NCERT English Beehive Class 9 Chapter 10 - Kathmandu

Chapter 10 - Kathmandu

Writer of the Story - Vikram Seth
Question and Answers
Question 1: What difference does the author note between the flute seller and the other hawkers?
Answer:
The flute seller selects a flute from his collection and plays it for a few minutes. The sound clearly rises above the noise of the traffic and the hawkers’ cries. He plays slowly, meditatively, without too much of aggressive display. He does not shout his wares as the other hawkers do. His music attracts his customers and he sells his wares in a very casual manner.

Question 2: What is the belief of Pashupatinath about the end of Kaliyug?
Answer:
At Pashupatinath, a small shrine half protrudes from the stone platform on the river bank. It is believed that when the shrine submerges in the water fully, the goddess inside will escape and the evil period of Kaliyug will end on the Earth.

Question 3: The author has drawn powerful images and pictures. Pick out three examples each of
i) the atmosphere of ‘febrile confusion’ outside the temple of Pashupatinath (for example, some people trying to get the priest’s attention are elbowed aside…)
ii) the things he sees
iii) the sound he hears
Answer:
Outside the Pashupatinath temple hangs a sign that says ‘Entrance for Hindus only’ and there is an atmosphere of febrile confusion. The priests, hawkers, devotees, tourists, cows, monkeys, pigeons and dogs roam around the temple ground. Worshippers elbow each other trying to get the priest’s attention. Suddenly when the princess of the royal family arrives, everybody bows down and make way for her. There is a struggle at the main gate between the police and some saffron-clad Westerners. In between all this, two monkeys begin a wild chase and run down to the holy Bagmati river screaming all the way.
On the banks of Bagmati, he sees a body being cremated, someone throwing a basket of witted flowers into the river, washerwomen working while the children were bathing. He also sees the submerged shrine. He sees Pashupatinath temple and Baudhnath stupa. The stupa and its ambience is in stark contrast to the temple. At Kathmandu, he sees several flower bedecked shrines, narrow busy streets, with fruit sellers, flute sellers, hawkers of various products and the stray cows who low questioningly at the two wheelers.
The sound he hears are that of loud music on the streets that blare out from radios, the sound of car and bike horns, the bicycle bells and the loud sounds of the hawkers selling their wares. The only sound that appealed to the author was that of a flute seller who produced wonderful music. The melody of the music made it difficult for the author to leave the square.

Question 4: Compare and contrast the atmosphere in and around the Baudhnath shrine with the Pashupatinath temple.
Answer:
The author has made a very distinct comparison of the ambience in both the holy places. At the Pashupatinath temple, the atmosphere is fairly chaotic and loud. Everybody is in a wild hurry to establish a contact with the priest. The entire premises is packed with men and animals who competed with each other to test who could be louder. Visiting rites to the temple is restricted to Hindus. The river beside the temple was also brimming with activity.
In contrast to this, the Baudhnath shrine presented a strange stillness and calm. Its immense white dome is ringed by a road. Small shops, owned by Tibetan immigrants, are found at the outer edge. The place is devoid of huge crowds. The author says that it is a haven of quietness despite the streets around being busy.

Question 5: How does the author describe Kathmandu’s busiest streets?
Answer:
Kathmandu is a vivid, mercenary, yet religious place that has a number of small shrines along the narrow roads. The busiest street is full of fruit sellers, flute sellers, hawkers of post cards, shops selling western cosmetics, film rolls and chocolates or copper utensils and Nepalese antiques. He is introduced to the blaring of film songs that are emerging from the radios.

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