“Stopping her game abruptly Mini ran to the window which overlooked the main road, and began calling out at the top of her voice, “Kabuliwala, O Kabuliwala!”
i) Where is Mini at this time? How can you say that she is a very talkative girl?
Answer : Mini is in her house at this time. It is apparent that she is very talkative girl by her behaviour. Her father mentions that she has not wasted a single wakeful moment of her life remaining silent.
ii) What was Mini doing before the game?
Answer : Mini was sitting with her father before playing. She was asking questions but he was very busy in his work. He told Mini to go and play with Bhola. She sat beside his writing table and began to play a game of knick-knack.
iii) What was Mini’s father doing at this time?
Answer : Mini’s father, the narrator of the chapter, was busy with the seventeenth chapter of his novel. In the seventeenth chapter of the novel, the character Pratap Singh was jumping off a high blacony with Knachanmala, at night. However, Mini was showering a string of questions at him.
iv) What did Mini do when the Kabuliwala approached the house?
Answer : Mini abruptly stopped her game and was shouting out to the Kabuliwala. He approached the house. However, Mini dashed inside and couldn’t be found anywhere. She was scared of the Kabuliwala and his bag.
v) Give the description of the Kabuliwala.
Answer : The Kabuliwala was a tall, shabbily dressed Afgan street vendor. He had a turban over his head, a bag over his shoulders and a few boxes of dry grapes in his hands. His name was Rahamat. Mini had a childish fear that the Kabuliwala kidnapped and kept children in his bag.
“The Kabuliwala saw Mini and became confused; their good-natured humour of old also didn’t work out. In the end, with a smile, he asked, ‘Girl, are you going to the in-law’s house?’ ”
i) Who is the Kabuliwala?
Answer : The Kabuliwala was a tall, shabbily dressed Afgan street vendor. He had a turban over his head, a bad over his shoulders and a few boxes of dry grapes in his hands. His name was Rahamat.
ii) Why was the Kabuliwala confused?
Answer : The Kabuliwala saw a girl he did not know. The last time he saw Mini when she was very young. Now, she was all dressed to be married. He had that child like image of her in his mind and hence was confused.
iii) What had happened to the Kabuliwala?
Answer : The Kabuliwala had been sent to jail for causing grievous injury to a man. He had a customer in the narrator’s colony who denied paying his debt for a shawl. Things got nasty and Rahamat had stabbed the man in the heat of the moment.
iv) Why was the Kabuliwala so attached to the narrator’s daughter?
Answer : Rahamat was a native of Afghanistan. He came to Kolkata for business. He had a daughter like Mini back home. He longed to be with her. He saw his daughter’s reflections in Mini and hence got attached to her very much.
v) How did Mini react to his question? How would she earlier react to his question?
Answer : When Rahamt asked her if she was going to her in-law’s house, she was embarrassed and her face became purple. She left the room at once. Earlier, she did not understand what ‘in-laws’ meant and would treat the question playfully. Earlier, she would answer him back by asking if he would go to his in-laws’ house and he would answer that he’ll wallop his in-laws.
Long Answer Type Question
Answer : Mini was a five-year old girl when she first saw Rahamat . She was very talkative and even her father did not have ears for her every time. One day, the narrator was busy with his work and Mini started to ask him incessant questions. He told her to play elsewhere. She was playing when Kabuliwala came. She abruptly ran towards the window and called out to him. However, when he approached the house with a smile, she dashed inside and was nowhere to be seen. She had this childish fear that he used to kidnap children.
Rahamt came to the house and the narrator thought that it was the right time to get Mini out of her fears. He called out for Mini . She came and stood nervously and kept looking suspiciously at the Kabuliwala and his bag. He gave some raisins and apricots to Mini but she refused to take them and remained pressed at the narrator’s knees. That was how their first meeting ended.
A few days later, the narrator saw his tiny daughter sitting on a bench next to Rahamat ans was speaking non-stop. The narrator realised that in her short life, Mini had not seen a more vivid listener. He had also given her some raisins and nuts. The narrator asked him not to do that in future and gave him half-a-rupee coin. Rahamat gave that coin to Mini instead and there was full-scale row over it in the narrator’s house.
The narrator learnt that it was not their second meeting. They had been meeting almost daily. Rahamat made a place in the child’s heart. They also had a few stock of their personal jokes. Then a change in their short friendship came. Rahamat was charged with causing grievous injury to his customer and he was sentenced to jail for several years.
He was in jail and meanwhile, Mini grew up to be married. Rahamat was released on the day of her wedding. He came to see Mini. He was confused to see Mini as he had the image of her as a young girl in his heart. He asked her if she was going to her in-law’s house. Mini got embarrassed and went inside.
That was their last meeting. Rahamat slouched on the floor with a long, deep sigh for he realised that his own daughter back home in Afghanistan, must have grown up like Mini. He carried her small imprint with him always. He was so attached to Mini because he saw his own little daughter in her.