LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
1. What is the theme of the lesson ‘The Letter’ written by Dhumaketu?
Ans: Love is the foundation of the entire universe and the desire to love and be loved is intrinsic in the nature of Man. The relationship of a parent and child forms the core-center of the universe and no other relationship can equal it in intensity. Grief and separation from a child become very poignant and unbearable for a father and eternal wait for a child’s letter can prove to be a real torture. Coachman Ali is a symbol of endless patience, perseverance and his unshaken faith in Miriam’s letter doesn’t end with his death. Moreover, a grieving father can only understand the trauma and suffering of another father. The Pain and suffering bring people together even if they are poles apart. So the author advocates the need for compassion, understanding, brotherhood, and empathy for the needy. Only this can sustain us in life.
2. Imagine you are Laxmi Das and have returned home after placing Miriam’s letter on Ali’s grave. You are confused and troubled by the postmaster’s remarks. You also feel ashamed of having accepted 5 guineas from Ali to deliver Ali’s letter to his grave. Make a diary entry expressing your feelings. (100 to 125 words)
Today I am expressing my heartfelt sorrow for the kind of treatment we all gave to Ali. I am deeply ashamed of my behavior, but what has happened cannot be undone. I will never excuse myself for taking money from poor Ali, just to deliver a letter which should have been my duty otherwise also. I do not know how I couldn’t feel Ali’s misery his feelings, his pain and anguish in those days. Maybe our routine lives make us so inhuman. Nevertheless, there is some consolation that Miriam’s letter did reach Ali, even if it was on his grave.
3. The postmaster feels guilty when he finds that Ali is no longer alive. He writes a letter to Miriam explaining to her about Ali’s wait for her letter and his death. Write the letter in 100-125 words. [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
10 August, 2010
This letter is going to surprise you immensely but it was very much needed. Your father, Ali, kept waiting desperately for your letter. Everyday he would come to the post office, in sickness or in bad weather, face the taunts of all the staff, just for your letter. When your letter came, he was dead, so we kept your letter on his grave. We offer you our heartfelt condolences.
4. “Ali’s wait for his daughter’s letter extends beyond his grave.” Bring out the truth of this statement by referring to the lesson ‘The Letter’.
Ans: A parent’s entire life revolves around his child. A father is totally oblivious of his discomfort or suffering, in looking after his child. A child forms the core-center of its parent’s universe. Pain of separation from a child is intolerable for a father. Coachman Ali’s life had changed dramatically after his daughter Miriam left him, after getting married to a soldier. Ali was desperate to know of her welfare but for five long years he never received a reply. Sickness, ridicule, sarcasm, nothing seemed to affect him. Ali relentlessly visited the post office before dawn and came back only after night. His diehard optimism, unshaken faith in Miriam’s letter remained steadfast. The death of his physical body couldn’t stop this eternal guest. He promptly appears to receive Miriam’s letter, at the stroke of five. An unearthly light and tears on his face, made the postmaster shrink back in fear and amazement. Ali ceased to exist in his physical body but the yearnings of his indomitable spirit are satisfied. His infinite patience wins in the end, even though he is dead.
5. Miriam visits her father’s grave, after his death, and is full of remorse and guilt to see her ‘unread’ letter lying on his grave. She is speechless to know of her father’s undying and unshaken faith and his endless wait for her letter. On her behalf, write an article, in the memory of her father titled, “Endless wait of a father.”
Imagine you are Miriam, the coachman’s daughter. Write a diary page, expressing your grief on your father’s demise and sharing your feelings of nostalgia. [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
I am in a state of utter shock and I chastise myself thoroughly for my own conduct. How could I have been so thoughtless? How could I not have foreseen that a father’s heart will never rest in peace until he hears of the welfare of his child. I became so preoccupied in my own routine life and adjustments to marital life that I forgot that my father is old and sick. I feel so depressed to realise the mental agony that my father underwent. A word from me could have saved him from his daily trek to the post office, the insulting remarks of all others. My father tolerated so much for me. To see the unread letter on his grave is a scene, I will never forget. I don’t know how to reach him, how to compensate for my behavior. Oh God! I just pray for his soul to rest in peace.
6. What is the role of ‘the letter’ in the story by ‘Dhumketu? [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Ans: Letter plays a very significant role in the story. The writer wants to depict that the letters are not just envelopes and postcards, but they have great human worth. The main protagonist, Ali, visits the post office every day in the hope of receiving a letter from his daughter who is married and lives with her husband. The people in the post office ignore him as a mad man. One day he visits the post office in bad health and gives money to one of the clerks to keep his daughter’s letter on his grave. Ali’s prediction proves true and he is not seen for some time. By a strange turn of fate, the postmaster, who even called Ali a pest, finds himself in a similar situation as his daughter is not well, in another city, he anxiously waits for her letter. Now he realises the value of a child’s letter for a father. He chances upon Miriam’s letter and thinks of delivering the letter personally to Ali. He is shocked to learn that Ali has been dead for the past three months. The clerk recounts his last meeting with Ali. Both postmaster and the clerk visit Ali’s grave and place the letter on it. Thus the letter plays a significant role in the story by Dhumketu.
7. Imagine Ali writes a letter to one of his friends about what he does before his death. Write that letter on his behalf. [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Today I am feeling extremely sad, my health is deteriorating day by day and the day is not far when I would leave this material world. But before dying, I have taken a harsh decision of bribing the clerk of the post office, against my wishes, to keep Miriam’s letter at my grave.
Dear Abdul, as you know, my whole life revolved around Miriam. After the death of her mother I acted both as a father and mother to her. She is the core-center of my universe. But after her marriage she has gone to live with her husband and I waited for her letter for five long years which I haven’t yet received. I continuously visited the post office for all these years every day, without fail, and bore the ridicule and sarcasm of the post office employees. But my unshaken faith in Miriam’s letter remained steadfast.
Today my endless patience and perseverance gave way. Moreover, my failing health doesn’t permit me to go to the post office every day. So I have given five guineas to a clerk, Lakshmi Das, at the post office and extracted a promise from him that he will deliver Miriam’s letter to my grave, otherwise I will not find peace in another world also.
Can’t write the words ‘see you soon’ as I may not get a chance to see you.
Request you to take care of Miriam after my death.
Yours very own