Amaa, What is Your Duty? Lesson Explanation and Glossary, Class 8 English Book Lavender

Amaa, What is Your Duty? is written by Sudha Murthy. Here we are providing explanations and glossary of important words to help students and learners grasp the story well. You can click here for the Q/Ans. of this lesson in the book “Lavender” for Grade 8 CBSE & ICSE.

Amaa, What is Your Duty? – Explanation & Glossary

Glossary: Teenager: Someone between thirteen and nineteen years of age (किशोर / किशोरी); Sensitive: Thoughtful, emotional and caring (संवेदनशील); Scriber: A person who assists individuals with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, in writing or taking down notes. (लेखक, प्रलिपिक ); Quite: Absolutely; completely to a fairly great extent (अत्यंत, काफी, बहुत, बिल्कुल); Lalbagh: A Botanical Garden in Bangalore is a renowned centre for botanical artwork, scientific study of plants and also conservation of plants.; Unusual: Uncommon, unexpected, different from normally expected (असामान्य, अलग कुछ हट के)

Explanation: This passage is narrating a story about the author’s daughter, Akshata, who is a sensitive teenager. Akshata takes it upon herself to read for blind children at a school called Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind in Bangalore. She is also a “scriber,” meaning she helps blind students with their written work. The passage mentions that Akshata shares her experiences and insights with her parent about the world of blind people. She eventually writes an essay about her observations, titled ‘I Saw the World through the Blind Eyes of Mary.’ Akshata once took Mary to Lalbagh for a different experience, leading to a rather extraordinary conversation.

Glossary: Incident: Event, happening (घटना, हादसा, वाकिया); Frustrated – Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something (कुंठित); Bright – Intelligent; quick-witted. (तेज दिमाग ओर कुशाग्र बुद्धि का); Jolly – Cheerful and lively in mood or disposition (प्रफुल्लित ओर प्रसन्न रहने वाला).

Explanation: In this excerpt, Akshata attempts to explain the concept of colors to Mary, a blind student, during their visit to Lalbagh. When Akshata mentions the different types of red roses in the park, Mary asks what “red” means, indicating her lack of understanding due to her blindness.

Akshata, feeling unsure of how to convey the concept of color to Mary, resorts to using other sensory experiences. She gives Mary a rose (red) and a jasmine (white) to smell, explaining that the rose is red and the jasmine is white. However, Akshata admits the difficulty in explaining colors, as they can only be perceived visually.

After this incident, Akshata reflects on the frustration she felt trying to describe colors to Mary. She decides to avoid discussing colors with blind individuals and instead describes the world to them through smells and sounds, which they can comprehend more easily.

Additionally, the excerpt mentions Akshata’s assistance to another blind student named Anand Sharma, who is described as bright and cheerful. Anand, the son of a school teacher from Bihar, is preparing for his second pre-university exam.

Glossary: Heading Moving, going (आगे बढ़ना); Trace – sign, निशान, चिन्ह; Blessed with gifted with from nature, have a lot or enough of (से ओतप्रोत, से भरपूर, ईश्वर या प्रकृति की अनुकंपा से भरा हुआ); Swathed in – covered or wrapped in; Shades – colours; Syllabi – Plural of “syllabus,” which refers to an outline or summary of topics to be covered in a course of study.; Insist – say firmly, (जोर देना किसी बात पर);

Explanation: In this part of the chapter, the author describes a moment when she, as the head of the Department of Computer Science at a local college in Bangalore, was preparing for an examination committee meeting. It was late February, transitioning from winter to summer, with Bangalore enjoying its renowned pleasant weather. The city was adorned with blooming trees, painting the surroundings in various shades of violet, yellow, and red.

While the author was engrossed in collecting old syllabi, question papers, and reference books for the meeting, her daughter Akshata entered the room looking worried and fatigued. Akshata, a tenth-grade student at the time, seemed burdened, possibly from studying for her exams. The author reflects on her parenting approach, recalling how she never pressured her children to study excessively, echoing the philosophy instilled by her own parents. According to this belief, a responsible child will take the initiative to study without needing excessive prompting from their parents.

Glossary: Annoyed – Irritated, angered, (परेशान ओर खिन्न); Irritated – Angered, (चिढ़ा हुआ) Remind – To make remember, call up, (याद दिलाना); Absently – Not paying much attention, (अनमने भाव से, कहीं ओर खोई हुई सी); gathering – Collecting, (इकट्ठा करना) By – Till, (तब-जब तक); Looking for – To find out, (ढूँढना)।

Explanation: In this part of the chapter, the author shares an interaction with her daughter Akshata, who seems troubled despite the author’s attempt to reassure her about exams. Akshata expresses annoyance at being reminded about exams, indicating that exams were not the cause of her distress.

The author, preoccupied with gathering old question papers, observes Akshata’s demeanor and wonders if there’s a hint of sadness on her face or if it’s just her imagination. Akshata then shifts the conversation to Anand Sharma, a bright student who visited their house once. Akshata admires Anand’s confidence in doing well in his final exams and his aspirations to study further, particularly at St. Stephen’s in Delhi. However, Akshata voices her concern about Anand’s financial situation, noting that St. Stephen’s is an expensive institution, and Anand lacks familial support. This leaves Akshata worried about his future prospects.

Glossary: Casually – Without thinking beforehand,(ऐसे ही, यूं ही); Forfeit – To give up or surrender something (खोना, जप्त करना, छोड़ देना); Sponser – To pay for an event or programme, (प्रायोजितकरना); Joint – A cheap restaurant, (छोटी खाने-पीने का स्थल जैसे की ढाबा); Well-travelled – With a lot of travelling history (देश-दुनिया की सैर किया हुआ व्यक्ति; Well-read – well educated, (सुशिक्षित, खूब पढ़ा-लिखा हुआ); Give back – Pay back or return as contribution or charity, (लोगों की मदद में योगदान देना) Unfortunate – Poor and helpless, (बदकिस्मत,गरीब, लाचार, असहाय) Glamour The attractive or exciting quality associated with fame, wealth, or luxury (सांसारिक आकर्षण ओर दिखावा की चमक-धमक); Distinguished – Renowned and well known (विशिष्ट)।

Explanation: In this part of the chapter the author suggests to Akshata that she could support Anand financially by forfeiting her birthday party and using the saved money to sponsor him. However, Akshata responds by pointing out the financial constraints, stating that she doesn’t have the means to support a student living in a hostel in Delhi.

The author reflects on their family’s modest lifestyle, where the children don’t receive pocket money and birthdays are celebrated simply, with small gatherings at home and food ordered from a local fast-food joint.

Akshata challenges her mother’s perspective, emphasizing the importance of helping those less fortunate. She questions the author’s values, highlighting her privileged background and the moral obligation to give back to society, especially for someone educated, well-traveled, and with no greed for wealth. Akshata urges her mother to consider whether she values glamour or fame over fulfilling her duty to support the less fortunate, reminding her of their family’s legacy of service through her doctor father, teacher grandfather, and their background in education.

Glossary: Abandon – To leave,(छोड़ देना); Pleading – Requesting, प्रार्थना या किसी के हक मे बोलना या सिफारिश करना); Frozen – Still, not able to react, (किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़); State of mind – condition of mind, (मनोदशा); Delayed – Cause to become slow or late, (देरी से); Solitude – Being alone, (एकांत); Recollect – Remember, (याद करना) Ring – Echo, (गूंजना)।

Explanation: In this passage, the author reflects on the impact of Akshata’s words and the internal conflict they sparked. The author abandons her search for the syllabus and turns to face her daughter, seeing her not just as a young girl advocating for a blind boy’s future but also as a reminder of the author’s duty to society. This realization leaves the author momentarily frozen, contemplating the ways in which she has benefited from society and how she can give back in return.

As the author grapples with these thoughts, Akshata leaves, her eyes reflecting a mix of anger and sadness. The author, too, leaves for the college, feeling confused and introspective.

At the college, the author finds herself alone in a room, where she distinguishes between loneliness and solitude. While loneliness is dull and uninspiring, solitude offers the opportunity for self-reflection and introspection.

The author sits and ponders over the events of the afternoon, with Akshata’s words echoing in her mind. At forty-five years old, she questions her duty and purpose in life, prompting a deeper examination of her actions and aspirations.

Glossary: Great Deal – a lot of, (बहुत अधिक); Put in – Initially – In the beginning, (शुरू में); Excelling – performing very good, (बढ़िया प्रदर्शन करना); Devoted to- loved and cared for, (में पूरे मन से लगा हुआ) parting – Farewell time, (विदाई); Rest – Remaining part, (शेष); Relieved – felt relaxed and reassured, (राहत मिलना) Consequences – Results, (परिणाम); Opted – Chose, (चुना) ।

Explanation: In this passage, the author reflects on her life journey and the values she has cultivated along the way. Despite not starting out with a lot of wealth, the author acknowledges the hard work and dedication that have propelled her to her current position. She questions the purpose of her achievements, realizing that money, fame, and glamour were not her driving forces; they came as a byproduct of her efforts. Instead, she initially worked for personal growth and later dedicated herself to her career at Infosys and her family.

Contemplating on the remaining part of her life, the author feels compelled to use her resources and influence to aid those who are suffering unjustly. Recalling JRD Tata’s advice to “give back to society,” the author resolves to make philanthropy her life’s mission, finding relief and a sense of rejuvenation in this decision.

The author emphasizes the importance of making decisions rationally, with a clear understanding of the consequences. Acting on her newfound resolve, she decides to step down from her administrative role as head of the department and opt for a teaching position, aligning her career with her newfound commitment to serving society.

Glossary: Destitute Extremely poor; lacking the basic necessities of life; (बेघर, बेचारा), Warm smile: Feeling happy, (बहुत खुश); Philanthropic – freely gives money or other help to needy people, (मानवहितैषी), Occasion – time and opportunity,(अवसर); Trustee – A trustee is someone with legal control of money or property that is kept or invested for another person,(न्यासी); Woke me up – made me aware and conscious to realise the truth, (जगाना, सजग करना)।

Explanation: In this final segment, the author expresses deep gratitude towards her daughter, Akshata, for bringing happiness and fulfillment into her life through her commitment to philanthropy. The author values this newfound purpose more than the academic achievements and wealth she attained earlier in life.

Witnessing the positive impact of her philanthropic efforts, such as bringing hope to the destitute and seeing smiles on the faces of once-helpless individuals, fills the author with immense satisfaction. These experiences validate her belief that she is making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

The author’s involvement with the Infosys Foundation as a Founder Trustee further solidifies her dedication to philanthropy. Through various projects initiated by the Foundation, she continues to contribute to the welfare of the poor across different states in India.

The author also receives recognition for her philanthropic endeavors, including awards such as the Economic Times Award bestowed upon the Infosys Foundation. Reflecting on her journey, the author recalls her mentor, who had played a pivotal role in awakening her sense of social responsibility. She extends an invitation to her mentor, now studying in the USA, to attend the award ceremony in Bombay, acknowledging the significant influence her mentor had on her life’s trajectory.

Overall, this segment underscores the transformative power of altruism and the profound sense of fulfillment that comes from serving others.

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