Q.1. The cat and the author are very fond of each other. How has this been shown in the story?
- The red tabby cat had been rescued by the author when she was a helpless kitten. She would never be far from him and knew that he was the one responsible for giving her a good life.
- He would get up early in the morning and teasingly disturb her. She would then tag along after him, climb up his robe and crawl into his pocket to fall asleep.
- Zan loved her so much that he would allow the cat to sit over his papers and swat at his pen while he did his homework.
- He missed her terribly after losing her and would go over to watch the clearing of debris with the hope to find her somewhere.
- When she was restored back to Zan, the cat purred as happily as the author felt elated to get her back. Even the woman who rescued the cat knew that she was loved and sorely missed.
Q.2. What actions of the schoolmates change the author’s understanding of life and people, and comfort him emotionally? How does his loneliness vanish and how does he start participating in life?
What role did Zan’s school play in normalizing his life after the fire accident?
- After the loss of all his belongings in the fire that ravaged his house, Zan, the narrator, started feeling depressed and embarrassed.
- At this time, the friendly and helpful actions of his schoolmates changed his understanding of life and people and comforted him emotionally. His schoolmates took up a collection and bought him school supplies, notebooks, and all kinds of clothes – jeans, tops, and sweats, etc.
- Those who had never spoken to him before came up to him and introduced themselves. Many invited him to their houses. Their genuine concern touched Zan.
- He felt relieved and began to believe that everything would be okay. He stopped focussing on his feelings of insecurity and opened up to all the wonderful people around him. The company of his new friends and sharing joys with them made his loneliness vanish and reconnected him to live.
Q.3. What is the meaning of “My cat was back and so was I”? Had the author gone anywhere? Why does he say that he is also back?
- Zan’s cat was brought back home after more than a month of absence. She had run away due to fear of fire and could not be brought back early as her collar had those phone numbers that had got disconnected due to the fire.
- Zan too was back to his normal cheerful life. His absence was emotional, unlike the physical absence of his cat.
- Zan says that he is also back since he wants to point out the return of his faith in the goodness of life.
- He had drifted away from joys of friendship and comfort of familiarity on moving to a new school. By the time his cat returned, his gratitude for life had also returned in the company of new friends.
Q.4. Describe the fire tragedy that struck Zan’s house?
- What was stoked to keep the house nice and warm, triggered a major fire break out that turned Zan’s house to cinders and left him and his mother devastated.
- At first, Zan only smelled something strange but soon noticed smoke pouring in through the seams of the ceiling. The smoke filled the room quickly and Zan and his mother could barely see. Somehow, they groped their way to the front door and ran out into the front yard.
- No sooner had they made their way outside than the whole roof was engulfed in flames, and the fire spread quickly. Zan ran to his neighbours to call the fire department and his mother ran back into the house and soon came out carrying a small metal box full of important documents.
- She rushed back into the house to retrieve her husband’s pictures and letters – the only things she had to remember him by.
- Zan tried to run after her but was stopped by a fireman. The fire truck had already arrived and was busy dousing the fire. Some firefighters ran into the house and safely brought out Zan’s mother and gave her an oxygen mask because she had inhaled smoke.
- It took five hours to finally put out the fire but the house was almost completely burnt and there was the sign of Zan’s pet cat. Zan feared that she was burnt alive.
Q.5. What values in Zan’s mother endeared him to her? Zan’s mother was his sole support after the death of his father. She carried out her responsibilities as a single parent with complete devotion. Zan loved her a lot and obeyed all that she
- Asked him to do because he respected her for her value of devotion towards him. He willingly changed school and tried to adjust to the new environment because he knew his mother was doing everything for his good.
- She valued memories and knew the significance of the letters and pictures of her late husband. She risked her life to recover these things and thus displayed the value of courage.
- Her son, Zan, acknowledged this value when he evaluated the few things that could be saved from the fire, all because of his mother’s courage. She possessed the value of emotional strength and hence quickly brought back normalcy to Zan’s life by sending him to school the next day after the fire incident.
- Zan admired her because of her positive values both as a mother and as a human being. That is why he rushed after her to save her from the fire, without worrying about his own safety, because he did not want to lose her at any cost.
Q.6. Suppose you are the woman who rescued Zan’s cat. Write a diary entry in about 150 words describing how you found the cat, what efforts you had to make to trace its home, and how happy you felt after handing over the cat to its rightful owner.
(Day & date)
A month ago, I found a beautiful red tabby cat strolling in my porch. The cat was healthy and clean. Her appearance indicated that she was a much loved and adored pet. I moved closer to the scared little thing and saw that it had a collar on it. I noted down the phone number etched on its collar and took the cat in before calling up its owners.
I fed milk and biscuits to the cute furry thing and she purred gently as if expressing gratitude for having rescued her. Then I put an old rug in a basket and made it her new comfortable home.
I sat down by the fire and tried to call the number of its owners.
Unfortunately, the number seemed out of order. Then I searched the telephone directory to locate the address of the owners given against the phone number. Somehow, the directory did not have the complete address but the name of the locality and the city mentioned therein helped me reach the right place. On reaching there, I asked a few locals who guided me to a house under construction.
Lo and behold! I had reached the correct place. I handed over the cat to Zan, its rightful owner. The expression of joy, relief and gratitude on this young boy’s face made my day. I was elated to see his friends jumping around and hugging each other. It was a wonderful day for me because God had given me the opportunity to bring joy to a young boy, his mother and his friends. Tonight I go to bed with gratitude to God for choosing me as an instrument of His goodwill.
Mrs. Hillary G. Thomas
Q.7. Describe the author’s experience at school after the fire tragedy.
- The author had just joined a new school. He was facing a big problem to make himself fit in the new school. Just after a couple of days, his house caught fire. His school bag and shoes had burnt in a fire.
- The next day he went to school. He was around school like a wanderer. Everything appeared to him strange. He did not know what was going to happen to him. He returned home with a broken heart. He was experiencing terrible developments in his life.
- The next day when he went to school; he found a strange atmosphere all around. People were getting together all around him. They had collected money for him and arranged school supplies and clothing for him. This changed his vision for life once again.
Q.8. Have any of your classmates/schoolmates had an experience like the one described in the story where they needed help? Describe how they were helped.
- Two years ago, my friend Raju visited the market to buy some household things. It was a crowded market and a shop caught fire due to a short circuit. The panic-stricken people rushed here and there.
- My friend too was trying to leave that place. He, with three people, got himself locked in a nearby shop to escape from the smoke. But the shop was filled with smoke within a little span of time.
- They felt suffocated by the fumes. They considered that their end was near. In the meantime, a team of an NGO broke open the shutter and took them out of the shop.
- They were hospitalised quickly. I could get my friend back because of the team and the grace of God.
Q.9. Sometimes, unexpected trouble strikes our life. But people around us come to our aid. Describe this with reference to the lesson ‘A House Is Not a Home’.
- In ‘A House Is Not a Home’, the narrator falls into deep trouble. His house is burned down in a fire. He has also shifted to a rented house.
- His joining a new school also makes him feel isolated. But very soon, all his problem comes to an end.
- His schoolmates contribute all the things he needs, including books and clothes. Further, he is greatly sad about the loss of his pet cat.
- A woman in the neighbourhood locates his cat and gives it to him. The narrator feels very happy. He feels that normalcy had been restored in his life. Thus, people around him played a big role in making him happy again.
Q.10. The value of a person in one’s surroundings is truly known in one’s hardship. Comment with reference to the story ‘A House is Not a Home’.
- People in one’s surroundings are sometimes indifferent and less co-operative. They keep busy in their own business, but they are truly known in one’s hardship when they come forward to support whole-heartedly the sufferer.
- In the story ‘A House is Not a Home’, the author felt uncomfortable in the new school because he was not familiar with the school environment, teachers and classmates.
- When he lost each and everything in the fire, he felt insecure and in this harsh time, his schoolmates introduced themselves to him.
- They all contributed and gifted his school supplies. As everyone was aware of his plight, all the teachers knew about his hardship.
- Thus the sympathy and co-operation in school comforted him. Now his opinion changed about his new school and he started making friends.
Q.11. The lady who handed over Zan’s cat to him did a noble deed. Write a few reasons to appreciate her deed.
- The author loved his cat very much. He lost his cat when his house caught fire. He tried to find the cat but did not get her.
- After a month, a woman came to him with his cat. He could not believe it. He grabbed his cat and started jumping.
- The wonderful woman somehow handed over his cat to him. She tried her best to find the owner of the cat. On seeing the collar and the phone number written on it, she decided that the cat was loved and missed.
- She was a good lady. She realized the feeling of the owner of the cat. The author called her wonderful as getting his cat back was no less than a wonder for him. Really, she did a noble deed.
Q.12. Zan’s life, one month after the fire incident, was happier than his earlier life. Discuss a few reasons for this change.
- Zan is a schoolboy who moves from Junior school to High School. He finds some initial problems in adjusting to life in the new school.
- Unfortunately, his house gets burned down in a fire and he is in deep trouble. But his schoolmates help him out by providing everything to him. A neighbour also greatly increases his joy by helping him to find his lost cat.
- So the narrator manages to become happy again after facing a lot of troubles. The affection he gets from many people touched him. He is able to get rid of his insecurity and opens up to others. A new chapter has opened in his life.
Q.13. How is a Home different from a House? Explain with reference to the lesson ‘A House Is Not a Home’.
- Life without love is not life. Human relationship is based on love. The title itself indicates clearly that a house is not a home without love.
- The author had to face adverse circumstances in his life. He was a fatherless boy. He led a satisfactory life with his old friends and teachers. But when he changed his school, he could not adjust himself to the new environment. He felt alienated.
- Later, his house caught fire and he lost all the things, including his cat. He started feeling dejected and isolated. Life had no interest in him anymore.
- He started building a new house. But it was not home, as a house is a home only when there are love and happiness. The author did not have any attachment to the new house. His reunion with his cat, his new friends, and the new house-made his house a home.
Q.14. The teachers and students in the school were aware of Zan’s plight. What did they do to help him?
- The author’s friends played a vital role in rebuilding his life. He was a fatherless boy. His mother looked after him. He had a chat with her and he loved her very much.
- Then his house caught fire, he lost everything. He, in his new school, did not feel good. He kept visiting his old school and teachers. His life had become dull. He had lost all hopes to live.
- When he visited his new school the next day, he found the atmosphere strange. His new friends provided him with all the necessary items. They invited him to their homes.
- All this contributed a lot to the author. He lost the feeling of isolation, dejection, and insecurity. He started leading a happy life again.