Question 1: Name the two temples the author visited in Kathmandu.
Answer: The author visited the Pashupati Nath Temple and the Budhnath Stupa.
Question 2: The writer says, “All this I wash down with Coca Cola.” What does ‘all this’ refer to?
Answer: The author purchased a bar of marzipan and corn cooked on charcoal fire, alongwith some comics and a Reader’s Digest. He ate the edibles while reading those books.
Question 3: What does Vikram Seth compare to the quills of a porcupine?
Answer: The flute seller’s stock of flutes was looking like the quills of a porcupine.
Question 4: Name five kinds of flutes.
Answer: Bansuri, Reed, Murli, Shakuhachi, and Neh.
Question 1: What difference does the author note between the flute seller and the other hawkers?
Answer: The author notes that the flute seller was not at all bothered about selling his wares. He was more engrossed in playing his flutes and sometimes talking to fellow vendors. The sale was incidental for him.
Question 2: What is the belief at Pashupatinath about the end of Kaliyug?
Answer: There is a small temple near the banks of the river Baghmati, which is partly submerged. The age old belief is if the water recedes enough to expose the goddess then the Goddess will leave that place and that will herald the end of the Kaliyug. Kaliyug is the era of all sins as per Hindu mythology.
Question 3: The author has drawn powerful images and pictures. Pick out three examples each of
(i) the atmosphere of ‘febrile confusion’ outside the temple of Pashupatinath
(ii) the things he sees
(iii) the sounds he hears
Answer: Febrile confusion means a situation of complete chaos or confusion. Like most of the Hindu pilgrimage centres Pashupathinath temple is also buzzing with people and mindless activity. The crowd, monkeys, devotees attempt to get preferential treatment, calls of hawkers all of these cerate a completely noisy situation.
Question 1: Compare and contrast the atmosphere in and around the Baudhnath shrine with the Pashupatinath temple.
Answer: The atmosphere in Pashupatinath Temple is utterly noisy and it can get on nerves of people who are not used to this kind of situation. People jostle with each other to touch the idol of the God. Monkeys are prevalent near temples in India and Nepal. They live in not so perfect harmony with human beings. Because of Hindu God Hanuman nobody disturbs them. The hawkers selling their wares and taut trying to dupe tourist is common at places like Pashuptinath temple.
On the other hand, the atmosphere at Budhnath stupa is full of calm. The way of Budhist worship is more about meditation and it is far from ritualistic worship of the Hindus. The Budhnath stupa has some Tibetans selling nick-nacks but the huge crowd of the Hindu pilgrimage is missing there. There is calm as opposed to chaos near the Pashupatinath temple.
Question 2: How does the author describe Kathmandu’s busiest streets?
Answer: Kathmandu’s busiest streets are narrow. They are full of life. There are small temples with colourful deities along these streets. The street is full of vendors and shops. Some are selling things which are used in worship. Then there are hawkers selling fruits. There is a flute seller as well playing melodiously on his flute. There is total cacophony as loudspeakers are blaring different kinds of music.
Question 3: “To hear any flute is to be drawn into the commonality of all mankind.” Why does the author say this?
Answer: The flute is one of the basic musical instruments. It is the simplest yet closest to the human breathing. One needs to breathe life into it to play it soulfully. If the flute player stops to catch his breath then the flute stops playing. Moreover, almost all civilizations have some kind of flute.
Because of its prevalence around the world and its closeness to the human breathing the author says that to hear any flute is to be drawn into the commonality of all mankind.
In this poem the poet is mourning the death of a loved one. He says that a deep sleep has taken his spirit or joy or the desire to live. After her death it seems that she cannot fell the touch of earthy years. This is a way to tell that after death the time stops and stands still and the person who is dead need not fear about growing old. She is motionless, and cannot hear or see a thing. Even planet earth’s routine course of moving on its axis has no effect on her, although it can move the stationary rocks and stones along with it. In other words after the death she has reached beyond earth’s power as well because she no more a mortal being.
This poem is about the inevitable which happens to all of us. After someone dies he is free of his physical body. The soul is free and it need not fear the heat of the sun or the ferocity of the winter. Everybody, including superstars, has to turn to the dust someday and nobody can escape from the inevitability called death. Once a person is free of the physical body he need not worry about clothes and food. For him a flute is same as a tree. The lightning or thunder cannot harm the soul.
This is more or less like Krishna’s preaching in the Gita. In the Gita Krishna says that soul is the real thing and body is like a cloth which we take off after it becomes worn out. Fire cannot burn it, water cannot dissolve it and air cannot sweep it off. After the death the soul becomes free of all the worldly desires.
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