Question 1 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“Remember me? I am Professor Sheth.
Once I taught you geography. Now
I am retired, though my health is good.
My wife died some years back.
By God’s grace, all my children
Are well settled in life.
One is Sales Manager,
One is Bank Manager,
Both have cars.”
i) What is one of the peculiarities of old age?
Answer : One of the peculiarities of old age is talking too much. This is a common feature among the old men. Since their bodies and limbs become weak and they have a lot of time on their hands, they tend to be talkative. They talk about their own lives, their children, their achievements; health and the changes occurring in the society.
ii) What impression do you form of the speaker?
Answer : The speaker emphasises on the words, “Remember me”, which shows that he leads a lonely life after the death of his wife. It seems that no one remembers him and he is long forgotten. He feels highly dejected and is full of sorrow when he recalls his dead wife.
iii) How is the relationship between the speaker and his sons according to you?
Answer : It seems that the Professor’s sons have forgotten their father after getting financially settled. There is a hint of sadness behind the speaker’s proud feeling that his sons are doing well at work and possess cars.
iv) What is the manner and subject of professor’s conversation?
Answer : The manner and subject of professor’s conversation is far away from the talk of an intellectual person. Instead of talking of any issue of worth, he discusses his family. Like an old father-figure, he boasts of the material worth of his sons and marriage of his daughters.
v) What do you think is the irony behind the phrase, “Remember me”?
Answer : The irony behind the phrase, “Remember me?” is that the Professor who was a very important part of the student’s life earlier now longs for someone to remember him after he retired from work.He is forgotten by everyone and feels lonely after the death of his wife.
Question 2 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“I am going out rarely, now and then
Only, this is price of old age
But my health is O.K. usual aches and pains.
No diabetes, no blood pressure, no heart attack.
This is because of sound habits in youth.
How is your health keeping?
Nicely? I am happy for that.
This year I am sixty-nine
and hope to score a century.
i) Why does the speaker rarely go out? How does he describe his health?
Answer : The speaker rarely goes out because of old age. Although, his health seems to be fine, there are risks associated with old age. Therefore, he doesn’t go out much. He says that his health is good in terms that he does not suffer from problems like diabetes, blood pressure and heart attack.
ii) What is superannuation? Explain in the context of the poem?
Answer : Superannuation is a phase of one’s life when one can enjoy life. But most Indian men perceive superannuation as being forced on them and wish they could continue. Professor Sheth is no exception. Numerous times, he mentions that he is healthy, suggesting subconsciously his dissatisfaction with his retirement.
iii) How old is the speaker? Why does he hope to score a century?
Answer : The speaker is sixty-nine years old. He hopes to score a century because he is good in terms of health. He does not suffer from any major health problems like diabetes, blood pressure or heart attack. It appears that the Professor has intense love for this materialistic world and he wants to enjoy physical things more in life.
iv) Do you like the way the speaker describes his life to his students? Why?
Answer : No, I don’t like the way the speaker describes his way of life to the student. Because the speaker seems to forcefully describe his life, his family and health to the student who seems disinterested in listening. The listener is listening merely out of respect for his former teacher.
v) What in reality, is the price of old age?
Answer : The price of old age is that one becomes physically very weak and is unable to go out or travel much. Also, many times old people are forgotten and not much thought about. They perform their duties honestly and with dedication throughout their youth but when they become old, they are left helpless.
Question 3 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“That is good. These days of family planning.
I am not against. We have to change with times.
Whole world is changing. In India also
We are keeping up. Our progress is progressing.
Old values are going, new values are coming.
Everything is happening with leaps and bounds.”
i) Who is the speaker? What is he not against? Why is he not against it?
Answer : The speaker is a Professor who used to teach Geography. He is now retired. He is not against family planning because he thinks that people need to change with times and so thoughts and ideas also change. He is not against it as the whole world is changing and India has to keep pace with the change.
ii) In reality, how is the world progressing?
Answer : The world seems to be progressing in a negative way. Although, there are latest technological advancements but still people are losing on moral values and leaving behind old people uncared for.
iii) What orthodox attitude do we find in professor’s thinking?
Answer : We find that though the professor claims that he is changing with changing time, hardly a noticeable change is seen in his life. Like a typical urban middle-class man, he is still resigned to the age-old in equality of gender. He believes that women should be happily marries and confined within the four walls of their homes.
iv) Is there an inherent tone of sadness in the Professor’s words? How?
Answer : Yes, there is an inherent tone of sadness in the Professor’s words. He is satirical of the change that has come within people pertaining to moral values and the fast progress that everyone is making without caring for human emotions. He laments on the deterioration in old values and the coming up of new values.
v) In what way has the poet ridiculed the pretence of Indians?
Answer : Though the Indians claim that they are changing with changing times, the change is mere pretence change in clothes, appearance and gadgets. There is hardly any visible change in their thought process. The professor claims that he is not against family planning, but he feels proud that he has eleven grand children.
Question 4 : Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“You were so thin, like stick,
Now you are man of weight and consequence.
That is good joke.
If you are coming again this side by chance,
Visit please my humble residence also.
I am living just on opposite house’s backside.”
i) Who is ‘you’ here? Who and why he calls him a ‘stick’?
Answer : ‘You’ here is the Professor’s former student. The Professor calls him a ‘stick’ because the student during old days was very thin and could be compared to a stick. Professor Sheth resorts to Indian mania of comparing people to objects.
ii) Why does the Professor invite him to his place?
Answer : The Professor needs to talk to someone since no one remembers him. His family members don’t care for him anymore and his wife is dead. He invites the student to visit him at his place whenever the student gets a chance to come this side.
iii) Discuss the condition of old people in our society.
Answer : Old people in our society are neglected and left uncared. Children stop respecting and caring for their parents when they become old. There is a degradation of moral values. In such conditions old people are left alone to cover their loneliness with the guise of pretention and happiness.
iv) How is the poem a satire?
Answer : The poem is a satire on changing relationships in the world of modernism where moral values have lost their meaning, loneliness is covered with pretentions and vanity, represented in the character of the Professor in the poem.
v) Do you like/dislike the Professor? Why?
Answer : The Professor seems to be a pitiable figure who needs attention, love and care from loved ones. His wife is no more and his children don’t visit him much. Hence, his words bring about a yearning for remembrance. This is the reason why he is both a likeable and dislikeable figure.
Question 5 : Read the extract below and answer the questions that follow.
“Other also doing well, though not so well.
Every family must have black sheep.
Sarala and Tarala are married,
Their husbands are very nice boys.
You wont’t believe but I have eleven grandchildren.
How many issues you have? Three?”
i) Who is the ‘other’ the speaker is talking about? What is he saying?
Answer : The ‘other’ is the third son of the Professor. The Professor says that his third son is not doing well in life, like his brothers. He calls his third son ‘a black sheep’ because he has turned out to be unworthy and is not as prosperous as his brothers.
ii) Why is the speaker talking about his family? Who is the listener?
Answer : The speaker is talking about his family to show how well settled and happy they are. But in reality, he is mocking those people who are settled in life but don’t care for their old parents who need care, love and respect.
iii) Why does he ask about the student’s family?
Answer : He asks about the student’s family to know how many children he has. After knowing about the number of children, he appreciates that the student believes in family planning. He says that he himself too believes in family planning.
iv) How is the poem a satire on language used in a certain way?
Answer : The poet mocks the people who speak English even if they don’t know how to, rather than speaking in their mother tongue. Similarly, the Professor speaks in a different grammatically wrong English in order to be on level with the society and societal pretentions.
v) Throw light on the Professor’s views on family planning.
Answer : The Professor says that he is not against family planning. According to him, “these are days of family planning.” One needs to change according to the societal norms of different times. He says that the whole world is changing and India is also trying to keep pace with the changing trends.