2.5 Father Returning Home – Activity 1

Read the extract & complete the activities given below. [10]

My father travels on the late evening train
Standing among silent commuters in the yellow light
Suburbs slide past his unseeing eyes
His shirt and pants are soggy and his black raincoat
Stained with mud and his bag stuffed with books
Is falling apart. His eyes dimmed by age
fade homeward through the humid monsoon night.
Now I can see him getting off the train
Like a word dropped from a long sentence.
He hurries across the length of the grey platform,
Crosses the railway line, enters the lane,
His chappals are sticky with mud, but he hurries onward.

Home again, I see him drinking weak tea,
Eating a stale chapati, reading a book.
He goes into the toilet to contemplate
Man’s estrangement from a man-made world.
Coming out he trembles at the sink,
The cold water running over his brown hands,
A few droplets cling to the greying hairs on his wrists.
His sullen children have often refused to share
Jokes and secrets with him. He will now go to sleep
Listening to the static on the radio, dreaming
Of his ancestors and grandchildren, thinking
Of nomads entering a subcontinent through a narrow pass.

A1] Global Understanding[2]

Write down two sentences from the following that best suits the theme of the poem

  1. The father faces many hardships as a breadwinner.
  2. The poem is about isolation and man’s estrangement from a man-made world.
  3. The father is ignored & his basic daily requirements are not fulfilled.
  4. There is lack of family bonding and communication gap leading to generation gap in today’s modern world.

A2] Interpretation[2]

  1. List the difficulties faced by the father with reference to the first stanza.
  2. Explain in your own words the following expression – ‘He will now go to sleep, Listening to the static on the radio, dreaming, Of his ancestors and grandchildren, thinking’

A3] Personal Response[2]

With whom do you mostly share your jokes & secrets in your family? Explain.

A4] Poetic Devices[2]

  1. Name and explain the figure of speech in the following lines-‘I see him drinking weak tea,
    eating a stale chapati’
  2. Give one example of Simile from the extract.

A5] Creativity[2]

Compose four rhyming lines on ‘Family’  

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