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2
Before you read
Mridu is a young girl growing up in Madras (now called
Chennai) with Tapi, her grandmother, and Thatha, her
grandfather. One afternoon Tapi takes her to her aunt
Rukku Manni’s house to meet her cousins Lalli, Ravi
and Meena.
              
A Gift of Chappals
I
smiling Rukku Manni threw open the
door. Ravi and Meena rushed out, and
Ravi pulled Mridu into the house. “Wait, let me take
off my slippers,” protested Mridu. She set them out
neatly near a pair of large black ones. Those were
grey, actually, with dust. You could see the clear
mark of every toe on the front part of each slipper.
The marks for the two big toes were long
and scrawny.
Mridu didn’t have much time to wonder about
whose slippers they were, because Ravi dragged
her to the backyard, behind a thick bitter-berry
bush. There, inside a torn football lined with
sacking and filled with sand, lay a very small
kitten, lapping up milk from a coconut half-shell.
“We found him outside the gate this morning.
He was mewing and mewing, poor thing,” said
scrawny:
thin
(suggesting
skinny toes)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
A
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


2
Before you read
Mridu is a young girl growing up in Madras (now called
Chennai) with Tapi, her grandmother, and Thatha, her
grandfather. One afternoon Tapi takes her to her aunt
Rukku Manni’s house to meet her cousins Lalli, Ravi
and Meena.
              
A Gift of Chappals
I
smiling Rukku Manni threw open the
door. Ravi and Meena rushed out, and
Ravi pulled Mridu into the house. “Wait, let me take
off my slippers,” protested Mridu. She set them out
neatly near a pair of large black ones. Those were
grey, actually, with dust. You could see the clear
mark of every toe on the front part of each slipper.
The marks for the two big toes were long
and scrawny.
Mridu didn’t have much time to wonder about
whose slippers they were, because Ravi dragged
her to the backyard, behind a thick bitter-berry
bush. There, inside a torn football lined with
sacking and filled with sand, lay a very small
kitten, lapping up milk from a coconut half-shell.
“We found him outside the gate this morning.
He was mewing and mewing, poor thing,” said
scrawny:
thin
(suggesting
skinny toes)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
A
Rationalised 2023-24
A GIFT OF CHAPPALS/19
Meena. “It’s a secret. Amma says Paati will leave
for our Paddu Mama’s house if she knows we
have a cat.”
“People are always telling us to be kind to
animals, but when we are, they scream. ‘Ooh,
don’t bring that dirty creature here!’ ” said Ravi.
“Do you know how hard it is just to get a little
milk from the kitchen? Paati saw me with a glass
in my hand just now. I told her I’m very hungry, I
want to drink it, but the way she looked at me! I
had to drink most of it to throw her off the scent.
Then she wanted the tumbler back. ‘Paati, Paati,
I’ll wash it myself, why should I put you to
trouble’, I told her. I had to run and pour the
Paati:
grandmother
(in Tamil)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
throw her off
the scent:
mislead her
so that she
won’t
understand
the real
purpose
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


2
Before you read
Mridu is a young girl growing up in Madras (now called
Chennai) with Tapi, her grandmother, and Thatha, her
grandfather. One afternoon Tapi takes her to her aunt
Rukku Manni’s house to meet her cousins Lalli, Ravi
and Meena.
              
A Gift of Chappals
I
smiling Rukku Manni threw open the
door. Ravi and Meena rushed out, and
Ravi pulled Mridu into the house. “Wait, let me take
off my slippers,” protested Mridu. She set them out
neatly near a pair of large black ones. Those were
grey, actually, with dust. You could see the clear
mark of every toe on the front part of each slipper.
The marks for the two big toes were long
and scrawny.
Mridu didn’t have much time to wonder about
whose slippers they were, because Ravi dragged
her to the backyard, behind a thick bitter-berry
bush. There, inside a torn football lined with
sacking and filled with sand, lay a very small
kitten, lapping up milk from a coconut half-shell.
“We found him outside the gate this morning.
He was mewing and mewing, poor thing,” said
scrawny:
thin
(suggesting
skinny toes)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
A
Rationalised 2023-24
A GIFT OF CHAPPALS/19
Meena. “It’s a secret. Amma says Paati will leave
for our Paddu Mama’s house if she knows we
have a cat.”
“People are always telling us to be kind to
animals, but when we are, they scream. ‘Ooh,
don’t bring that dirty creature here!’ ” said Ravi.
“Do you know how hard it is just to get a little
milk from the kitchen? Paati saw me with a glass
in my hand just now. I told her I’m very hungry, I
want to drink it, but the way she looked at me! I
had to drink most of it to throw her off the scent.
Then she wanted the tumbler back. ‘Paati, Paati,
I’ll wash it myself, why should I put you to
trouble’, I told her. I had to run and pour the
Paati:
grandmother
(in Tamil)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
throw her off
the scent:
mislead her
so that she
won’t
understand
the real
purpose
Rationalised 2023-24
20/HONEYCOMB
milk into this coconut shell and then run back
and wash the tumbler and put it back before she
got really suspicious. Now we have to think of
some other way to feed Mahendran.”
“Mahendran? This little kitty’s name is
Mahendran?” Mridu was impressed! It was a real
name—not just a cute kitty-cat name.
“Actually his full name is Mahendravarma
Pallava Poonai. M.P. Poonai for short if you like.
He’s a fine breed of cat. Just look at his fur. Like a
lion’s mane! And you know what the emblem of
the ancient Pallava kings was, don’t you?” he
looked expectantly at Mridu.
Mridu giggled.
“Think I’m joking? Well, just wait. I’ll show
you sometime. It’s clear you don’t know a thing
about history. Haven’t been to Mahabalipuram,
have you?” he said mysteriously. “Well, when
our class went to Mahabalipuram, I saw a statue
of his thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s
thatha’s... etcetera, etcetera... Fact is, Mahendran
here is descended from that very same
ancient cat. A close relative, scientifically
speaking, of none other than the lion. The Pallava
lion, emblem of the Pallava dynasty!” Ravi
went on, walking around the bitter-berry bush,
waving a twig up and down, his eyes sparkling.
“This cat is a descendant of none other than the
Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat! And if I may
just remind you, they worshipped cats in
ancient Egypt!”
________________
________________
_______________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
thatha:
grandfather
(in Tamil)
descended
from: a
descendent
of, or comes
from, the
same family
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


2
Before you read
Mridu is a young girl growing up in Madras (now called
Chennai) with Tapi, her grandmother, and Thatha, her
grandfather. One afternoon Tapi takes her to her aunt
Rukku Manni’s house to meet her cousins Lalli, Ravi
and Meena.
              
A Gift of Chappals
I
smiling Rukku Manni threw open the
door. Ravi and Meena rushed out, and
Ravi pulled Mridu into the house. “Wait, let me take
off my slippers,” protested Mridu. She set them out
neatly near a pair of large black ones. Those were
grey, actually, with dust. You could see the clear
mark of every toe on the front part of each slipper.
The marks for the two big toes were long
and scrawny.
Mridu didn’t have much time to wonder about
whose slippers they were, because Ravi dragged
her to the backyard, behind a thick bitter-berry
bush. There, inside a torn football lined with
sacking and filled with sand, lay a very small
kitten, lapping up milk from a coconut half-shell.
“We found him outside the gate this morning.
He was mewing and mewing, poor thing,” said
scrawny:
thin
(suggesting
skinny toes)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
A
Rationalised 2023-24
A GIFT OF CHAPPALS/19
Meena. “It’s a secret. Amma says Paati will leave
for our Paddu Mama’s house if she knows we
have a cat.”
“People are always telling us to be kind to
animals, but when we are, they scream. ‘Ooh,
don’t bring that dirty creature here!’ ” said Ravi.
“Do you know how hard it is just to get a little
milk from the kitchen? Paati saw me with a glass
in my hand just now. I told her I’m very hungry, I
want to drink it, but the way she looked at me! I
had to drink most of it to throw her off the scent.
Then she wanted the tumbler back. ‘Paati, Paati,
I’ll wash it myself, why should I put you to
trouble’, I told her. I had to run and pour the
Paati:
grandmother
(in Tamil)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
throw her off
the scent:
mislead her
so that she
won’t
understand
the real
purpose
Rationalised 2023-24
20/HONEYCOMB
milk into this coconut shell and then run back
and wash the tumbler and put it back before she
got really suspicious. Now we have to think of
some other way to feed Mahendran.”
“Mahendran? This little kitty’s name is
Mahendran?” Mridu was impressed! It was a real
name—not just a cute kitty-cat name.
“Actually his full name is Mahendravarma
Pallava Poonai. M.P. Poonai for short if you like.
He’s a fine breed of cat. Just look at his fur. Like a
lion’s mane! And you know what the emblem of
the ancient Pallava kings was, don’t you?” he
looked expectantly at Mridu.
Mridu giggled.
“Think I’m joking? Well, just wait. I’ll show
you sometime. It’s clear you don’t know a thing
about history. Haven’t been to Mahabalipuram,
have you?” he said mysteriously. “Well, when
our class went to Mahabalipuram, I saw a statue
of his thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s
thatha’s... etcetera, etcetera... Fact is, Mahendran
here is descended from that very same
ancient cat. A close relative, scientifically
speaking, of none other than the lion. The Pallava
lion, emblem of the Pallava dynasty!” Ravi
went on, walking around the bitter-berry bush,
waving a twig up and down, his eyes sparkling.
“This cat is a descendant of none other than the
Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat! And if I may
just remind you, they worshipped cats in
ancient Egypt!”
________________
________________
_______________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
thatha:
grandfather
(in Tamil)
descended
from: a
descendent
of, or comes
from, the
same family
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
Rationalised 2023-24
A GIFT OF CHAPPALS/21
How he loved the sound of his own voice!
Meena and Mridu exchanged looks.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
Mridu demanded.
“Huh! I’m telling you this cat is descended...
from the Egyptian cat-god... no, goddess! Bastet!
Ya! That’s it!”
“So?”
“W ell, one of the descendants of that cat-goddess
was a stowaway in one of the Pallava ships, and his
descendant was the Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat,
whose descendant is —” Ravi flourished his twig at
Mahendran “— M.P. Poonai here... whoop EEK!” he
shrieked, very pleased with himself.
Mahendran looked up, alarmed. He had just
been sharpening his claws on the edge of the
coconut shell. But worse than Ravi’s awful
whoop EEK was a ‘Kreech...!’ from the window.
What a weird sound! If Mridu was startled,
M.P. Poonai was frightened out of his wits.
Hair standing on end, he bounced up and
scurried towards a bamboo tray of red chillies
that had been set out to dry. Trying to hide
beneath it, he tipped a few chillies over himself.
“Mi-a-aw!” he howled miserably.
The ‘kreeching’ went on and on. “What’s that
noise?” said Mridu.
“That’s Lalli learning to play the violin,”
grunted Ravi.
“She’ll never learn a thing. The music-
master just goes on playing like a train
whizzing on and on, while Lalli’s all the time
derailing! Going completely off track!”
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
stowaway:
someone
who hides
himself/
herself in a
ship or an
aircraft to
travel
unnoticed
________________
________________
weird:
strange or
unusual
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


2
Before you read
Mridu is a young girl growing up in Madras (now called
Chennai) with Tapi, her grandmother, and Thatha, her
grandfather. One afternoon Tapi takes her to her aunt
Rukku Manni’s house to meet her cousins Lalli, Ravi
and Meena.
              
A Gift of Chappals
I
smiling Rukku Manni threw open the
door. Ravi and Meena rushed out, and
Ravi pulled Mridu into the house. “Wait, let me take
off my slippers,” protested Mridu. She set them out
neatly near a pair of large black ones. Those were
grey, actually, with dust. You could see the clear
mark of every toe on the front part of each slipper.
The marks for the two big toes were long
and scrawny.
Mridu didn’t have much time to wonder about
whose slippers they were, because Ravi dragged
her to the backyard, behind a thick bitter-berry
bush. There, inside a torn football lined with
sacking and filled with sand, lay a very small
kitten, lapping up milk from a coconut half-shell.
“We found him outside the gate this morning.
He was mewing and mewing, poor thing,” said
scrawny:
thin
(suggesting
skinny toes)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
A
Rationalised 2023-24
A GIFT OF CHAPPALS/19
Meena. “It’s a secret. Amma says Paati will leave
for our Paddu Mama’s house if she knows we
have a cat.”
“People are always telling us to be kind to
animals, but when we are, they scream. ‘Ooh,
don’t bring that dirty creature here!’ ” said Ravi.
“Do you know how hard it is just to get a little
milk from the kitchen? Paati saw me with a glass
in my hand just now. I told her I’m very hungry, I
want to drink it, but the way she looked at me! I
had to drink most of it to throw her off the scent.
Then she wanted the tumbler back. ‘Paati, Paati,
I’ll wash it myself, why should I put you to
trouble’, I told her. I had to run and pour the
Paati:
grandmother
(in Tamil)
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
throw her off
the scent:
mislead her
so that she
won’t
understand
the real
purpose
Rationalised 2023-24
20/HONEYCOMB
milk into this coconut shell and then run back
and wash the tumbler and put it back before she
got really suspicious. Now we have to think of
some other way to feed Mahendran.”
“Mahendran? This little kitty’s name is
Mahendran?” Mridu was impressed! It was a real
name—not just a cute kitty-cat name.
“Actually his full name is Mahendravarma
Pallava Poonai. M.P. Poonai for short if you like.
He’s a fine breed of cat. Just look at his fur. Like a
lion’s mane! And you know what the emblem of
the ancient Pallava kings was, don’t you?” he
looked expectantly at Mridu.
Mridu giggled.
“Think I’m joking? Well, just wait. I’ll show
you sometime. It’s clear you don’t know a thing
about history. Haven’t been to Mahabalipuram,
have you?” he said mysteriously. “Well, when
our class went to Mahabalipuram, I saw a statue
of his thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s thatha’s
thatha’s... etcetera, etcetera... Fact is, Mahendran
here is descended from that very same
ancient cat. A close relative, scientifically
speaking, of none other than the lion. The Pallava
lion, emblem of the Pallava dynasty!” Ravi
went on, walking around the bitter-berry bush,
waving a twig up and down, his eyes sparkling.
“This cat is a descendant of none other than the
Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat! And if I may
just remind you, they worshipped cats in
ancient Egypt!”
________________
________________
_______________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
thatha:
grandfather
(in Tamil)
descended
from: a
descendent
of, or comes
from, the
same family
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
Rationalised 2023-24
A GIFT OF CHAPPALS/21
How he loved the sound of his own voice!
Meena and Mridu exchanged looks.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
Mridu demanded.
“Huh! I’m telling you this cat is descended...
from the Egyptian cat-god... no, goddess! Bastet!
Ya! That’s it!”
“So?”
“W ell, one of the descendants of that cat-goddess
was a stowaway in one of the Pallava ships, and his
descendant was the Mahabalipuram Rishi-Cat,
whose descendant is —” Ravi flourished his twig at
Mahendran “— M.P. Poonai here... whoop EEK!” he
shrieked, very pleased with himself.
Mahendran looked up, alarmed. He had just
been sharpening his claws on the edge of the
coconut shell. But worse than Ravi’s awful
whoop EEK was a ‘Kreech...!’ from the window.
What a weird sound! If Mridu was startled,
M.P. Poonai was frightened out of his wits.
Hair standing on end, he bounced up and
scurried towards a bamboo tray of red chillies
that had been set out to dry. Trying to hide
beneath it, he tipped a few chillies over himself.
“Mi-a-aw!” he howled miserably.
The ‘kreeching’ went on and on. “What’s that
noise?” said Mridu.
“That’s Lalli learning to play the violin,”
grunted Ravi.
“She’ll never learn a thing. The music-
master just goes on playing like a train
whizzing on and on, while Lalli’s all the time
derailing! Going completely off track!”
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
stowaway:
someone
who hides
himself/
herself in a
ship or an
aircraft to
travel
unnoticed
________________
________________
weird:
strange or
unusual
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
Rationalised 2023-24
22/HONEYCOMB
Comprehension Check
1. What is the secret that Meena shares with Mridu in
the backyard?
2. How does Ravi get milk for the kitten?
3. Who does he say the kitten’s ancestors are? Do you
believe him?
4. Ravi has a lot to say about M.P.Poonai. This shows that
(i) he is merely trying to impress Mridu.
(ii) his knowledge of history is sound.
(iii) he has a rich imagination.
(iv) he is an intelligent child.
Which of these statements do you agree/disagree to?
5. What was the noise that startled Mridu and frightened
Mahendran?
II
Mridu crept up to the window. Lalli was sitting a
little distance away, awkwardly holding her violin
and bowstring, her elbows jutting out and her eyes
glazed with concentration. In front of her, with most
of his back to the window, was the bony figure of
the music-master. He had a mostly bald head with
a fringe of oiled black hair falling around his ears
and an old-fashioned tuft. A gold chain gleamed
around his leathery neck, and a diamond ring
glittered on his hand as it glided up and down the
stem of the violin. A large foot stuck out from beneath
his gold-bordered veshti edge, and he was beating
time on the floor with the scrawny big toe.
He played a few notes. Lalli stumbled behind
him on her violin, which looked quite helpless
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
_______________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
________________
glided:
moved
along
smoothly
veshti:
dhoti (in
Tamil)
stumbled:
followed
haltingly
Rationalised 2023-24
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: A Gift of Chappals - English Honeycomb Class 7

1. Who is the author of the story "A Gift of Chappals"?
Ans. The author of the story "A Gift of Chappals" is Mulk Raj Anand.
2. What is the central theme of the story "A Gift of Chappals"?
Ans. The central theme of the story "A Gift of Chappals" is the act of giving and receiving with love and compassion, even if it is a small gift that may seem insignificant.
3. Who gave the gift of chappals in the story "A Gift of Chappals"?
Ans. In the story "A Gift of Chappals", the poor old peasant woman gave the gift of chappals to the narrator.
4. What is the significance of the gift of chappals in the story "A Gift of Chappals"?
Ans. The gift of chappals in the story "A Gift of Chappals" represents the poor old peasant woman's act of kindness and generosity towards the narrator, even though she herself had very little. It also symbolizes the value of simplicity and humility.
5. How does the narrator feel about receiving the gift of chappals in the story "A Gift of Chappals"?
Ans. In the story "A Gift of Chappals", the narrator feels humbled and touched by the poor old peasant woman's gift of chappals. He realizes that the woman gave him the gift out of love and compassion, and that it is the thought behind the gift that matters, not the material value.
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