Long Answer Questions of How I Taught My Grandmother To Read.

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1. The granddaughter proves to be a catalyst in the grandmother’s pursuit of knowledge. Discuss.
Ans. A lot of credit in helping the grandmother in her pursuit of knowledge goes to the granddaughter. She only used to read out the episodes of the story of ‘Kashi Yatre’ every week to her grandmother. She took up the challenge of teaching the Kannada alphabet to her grandmother. The grandmother had kept Dassera festival as a deadline to learn reading. She worked with full devotion – reading, repeating, writing and reciting and the granddaughter gave full support to her. Finally, the grandmother was able to read ‘Kashi Yatre’ by herself.

2. Why does the grandmother identify with the
protagonist of the ‘Kashi Yatre’? What does this tell you about her character?
Ans. ‘Kashi Yatre’ was a story of the struggle of an old lady who had a strong desire to go to Kashi or Varanasi but could not do so because she spent the money she had saved for the purpose, in helping a poor orphan get married.
There is a belief among most of the Hindus that going to Kashi and worshipping Lord Vishweshwara is the ultimate ‘punya’. The grandmother had never been to Kashi. Like all other Hindus, she also had a desire to visit Kashi, but was anyway happy cooking and feeding her grandchildren.
That is why she identifies herself, with the protagonist of ‘Kashi Yatre’. This shows that she is a religious lady, who is very loving and affectionate.
3. The grandmother believes in scriptures and
Hindu mythology, yet she touches the feet of her granddaughter. Why?
Ans. According to the Hindu scriptures, touching the feet of elders is considered as a sign of respect. Normally, elders never touch the feet of youngsters. But the grandmother touched the feet of her granddaughter as a mark of respect because she had been her teacher. The grandmother believed that the granddaughter deserved the respect as she had taught her so well and with so much affection that she had made her confident and independent enough to read any novel all by herself.
4. Give a character-sketch of the grandmother as depicted in the lesson, ‘‘How I Taught My
Grandmother To Read.’’
Ans. Grandmother is the central character, the fulcrum around which the entire lesson revolves. She is sixty-two years old, grey-haired, wrinkled and all her life is devoted to the kitchen-chores and well-being of her family. Her lifestyle is mundane, ordinary and routine. Triveni, the famous Kannada writer, acts as the only rainbow to her humdrum life. The novel ‘Kashi Yatre’ stirs in her, yearnings for a visit to Kashi, the ultimate Pooja for Hindus. The sufferings of the protagonist find a ready echo in the grandmother’s heart and she identifies with the suffering of the main character.
The grandmother is not only religious, but also believes in worshipping Lord Vishweshwara and
performing rituals. She is a lady of great commitment, courage and indomitable spirit, which is evident in her desire to master Kannada alphabet, even at the age of sixty-two. Determined, fiercely independent, she hates being helpless and desperate. That is why she never asks anyone else to read out the story in the entire village. She diagnoses the weakness that comes in her way and decides to learn the Kannada alphabet immediately. Her desperation over her inability to know the next episode of Kashi Yatre, her rubbing of hand over the pictures and words, is very evocative, it expresses her intense desire for learning. Triveni awakens her dormant desire for literature and education. The grandmother not only proves to be an ideal and diligent student but also preaches by precept that ‘‘One is never too old to learn and a teacher is the most revered one, irrespective of age.’’

5. As grandmother in the story ‘How I Taught My Grandmother to Read’ write a diary entry on your transformation.
OR
You are the grandmother. Write your feelings in your diary when your granddaughter gave you the novel ‘Kashi Yatre’. [CBSE 2010 (TERM 1)]

Dear Diary 25th August 2011
I am on Cloud Nine today because I am able to read the episode of ‘Kashi Yatre’ on my own. I remember the day when my granddaughter presented me the magazine in which the novel ‘Kashi Yatre’ was published in a serial.
Since I was uneducated, she used to read every episode to me. Just like the main protagonist of the novel I also had a strong desire to visit Kashi but could not do so for one reason or the other. I identified myself with the protagonist and became so interested in the novel that I eagerly waited for the magazine so that my granddaughter could read the next episode to me. Once she was away at a wedding, I felt helpess as I couldn’t read the story. There and then I decided to learn Kannada alphabets and it was my granddaughter who did the needful. And see the result Oh!
I am feeling so light, so independent! I am thankful to my granddaughter. Had she not presented me the magazine, this day would never have come to my life.
6. Imagine you are the grandmother. In about 150 words, write a letter to share your thoughts, feelings, ambitions and resolutions as a neo-literate.
[CBSE 2010 (Term 1)]
Dear Krishna
How are you? I am writing this letter to give you a thrilling news — I have learned to read Kannada alphabets as you know that we could not go to school because at that time education for girls was not considered essential. Till Sudha presented me the magazine in which ‘Kashi Yatre’ was published even I never felt its important. But afterwards I got so interested in the novel that I used to wait for the next episode so that Sudha was able to read that to me. But once in her absence, I could not read it. It left a void in my life. This fanned my desire to learn. There and then I decided to read and see the result! I am independent now at the age of 62. I suggest you also should try your hand at learning Kannada alphabets. I feel so great to be able to read and write that I have decided to spend some time in teaching the ladies of my neighbourhood. Rest in next letter.
Your friend
7. You are Sudha Murthy. Write a letter to your friend telling her how and why you taught your grandmother to read. [CBSE 2010 (Term 1)]
Dear Mamta
Hope you are fine. I am writing this letter to you not to tell you about our common friends but about my student. Guess who? She is none other than my grandmother. It so happened that once I came back after attending a wedding she came to me and started crying. I was dumbstruck because I have always known her to be a tough lady who never cried even in most difficult situation.
You know she cried at her helplessness of not being able to read. This desperation led her to decide upon learning the alphabet even at the age of sixty two. I took up the challenge of teaching Kananada alphabet to my grandmother. She kept Dassera festival as a deadline. She worked with full devotion—reading, repeating writing and reciting and I gave her full support. After she was able to read ‘Kashi Yatre’ by hereself she came and touched my feet. When I protested, she said: ‘‘One is never too old to learn and a teacher is the most revered one, irrespective of age’’. Rest in next letter.
Sudha

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