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NCERT Textbook - How I Taught My Grandmother To Read Notes | Study English Class 9 - Class 9

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FICTION FICTION
FICTION FICTION FICTION
CBSE
1 1
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F. 1    How I Taught My Grandmother To Read
by Sudha Murty
ardent: showing strong feelings
3
1.   Write about the following memories or experiences. Share your views with the 
class.
i) A  memorable holiday spent with your grandmother
ii) A story told by your grandmother
iii) The things you admire the most about your grandmother
iv) The difference between your mother and your grandmother
2.   Have you ever been on a trip to any place in India, where you didn't know the 
language spoken locally? How did you feel? How did you manage to 
communicate?
3.   Now read the text
1. When I was a girl of about twelve, I used to stay in a village in north Karnataka with 
my grandparents. Those days, the transport system was not very good, so we 
used to get the morning paper only in the afternoon. The weekly magazine used to 
come one day late. All of us would wait eagerly for the bus, which used to come 
with the papers, weekly magazines and the post.
2. At that time, Triveni was a very popular writer in the Kannada language. She was a 
wonderful writer. Her style was easy to read and very convincing. Her stories 
usually dealt with complex psychological problems in the lives of ordinary people 
and were always very interesting. Unfortunately for Kannada literature, she died 
very young. Even now, after forty years, people continue to appreciate her novels.
3. One of her novels, called Kashi Yatre, was appearing as a serial in the Kannada 
weekly Karmaveera then. It is the story of an old lady and her ardent desire to go 
to Kashi or Varanasi. Most Hindus believe that going to Kashi and worshipping 
Lord Vishweshwara is the ultimate punya. This old lady also believed in this, and 
Page 4


FICTION FICTION
FICTION FICTION FICTION
CBSE
1 1
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F. 1    How I Taught My Grandmother To Read
by Sudha Murty
ardent: showing strong feelings
3
1.   Write about the following memories or experiences. Share your views with the 
class.
i) A  memorable holiday spent with your grandmother
ii) A story told by your grandmother
iii) The things you admire the most about your grandmother
iv) The difference between your mother and your grandmother
2.   Have you ever been on a trip to any place in India, where you didn't know the 
language spoken locally? How did you feel? How did you manage to 
communicate?
3.   Now read the text
1. When I was a girl of about twelve, I used to stay in a village in north Karnataka with 
my grandparents. Those days, the transport system was not very good, so we 
used to get the morning paper only in the afternoon. The weekly magazine used to 
come one day late. All of us would wait eagerly for the bus, which used to come 
with the papers, weekly magazines and the post.
2. At that time, Triveni was a very popular writer in the Kannada language. She was a 
wonderful writer. Her style was easy to read and very convincing. Her stories 
usually dealt with complex psychological problems in the lives of ordinary people 
and were always very interesting. Unfortunately for Kannada literature, she died 
very young. Even now, after forty years, people continue to appreciate her novels.
3. One of her novels, called Kashi Yatre, was appearing as a serial in the Kannada 
weekly Karmaveera then. It is the story of an old lady and her ardent desire to go 
to Kashi or Varanasi. Most Hindus believe that going to Kashi and worshipping 
Lord Vishweshwara is the ultimate punya. This old lady also believed in this, and 
CBSE
Fiction
4
savouring: enjoying an  experience slowly in order to appreciate it as much as possible.
her struggle to go there was described in that novel. In the story, there was also a 
young orphan girl who falls in love but there was no money for the wedding. In the 
end, the old lady gives away all her savings without going to Kashi. She says, 'The 
happiness of this orphan girl is more important than worshipping Lord 
Vishweshwara at Kashi.'
4. My grandmother, Krishtakka, never went to school so she could not read. Every 
Wednesday, the magazine would come and I would read the next episode of this 
story to her. During that time, she would forget all her work and listen with the 
greatest concentration. Later, she could repeat the entire text by heart. My 
grandmother too never went to Kashi, and she identified herself with the novel's 
protagonist. So more than anybody else she was the one most interested in 
knowing what happened next in the story and used to insist that I read the serial 
out to her.
5. After hearing what happened next in Kashi Yatre, she would join her friends at the 
temple courtyard where we children would also gather to play hide and seek. She 
would discuss the latest episode with her friends. At that time, I never understood 
why there was so much of debate about the story.
6. Once I went for a wedding with my cousins to the neighbouring village. In those 
days, a wedding was a great event. We children enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. 
We would eat and play endlessly, savouring the freedom because all the elders 
were busy. I went for a couple of days but ended up staying there for a week.
7. When I came back to my village, I saw my grandmother in tears. I was surprised, 
for I had never seen her cry even in the most difficult situations. What had 
happened? I was worried.
8. 'Avva, is everything all right? Are you ok?'
9. I used to call her Avva, which means mother in the Kannada spoken in north 
Karnataka.
10. She nodded but did not reply. I did not understand and forgot about it. In the night, 
after dinner, we were sleeping in the open terrace of the house. It was a summer 
night and there was a full moon. Avva came and sat next to me. Her affectionate 
hands touched my forehead. I realized she wanted to speak. I asked her, 'What is 
the matter?'
11. 'When I was a young girl I lost my mother. There was nobody to look after and 
guide me. My father was a busy man and got married again. In those days people 
never considered education essential for girls, so I never went to school. I got 
Page 5


FICTION FICTION
FICTION FICTION FICTION
CBSE
1 1
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F. 1    How I Taught My Grandmother To Read
by Sudha Murty
ardent: showing strong feelings
3
1.   Write about the following memories or experiences. Share your views with the 
class.
i) A  memorable holiday spent with your grandmother
ii) A story told by your grandmother
iii) The things you admire the most about your grandmother
iv) The difference between your mother and your grandmother
2.   Have you ever been on a trip to any place in India, where you didn't know the 
language spoken locally? How did you feel? How did you manage to 
communicate?
3.   Now read the text
1. When I was a girl of about twelve, I used to stay in a village in north Karnataka with 
my grandparents. Those days, the transport system was not very good, so we 
used to get the morning paper only in the afternoon. The weekly magazine used to 
come one day late. All of us would wait eagerly for the bus, which used to come 
with the papers, weekly magazines and the post.
2. At that time, Triveni was a very popular writer in the Kannada language. She was a 
wonderful writer. Her style was easy to read and very convincing. Her stories 
usually dealt with complex psychological problems in the lives of ordinary people 
and were always very interesting. Unfortunately for Kannada literature, she died 
very young. Even now, after forty years, people continue to appreciate her novels.
3. One of her novels, called Kashi Yatre, was appearing as a serial in the Kannada 
weekly Karmaveera then. It is the story of an old lady and her ardent desire to go 
to Kashi or Varanasi. Most Hindus believe that going to Kashi and worshipping 
Lord Vishweshwara is the ultimate punya. This old lady also believed in this, and 
CBSE
Fiction
4
savouring: enjoying an  experience slowly in order to appreciate it as much as possible.
her struggle to go there was described in that novel. In the story, there was also a 
young orphan girl who falls in love but there was no money for the wedding. In the 
end, the old lady gives away all her savings without going to Kashi. She says, 'The 
happiness of this orphan girl is more important than worshipping Lord 
Vishweshwara at Kashi.'
4. My grandmother, Krishtakka, never went to school so she could not read. Every 
Wednesday, the magazine would come and I would read the next episode of this 
story to her. During that time, she would forget all her work and listen with the 
greatest concentration. Later, she could repeat the entire text by heart. My 
grandmother too never went to Kashi, and she identified herself with the novel's 
protagonist. So more than anybody else she was the one most interested in 
knowing what happened next in the story and used to insist that I read the serial 
out to her.
5. After hearing what happened next in Kashi Yatre, she would join her friends at the 
temple courtyard where we children would also gather to play hide and seek. She 
would discuss the latest episode with her friends. At that time, I never understood 
why there was so much of debate about the story.
6. Once I went for a wedding with my cousins to the neighbouring village. In those 
days, a wedding was a great event. We children enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. 
We would eat and play endlessly, savouring the freedom because all the elders 
were busy. I went for a couple of days but ended up staying there for a week.
7. When I came back to my village, I saw my grandmother in tears. I was surprised, 
for I had never seen her cry even in the most difficult situations. What had 
happened? I was worried.
8. 'Avva, is everything all right? Are you ok?'
9. I used to call her Avva, which means mother in the Kannada spoken in north 
Karnataka.
10. She nodded but did not reply. I did not understand and forgot about it. In the night, 
after dinner, we were sleeping in the open terrace of the house. It was a summer 
night and there was a full moon. Avva came and sat next to me. Her affectionate 
hands touched my forehead. I realized she wanted to speak. I asked her, 'What is 
the matter?'
11. 'When I was a young girl I lost my mother. There was nobody to look after and 
guide me. My father was a busy man and got married again. In those days people 
never considered education essential for girls, so I never went to school. I got 
CBSE
Fiction
5
married very young and had children. I became very busy. Later I had 
grandchildren and always felt so much happiness in cooking and feeding all of 
you. At times I used to regret not going to school, so I made sure that my children 
and grandchildren studied well ...'
12. I could not understand why my sixty-two-year-old grandmother was telling me, a 
twelve-year-old, the story of her life in the middle of the night. But I knew I loved her 
immensely and there had to be some reason why she was talking to me. I looked 
at her face. It was unhappy and her eyes were filled with tears. She was a good-
looking lady who was usually always smiling. Even today, I cannot forget the 
worried expression on her face. I leaned forward and held her hand.
13. 'Avva, don't cry. What is the matter? Can I help you in any way?'
14. 'Yes, I need your help. You know when you were away, Karmaveera came as 
usual. I opened the magazine. I saw the picture that accompanies the story of 
Kashi Yatre and I could not understand anything that was written. Many times, I 
rubbed my hands over the pages wishing they could understand what was written. 
But I knew it was not possible. If only I was educated enough. I waited eagerly for 
you to return. I felt you would come early and read for me. I even thought of going 
to the village and asking you to read for me. I could have asked somebody in this 
village but I was too embarrassed to do so. I felt so very dependent and helpless. 
We are well-off, but what use is money when I cannot be independent?'
15. I did not know what to answer. Avva continued.
16. 'I have decided I want to learn the Kannada alphabet from tomorrow onwards. I will 
work very hard. I will keep Saraswati Pooja day during Dassara as the deadline. 
That day I should be able to read a novel on my own. I want to be independent.'
17. I saw the determination on her face. Yet I laughed at her.
18. 'Avva, at this age of sixty-two you want to learn the alphabet? All your hair is grey, 
your hands are wrinkled, you wear spectacles and you work so much in the 
kitchen...'
19. Childishly I made fun of the old lady. But she just smiled.
20. 'For a good cause if you are determined, you can overcome any obstacle. I will 
work harder than anybody but I will do it. For learning there is no age bar.'
21. The next day onwards, I started my tuition. Avva was a wonderful student. The 
amount of homework she did was amazing. She would read, repeat, write and 
recite. I was her only teacher and she was my first student. Little did I know then 
that one day I would become a teacher in Computer Science and teach hundreds 
of students. 
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