Class 10 English

Madam Rides the Bus

Summary: In this story, the author tries to present a world as seen from a child’s perspective. The main character of this story is an eight year old girl who lives near a bus stop in a village. For major part of the day, she enjoys standing in her doorway; watching frenetic activities at the bus stop. Valli develops a desire to enjoy a ride on the bus but she needs to plan meticulously to realize her dream. She has to curtail her expenses so that she can save enough money for two-way fair. She also has to make the journey during the time when her mother takes afternoon nap. While on her journey, Valli does not want anybody’s help and wants to feel independent. She enjoys every bit of her journey to the town. But she is careful enough not to get off the bus in the unknown environs of the town. On her return journey, a sad accident spoils her mood and she just keeps to herself throughout the journey. She does not seem to be satisfied with one ride and wishes to make another attempt in future. She is also quite mischievous when she is sure that her mother did not know about her journey.


Question 1: What was Valli’s favourite pastime?

Answer: As Valli had no playmate of her age, so her favourite pastime was to stand in her doorway and watch the street. The street outside used to be full of activities which were enough to keep her amused and engaged.

Question 2: What was a source of unending joy for Valli? What was her strongest desire?

Answer: The bus was a source of unending joy for her. The bus used to bring a new set of passengers every-time it came from the town. The diversity of people, their activities were a treat to watch for Valli. Her strongest desire was to take a ride in the bus at least once.

Question 3: What did Valli find out about the bus journey? How did she find out these details?

Answer: Valli tried to listen to her neighbours to get the desired information about the bus journey. She would ask some discrete questions to get more information. She got information about distance of the town from her village and the total journey time it usually took.

Question 4: What do you think Valli was planning to do?

Answer: Till now information provided in the story indicate towards her plan to fulfill her strongest desire which was to go on a bus ride.

Question 5: Why does the conductor call Valli ‘madam’?

Answer: Valli is trying to behave more mature than her age. She is trying to look overconfident and smart. The conductor is amused at her behaviour and in an effort to tease her calls her ‘madam’.

Question 6: Why does Valli stand up on the seat? What does she see now?

Answer: Valli’s view was obstructed because of a canvas blind on the window and because of her small height as well she was unable to have a good view outside. She stood up on her seat to have a better view of the scenery outside. She could see a canal with palm trees, grasslands, distant mountains and blue sky as backdrop. On the other side there was a ditch followed by vast tract of greenery.

Question 7: What does Valli tell the elderly man when he calls her a child?

Answer: Valli doesn’t like to be called a child. She thinks that she is grown up. She says that she had paid her full fair the way adults do. This is typical behaviour shown by many kids of Valli’s age.

Question 8: Why didn’t Valli want to make friends with the elderly woman?

Answer: The elderly woman was having big earlobes with bigger holes. She chewing betel nut and the betel juice was about to seep out of her mouth. She was giving a sight of unrefined elderly lady. That is why Vaali did not want to make friends with her.

Question 9: How did Valli save up money for her first journey? Was it easy for her?

Answer: Valli saved every coin that came her way. She made great sacrifices by controlling her normal childish urges of having candies, toys and joyrides. This must have been difficult for her. Kids find it very difficult to savour a candy or to enjoy a toy.

Question 10: What did Valli see on her way that made her laugh?

Answer: A scared cow was running for her life in the middle of the road. It was jumping with tails up. The more incessantly bus driver honked the more furious its scamper became. Valli could not control her laughter after seeing this.

Question 11: Why didn’t she get off the bus at the bus station?

Answer: She did not know anything about the town so was afraid of getting lost. Moreover, her meticulous savings plan allowed her enough money to buy only tickets for her journey. Additionally, she had to return before her mother could find her missing.

Question 12: Why didn’t Valli want to go to the stall and have a drink? What does this tell you about her?

Answer: She did not want to take obligation from the conductor. This indicates that she is taught of not taking anything from strangers. She may be a small child but she knows how to behave properly in the outside world.

Question 13: What was Valli’s deepest desire? Find the words and phrases in the story that tell you this.

Answer: Valli’s deepest desire was to enjoy a ride on the bus. Terms; like overwhelming desire’, ‘wistfully’, etc. show that Valli was desperate to ride the bus.

Question 14: How did Valli plan her bus ride? What did she find out about the bus, and how did she save up the fare?

Answer: Valli had to plan on two aspects. The first aspect was saving enough money to arrange for two-way fair. The second aspect was to give a slip to her mother because a child of her age would not be allowed to go all alone. She came to know about the distance of the town and total time of journey. She also gathered information about the fair.

Question 15: What kind of a person is Valli? To answer this question, pick out the following sentences from the text and fill in the blanks. The words you fill in are the clues to your answer.

  • “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised commandingly.
  • “Yes, I simply have to go to town,” said Valli, still standing outside the bus.
  • “There’s nobody here who is a child,” she said haughtily. “I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.
  • “Never mind,” she said, “I can get on by myself. You don’t have to help me. ”I’m not a child, I tell you,” she said haughtily.
  • “You needn’t bother about me. I can take care of myself,” Valli said, turning her face toward the window and staring out.
  • Then she turned to the conductor and said, “Well, sir, I hope to see you again.”

Answer: Valli appears to be a confident child. She does not like people making a fun at her or feeling pity at her because she is a child. She is very careful not to talk to strangers during her journey. She must have enjoyed her bus ride and may be planning for her next sojourn when her budget and time permit.


Question 16: Why does the conductor refer to Valli as ‘madam’?

Answer: The conductor is just trying to make fun at Valli because she is trying to behave like an adult. Many a time, we see small children trying to behave like adult and many of us enjoy this sight.

Question 17: Find the lines in the text which tell you that Valli was enjoying her ride on the bus.

Answer: Valli thoroughly enjoyed her ride. The way she was engrossed in the scenery outside the window shows that she was enjoying every moment of her ride. The most funny incident was of the cow running ahead of the bus. She also enjoyed the luxurious interiors of the bus.

Question 18: Why does Valli refuse to look out of the window on her way back?

Answer: On her way back, Valli witnessed a horrific incidence. The cow which was playful during the onward journey had died in an accident. Valli felt very sad at the plight of the cow. Due to this, she did not like looking out of the window on her way back.

Question 19: What does Valli mean when she says, “I was just agreeing with what you said about things happening without our knowledge.”

Answer: While making this statement, Valli was trying to hide the fact about her bus ride. She was also feeling elated at making a successful attempt at her plan.

Question 20: The author describes the things that Valli sees from an eight-year-old’s point of view. Can you find evidence from the text for this statement?

Answer: There are many incidents which show the world from an eight-year-old’s perspective. For example; for an adult the fair of the bus may be peanuts, but for a small child it can be a fortune. Similarly, the way a child can enjoy as simple a thing as a six mile bus ride; can never be understood by most of the adults.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

There was a girl named Belinda who lived with a little black kitten, a little grey mouse, a little yellow dog and a real little dragon. She was a proud owner of a little red wagon.

The kitten was named as Ink, the mouse as Blink, the dog as Mustard and the dragon as Custard.

Custard the dragon had big shrap teeth, and his scales were full of spikes everywhere. Its mouth was like a fireplace and nose was like chimney of that fireplace. Its toes were like sharp daggers.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears. Bears are very stout and fearless animals. Ink and Blink were brave enough to chase a lion. Mustard was brave like an angry tiger. But Custard was a coward and always wanted to be in a safe nice cage.

Belinda used to tickle the dragon till it hurt. Ink, Blink, Mustard and Belinda used to make fun at the dragon for its cowardice.

Whenever, Custard cried for a nice safe cage then everybody else giggled and laughed at it.

They were enjoying the funny moment with Custard then they heard a nasty sound. They saw a pirate coming towards them. All of them shrieked in horror.

The pirate was looking really menacing. He was holding pistols in both hands, and a bright knife was held between his teeth. One of his legs was made of wood and his beard was horribly black. He was looking real dangerous.

Belinda paled out of fear and started crying for help. All his brave friends fled away from the scene. Mustard yelled and fled. Ink trickled down to the basement the way real ink trickles down to the bottom. Blink hid strategically in a mousehole.

But Custard jumped and snorted like a live engine. It started clashing its tail tinkling iron in dungeon. It clattered and squirmed its body and jumped at the pirate the way a robin jumps at a tasty worm for meal.

The pirate was astonished and gulped something from his pocket. Then he fired two bullets, but they proved useless. Ultimately the dragon gobbled up the pilot and finished him.

After the pirate was finished, everyone appreciated Custard in its own way. Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him, Ink and Blink danced in happiness.

Then Mustard said that had it not been frightened it would have shown its bravery, similarly Ink and Blink also made tall claims about their bravery. Custard agreed with them that all of them were braver than him.

Belinda is still living in her little white house with her friends and her little red wagon. All except Custard still claim to be brave guys. Custard still cries for a nice safe cage.

OGDEN NASH



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