In the story’ The Woman of Platform-8’. Arun is a school boy, who is waiting for a train on platform no-8 , at Ambala station. The story narrates how even strangers may prove more helpful and caring than those know to us. Arun is befriended and taken care of by a stranger woman while his own friend’s mother neglects and behaves rudely to him. It is late in the evening. Arun is waiting at platform no-8. a woman dressed in white saree approaches him. Though suspicious of her intention at first, Arun feels compelled to go with her because of her aura of calm dignity and simplicity. She takes Arun to the canteen and gets him some refreshments.” in the meantime, his friend, Satish, arrives with his mother who views the stranger woman with suspicion. Arun doesn’t appreciate her overbearing and supercilious behaviour. When his train comes, he takes leave of the stranger woman addressing her as ‘mother,. He doesn’t want her to feel disgraced before satish’s mother. This shows deeply touched and grateful Arun was for her kind and generous behaviour.
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS:
What made Arun call the strange woman ‘mother’ at the end?
Ans. Arun called the stranger woman ‘mother’ at the end, because she had treated him tenderly and offered him tea and sweets. She listened to him and showed trust in him. He liked her kindness and graceful behaviour. She introduced herself as his mother. She supported Arun against satish’s mother, Arun wanted to repay her kindness by acknowledging her as mother.
Satish’s mothers said “And never talk to strangers.” How did Arun & Satish react to her advice?
Ans. When satish’s mother said-“And never talk to strangers” both Arun and Satish reacted with disagreement. Arun looked at the stronger woman who was so kind to him and replied obstinately that he liked strangers, satish’s mother was shocked by his reply and she repeated her advice, Arun moved closer to the stranger woman. He developed a sense of resentment for satish’s mother on the other side, Satish grinned at Arun and was delighted in the clash between Arun and his mother.
Why does the stranger clutch Arun’s arm and dig her fingers when she sees the other boy standing at the edge of the platform? What trait of her personality is highlighted thus?
Ans. The stranger clutches Arun’s arm and digs her fingers into his flesh after she sees the other boy standing at the edge of the platform, probably because she felt that the child crossing the railway track was exposing himself to the danger of being run over by a passing train. She might have been a witness to a similar accident earlier. Her behavior shows that she is a sensitive person who reacts in sympathy to the suffering of others and tries to keep calm and controlled in a difficult situation.
Contrast the appearance and the attitude of satish’s mother with that of the stranger woman.
Ans. While satish’s mother was fat and imposing, the stranger woman had an aura of calm dignity that commanded respect. She was affectionate and sensitive to the need of Arun’s she realized that he
might be hungry and there fore took him to the dining room to get him something to eat. On the other hand, Satish mother was patronizing and selfish. She was extremely suspicious of strangers. Arun had developed an instinctive dislike for her.
What impression do you form about Arun?
Ans. Arun, a young boy of twelve, studies in a boarding school. He is self-confident and bold. He clearly distinguishes between the stranger and Satish’s mother and rightly understands their contrasting qualities. He is very sensitive to affection and responds warmly. He has great regard for dignified elderly people.
The woman in a white sari was totally a stranger to Arun, but Arun developed an instant liking for her the moment she spoke to him. Mention four things that Arun liked of this woman.
State any four reasons to explain why a bond had developed between Arun and the woman on platform 8.
Ans. The woman in white sari was soft and kind to Arun. She had a dignity about her which commanded respect. There was a calmness on her face. She saw that Arun was alone and feeling bored. She took him to the station dining-room and offered him some refreshment. She took pleasure in watching Arun eat. She made him talk, but she did not ask him many questions. When satish’s mother enquired about her she acted like Arun’s mother. She stayed there till the train departed.
LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS :
Imagine you are Arun. Prepare a speech (in about 200 words) to be delivered in the morning assembly on the topic ‘Motherhood-the ideal State’. Recalling you strange encounter with the woman on platform-8.
Ans. Respected teachers and dear friends !
Today I am going to speak on the topic ‘Motherhood – the ideal state’. Motherhood, is indeed a blissful state which transforms a woman into a very beautiful being as she looks after the needs of her child. Motherhood is associated with the qualities of motherly love, affection and concem for a child’s well being. But, is it necessary to be a mother to be a endowed with motherly qualities? No, really not... here I would like to relate my personal experience of an encounter with a stranger woman whom I met at platform 8 at Ambala station sometime ago.
I was alone and had to wait for a long-time for my train which was due at midnight. Seeing me alone, a woman dressed in white approached me. She had an aura of dignity and grace about her. She spoke to me affectionately. She asked me to come with her to eat something. At first I was both shy and suspicious, but her calm and graceful smile compelled me to go with her. She ordered tea, samosas and jalebies for me. She made me feel comfortable. She drew me out very well without being personal and inquisitive; soon we were talking like old friends. Then we returned to the platform. Suddenly, my class-fellow, Satish, came there with his mother. She was an imposing and arrogant lady. The stranger woman introduced herself as my mother. I don’t know what made her do so, but I didn’t object to it either as I didn’t approve of the patronizing tone of my friend’s mother. Moreover she had suspicious nature. She also kept complaining of one thing or the other. When the train arrived, satish’s mother gave some small gifts to him and he bade her good-by. I looked at the stranger woman. Somehow, I could not betray her before my friend’s mother. I kissed her and bade her good- bye addressing her as ‘mother’. It was one of the most memorable days of my life. I can say that she is a true mother and I shall never be able to forget her all my life.
After reaching School, Arun, in ‘The woman on platform 8’ decides to share his joy in meeting the woman on platform 8 with his mother. Imagine that you are Arun and write that letter.
Ans. Springdales Academy
15 November, 200X
I reached school safely and well in time. While waiting for the train I had a happy encounter which I would like to share with you. I was feeling lonely and bored. I tried to while away the time browsing at the bookstall, feeding stay dogs with broken biscuits and gazing at the railway track watching the coming and going of trains. It was the arrival of an angelic woman of about thirty, dressed in a plain white sari. The kind lady had a pale face and seemed poor. She had dark eyes but there was a dignity about her that commanded respect.
She had perhaps noted my loneliness and boredom. She asked me softly if I was alone. Initially felt somewhat suspicious of the stranger. But the simplicity of her dress, her deep soft voice and the calmness of her face reassured me. I told her my name. She asked to come with her and have something to eat. She took me by the hand. She told a coolie to look after my suitcase. Then she led me to the station dining room.
She ordered tea and snacks for me and enjoyed watching me eat. The encounter had little effect on my appetite. I ate as a hungry boy would. The food strengthened the bona between us and cemented our friendship. The affectionate motherly behaviors relieved my loneliness and depression.
On returning to platform 8, I found my class-fellow Satish with his mother. She appeared to be a total contrast to the woman in white sari. She was an imposing woman who more spectacles. I had taken an instinctive dislike to satish’s mother. She was haughty and insensitive. With her overbearing attitude, she complained of everything. She was suspicious of strangers and advised us to be careful of them. I did not like her advice. As soon as the train started, Satish bade good-bye to his mother. I kissed the stranger and calling her ‘mother’ and bade her good-bye.
After reaching school, Arun decides to recored his experiences and reaction of the encounter with a stranger woman on platform 8 of Ambala. Thinking yourself as Arun, write a diary page of his meeting the two woman at Ambala station Platform 8.
Ans. Monday, November 16,200X
Yesterday while I was waiting at Ambala Railway Station for my train I had strange encounters on platform 8. As usual the train was late. I was waiting all alone and getting bored. I tried to while away the time browsing at the bookstall, feeding stray dogs with broken biscuits and gazing at the railway tracks watching the arrival and departure of trains.
Just then a kindly woman of about 30 came near me. She asked me if I was alone. She was plainly dressed, but had a dignity about her. She was very gentle, soft and kind in her enquiry about me. I felt impressed by her. She told a coolie to look after my suitcase. Then she took me to the station refreshment room. She ordered tea, snacks and sweets. She enjoyed seeing me enjoying the refreshment. Now I began to talk freely to her. She was extremely frightened when she saw a boy leap over the track beside which an engine was shunting. What a sympathetic and gentle heart she had!
Then my classmate, Satish, came with his mother. She had come to see Satish off. In her spectacles she looked imposing and haughty. She was harsh in tone and stem to look at. Her haughty and overbearing nature reflected her dominating attitude. Soon she began complaining about everything right from trains to strangers. She did not want to be contradicted by us. In a way she wanted to be Obeyed . She advised Satish and me to be careful while traveling and avoid strangers. I developed an instinctive dislike for her. How critical and insensitive she was! Satish was his usual self. He was friendly and cordial. He introduced me very proudly to his mother calling me one of his friends and the best bowler in the class.
Imagine that you are Arun and you have reached school after your encounter with a stranger on platform 8 of Ambala station. Write a letter to your cousin, Sandra, telling her what happened at the platform and giving your reactions to the whole incident.
Ans. . Springdales Academy
18 November, 200X
You have always been warning me to beware of strangers. You used to preach that strangers are cheats who dupe innocent travelers by offering some intoxicants and then stealing away their luggage. Well, I had an interesting encounter with a stranger which disproved all your theories. I was waiting for the train at Platform 8 of Ambala Railway station. It was night and I was feeling lonely and bored. The train was late as usual. I was passing time watching the activities on the platform. Just then a kindly woman of about 30 came to me. She had a pale face and seemed poor. She had dark eyes. She was dressed in a simple, white sari, she asked me softly if I was alone. I felt impressed by her. She had a dignity about her that commanded respect. She took me to the Railway Refreshment room. She ordered tea and snacks and watched me with joy while I was eating. Her affectionate, motherly behavior relieved my lonliness and depression.
How delicate and soft-hearted she was! She was extremely frightened to see a boy leap over the rails across which an engine was shunting. Then my classmate Satish came with his mother. She was harsh in tone and stern to look at. I did not like her haughtiness, insensitiveness and an overbearing attitude. She complained of everything. She was suspicious of strangers and advised us to be careful of them. She took the lady in white sari to be my mother. That woman did act like my mother and said that I could travel alone. She didn’t go until the train had come. When I had boarded the train, she took my hands into hers and smiled gently. I leaned out of the window and kissed her on the cheek. I bade her good-buy addressing her as ‘mother’. I shall always cherish my encounter with her.
I do hope to see her again someday.