Here you get the portrait of a lady's class 11 question answers and the previous year's question paper solution of AHSEC. Also get hornbill chapter 1  summary and important notes, extra questions ncert solutions.


portrait-of-a-lady-class-11-ahsec

Summary of the Chapter

It is a very heart-warming story presented by Khuswant Singh. The writer describes his relationship with his grandmother in this story. He describes her as short, fat, and a little stooped. He tells that she always used to sing silent prayed from beads of the rosary which concludes that she was a religious lady.

The writer further states that when he was a kid it was hard for him to believe that his grandmother was once a beautiful lady. He was staying with his grandmother in a village as his parents went to live in the city. He explains the bond shared by him and his grandmother. His grandmother used to help him in getting ready for school, prepare meals for him when the authors got enrolled in an English medium school, the grandmother was unhappy, as he was not taught about spirituality there. This brought about a turning point in their relationship. After school, the writer went to study abroad. Grandmother felt alone but she accepted it. She spent her days by feeding sparrows and singing prayers. When the writer returned from abroad after five years, he was welcomed by his grandmother on the station which made him feel happy. Suddenly, grandmother fell ill. She knew that her end was near. she continued to murmur the silent prayers and finally ascended to heaven.

Thus the story throws light on the need for companionship felt by our elders. It also shows how love and emotion are experienced by human beings as well as by animals and birds too.

Textual Question Answer

Understanding the text

1. The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother
before he left the country to study abroad.
Ans: (i) In the village where the author lived without his parents, the grandmother took full care of him like waking him up, bath, making him ready and taking him to school, etc. They were inseparable buddies

(ii) In the city, they shared the same room but the granny could not take him to school as he traveled on a bus. Their closeness began to decrease.

(iii) Gradually the author became busy with his school activities, his studies increased and he started using difficult words to his grandmother. She found it uncomfortable with the new topics of studies and hurt to know that there were music lessons in the new school. After that, she started being with herself and their friendship became weaker.

2. Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when
he started going to the city school. (2016)
Ans: (i) The grandmother was disturbed because she could not do many things for her grandchild when he went to the new school. She could not accompany him to school and get him bathed or do other things for him.

(ii) The author began to study more and mention some difficult subjects. The grandmother felt unhappy not being able to help him in his studies anymore. Moreover, she was angry to know that there were no lessons of God and of the scriptures.

(iii) She was terribly hurt to know that there were music lessons in the city school, she did not like music at all.

3. Mention three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up. (2012, 17)
Ans: (i) The grandmother spent most of her time spinning the wheel.

(ii) She recited prayers, read the scriptures, and told the beads of a rosary.

(iii) In the afternoon she fed the sparrows in the verandah.

4. The odd way in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before
she died.
Ans: When the author's grandmother had a fever, she said that her death was approaching. Despite everyone's protests, she kept that her illness was because she had missed her prayers the previous evening. She just waited to pray without wasting a moment. She lay peacefully in bed and started praying and telling her beads. Moments after, the rosary fell from her hand and her lips stopped moving. Peace rested on her face, she had died.

5. The way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the
author’s grandmother died. (2015, 16)
Ans: The grandmother's corpse was being laid on the ground and covered with a red shroud. It turned to the evening when she was taken for cremation. At that time, the usual time for the birds, the sparrows came there but were extremely quiet and patient, they did not make any sound of chirping. When they were given pieces of bread, they did not even look at them. After their old friend was taken away, they too silently flew away. They were grieved immensely.

Talking about the text 

1. The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this? 
Ans: The author's grandmother was a deeply religious woman. she spent most of her time praying and reading the scriptures. She was also engaged in telling the beads of a rosary. She wished that the young generation should be taught to be religious, she, therefore, recited the prayers near him when the author was a small child. She felt disgusted to know that there were no teachings about God and scriptures in the new school of the grandson. Even when she fell ill she strongly felt that it was the result of her omission of prayers and after that, she started reciting prayers and telling the beads, Without delay. Thus, she died praying to God and this proves that she was truly devoted.

2. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change?  (2012, 15, 17)
Ans: In the village, the grandmother was the author's constant friend. She used to wake him up and get ready for school. She accompanied him to his school and brought him back along with her. Besides taking every care of her, she helped him with his studies. But in the city, he went to an English School and gradually his topics of conversation grew difficult, he began talking about the law of gravity, Archimedes, the round shape of the earth, etc. So, she could no longer help him in his studies and felt sad. She felt unhappy about the absence of religious teachings in that school. Most unpleasant for her was the music lessons which she hated. She almost stopped talking to him.  

But their feelings for each other never changed, the grandmother loved him equally and he too had the same regard for her.

3. Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this. 
Ans: Yes the grandmother was a strong character. First, she was physically strong inspite of her old age, second, she never sat idle, she spans the wheel, recited prayers fed the birds, and maybe did other things of her own. In the village, she did everything for the author and took perfect care of him. Third, She was mentally strong, she never showed too much emotion or weakness; one reason for this was her faith in God. Again she was able to hold back her sadness when the author was going abroad and even received him at the railway station after five years. She was duty-bound and never missed her regular activities of life. She passed on this enthusiasm and zeal to others also. Finally, we got to know from the evening prior to her death, that she could enjoy
so well.

4. Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost? (2014) 
Ans: My paternal grandparents had died before my birth, but I was blessed with the love of my maternal grandparents. My grandfather was also almost like Khushwant Singh's grandmother. He was a hardworking, punctual, and diligent farmer who never spent a minute idle in his life. He was a strong and stout man, very tall and fair, he left for the fields early in the morning and even after the day's work used to make things from bamboo-like mats, baskets, containers for storing grains, etc., and even nets for catching fish. He scolded his son (my uncle) who is a very lazy person and in no way capable of working hard like his father. Even at the age of 75, my grandfather could climb coconut trees to fetch betel leaves. He was hurt if even a single grain was wasted while eating meals. This way he raised his big family very well and got his six daughters married as well. He passed away last year at 80 and I really miss his loving presence. I do feel his loss
as I loved him dearly.

Previous Years Question Answers Notes

1. How does Khuswant Singh describe his grandmother in ' The Portrait of a lady'? (2013)
Ans: Khushwant Singh describe his grandmother as a very sweet old woman who seems to be in the same stage forever.Since he had seen her old right from his childhood. He says it becomes hard to believe that when people say she had been once pretty and young.

The grandmother was very religious, she used to keep praying throughout the day, most of the time silently within herself, her rosary also shows her to be a devotee of God. She was very kind, in the village, she used to feed the street dogs every day, even in the city she continued her kindness, every afternoon she fed the sparrows. She was an active and confident woman. She kept spinning the wheel when free. She was mentally very strong because she was capable of controlling her emotions.

2. Give the author's views about the grandmother's apprehension for music. (2014)
Ans: When one day she learned from the author that there were music lessons in the new school in the city, the grandmother got frustrated and tense because her notions about music were not pleasant. She believed music to be the business of beggars and poor people.  

3. Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost? (2014) 
Ans: See Question no. 4 (Talking about the text) (Textual question)

4. How did the sparrows react to the death of the author's grandmother? (2015, 16)
Ans: See Question no. 5 (Understanding the text) (Textual question)

5. What is the difference between village school education and urban school education as brought out in the lesson ' The Portrait of a lady'? (2015)
Ans: In the village school the priest taught the alphabet and morning prayer. There were lessons on scriptures and prayers were recited in chorus near the temple. But in the urban school, there were lessons in science and maths. There were no lessons about God and scriptures. Moreover, music lessons were also imparted in an urban school.

6. Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when
he started going to the city school. (2016)
Ans: Ans: See Question no. 2 (Understanding the text) (Textual question)

7. Mention three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up. (2012, 17)
Ans: Ans: See Question no. 3 (Understanding the text) (Textual question)

8. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change?  (2012, 15, 17)
Ans: See Question no. 2 (Talking about the text) (Textual question)

9. Describe the childhood days spent in the village by the author with his grandmother. (2018)
Ans: The narrator spent his childhood with his grandmother in a village. At the village school, he was taught scriptures and prayer. The grandmother was the author's constant friend. She used to wake him up and get ready for school. She accompanied him to his school and brought him back along with her. While coming back from school he used to feed the chapattis to the street dogs that the grandmother carried for them. Besides taking every care of her, she helped him with his studies.

10. Give two examples of the author's grandmother's love of animals. (2018)
Ans: Two examples of the author's grandmother's love of animals are
(i) She used to give state chapatis to the street dogs.
(ii) She used to feed the sparrows and never drove them away.

11. Why have the sparrows refused to eat the crumbs of the bread on the death of the author's grandmother? (2019)
Ans: The sparrows refused to eat the crumbs of the bread in order to express their grief over the death of the grandmother and to mourn over her death.

12. Give a description of the author's grandmother after your reading of  'The Portrait of a lady' (2019)
Ans: The author's grandmother was a very sweet old woman. The grandmother was very religious, she used to keep praying throughout the day, most of the time silently within herself, her rosary also shows her to be a devotee of God. She was very kind, in the village, she used to feed the street dogs every day, even in the city she continued her kindness, every afternoon she fed the sparrows. She was an active and confident woman. She kept spinning the wheel when free. She was mentally very strong because she was capable of controlling her emotions.