned: a deep sound which indicates despair
Paati groaned about how irresponsible children these days are.
Ravi complained to his mother. He said that she had told him about Karna who had given away everything he had, even his gold earrings. He had been kind and generous and Ravi did the same.
“Silly!” snapped Rukku Manni. “Karna didn’t give away other people’s things, he only gave away his own.”
“But my chappals wouldn’t have fitted the beggar’s feet…” Ravi rushed brashly on, “And Amma, if they did fit, would you really not have minded?”
rushed: said urgently or hurriedly
Rukku Manni scolded Ravi and said that Karna gave away his own belongings, not others.
Ravi then said his chappals wouldn’t have fit the beggar’s feet. Then he asked shamelessly if she wouldn’t have minded if he really ould have given away his own chappals.
“Ravi!” said Rukku Manni, very angry now. “Go inside this minute.”
She hurried indoors and brought out Gopu Mama’s hardly worn, new chappals. “These should fit you, Sir. Please put these on. I am so sorry. My son has been very naughty.” The musicmaster’s eyes lit up. He put them on, trying not to look too happy. “Well, I suppose these will have to do… These days children have no respect for elders, what to do? A Hanuman incarnate… only Rama can save such a naughty fellow!” Rukku Manni’s eyes flashed. She didn’t seem to like Ravi being called a monkey, even a holy monkey. She stood stiff and straight by the front door. It was clear she wanted him to leave quickly.
lit up: filled with happiness
incarnate: a god taking a form of a human
flashed: shone brightly in anger
When Ravi asked the question, Rukku Manni became more angry and ordered him to go inside the house.
Then, she hurried inside and brought out Gopu Mama’s new chappals, which he didn’t wear too much. Rukku Manni gave the chappals to the music-master while apologising on behalf of her son. The music-master’s eyes lit up and he put them on, trying not to look too happy. He then said that he would have to take those chappals as there was no other choice. He then added that the children those days have no respect for their elders and there was nothing they could do. He then called Ravi a Hanuman incarnate and said that only Lord Rama could save such a naughty fellow. However, that made Rukku Manni angry as she didn’t want her son to be called a monkey, not even a holy monkey. She stood stiff and straight by the front door. That gesture clearly indicated that she wanted the music-master to leave quickly.
When he had clattered off in his new chappals, she said, “Mridu, come in and have some tiffin. Honestly, how do you children think of such things? Thank God your Gopu Mama doesn’t wear his chappals to work…” As she walked towards the kitchen with Mridu and Meena, she suddenly began to laugh. “But he’s always in such a hurry to throw off his shoes and socks and get into his chappals as soon as he comes home. What’s your Mama going to say this evening when I tell him I gave his chappals to the music-master?”
clattered off: gone off noisily (with the noise or clatter of chappals)
After wearing the chappals, he went off, making noise with his new chappals. Rukku Manni then asked Mridu to come in and have some tiffin. As she went inside with Meena and Mridu, she asked how children thought of doing such things. She then thanked God, saying that it was a good thing Gopu Mama didn’t wear his chappals to work. But as she walked towards the kitchen, she began to laugh. She said that Gopu Mama was always in a hurry to throw off his shoes and socks and to wear his chappals as soon as he came home. She then wondered what he was going to say when he would get to know that she gave his chappals to the music master.
A Gift of Chappals – Questions and Answers
Q1. What is the secret that Meena shares with Mridu in the backyard?
Ans. Meena told Mridu that there was a small kitten in the backyard and that they found her meowing in front of their gate and had brought it inside to take care of it.
Q2. How does Ravi get milk for the kitten?
Ans. Ravi filled a tumbler with milk and was about to take it outside when his grandmother, Paati saw him. She asked him what he was doing with the milk. Ravi lied to her, saying that he was feeling hungry and he wanted to drink milk. However, Paati didn’t go away and the way she was looking at Ravi was scaring him. So, to throw her off his scent, he had to drink most of the milk in the tumbler. Then, Paati asked for the tumbler. Ravi told her that he would wash the tumbler himself and there was no need for Paati to be troubled. When she finally went away, he ran, put the remaining milk in a half cut coconut shell, ran back to the kitchen, washed the tumbler and put it back before she would have gotten really suspicious.
Q3. Who does he say the kitten’s ancestors are? Do you believe him?
Ans. According to Ravi, the kitten’s ancestor was the Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat, who was a descendant of one of the descendants of Bastet, the cat goddess.
I do not believe him as the chances of the kitten to be a descendant of the cat-goddess are quite low.
Q4. Ravi has a lot to say about M.P.Poonai. This shows that
(i) he is merely trying to impress Mridu.
(ii) his knowledge of history is sound.
(iii) he has a rich imagination.
(iv) he is an intelligent child.
Which of these statements do you agree/disagree to?
Ans. (i) I agree with this statement. He was just trying to impress Mridu by making up a fictional story.
(ii) I agree with this statement. His knowledge about the statue in Mahabalipuram and the Egyptian cat-goddess Bastet was impressive.
(iii) I agree with this statement. He was able to make a story by using his knowledge of history and his rich imagination and creativity.
(iv) I agree to this statement. He did not have logical intelligence but he did have artistic intelligence.
Q5. What was the noise that startled Mridu and frightened Mahendran?
Ans. The kreeching noise coming from the window of Lalli’s room was the noise that startled Mridu and frightened Mahendran. The noise was coming from the violin Lalli was trying to play.
Q6. The music master is making lovely music. Read aloud the sentence in the text that expresses this idea.
Ans. The music-master’s notes seemed to float up and settle perfectly into the invisible tracks of the melody. It was like the wheels of a train fitting smoothly into the rails and whizzing along, as Ravi said. Mridu stared at that huge, beringed hand moving effortlessly up the violin’s stem, making lovely music.
Q7. Had the beggar come to Rukku Manni’s house for the first time? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. No, the beggar had not come to Rukku Manni’s house for the first time.
We can get to know this when Paati tells Tapi that the beggar had been coming every day for the past week and that it was time for the beggar to find a new house to beg from.
Q8. “A sharp V-shaped line had formed between her eyebrows.” What does it suggest to you about Rukku Manni’s mood?
Ans. “A sharp V-shaped line had formed between her eyebrows.” This line means that Rukku Manni already got to know that the children had done something to the music-master’s chappals and this had made her furious. This anger had changed her face. A sharp V-shaped line had formed between her eyebrows, which meant that she was looking angrily at the children.
Working with the Text
Q1. Complete the following sentences.
(i) Ravi compares Lalli’s playing the violin to ______________
(ii) Trying to hide beneath the tray of chillies, Mahendran _______________
(iii) The teacher played a few notes on his violin, and Lalli _______________
(iv) The beggar said that the kind ladies of the household _______________
(v) After the lesson was over, the music teacher asked Lalli if _________________
Ans.(i) Ravi compares Lalli’s playing the violin to a train going completely off-track.
(ii) Trying to hide beneath the tray of chillies, Mahendran tipped a few over himself.
(iii) The teacher played a few notes on his violin, and Lalli stumbled behind him.
(iv) The beggar said that the kind ladies of the household are the ones who helped him keep his body and soul together for a whole week.
(v) After the lesson was over, the music teacher asked Lalli if she had seen his chappals anywhere.
Q2. Describe the music teacher, as seen from the window.
Ans. The music teacher was sitting in front of Lalli with his back towards the window. He had a bony figure. He was mostly bald, except a fringe of oily black hair was there along with an old-fashioned tuft. He had a golden chain around his leathery neck and a large diamond ring on his finger. The beringed hand was gliding up and down the stem of the violin. A large foot struck out of the golden bordered veshti and a large scrawny toe was moving according to the rhythm of the music.
Q3. (i) What makes Mridu conclude that the beggar has no money to buy chappals?
(ii) What does she suggest to show her concern?
Ans. (i) After seeing the blisters on the beggar’s feet, she concluded the beggar had no money to buy chappals. If he would have money, she must have thought, then he would have bought chappals and he wouldn’t have the blisters on his feet.
(ii) She suggested giving an old pair to the beggar so that his feet would be protected and he would also go away from the house. This shows her concern for the poor and the welfare of all people of the society.
Q4. “Have you children…” she began, and then, seeing they were curiously quiet, went on more slowly, “seen anyone lurking around the verandah?”
(i) What do you think Rukku Manni really wanted to ask?
(ii) Why did she change her question?
(iii) What did she think had happened?
Ans. (i) According to me, what Rukku Manni really wanted to ask was that if the children had seen the music-master’s chappals, not if they had seen someone lurking around the verandah.
(ii) She changed her question because she saw that the children were curiously quieter than usual. As a mother, she thought that the children were quiet because they knew something about the chappals and were quiet because they wanted to keep it a secret.
(iii) She must have thought that the children had done to the chappals or at least know something about the chappals which can help the elders to find it.
Q5. On getting Gopu Mama’s chappals, the music teacher tried not to look too happy. Why?
Ans. On getting Gopu Mama’s chappals, the music teacher tried not to look too happy. This was because Gopu Mama’s chappals were almost brand new and were cleaner than the music-master’s chappals. He was delighted to receive better chappals than he owned. However, he tried not to show his happiness as he feared that if he did so then Rukku Manni would become angry and take away the chappals.
Q6. On getting a gift of chappals, the beggar vanished in a minute. Why was he in such a hurry to leave?
Ans. On getting a gift of chappals, the beggar vanished in a minute because he did not want to lose the gift of those chappals. His feet were blistered and he couldn’t have got anything better from that house.
Q7. Walking towards the kitchen with Mridu and Meena, Rukku Manni began to laugh. What made her laugh?
Ans. Walking towards the kitchen with Mridu and Meena, Rukku Manni began to laugh because another similar situation to the music-master’s chappals had arisen. Gopu Mama’s chappals were given away to the music-master and the music-master’s chappals were given away to the beggar. She found this situation funny and laughed.
Working with Language
Q1. Rewrite each of the following pairs of sentences as a single sentence. Use ‘if ’ at the beginning of the sentence.
(i) Don’t tire yourself now. You won’t be able to work in the evening.
(ii) Study regularly. You’ll do well in the examination.
(iii) Work hard. You’ll pass the examination in the first division.
(iv) Be polite to people. They’ll also be polite to you.
(v) Don’t tease the dog. It’ll bite you.
Ans. (i) If you tire yourself now, you won’tt be able to work in the evening.
(ii) If you study regularly, you’ll do well in the examination.
(iii) If you work hard, you’ll pass the examination in the first division.
(iv) If you are polite to people, they’ll also be polite to you.
(v) If you tease the dog, it’ll bite you.
Q2. Fill in the blanks in the following paragraph.
Today is Sunday. I’m wondering whether I should stay at home or go out. If I __________ (go) out, I __________ (miss) the lovely Sunday lunch at home. If I ____________ (stay) for lunch, I ______________ (miss) the Sunday film showing at Archana Theatre. I think I’ll go out and see the film, only to avoid getting too fat.
Ans. Today is Sunday. I’m wondering whether I should stay at home or go out. If I go (go) out, I will miss (miss) the lovely Sunday lunch at home. If I stay (stay) for lunch, I will miss (miss) the Sunday film showing at Archana Theatre. I think I’ll go out and see the film, only to avoid getting too fat.
Q3. Complete each sentence below by appropriately using any one of the following:
if you want to/if you don’t want to/if you want him to
(i) Don’t go to the theatre ____________.
(ii) He’ll post your letter _____________.
(iii) Please use my pen ______________.
(iv) He’ll lend you his umbrella ____________.
(v) My neighbour, Ramesh, will take you to the doctor ___________.
(vi) Don’t eat it ____________.
Ans. (i) Don’t go to the theatre if you want to finish your work on time.
(ii) He’ll post your letter if you want him to do so.
(iii) Please use my pen if you want to jot down something urgently.
(iv) He’ll lend you his umbrella if you want him to come with you.
(v) My neighbour, Ramesh, will take you to the doctor if you want him to.
(vi) Don’t eat it if you don’t want to gain weight.