Read the full summary of ‘A Devoted Son’ written by Anita Desai to understand the exercise (Questions and Answers) of this chapter.
Understanding the text:
Answer the following questions.
a. How did the morning papers bring ambiance of celebration in the Varma family?
In the morning paper, there was the result of their son achieving success in the medical field which became the happiness and ambiance of celebration in the Varma family.
b. How did the community celebrate Rakesh’s success?
All their neighbors and relatives come to congratulate his parents by saying “Mubarak, Varmaji, your son has brought you glory,”. They bring different types of gifts, and flowers to congratulate him. They slap Rakesh on the back and fill the house and garden with the
sounds and colors of a festival.
c. Why was Rakesh’s success a special matter of discussion in the neighbourhood?
Rakesh’s success was a special matter of discussion in the neighbourhood because he was the first son of the house who achieves success in the medical field and make his family proud of him. He became top in his medical field. In Verma’s family, no one is educated but Rakesh was the first who was well-educated and laborious in the field of education.
d. How does the author make fun with the words ‘America’ and ‘the USA’?
In the story, the Author makes fun with the words ‘America’ and ‘the USA’ by the way of dealing with the word ‘USA‘ and ‘America‘ by Varma. Varma thinks that the USA is more reputable than America. He told his family that his son was going to the USA for higher study—not America, which was what the ignorant neighbors called it.
e. How does the author characterize Rakesh’s wife?
Rakesh’s wife is plump, uneducated, old-fashioned, even temper, charming, cooperative, and good-natured. A girl selected by his mother doesn’t make Rakesh leave home and set up independently, like any other girl. This also shows that she also has the knowledge of bearing family relationships.
f. Describe how Rakesh rises in his career.
Rakesh completed his degree with a good grade and went to the USA for higher study. He got a career opportunity in the most prestigious of all hospitals and won many prizes from his American colleagues. Then, he left the USA permanently and came with the aim to serve the nation and his family. Rakesh worked in the city hospital for many years. He was also promoted to director of the city hospital after working for a long time. After some time, he opened his own clinic. Now, he is not only the best doctor in town but also the richest doctor in town.
g. How does the author describe Rakesh’s family background?
The author describes Rakesh’s family as a poor family. His father is a kerosene dealer. No one before Rakesh has to get education facilities because of his poor family condition.
h. What is the impact of Rakesh’s mother’s death on his father?
Rakesh’s father fell ill after his wife’s died. He always thinks about his life partner which leads him to the ocean of sorrow. His father remembers his past time when his wife gave him spicy and fried food and also sweets. But now, his son gave him only a frugal (simple and plain and costing little) food – dry bread, boiled lentils, boiled vegetables, and, if there were a bit of chicken or fish, that was boiled too. So he cried.
i. What did Rakesh do to make his father’s old age more comfortable?
When Rakesh father’s became ill. He set up a nice place on the open verandah for his father to get fresh air which is required for his good health. On a summer night, he settles a bed on the lawn for his father under the star for a whole night. Rakesh arranges a caretaker (servant) for him. He provides him proper diet for his good health. He gave him only a frugal (simple and plain and costing little) food – dry bread, boiled lentils, boiled vegetables, and if there were a bit of chicken or fish, that was boiled too.
j. Why did the old man try to bribe his grandchildren?
The old man tried to bribe his grandchildren to bring jalebis (Sweets) for him.
k. Are Mr. Varma’s complaints about his diets reasonable? How?
No, it’s not reasonable because his son was giving him a proper diet and medicines for making his health better but he was behaving like a child who doesn’t want to eat medicines and frugal foods. He wants spicy, oily, and sweet foods.
Reference to the Context
a. How did Varma couple make sacrifices for their son’s higher education?
Varma couple made different sacrifices for their son’s higher education. They spent time, money, and happiness to build their children’s (Rakesh) careers. No one got an education from their family yet. Varma’s parents were too poor and used to sell vegetables in the market. So Varma’s parents have no money to send Varma to school and collages. But Varma worked hard to send his son to school and collages for his son’s better life and career.
b. Mr. Varma suffers from diseases one after another after his wife’s death. Would he have enjoyed better health if she had not died before him? Give reasons.
Mr. Varma suffers from diseases one after another after his wife’s death. Yes, he has enjoyed better health for a few more days if she had not died before him. He always thinks about his life partner which leads him to the ocean of sorrow. In the past, his wife gave him spicy and fried food and also sweets. But now, his son gave him only a frugal (simple and plain and costing little) food – dry bread, boiled lentils, boiled vegetables, and, if there were a bit of chicken or fish, that was boiled too. And he also gives him different types of pills which irritate him. Because of these all things, he always lives in pain which was the reason for his death.
c. Dr. Rakesh is divided between a doctor and a son. As a son, he loves his father and worries about his weakening health but as a doctor he is strict on his father’s diet and medicine. In your view, what else could Rakesh have done to make his father’s final years more comfortable?
Dr. Rakesh is divided between a doctor and a son. As a son, he loves his father and worries about his weakening health but as a doctor, he is strict about his father’s death and medicine. In my view, Rakesh has to perform both roles but he has to concentrate on the following points.
a. Rakesh should speak politely and in a respectful manner to his father rather than in a cracked voice.
b. He is not too strict with his father on the matter of diet. He has to provide some oily and sweet food at least twice a month.
c. He has to take his father on a tour at regular intervals.
d. Rakesh has to persuade his father to take pills and medical treatment.
d. What does the story say about the relationship between grandfather and grandchildren?
The story shows that there is a strong bond between grandfather and grandchildren. Varma has shared his feeling about eating sweets with his grandchildren and his grandchildren helped him to get the sweets. Once, when his grandson playing cricket on a lawn where he sits to get fresh air, suddenly he gets one of their hard-spun balls in his eye but he does not make any complaint about it. This shows how much strong their relationship is.
e. Do you call Rakesh a devoted son? Give reasons
Yes, I call him a devoted son because he did all those things which make his parent’s life happy and comfortable. He had left America to serve his parents. Rakesh can deserve a good and educated girl but he married a plump, uneducated, old-fashioned girl only to make his mother happy. He takes care of his mother to the last illness and also sat pressing her feet even at the last moment. Not only did he serve his mother but also his father. He provide him with a proper and healthy diet when his father became ill. But his father did not understand his feeling and the goals behind them.
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