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Very Short Answer Type Important Questions
Q1. How was the author’s first year in the High School?
Ans: His first year of high school was awkward.
Q2. What did the author notice one Sunday afternoon?
Ans: lie noticed some smoke pouring in through the seams of a ceiling.
Q3. What did the author’s mother carry out of the house first of all?
Ans: She ran out of the house carrying a small metal box full of important documents.
Q4. What had happened to the author’s father?
Ans: His father had died when he was young.
Q5. Why did the author’s mother run into the house for the second time?
Ans: She ran into the house for the second time to collect her husband’s letters and pictures.
Q6. Who stopped the author to run into the house?
Ans: A firefighter stopped the author to run into the house.
Q7. What was the author worried about after the fire tragedy?
Ans: He was most worried about his cat because it was missing.
Q8. Where did the author and his mother spend their night after the fire tragedy?
Ans: They spent their night in the house of the author’s grandparents.
Q9. Why did they have to borrow money?
Ans: They had to borrow money because their credit cards, cash or even identification to withdraw money from the bank had burnt in the fire.
Q10. How did the students help the author at school?
Ans: They collected money to buy for him school supplies, notebooks, all kinds of clothes.
Q11. Did the author get his cat back?
Ans: Yes. he got his cat back
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. Why did Zan feel awkward and isolated during his first year of high school?
Ans: Zan’s position during his first year of high school as the junior most class made him feel awkward. The big size of the new school and the separation from his closest friends made him feel isolated.
Q2. Why did the author miss his old teachers?
Ans: The author missed his old teachers because they would encourage him to get involved in school activities so that he could meet new people. They also assured him that he would soon adjust to his new school. Their affection, warmth, and cooperation in making him feel special made the author miss them.
Q3. What kind of day it was when a fire broke out in the author’s house? What were the author and his cat doing at that time?
Ans: It was a Sunday afternoon of a cold and windy winter when the fire broke out. The author was at the dining-room table doing homework with the fire burning in the fireplace. His red tabby cat was lying over his papers, purring loudly and sometimes swatting at his pen.
Q4. What does the author notice one Sunday afternoon? What is his mother’s reaction? What does she do?
Ans: One Sunday afternoon, the author smelled something strange and noticed smoke pouring in through the seams of the ceiling of his house. His mother reacted promptly and the two of them ran out into the front yard. However, she ran back into the house and brought out a small metal box full of important documents.
Q5. What happened to the narrator’s mother when she had run into the burning house?
Ans: The author’s mother inhaled a little smoke when she ran into the burning house. She was rescued by the firemen who put an oxygen mask on her after bringing her out. However, she was fine soon.
Q6. How did Zan’s mother save important documents from the burning house?
Ans: Zan’s mother saved important documents from the burning house by courageously rushing inside the house on fire and bringing out a small metal box that contained those documents. She thus risked her life but eventually succeeded in her mission.
Q7. Why did Zan’s mother run back into the house after having saved the important documents?
“I knew what she was after”. Why does Zan make this observation?
Ans: Zan’s mother ran back to save the pictures and letters of his father who had died when Zan was young. Zan knew that these memories of her husband were extremely precious for her and she did not want them to go up in flames.
Q8. Why did Zan try to run after his mother and why did the fireman hold him back?
Ans: Zan tried to run after his mother because he was afraid of losing her. He was afraid that she might get burnt in the fire. The fireman held him back because Zan’s act was very rash and illogical. the lie could not have saved his mother and would have risked his life as well.
Q9. Who brought out Zan’s mother from the burning house? Why was an oxygen mask put on her?
Ans: A fireman brought Zan’s mother out of the burning house. She had inhaled a little smoke and so he rushed her to the truck and put an oxygen mask on her to facilitate better breathing.
Q10. When did the author realise that his cat was missing?
Ans: After five hours of a raging fire that burnt down the author’s house almost completely, he realised that his cat was missing. He had not seen her all this while and realised to his horror that she was nowhere to be found.
Q11. Why does the narrator say, “I was suffering loss, big time”?
Ans: The author feels that he was suffering loss, big time because he had lost his old dear school and teachers, he had lost his house to the fire, and now he had lost his dear cat whom he loved dearly.
Q12. Why does Zan break down in tears after the fire?
Ans: Zan breaks down in tears after the fire because he had lately been suffering losses. His old school, his house and his cat – all had been lost. The tears were an emotional outburst of a teenager who was struggling with adjustment issues.
Q13. In what condition does the author go to school after the fire incident?
Ans: After the fire incident, the author goes to school wearing the dress that he had worn to church on Sunday morning and the tennis shoes that he had borrowed from his aunt. His shoes, clothes, books, homework, and backpack had been destroyed in the fire.
Q14. Why is the author deeply embarrassed the next day in school? Which words show his fear and insecurity?
Ans: The author is embarrassed because he feels that his appearance is weird without uniform, books and a backpack. His fear and insecurity are shown by the words: “Was I destined to be an outcast and geek all my life?”.
Q15. Why did the author dislike growing up?
Ans: The author disliked growing up because he felt that growing up had brought so many losses with it. He had lost his old school, his friends, his house and most of all his dear pet cat.
Q16. What is surreal? Why does the author feel that everything was surreal?
Ans: Surreal means something strange or unreal. The author felt that everything was surreal because too many unfortunate things had happened to him – his house was burnt down, his cat was lost, his mother was left with no money and he had no books, shoes, clothes and school uniform. His secure zone had been ripped away suddenly and the changes were too much and too many for him to handle.
Q17. What was the extent of the damage caused by the fire?
Ans: All belongings except photo albums, documents and some personal items had got burnt in the fire. Whatever remained had been destroyed by the water and chemicals that had been used to put out the fire.
Q18. The author’s heart ached for his cat but there was no time to grieve. Why? The author felt pain at the loss of his cat but life had to move on.
Ans: He could not grieve as a new place to live had to be found and new clothes had to be bought for school.
Q19. Why did Zan’s mother have to borrow money from his grandparents?
Ans: Zan’s mother had to borrow money from his grandparents because her credit cards, cash and even identification that was needed to draw money from the bank had gotten burnt up in the fire. She had to rent a new place, buy new clothes for Zan and resettle quickly. She did not have time to wait for the recovery of her lost documents till then.
Q20. Why did the narrator go over to his burnt house even though they had rented an apartment nearby?
Ans: The narrator went over to his burnt house even though they had rented an apartment nearby because he hoped that his cat would be found somewhere. He would watch the clearing away of the debris expecting to see his cat.
Q21. What thoughts crossed Zan’s mind when he missed his cat?
Ans: Zan thought of his cat as the vulnerable little kitten who would tag along after him in the morning. He thought of how she would climb up his robe and crawl into his pocket to fall asleep.
Q22. How and why were people acting stranger than usual at Zan’s school?
Ans: When Zan was getting ready for gym class at his locker, people were gathering around him asking him to hurry up. This was stranger than usual as they almost seemed to shove him into the gym. They behaved so because they had put up a surprise collection of school supplies and clothes etc for Zan in the gym.
Q23. What help did the author get from his schoolmates after the fire accident?
What kind of gesture did Zan’s schoolmates show to hint?
Ans: The author’s schoolmates helped him by getting him school supplies, notebooks, and different clothes – jeans, tops, sweatshirts. Those who had never spoken to him introduced themselves and many invited him to their homes.
Q24. Why was the author overcome by emotions when he got help from his schoolmates?
Ans: The author was overcome by emotions when he got help from his schoolmates because they had gone out of their way to bring him the things he needed. He was touched by their genuine outpouring of concern.
Q25. When does the author say “It was like Christmas”? Why?
Ans: The author says this when he gets inside the gym to see the surprise load of school supplies and different clothes on the big table only for him. This seemed like Christmas because these assorted gifts were similar to the surprise gifts that one gets from loved ones on Christmas.
Q26. What made the author finally breathe a sigh of relief?
Ans: The thought for the first time that things were going to be okay made the author finally breathe a sigh of relief. He had made friends in the new school who had a genuine concern for him.
Q27. Why was it different for Zan to see his house getting rebuilt? How did the fire help him?
Ans: It was different to see his house getting rebuilt because Zan wasn’t alone this time. Two of his new friends from school were with him. The fire had helped him by diverting his mind away from his feelings of insecurity. He now opened up to the wonderful people around.
Q28. Where was the cat after the fire? Who brings it back and how?
How did Zan get back his beloved cat?
Ans: The cat had been so freaked by the fire that she had run away over a mile away. A woman brings her back by locating the owners through different sources because the phone number etched on the cat’s collar could not be reached as it had been disconnected due to the fire.
Q29. How did the author’s feelings of loss and tragedy seem to diminish?
Ans: The author felt gratitude for life, his new friends, the kindness of the woman who had rescued his cat and certainly for the life of his beautiful cat. This gratitude diminished his feelings of loss and tragedy.
Q30. What problem does the author face when he moves to a new school?
Ans: In the junior school,l he was the head boy of his class. He was very close to all the teachers. He enjoyed the seniority. But when he joins a new school at senior level, he faces many problems. This school was twice as big as his old school. He felt very isolated.
Q31. Even after taking admission in a new school, why did the author keep visiting his teachers at the old school?
Ans: The author felt very isolated in the new school. It was a big school and nobody knew him there. All his fellow students at the junior school had taken admission in other schools. But he was very close to the teachers of the previous school. So he visited them often.
Q32. What was the effect of the smoke on the author’s mother?
Ans: Their house got a big fire. In a crazed state, she ran inside the house to get the pictures of her dead husband. The second time also she rushed inside. But this time she inhaled smoke. A fireman rescued her from inside the house.
Q33. What does the author notice one Sunday afternoon? What is his mother’s reaction? What does she do?
Ans: The author, while doing his homework, noticed the smoke pouring in through the seams of the ceiling. The room was filled with the smoke very quickly. The author and his mother ran outside to save their life. His mother ran out of the house with a small metal box full of important documents. She became so crazy that she rushed back to the house just after dropping the box.
Q34. Why is the author deeply embarrassed the next day in school? Which words show his fear and insecurity?
Ans: The author was full of remorse as he was left with nothing. He didn’t have a proper dress and study material. He had no backpack. He had a feeling of insecurity. All things appeared strange to him. He was shocked deeply and seemed frustrated. The words uttered by him “Was I destined to be an outcast and a geek all my life? I didn’t want to grow up, change or have to handle life, if it was going to be this way. I just wanted to curl up and die”. These words reveal his fear and insecurity.
Q35. What was the author’s mother doing on a Sunday afternoon?
Ans: It was blowing cold on that Sunday afternoon. And the author was doing homework at the dining table. His mother was fuelling the fire at the fireplace to keep the room warm.
Q36. How did Zan’s mother save important documents from the burning house?
Ans: When the house caught fire, the narrator and his mother were in the house. Zan’s mother ran out of the house carrying a small metal box full of important documents. She again ran back to bring back her husband’s pictures and letters.
Q37. Why did the firemen hold the author?
Ans: The author loved his mother too much. He saw his mother running into the burning house. He got emotionally charged out and tried to follow her. The fireman stopped him forcefully, otherwise, he would have jumped into the fire he could have lost his life.
Q38. Which three things made the author’s house a home?
Ans: The fire tragedy changed the author’s life. He was so depressed that he did not want to grow up and wanted to die. But his reunion with his cat, his new friends in the school and his new house made his house ‘a home’ where he could live.
Q39. 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?
Ans: His schoolmates bought him school supplies, notebooks, all kinds of different clothes for the author in order to help him. It was a matter of surprise and too difficult to believe for him. He got emotional satisfaction. People who had never spoken, introduced themselves one by one. All things seemed new and got back his interest in life. Now, he had all the things whatever he used to have. He started enjoying his life as usual.
Q40. What happened to the author’s cat after his house was burned down?
Ans: When the fire broke, almost the entire house was burnt. The author realised that the cat was nowhere to be found. It was clear that the cat might have been injured due to fire or run away due to fear.
Q41. How did Zan go to the school the next day after a fire burned down his house?
Ans: Next day, the author went to school in an embarrassing situation. He was not in school uniform. He looked weird in his clothes. He had neither books nor bags. He felt as if he was an outcast and wanted to die.
Q42. Why did the author, Zan, love his cat so much?
Ans: He had a pet cat which was his constant companion and source of entertainment. He was fond of her and could never think of living away from her. He had a special bond with her because he had rescued her when she was a small kitten.
Q43. How did the narrator realise that he was not alone in the world?
Ans: Unfortunately, a fierce fire had burnt down the narrator’s house. He had lost everything in the fire and become deserted. But he went to school the following day and found that his friends were also worried about this incident. They gave him many things. Thus, the feeling of his insecurity gradually vanished and he realised that he had many friends to decrease his problems. He became open up to all the wonderful people around him.
Q44. What happened to the narrator’s cat?
Ans: The narrator loved his cat very much. Unfortunately, a fierce fire broke into his house and burnt down everything. His cat was found nowhere in the house. Anything might have happened to the cat. It might have been either injured in the fire or run away to save its life.
Q45. When the narrator’s house was on fire, how did his mother try to save the threads of life?
Ans: When the fierce fire broke out in the narrator’s house, his mother ran to the house repeatedly. She had to save the threads of life. She ran to the house to collect important documents. She also tried to save the pictures of her husband and letters because they were the precious gifts of time for her.
Q46. How did the author get rid of his feelings of loss and tragedy?
Ans: His new friends in the new school and the kindness of the lady, who returned his cat, helped the author in getting rid of his feelings of loss and tragedy. He regained confidence. Now he wanted to live happily in his new home.
Important Long Questions
Q1. The cat and the author are very fond of each other. How has this been shown in the story?
Ans: 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.
Q2. 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 normalising his life after the fire accident?
Ans: 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. 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.
Q3. 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?
Ans: 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.
Q4. Describe the fire tragedy that struck Zan’s house?
Ans: 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 his 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.
Q5. 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
Ans: 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.
Q6. 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.
Ans:(Day & date) (Time)
A month ago, I found a beautiful red tabby cat strolling on 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
Q7. Describe the author’s experience at school after the fire tragedy.
Ans: 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 in 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 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.
Q8. 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.?
Ans: 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 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.
Q9. 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’.
Ans: 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 in a new school also makes him feel isolated. But very soon, all his problems came 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.
Q10. The value of a person in one’s surrounding is truly known in one’s hardship. Comment with reference to the story ‘A House is not a Home’.
Ans: 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 to 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.
Q11. The lady who handed over Zan’s cat to him did a noble deed. Write a few reasons to appreciate her deed.
Ans: 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 wonder for him. Really, she did a noble deed.
Q12. Zan’s life, one month after the fire incident, was happier than his earlier life. Discuss a few reasons for this change.
Ans: 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.
Q13. How is a Home different from a House? Explain with reference to the lesson ‘A House Is Not a Home’.
Ans: Life without love is not life. Human relationship is based on love. The title itself indicates it 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 schools, he could not adjust 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 any more. He started building a new house. But it was not home, as a house is a homeonly when there is 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.
Q14. The teachers and students in the school were aware of Zan’s plight. What did they do to help him?
Ans: 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 him 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.