Poem: Amma by Tabish Khair- Meaning and Solutions

Amma is a beautiful poem written by Tabish Khair published in his collection ‘Where parallel lines Meet’. The poem appears to be a tribute to his grandmother. Here are given the word-meanings and solution to the poem and book exercises.

Word-Meanings: Poem Amma

flake – a bit or piece or layer; intimate – close, personal and private relationship; fragile – easily broken or damaged; shuffle – walk by dragging one’s feet, move from place to place; mended – repaired; respite – relief; marking – noticing, observing, and giving attention to; contours – an outline representing the shape and form of something; fragrance – pleasant smell; curtail – reduce;

Book Exercises: Poem Amma


  1. a. The house belongs to the speaker’s grandmother.
    b. The house is very old.
    c. He remembers his grandmother’s echoing footsteps.
  2. a. The grandmother.
    b. Perhaps no. In the past the house though old used to have children coming during the summer. In the present the grandmother wonders how long will she and the house last.
    c. When the children stop coming or the house falls apart.
  3. a. Though her walking with effort will never make her visible physically, the poet can still feel her presence.
    b. The grandmother was very well liked by the poet and her presence can be felt in the house long after she is no more.
    c. She is no longer alive.

1. The echo is mentioned here because the house is empty. But, the grandmother (Amma) is not alive and therefore it is in the poet’s memory that the echo occurs.

2. It is so because during summer the curtains provide respite from the sun but this shade from the sun would not be required much during monsoon season.

3. The coolness of the wet khus and the various ice drinks are mentioned here in in the grandmother’s house.

4. Here, it is the diminishing eyesight of the grandmother that has changed though the things are the same way.

5. It means, there is no one living in that house and no need of any curtains.

6. Children were fond of their grandmother and liked to be with her. She, very well, knew the house. The house has her presence even years later as the poet feels the echo of her foot steps in the house.

7. It refers to the fact that the poet missed his grandmother and he knew very well the reason of emptiness in the house i.e. she is not alive.

8. Amma was fond of her grandchildren and arranged for their coolness during summer. She took care that children enjoyed their favourite ice drinks. Children also loved her as they enjoyed their stay with Amma. She was meticulous about the time and its impact as she was anxious as how long she or her old house would remain alive.

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