NCERT Class 8 English Jalebis

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Jalebis

IT happened many years ago. I was in the fifth standard at the government school, Kambelpur, now called Atak. One day, I went to school with four rupees in my pocket to pay the school fees and the fund. When I got there I found that the teacher who collected the fees, Master Ghulam Mohammed, was on leave and so the fees would be collected the next day. All through the day the coins simply sat in my pocket, but once school got over and I was outside, they began to speak.

All right. Coins don’t talk. They jingle or go khanak-khanak. But I’m telling you, that day they actually spoke! One coin said, “What are you thinking about? Those fresh, hot jalebis coming out of the kadhao in the shop over there, they’re not coming out for nothing. Jalebis are meant to be eaten and only those with money in their pocket can eat them, And money isn’t for nothing. Money is meant to be spent and only they spend it, who like jalebis.” “Look here, you four rupees, I said to them. I am a good boy. Don’t misguide me or it won’t be good for you. I get so much at home that I consider even looking at something in the bazaar a sin. Besides, you are my fees and fund money. If I spend you today, then how shall I show my face to Master Ghulam Mohammed in school tomorrow and after that to Allah miyan at Qayamat? You probably don’t know it but when Master Ghulam Mohammed gets angry and makes you stand on the bench, he simply forgets to let you sit till the last bell rings. So it’s best you stop chewing at my ears like this and let me go home straight.”

The coins disliked what I’d said so much that all of them began to speak at the same time. There was such a clamour that passersby in the bazaar stared, eyes wide with surprise, at me and my pocket. The coin of those days, the wretched thing, made so much more noise too! Finally, in a panic, I grabbed all four of them and held them tight in my fist and then they were silent.

After taking a few steps, I loosened my grip. Immediately, the oldest coin said, “Here we are trying to tell you something for your own good and you try to strangle us instead. Tell me honestly now, don’t you feel like eating those hot, hot jalebis? And then, if you do end up spending us for today, won’t you get the scholarship money tomorrow? Sweets with the fees money, fees with the scholarship money. End of story! Kissa khatam, paisa hazam.”

What you’re saying isn’t right, I replied, but it isn’t that wrong either. Listen. Stop blabbering and let me think. I am not a common sort of boy. But then, these jalebis are no common sort of jalebis either. They’re crisp, fresh and full of sweet syrup.

My mouth watered, but I wasn’t about to be swept away so easily. In school I was among the most promising students. In the fourth standard exams, I had even won a scholarship of four rupees a  month. Besides, I came from a particularly well-to-do family, so I enjoyed considerable prestige. I’d never once been beaten so far. On the contrary, Masterji had got me to beat the other boys. For a child of such status, standing there in the middle of the bazaar eating jalebis? No. It wasn’t right, I decided. I clenched the rupiyas in my fist and came home.

Comprehension Check

1. Why didn’t he pay the school fees on the day he brought money to school?

2. (i) What were the coins ‘saying’ to him?

    (ii) Do you think they were misguiding him?

3. Why didn’t he take the coins’ advice? Give two or three reasons.

4. (i) What did the oldest coin tell him?

    (ii) Did he follow his advice? If not, why not?

5. He reached home with the coins in his pocket. What happened then?


Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 8 English Jalebis

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