En Route to America by Nayantara Sahgal

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Word- meanings: En Route to America

perpetually – continuously baffle – bewilder, confuse making you not able to understand (हैरान करना) troop – soldiers in large group circumstances – situations, condition (हालात एवं परिस्थितियाँ ) rush through – try to complete any work in a hurry entail – require as a necessary part or accompaniment or consequence apprehensive – worried and concerned (आशंकित) efficient – good at doing things without wasting time and energy (कुशल एवं परिस्थितियों के अनुसार निपटने की छमता) sage advice – a very good advice based on experience recreation – pleasant activities that one enjoys doing during spare time (eg. a sport or hobby) (मनोरंजन) amenities – something that makes a place comfortable to live in (सुख-सुविधायें) dispirited – lacking enthusiasm, losing liveliness unconcerned – not worried or caring about exhilarated – very happy and excited, feeling lively and spirited lay ahead – going to happen in coming times mingle – to get involved or mixed-up with (घुलमिल जाना) missionary – a person on religious mission from a church furlough – to give somebody permission to leave their duties for a period of time porthole – a rounded window in the side of a ship or an aircraft
hilarity – moments of great merriment, joy and happiness reeked – smelled strongly unpleasant (दुर्गंध, बदबू आना ) inkling – a vague idea or hint or slight understanding of something happening (अंदेशा) slacks – loose fitting causal trousers flimsy – weak, light and thin or inadequate (हल्का, पतला एवं अपर्याप्त) clad – wearing and covered in clothes marvel – express wonder or amazement (ताज्जुब करना) souvenir – anything that reminds one of a place or people or occasion (यादगार निशानी) register – here it means to show or express a feeling curtly – replying briefly and to the point withering reply – a reply intending to make somebody feel silly or ashamed unabashed – not ashamed occur – to happen, (occur to somebody – to come into mind) bewilder – to confuse or puzzle completely laugh up one’s sleeve – to laugh secretly by hiding it, good-humouredly – in a cheerful way  inquisitive – curious and asking too many questions Pacific War – the World War II in Asia-pacific region abrupt – talking in a rude and sharp way a while – for a short time

Summary: En Route to America Class 8 Wind Chimes

It is a story set in pre-partition years of India. The author and her sister are sent to America by their parents. They went on a troop ship at the height of the war. So, they are led to the ship in the guidance of their aunt. Both the sisters are new and have never travelled on their own in the ship. While the author initially gets sea sickness but eventually enjoys the company of the fellow passengers on the ship. The ship had no facilities for recreation and it seemed drab, dull and there was always a possibility of an attack by an enemy submarine. The author further goes on informing that the ship had two classes of passengers, officers and troop. The author eventually gets used to the sea-sickness and often went to the deck for fresh air. She also started enjoying food. The sisters feel the first inkling that the route was chilly when they shivered as they had not brought warm clothes. They were not prepared to get chills at the end of May. They eventually found that they were approaching Australia. However, they could not go ashore as it was not allowed for the civilians. As the author stood on the deck, she was approached by a young soldier who had not been home for a long time and knew the horrors of war. He and the author exchange information about her country and they eventually leave the deck go inside the ship as it was getting dark.

A. Answers

1. The carved wooden box contained Indian soil. She had given it to make children remind of their homeland and it would also help them in the situations of homesickness. 2. The aunt was very worried and concerned about leaving the children alone on a trip amid war situations. 3. The warnings were – the ship would not have any of the peacetime amenities and there was danger of an enemy submarine attack. 4. There were two categories – the officer and the troop. 5. The military friend brought a metal kangaroo and boomerang as souvenir. 6. She was ashamed to admit to a stranger that she was feeling homesick. 7. It was so because she spoke English very well.

C. Answer 1. The question that baffled her was that her parents had the courage and confidence to send her and Lekha on a troop ship to America amid war. 2. She helped them with shopping and various other arrangements seeing them off at the dock. 3. It means regular up and down movement of the ship. 4. She went out on to the deck and enjoyed the spray of ocean water on her face. 5. It was a troop ship and people from many countries were aboard the ship. • People from 11 nationalities • Maori army officer • A thin English man who complained about the weather • Tall Dutch officer who entertained them • A quiet Chinese student 6. The narrator -Nayantara gets homesick and she is very concerned about her appearance. Lekha – the efficient one, had a sense of humour, offered moral support to the narrator, more practical. 7. She fell sick due to the motion of the ship and the cabin was very stuffy, there was foul smell in the airless cabin. She also rolled down from her bunk 8. The drill was that the command “all hands abandon ship” was broadcast loud and everyone had to run to the deck. 9. Nayantara was also concerned with the look of her appearance. During the drill announcement she would prefer to go to cabin and comb her hair before coming to the deck. Lekha was more practical and thought it was foolish to do so when it was a life and death question. 10. Nayantara was initially did not like the young soldier asking too many questions. She felt angry at his remark if her parents were missionaries. She also did not take it comfortable when he showed his ignorance of political activities in India. Later on, she became more amiable when she came to know that he was also fighting for his own country and was out of his country for one year.

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