Q1. Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow.
"An old man was walking through the town, now and again drawing his tattered clothes tighter to shield his body from the cold and biting wind."
(a) Who was the old man?
(b) What was the time?
(c) Where was the old man going?
Ans: (a) The old man was coachman Ali.
(b) The time was early morning.
(c) He was going to the post-office.
Q2. Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow.
"Beholding the wooden arch of this building, the old man was filled with the joy that the pilgrim feels when he first sees the goal of his journey."
(a) Which 'building' is being referred to here?
(b) Who is the 'old man'?
(c) Why did he go to the building?
Ans: (a) The building of the post-office is being referred to here.
(b) The old man is coachman Ali.
(c) He went to the post-office in the hope of getting a letter from his daughter Miriam.
Q3. Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow.
"It's a mad man, sir, who worries us by calling everyday for letters that never come," said the clerk to the postmaster.
(a) Who is referred to as a mad man?
(b) Whose letter is expected by this, 'mad man'?
(c) What is the attitude of the clerk and the postmaster towards the 'mad man'?
Ans: (a) Coachman Ali is referred to as a mad man here.
(b) His daughter Mariam's letter is expected by this mad man.
(c) Their attitude is 'cruel'.
Q4. Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow.
"Ali came out very slowly, turning after every few steps to gaze at the post-office."
(a) Where had Ali gone?
(b) What was Ali feeling?
(c) Why Ali Was Sad?
Ans: (a) Ali had gone to meet the postmaster.
(b) Ali was feeling helpless and sad.
(c) Ali was very sad because the postmaster had behaved coldly with him.
Q5. Read the following extract and answer the questions that follow.
"They will be useful to you, and they can never be to me. But will you do one thing?"
(a) Who is speaking here? "
(b) Who is listener here?
(c) What do They' refer to?
Ans: (a) Ali is speaking here.
(b) Lakshmi Das, The clerk', is the listener here.
(c) They' refers to 'five gold coins.'
Q6. 'In the grey sky of early dawn, stars still glowed.........'. How does the author describe the early morning?
Ans: The author described the morning in a very beautiful manner. He expressed that it was the time of dawn and the stars were still seen in the sky. It was the winter season and a cold wind was blowing. Most of the people were sleeping and Ali could listen to the sound of grinding mills. He also entertained the sweet voices of women singing at their work.
Q7. Who was Ali? Where did he go daily?
Ans: Ali, who had once been the most sought after the hunter, was known to all as coachman Ali, after giving up hunting. Now he was an old man and an anxious father who had not heard from his daughter for the past five years. Every morning, he left his house at four in the morning to go to the postoffice, bearing the inclement weather, where he punctually reached at 5 am. He was always the first one to reach the postoffice. He would patiently sit on the bench waiting for his letter.
Q8. 'All displays qualities of love and patience." Give evidence from the story to support the statement.
Ans: Ali, who was an old man now, would leave his house at four in the morning to go to the postoffice. The cold and biting wind of the morning did not deter him from being the first person to reach there in the hope of receiving a letter from his daughter. It was the intensity of his feelings of love for his daughter which helped him reach his destination. This had been his routine for the past five years. Being an eternal optimist, he patiently waited for his daughter's letter, not losing hope of receiving it even till his last day. This shows his patience.
Q9. How does the author describe the place near the postoffice?
Ans: The author described the place in an impressive way. The trees stood in a line on one side of the road and on the other side was the public garden of that town. At the end of the garden, there was a building of the newest style for the postoffice. The light could be seen coming out from the gaps in its closed doors and windows.
Q10. How do you know Ali was a familiar figure at the postoffice?
Ans: Ali was a familiar figure at the postoffice for the past five years. He had been regularly reaching the postoffice at five in the morning. He was always the first one to reach there. He had become the topic of gossip for the people there, who even played a mean joke by calling out his name even though his letter was not there just to see him jump eagerly from his seat. They scorned him, ridiculed him and called him a lunatic.
Q11. Why did All give up hunting?
Ans: All's life changed after the marriage of his only daughter, Miriam. He became an epitome of love and patience. He understood the grief of separation and the meaning of love. This brought about a change in him. He no longer enjoyed seeing the terrified partridges bereft of their parents. His true realisation that the whole universe is built through love and that, the grief of separation is inescapable, made him give up hunting.
Q12. What impression do you form of the postmaster after reading the story, The Letter'?
Ans: The postmaster was a man with a haughty temper. He was a very cold person with no compassion. He was very rude and unsympathetic to Ali. However, a change comes over him when he faces a similar anxiety. His daughter is ill and he is waiting to get news from her. He now understands the pangs of love a father experiences. He is able to appreciate All's. feelings. His attitude towards letters now changes. Considering each letter as a warm beating heart, he realises its essential human worth.
Q13. "The haughty temper of the official had quite left him in his sorrow and anxiety and had laid bare his human heart." In the lesson, The Letter' who is the official referred to? Give an example of his haughty behavior. Why does Ali become sad and anxious?
Ans: The official referred to is the postmaster. When Ali asked about the letter from his daughter, the postmaster became angry and started to shout at him. Ali was named 'a pest' and 'a man with no sense'. His behavior was harsh and rude to Ali. Due to his insulting behavior, Ali became sad and anxious. He was feeling helpless."
Q14. The postmaster says to Ali "What a pest you are, brother!" Do you agree with the statement? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans: No, Ali was not a pest, as branded by the postmaster, who himself was a feeling less person. He failed to understand the feelings of an anxious father. He considers him a pest because Ali came every day for a letter from his daughter Miriam. He would wait patiently. Only on his last day due to his ill health, Ali was unable to contain his patience, so he approached the postmaster for his letter. He was rebuked by the postmaster who used this derogatory remark for him.
Q15. What is the importance of the letter in the story?
Ans: The main character of the story is 'Ali'. He only waits for 'a letter' that can inform him about the well-being of his daughter. The story revolves around the 'letter' which reaches the postoffice after the death of Ali. The postmaster and Lakshmi Das 'the clerk' understand the value of the letter for Ali and they place it at All's grave.
Q16. "Tortured by doubt and remorse, he sat down in the glow of the charcoal sign to wait." Who is tortured by doubt and remorse? Why? What is he waiting for?
Ans: Ali, due to his illness, had been unable to come to the postoffice for several days. His illness had made him very weak. That day, when he went, he knew it was his last day he could feel his approaching end. In fact, reaching the post office had been a great struggle that day, but it was his determination that he managed his way there. That day, he could not hold on to his usual patience, so he walked up to the postmaster for his daughter's letter. In turn, he was badly rebuked and insulted by the rude postmaster. The treatment he got from the postmaster filled All's eyes fill with tears at his own helplessness. Though he still had hope, his patience had given way. He desperately hoped to hear from Miriam and didn't want to miss her letter even after his death.
Q17. Why was Ali impatient when he visited the postoffice after many days?
Ans: It is the postmaster, who is tortured by doubt and remorse. He was waiting for news from his ailing daughter who lived in the town. He spent a whole night in suspense and anxiety. It was then that he realised and understood the agony of Ali, who had not heard from his daughter for the past five years. He regrets his behavior with Ali, whom he had rebuked for his anxiety and restlessness. He was filled with remorse at failing to understand the intensity of the feelings of an anxious father. When he had to spend another night in a restless manner, his heart was filled with sympathy for Ali. He now realised the universality of a father's love.
Q18. How did the postmaster become a changed man?
Ans: It was All's regular routine to visit the postoffice, as he hoped to receive a letter that could give him the news of his daughter's well being. But his failing health interrupted this routine. One day he again came back to the postoffice. He had realised that his life was close to its end. Hence, he became impatient to know about his daughter's letter.
Q19. "But where.........where am I supposed to send it ?" Explain these words.
Ans: One day the postmaster faced the same situation that All was going through. The postmaster's daughter was in some other city and suffering from illness. He was waiting for tor the letter of his daughter. He realised the painful mental situation of Ali. The postmaster now became a changed man.
Q20. "Mad-men are strange people," the postmaster said. Comment.
Ans: Ali gave five golden coins to the clerk and asked him to deliver his daughter's letter to him whenever it came. The clerk asked him where he was to deliver the letter. The old man asked him to leave the letter at his grave.
Q21. "For now the postmaster understood All's heart and his very soul. After spending but a single night in suspense, anxiously waiting for news of his daughter, his heart was brimming with sympathy for the poor old man who had spent his nights in the same suspense for the last five years." At the end of the story, the postmaster accepts his fault and shows sympathy for Alt. Imagine you are the postmaster. You have just realised what the pain of being away from your loved ones is. You and Lakshmi Das have just placed Miriam's letter on All's grave. Write a letter to Miriam telling her about her father's love for her and how he died.
Ans: Dear Miriam
I'm an unknown person to you and you will surely be astonished after receiving this letter from me. Let me disclose that I'm the postmaster of the village that is your native place. With great sorrow, I wish to inform you that your father is no more. He died a few days ago. He loved you very much. It was his daily routine to come in the postoffice in the early morning. He always had the hope of receiving your letter. But his luck did not help him. It was really difficult for him to live without you. He died waiting for your letter. You sent him a letter, but it was very late. Lakshmi Das, the clerk and I, placed it on his grave to give peace to his departed soul. Now, I request you to come here and visit his grave so that he can get eternal peace.
Q22. Lakshmi Das, the clerk, to whom Alt had given the money, makes a diary entry regretting his misbehavior towards Alt when he pestered him. Imagine you are Lakshmi Das and make a diary entry.
Ans: Monday. 17th December,
20XX; 10 : 00 pm
Today I feel that we must not misbehave with anybody for any reason. gut I did it with the old man All who did not deserve any rudeness. He loved his daughter and waited for her letter for a long while. He was dying to know the well-being of his daughter. He would come to the postoffice every day in the morning. He waited for the whole day every day for five years but did not receive any letter. He was suffering from loneliness and I should have understood his situation. The postmaster insulted him greatly when All came to him. He knew that- he would not live long enough to receive a letter from his daughter. So, he offered me five gold coins as he wanted me to place his daughter's letter on his grave. Now I think that I should have promised to deliver the letter without taking any money. I must have respected his feelings and love towards his daughter. I pray God to forgive me for my rude behavior towards All; Lakshmi Pas
Q23. "But when the evening of his life was drawing in, he left his old ways and suddenly took a turn." What was the change in All's nature towards the end of his life? What was the reason for this transformation?
Ans: Ali was a hunter in his youth. He killed many birds and animals and left their families with the pain of separation. But when his daughter 'Miriam' married and went far from him, then he too suffered the pain of separation. He realized that it was really difficult to live without our near and dear ones. Life became a burden for Ali as no one was. there to show him love and sympathy. He gave up hunting and decided that he would never hurt any bird or animal. His heart was completely changed after the marriage of his only child. He understood the real meaning of love and acute pain of separation. He had no news of his daughter, even though he used to go to the postoffice every day in the hope of a letter from her, He was dying to know about the well being of his daughter. But he did not receive any letter and his heart was filled with sorrow due to this.
Q24. You are Lakshmi Das. The night after your visit All's grave, you make a diary entry about this extraordinary man and your relationship with him.
18th December, 2012 10:00 pm
Today I kept my promise, as I placed the letter of Miriam at Ali's grave. Ali had given me five gold coins for delivering his letter. These cows were his entire savings. He was a coachman and a good hunter. He loved to hunt birds and animals. His daughter was against his hobby of hunting birds and animals. When he grew old, his daughter Miriam got married to a soldier and want far away from him. Then he suffered pangs of loneliness and separation and gave up hunting His determination was great and for five long years he unfailingly kept coming to the postoffice every day despite his old age and ill-health. All the people at the postoffice, including me. made fun of him and insulted him many times, but he did not lose his faith and kept coming to the postoffice. This loving father was a marvel of patience and faith. Despite all these incidents, he had faith in me and gave me an important responsibility that I fulfilled today. May his soul rest in peace!
Q25. Imagine you are All's daughter, Miriam. You have learned the miserable condition of your father through your acquaintance. You decide to write a letter to your father at once. Write your letter.
Ans: 10th December,
Dear Abbu How are you? I hope you are fine. It is impossible for me to express how much I miss you! You would be angry with me as I didn't write you a letter for a long while. Please don't take it to heart, as I was really helpless. Around twenty days after my marriage, my husband was transferred to Kashmir by his officers. One day Pakistani troops attacked the area and captured some Indian soldiers and civil Due to our bad luck, my husband and I, too, were caught. Just a few days ago all of us were set free because of a deal between the two countries. Now, we are planning to meet you soon. I apologize for all the mistakes I have ever made. I respect your feelings for me. May you live long! With love
Q26. Tortured by doubt and remorse, the postmaster sits in the glow of a charcoal sign that night, waiting for news of his daughter. As he sits, he writes in his diary. As the postmaster, write a diary entry outlining your feelings about the day's events.
Ans: Friday 26th July,
2000 10:00 pm
It has been a torture, waiting to hear from my sick daughter. Now, I will have to spend another night in anxiety. What an eventful day it was! Waiting for my daughter's letter, I was shocked when I picked up Ali's letter thinking it to be my letter! Now, I understand what All must be going through. having waited for five years to hear from his daughter. I regret my haughty behavior with him. This morning something very strange happened. Seeing Ali's letter, I had thought of giving it to him personally. Soon enough, there was a knock at 5 o'clock. I quickly opened the door. Ali was standing there looking all the elder but his eyes were strange. I gave the letter to him. Just then my clerk, Lakshmi Pas called me. When I turned around, Ali was not there and the letter was lying on the floor. Lakshmi Pas told me that Ali had died three months back. This evening, I went with Lakshmi Pas and laid the letter on his grave and asked for forgiveness. Never again will I behave in this manner.