exotic – belonging to any foreign origin, unusual, strange with brilliant colour and beauty
tempting – attracting and alluring
upkeep – maintenance and sustenance
natural – natural home and surroundings
all aboard – the bus. boat. train etc is leaving soon
insist – to assert or demand firmly
prudent – sensible and careful
entire – all, whole
admit – to agree
object – express your dislike or disagreement
nip – bite
tweak – to pull and twist
emerge – come out
scurrying – moving quickly
tug – pull
undone – opened the fastening
gasp – a quick deep breath
contentedly – with a satisfaction
snuggle – to get into a comfortable position
sleek – smooth and shiny
presume – suppose and assume
forays – a quick raid
pry up – to raise open with force
despairingly – without hope
unconvincing – not believing
bulging – protruding, swelling outward
quivering – trembling
hamper – a basket with a lid
drape – hang
maniacal – crazy
The story is full of events caused by pets that are exciting and interesting. The narrator, his grandfather and his grandmother are on their way on a train from Dehra to Lucknow to his aunt’s place. Travelling with them is a menagerie of pets: a squirrel (Chips), a parrot (Popeye), a teenaged tiger (Timothy) and a python, who had smuggled itself into the lunch hamper unawares. Popeye is aggressive early on, Chips manages to socialise with all and sundry right off the bat and Timothy is a perfect gentleman throughout the journey. In a while, Grandmother dozes off. Soon after, the narrator and Grandfather feel hungry and expectantly attack the tiffin basket: Grandmother had packed apples, ham sandwiches, boiled eggs, a roast chicken and a gooseberry pie. Upon opening the basket, they are met with the sight of a well-fed python. The pair tackle this new development calmly, afraid that Grandmother will surely be mad at them and argue they brought the snake along purposely. They shut the basket and slide it beneath the berth. Around midnight, courtesy screams from panicked passengers, they realise that the python has reached the bathroom. Grandfather rescues it without making too much commotion, but Grandmother, of course, gets to know of the snake’s presence. She is duly miffed, but mostly worried because her sister Mabel is terrified of snakes. Upon reaching Lucknow, the food-loving Aunt Mabel immediately pounces on the hamper of food and holds on to it for the entire taxi ride to the house. Of course, as soon as she opens the basket, she faints way, during which time, Grandfather puts it on a guava tree in the garden. When Mabel revives, everyone tells her she had fainted away due to the heat
Solutions to Exercise Questions
1. It is a call for passengers to get on a vehicle that is about to depart.
2. He was used to passengers who stole from vendors, shouted at coolies, broke railway property and spat on the platform.
3. Popeye objected to vendors and other people poking their hands in through the windows. He nipped their fingers and tweaked a ticket inspector’s ear. Chips saw passengers with large quantities of roasted peanuts, so he made friends with them and enjoyed eating the treats they gave him.
4. After its heavy meal, the python had become thirsty and, finding the lid of the tiffin basket easy to pry up, had set out in search of water and reached the toilet eventually.
5. The taxi driver was nervous because he saw his passengers carrying pet animals, including a tiger, with them.
6. Popeye was suspicious because the tiffin basket was quivering.
- a. The narrator is speaking.
b. The lid flew open as the snake’s head bobbed up.
c. The presence of the python was the surprise.
- a. Grandfather is speaking to the narrator.
b. The narrator was staring at the python.
c. Grandfather snapped the basket shut and pushed it back beneath the berth.
- a. The narrator is thanking Chips for offering him the peanuts he collected.
b. The tone of the sentence is sarcastic.
c. ‘Last’ in this sentence means survive.
1. Timothy behaved well without creating any chaos and confusion or scare throughout the journey. There was no stealing from vendors, no shouting at coolies, no breaking of railway property, no spitting on the platform by him.
2. The squirrel moved freely. He befriended some passengers who with roasted peanuts—a favourite treat.
3. The excitements through the train journey are listed below:
i. Popeye nipped the fingers of two vendors and tweaked a ticket inspector’s ear.
ii. Chips emerged from the author’s pocket and was out of the compartment door, scurrying along the corridor, collecting peanuts from passengers.
iii. The pet python popped out of the food hamper and created great confusion when it eventually landed up in the washroom.
4. Grandfather tried to control the situation by telling the passengers that he was a snake expert. He picked up the python and brought it to his compartment/
5. Aunt Mabel was a school teacher. she loved good food. She feared reptiles especially snakes.
6. He wanted to allay fears of passengers by saying that Pythons only hunt when they are hungry. The python had taken its dinner and was not hungry and therefore was not any danger to anyone there.
7. The grandmother was angry and did not like what was happening. Her expressions might have shown displeasure at and disapproval of the activities going there.
8. The speaker here is referring to the Biblical episode where a snake tempted Eve to eat the apple from the tree in the Garden of Eden. Unlike Eve, Aunt Mabel was not tempted towards the fruit.
9. They fooled Aunt Mabel saying that the tiffin was full of a whole chicken. They also said that she was seeing things.
10. Grandmother did not wish to upset her as she knew Aunt Mabel was very scared of snakes.
11. The time period mentioned is around 1950. Some examples referring to this are –
- the train had a steam engine
- taxi they hired was an enormous 1950 Chevrolet car.
12. The relationship between the grandfather and the narrator seems closer. It is so because the grandfather and the narrator agreed on all issues throughout the journey. It showed a harmonious relationship with a closer bond and a better understanding between the two.
A. Accept all grammatically correct usages of the words.
B. Do yourself
A. 1. dreads 2. is 3. is 4. rubs 5. are 6. Go
B. am having; is beginning; am taking; am staying; am learning; am going; am enjoying; are doing
C. 1. has answered 2. has stopped 3. have passed 4. has rung 5. has collected 6. have done
D. 1. since 2. for 3. for 4. for 5. since 6. since