A Devoted Son by Anita Desai Exercise: Questions & Answers Class 12 English

 Understanding the text 

Answer the following questions.

a. How did the morning papers bring an ambience of celebration to the Varma family?

➜ The morning papers displayed the result of Varma’s son, Rakesh who scored the highest rank in the country for his Medical Examination and brought ambience of celebration in the Varma family as it was a matter of pride for the family.

b. How did the community celebrate Rakesh’s success?

➜ The community people celebrated Rakesh’s success by visiting his small yellow house, congratulating the parents, filling his house and garden with the sound and colour festivals and offering gifts like fountain pens and watches.

c. Why was Rakesh’s success a special matter of discussion in the neighbourhood?

➜ Rakesh’s success was a special matter of discussion in the neighbourhood because he was the first son in the family to receive an education, and he further topped in the Medical examination as well.

d. How does the author make fun with the words ‘America’ and ‘the USA’?

➜ The author makes fun with the words “America” and “The USA” by associating them with Verma’s nature of dealing with the words as he considered “the USA” as more prestigious than “America”. He said that America is the term to be called by his ignorant neighbours.

e. How does the author characterize Rakesh’s wife?

➜ The author characterizes Rakesh’s wife as an old fashioned, plump and uneducated girl. She was so placid, complaisant and lazy but too good-natured and pretty fat one.

f. Describe how Rakesh rises in his career.

➜ Rakesh started his career as a doctor in the city hospital and quickly reached the top of administrative: organization and was made a director. Then, he opened his own private clinic, bought a car and became known not only as of the best but also the richest doctor in town.

g. How does the author describe Rakesh’s family background?

➜ The author describes Rakesh’s family background as a man born to illiterate as well as very poor parents. His father worked for a kerosene vendor and his mother spent her life in a kitchen and his grandparents worked as vegetable sellers.

h. What is the impact of Rakesh’s mother’s death on his father?

➜ Rakesh’s father was stricken with grief by the death of his wife as well as his retirement. The old father very quickly went to pieces and fell ll so frequently with such mysterious disease named a peevish whim (sudden irritation in mind) that even his son could no longer make it out.

i. What did Rakesh do to make his father’s old age more comfortable?

➜ Rakesh brought his father his morning tea in the old man’s favourite brass tumbler, and sat at the edge of his bed, comfortable and relaxed his father’s night-shirt, and read out the morning news to him to make even more comfortable in his old age.

j. Why did the old man try to bribe his grandchildren?

➜ The old man tried to bribe his grandchildren by the trick so that he could get a chance to eat Jalebis because his oy fried food and sweets were prohibited by his son.

k. Are Mr Varma’s complaints about his diets reasonable? How?

➜ From the point of view of an old father, Mr Verma’s complaints about his diets may be reasonable to some extent but in fact, Rakesh as a devoted and obedient son and by profession, a doctor is right in his performances and activities because he conducts such activities for the healthy and better life of his sick father.

 Reference to the Context 

a. How did the Varma couple make sacrifices for their son’s higher education?

➜ Verma couple was from a poor background and they were illiterate as well. His father worked for a kerosene dealer and his mother in the kitchen. Even his grandparents worked as vegetable vendors. His parents worked hard and sacrificed their life, time, money and everything they have for the higher education and medical college of his child, Rakesh.

b. Mr Varma suffers from diseases one after another after his wife’s death. Would he have enjoyed better health if she had not died before him? Give reasons.

➜ Mr Varma suffered from diseases one after another his wife’s death. I think all this happen to him due to his wife’s death as it makes him alone and scattered. He thinks most of the time about his life partner which leads him stricken with grief. The old father very quickly went to pieces and fell ill. Thus, if she had not died before him, he would have enjoyed better health for few more days.

c. Dr Rakesh is divided between a doctor and a son. As a son, he loves his father and worries about his weakening health but as a doctor, he is strict on his father’s diet and medicine. In your view, what else could Rakesh have done to make his father’s final years more comfortable?

➜ Dr Rakesh is divided between a doctor and a son. As a son, he loves his father and worries about his weakening health but as a doctor, he is strict on his father’s diet and medicine. In my view, Rakesh could have done the following things to make his father’s final years more comfortable:

  • Rakesh would have been more polite and respectful in his behaviour with his father in the final years.
  • He wouldn’t have been so strict and miserable while regulating his father’s diet and food.
  • His loud-speaking towards his father- “No butter?”, “No oil’, “No more bread?” makes the old man very troublesome and miserable.

d. What does the story say about the relationship between grandfather and grandchildren?

➜ Desai’s story “A Devoted Son” shows loving companionship between grandfather and grandchildren. They have good bonding. But in the story, grandfather is attracted towards his grandchildren to get some sweets like ‘Jalebis’ from them by using the trick as his oily fried food, and sweets were prohibited by his son, Rakesh. Anyway, we find innocent, tricky, trusty and bonding relationships between grandfather and his grandchildren in the story.

e. Do you call Rakesh a devoted son? Give reasons.

➜ Yes, I call Rakesh a devoted son because of the following reasons:

  • He shows a great degree of tender regard for his mother.
  • He touches his father’s on every good occasion.
  • Even though he studies in America, Rakesh does not bring back a foreign bride to his parents’ home.
  • He marries an uneducated, old-fashioned village girl of his mother’s choosing.
  • Though he treats his father as a medical professional, he does this for the better health and life of his father.

Thus, he is a perfect son, a loving father and husband, and a good physician.

 Reference beyond the text 

a. Write an essay on The Parents’ Ambition for their Children in Nepali Society. You must give at least five examples.

➜ Family refers to a wide network of extended relationships. Parents have great ambition for their children in Nepali Society. Most of the parents of the children are predetermined and preoccupied with the prejudices that their children to be the best person in the society such as the best doctor, the best engineer, the best teacher, and many more. Some instances provoke such ideas: 

  • Due to parents’ ambition for their children, some children labour hard to achieve their destination and got succeed in the end.
  • Parents are the facilitator and guides who can lead their children to the right path of success and help them to obtain achievement in life.
  • Every parent wishes their child to become the brightest star in the group. In some cases, their pushing to their kids leads them to succeed and help them to be better in life.
  • Sometimes, parent’s determining the future of their children do not prove how good their parents are and it leads destruction of life as well. Thus, parents should listen to the voice and aim of their children as well for their better in future.
  • Anyway, the duty of parents is to stay close to their children, spend time together, playing and relaxing which will provide them with a sense of security and build a positive bond for their future.

b. Medicines replace our diets in old age. What can be done to make old ageless dependent on medicine?

➜ Medicines replace our diets in old age. With age, the number of calories you need begins to ‘ decline. “As we get older, the body becomes less efficient at absorbing some key nutrients,” says Katherine Tucker. In addition, the ability to taste food declines, blunting appetite. Some foods become difficult to chew or digest. Thus, medicines become the best option to replace our diets in old age. To make old ageless dependent on medicine, they should do the following things:

  • Eat plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables such as fruits like pineapples, oranges and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
  • Eat cereals, bread, crackers, rice or pasta every day mostly high fibre varieties.
  • Have low-fat or fat-free dairy (milk, or cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy.
  • Use of mustard oil or olive oil as a cooking medium as both prevent high cholesterol and improve good cholesterol in the blood.
  • Egg whites are a good source of protein to repair worn-out cells and tissues.
  • Vegetable soups without cream and thickening agents are a healthy meal to be taken as a supper.
  • Drink about 10-15 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration especially in summer.
  • Also, exercise regularly, stretch and do yoga to ensure absorption of nutrients well.
  • Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet s the best recipe for health and fitness.
  • Set a goal to be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.

c. Write an essay on “Care of Elderly Citizens” in about 300 words.

➜ Care of Elderly Citizens

Elderly citizens refer to old people who have crossed middle age. Old age is the final period of human life. During this time a person needs love and affection and proper elderly care. An old man doesn’t have many requirements. He/she only need a little affection, care, and a homely environment to spend his/her final stage of life.

Elderly people spend a major part of their lives in the building and shaping of our life and carrier, and thus it is our responsibility to repay them in their old age. Unfortunately, in today’s world, some youth ignore their responsibility towards their parents. They are seen forgetting their moral duties towards elders. They aren’t ready to understand the importance of elderly care and instead of caring for their parents during their old age, they prefer to send them to old age homes. They prefer to live an independent life rather than living with their parents. This is not a good sign for our society. Being social animals we need to know how to take care of old people. They should know how to take care of their elderly parents.

In fact, getting old is a natural process. During old age, people need utmost love and care. Caring for the elderly is not only a responsibility but also a moral duty. Old people are the backbone of a family. They are well experienced with the hardships of life. It is said that life teaches us lessons. Old people teach us how to grow, how to survive in this world and how to shape our carrier as well. They establish us in this world with their immense effort. It is our responsibility to pay them back during their ​old age.