Q. 1. “The best way of getting known to a place is to visit it.” Which place does Masti Venkatesha Iyengar refer to? What do you learn about it?
Ans. The author refers to Hosahalli, the village of Rangappa and the narrator. Hosahalli is a nondescriptive village in Mysore State. There is no mention of the village in any geographical book. Nobody in the outside world probably knows that such a place exists. Even the car drivers knew nothing about it. However, the writer gives a detailed description of the village. He mentions some of its specialities. There are some mango trees in the village. If you happen to taste a raw mango from one of them, you will come to know the extreme potency of sourness. Once the writer took one such fruit home and a chutney was made out of it. All of them ate it. They suffered from severe cough and had to get cough medicine from the doctor. Then, there is a creeper growing in the water of the village pond. Its flowers are very beautiful to look at. If you get two leaves from the creeper while bathing in the pond, you will not need your afternoon meal.
Q. 2. Why was Ranga’s homecoming a great event? What was the reaction of the people when they saw him?
Ans. Ten years ago Ranga, the son of the village accountant, had gone to Bengaluru for studies. Those days very few people in the village knew English. They talked in Kannada and rarely brought in English while talking. Ranga came back home after six months. His homecoming was a great event. When the news of his arrival spread, there was a great stir in the village. The people flocked to his home in a large number. They were eager to know what changes had occurred in Ranga. When they found that it was the same old Ranga who had left six months ago, they were greatly disappointed. An old woman who was standing close to him ran her hand over his chest, looked into eyes and said, “The Janewara is still there. He hasn’t lost this caste.” She went away soon after that. Slowly the other people also melted away.
Q. 3. How did the narrator come to know Ranga’s views about marriage? Why was he distressed to know them?
Ans. A large number of people came to have a look at Ranga when he came back home. The narrator was also amongst them. When everyone left, he went to Ranga and greeted him. Ranga came near him and did a ‘namaskara’ respectfully in a traditional manner. He bent low and touched his feet. The narrator blessed him, “May you get married soon.” After exchanging a few jokes he left. That afternoon Ranga came to the narrator’s house with a couple of oranges. The narrator thought it would be a fine thing to have such a considerate and generous fellow marry, settle down and be of service to the society. He asked Ranga when he plans to get married. Ranga saidthat he was not going to get married. He said that he was against traditional arranged marriage. He must find the right girl. The girl must be one that he admired and who was mature. He had decided not to marry since it was difficult to find the right girl. The narrator was distressed to know that the boy who he thought would be a good husband had decided to remain a bachelor.
Q. 4. Why and how did the narrator bring Ranga and Ratna together?
Ans. The narrator had made up his mind to get Ranga married. He knew Rama Rao’s niece Ratna, who had recently come to the village. She was a pretty girl of eleven. She had come from a big town. She knew to play veena and harmonium. She also had a sweet voice. Her parents had died. So Rama Rao had brought her home. The narrator thought that Ranga was a suitable boy for her. He worked out a clever plan to bring them together. Ratna was quite free with him as he visited Rama Rao’s house frequently. The next morning he went to Rama Rao’s house and told his wife that he would send some buttermilk for her so she should send Ratna to fetch it. When Ratna came, he made her sit in his room and requested her to sing a song. In the meantime he sent for Ranga. When Ranga came to his house, Ratna was singing.
Q. 5. What estimate do you form of Ranga?
Ans. Ranga is a typical South Indian young man whose feet are firmly entrenched in the traditional Indian culture but head is swayed by the latest acquisition of English language and ways of life. He seems to have attained marriageable age according to the norms prevalent in society at that time. The narrator finds him generous and considerate. The young man could rightly assess a person’s worth and knew when it would be to his advantage to talk to someone. At first Ranga seemed to be in favour of love marriage—marrying a girl of one’s choice, whom one loved and who would be mature enough to understand love talk and reciprocate it. The systematic steps taken by the narrator to rope in Ranga to marry Ratna shows that the young man has a sensitive heart. Ranga’s act of naming his golden boy ‘Shyama’ after the dark coloured narrator Shyama shows his adherence to the English custom of naming the child after someone you like. Above all, Ranga appears as a smart but lovable fellow.