Short Questions (2 Marks)

Question 1 : Why did Iswaran want to cook something special for dinner?

Or, Why did Iswaran want to make something special for dinner?

Answer : Iswaran wanted to make something special for dinner because that day was an auspicious day. According to tradition, various delicacies are prepared to feed the spirits of the ancestors on this auspicious day. Iswaran believed din all these hence he wanted so.

Question 2 : What were Iswaran’s duties in Mahendra’s house?

Or, Who was Iswaran? What all he did for his master?

Answer : Iswaram was Mahendra’s cook. He cooked for him, washed his clothes and kept his house clean. Besides, he kept Mahendra entertained at night with his imaginative stories. He was a substitute for the TV. Also , he was a man of all seasons for him.

Question 3 : Why Mahendra had to keep moving from one place to another?

Answer : Mahendra was a junior supervisor in a firm which offered supervisors on hire at various types of construction sites. His job was to keep an eye on the activities at the work site. As one site’s work was over, he moved to another site. Thus, he had to keep moving from place to place.

Question 4 : What made Iswaran so imaginative and a good narrator?

Answer : Imagination is an outcome of deep thinking, sharp insight and extensive (wide) reading. Iswaran loved reading very much and he never missed any chance of reading. Iswaran used to read popular Tamil thrillers in his spare time which helped his imagination to grow. So, he was able to become imaginative and a good narrator.

Question 5 : How did Iswaran show his usefulness to the narrator?

Answer : Iswaran showed his usefulness to the narrator by somehow getting vegetables and cooking ingredients even when no shops were there for miles around. He could also prepare most delicious dishes with fresh vegetables soon after the arrival at a new site.

Question 6 : What destruction did the elephant cause in the town?

Answer : The elephant caused major destruction in the town by breaking tree branches and fences, smashing (destroying) fruit stalls, and entering the school playground by breaking a brick wall. There, he pulled out a football goal post, tore down the volleyball net and flattened the water drum.

Question 7 : Why was Mahendra fond Iswaran?

Answer : Mahendra became fond of Iswaran because Iswaran was a resourceful person. Besides being a good cook, Iswaran could arrange things even at desolate (far off) places while taking care of Mahendra’s requirements. He was also a very imaginative storyteller, keeping Mahendra entertained in the evenings.

Question 8 : Do you think the ghost Mahendra saw on the night of the full moon was a real ghost?

Answer : No, the ghost was the creation of an affected mind. Iswaran had affected Mahendra’s thinking by telling him the ghost story. When Mahendra rebuked him for believing in ghosts, he felt offended. To prove that he was right, he probably posed as a ghost. That was how he could now say that Mahendra had seen a ghost at night.

Question 9 : What impact did Iswaran’s story of a female ghost have on Mahendra?

Answer : The impact of Iswaran’s story was that Mahendra avoided looking out of the window when the moon was full. He went to bed with some unease. He peered into the darkness to make sure there was no movement of dark shapes outside. In the end, he was compelled to leave that place.

Question 10 : When did Mahendra expect Iswaran to be bad-tempered? Did it really happen?

Answer : Mahendra expected Iswaran to be bad-tempered after Mahendra had scolded him for believing in ghosts and spirits. However, next morning, Mahendra found Iswawran as cheerful and talkative as ever. Iswaran never minded the rebukes of his master and remained devoted to him.

Question 11 : Why did Mahendra listen to Iswaran’s stories without interrupting him?

Answer : Mahendra listened to Iswaran’s stories without interrupting him because of the interesting and inimitable (special) way that the stories were told. He had replaced the entertainment value of a TV in Mahendra’s living quarters. He, himself was good enough for the TV.

Question 12 : What did Mahendra decide after he had seen the ghost?

Or, Why did Mahendra decide to leave the haunted place?

Answer : Mahendra saw cloudy figure outside the window. He was convinces (sure) that there were ghosts there? He was scared and did not want to live there any longer. So he resigned his job to stay away from the ‘haunted’ place.

Long Questions (8 Marks)

Question 1 : Iswaran was a fascinating storyteller. What other skills he had? How was he an asset to Mahendra?

Or, How was Iswaran, the cook, an asset to Mahendra?

Answer : When a person with all the resources comes handy then it is really an asset. An asset can be used as and when needed by the owner of it. Such was the case with Iswaran who was a man of all seasons for the owner Mahendra. He was so resourceful that wherever Mahendra went, he took Iswaran along with him. Iswaran had excellent cooking abilities. Besides, he could find vegetable and other cooking ingredients (material) even at isolated spots. He would cook food for Mahendra and was an asset for him because he looked after all of Mahendra’s household needs like washing his clothes and keeping his living quarters clean. Besides, Iswaran was a fascinting storyteller too. He would read a lot of story books and narrate incidents in a very vivid (clear) manner to Mahendra. He would perform all kinds of actions and gestures (signs) to make the story more interesting. Mahendra loved his stories and his excellent way of telling stories.

Question 2 : What qualities of Iswaran make him a fascinating storyteller?

Or, How can you say that Iswaran was a fascinating storyteller?

Answer : The qualities of Iswaran that make him a fascinating storyteller are as follows:

  1. He gives an imaginative descriptions of events.
  2. He uses dramatic language and gestures to describe any event.
  3. He creates surprising endings or unexpected twists and turns in his narration.
  4. All his stories have some elements of adventure, horror and suspense in them.

Question 3 :  “Iswaran was a good cook as well as a good storyteller.’ Elaborate with the help of examples.

Or, Write a brief character sketch of Iswaran.

Answer : When a person with all the resources comes handy then he is rally an asset. As asset can be used as and when needed by the owner of it. Such was the case with Iswaran who was a man of all seasons for the owner Mahendra. He was so resourceful that wherever Mahendra went, he took Iswaran along with him.

Iswaran, the cook of Mahendra, had an amazing capacity to produce vegetables and cooking ingredients seemingly out of nowhere. He looked after all of Mahendra’s domestic needs satisfactorily, including his evening entertainment. He could cook delicious dishes. He was a good storyteller and his descriptions were influenced by the Tamil thriller novels he read. Even while narrating the smallest of incidents, he would try to make the account thrilling and full of suspense. Mahendra enjoyed listening to him because of the way he told his stories. Thus, Iswaran was really an asset for Mahendra.

Question 4 : If you had been Mahendra, how would you have reacted when you saw the female ghost?

Answer : I am a believer in reality. What is obscure (unclear) to me, I would not believe it any way. Reality is important to me over fictions. A figment (illusion) can’t make me believe what I can’t see in the frames of reality. Above all ghosts are none other than the creations of human mind. It is the impression and outcome of a tired mind and exhausted thoughts. If I had been Mahendra, an educated person who does not believe in ghosts, I would feel that it was a human being out there. I would have gone outside to understand the reality. I could have called out for Iswaran if I felt some thief was prowling (crawling) around. Next morning also, I would have discussed the matter with Iswaran to find out whether he had any hand in what had happened. I would never have started believing in ghosts because of such an isolated appearance which also was not clarified.

Question 5 : How did Iswaran build up his ghost story?

Answer : Iswaran did not start his stories right away. Instead, he prepared the ground by cooking something special for the ‘spirits’ of his ancestors. Then, he gave some background information like the site being a graveyard earlier. All this was to build up suspense in the story. He also interrupted (stopped in between) his stories to go about his domestic work which left his listener hanging. When he resumed his story, he gave some more information about ghosts by telling that he had seen a woman ghost carrying a foetus with her. Thus, he built up the suspense and probably ‘acted’ as the woman ghost to make his story appear true. He had both the skills to a level next to everything. When he mixed his narratives with the acts then it became the core element of reality though it remained fictitious in nature. He was just a make-up for the TV for Mahendra. Undoubtedly, he was a great storyteller.