‘Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory’ Class 8 English: It is a humorous story in which the main character is made to believe himself sick. Perforce, he thinks that he has a lapse of memory. In truth there is nothing wrong with him.
Summary: Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory:
Stranger Recalls Ranchi Visit to Bepin Choudhury
As on every Monday after work, Bepin Choudhury made a beeline for Kalicharan’s bookshop to purchase books. While perusing the titles, he felt as though someone was closely observing him. The man claimed to know Bepin and that Bepin Babu knew him as well. To Bepin’s surprise, the stranger informed him that they were good acquaintances who had met daily for a week when Bepin visited Ranchi. The stranger introduced himself as Parimal Ghose.
When Parimal tried to jog Bepin’s memory about his visit to Ranchi in 1958, Bepin believed that the stranger had confused him with someone else. Bepin had never been to Ranchi, although he had longed to visit. Parimal proceeded to provide intimate details about Bepin Choudhury’s life that put him in a difficult spot. Parimal knew about the death of Bepin’s wife and brother, as well as his childless status and dislike for hotel food.
The Cut in the Right Knee
Upon noticing the cut mark on the stranger’s right knee, Bepin delves deeper into the matter. He recollects spending the October 1958 puja with his friend Haridas Bagchi, but to dispel any doubts that have arisen, he decides to contact both Haridas Bagchi and Dinesh Mukherji. The stranger had mentioned that Dinesh Mukherji was with him during the visit, and upon speaking with him, Dinesh Mukherji confirms this detail.
Amidst all the mental problems, Bepin Choudhury meets Chunilal.
Bepin Choudhury is in complete disbelief and begins to reflect on his life. He believes that the excessive work and labor he had dedicated to his job over the years were to blame for his current condition. He starts to question his mental state, realizing that he had forgotten an entire incident from just a few years ago.
To confirm the details of his visit to Ranchi, Bepin Choudhury seeks the help of an old school friend, Chunilal, who comes to him for assistance in finding a new job. Not only does Chunilal confirm the visit, but he also reveals that he was the one who made Bepin Babu’s train reservations, as he was working as a travel agent at the time.
Bepin Choudhury Sees the Doctor and his Leaving for Hudroo Falls
Bepin Choudhury had become convinced that there was something wrong with him. Consequently, he decided to seek the help of a young physician named Dr. Paresh Chanda. “You must cure me of this terrible illness. I cannot express how much it is impacting my work,” he implored. Dr. Chanda was surprised to hear the symptoms and suggested that Bepin Babu return to Ranchi to try and remember the forgotten parts of his memory. Bepin Choudhury followed the doctor’s advice and set off for Ranchi the very next evening.
True to expectations, Bepin Choudhury remembered nothing upon revisiting Ranchi. He could not bear the weight of his illness and, having lost his last hope, he collapsed at Hudroo Falls. There, two Gujarati gentlemen found him lying unconscious.
Bepin Choudhury Receives a Letter and Talks to Dr Chanda
Upon returning from Ranchi, Bepin Choudhury was feeling depressed when he received a letter from Chunilal. In the letter, Chunilal confessed to tricking Bepin as a form of revenge for Bepin forgetting their old friendship and not helping him when he needed it. Bepin felt embarrassed by the revelation and later informed Dr. Chanda that he had regained his memory after his second trip to Ranchi, and that the doctor could come and treat his injured hip.
|drop in||enter casually without any pre-planned intention|
|crime||offence, an illegal act|
|to last||to continue to exist|
|On the way||while returning|
|thrillers||books that thrill|
|head reeled||shocked and confused|
|losing his mind||becoming mad|
|firm||a business organisation|
|intimate||very personal and private|
|roll up||turn up|
|conclude||come to the conclusion|
|going nuts||becoming mad|
|slammed||put down violently|
|conscientious||careful and correct|
|head was in whirl||confused and unable to think clearly|
|fairly recent||not old|
|having a tough times||having a lot of problem|
|turning up like a bad||appearing to come as a bad|
|sent word||sent a message|
|stepped out||went out|
|struck||came to the mind of|
|turned round||looked back|
|didn’t beat around the bush||talked straight|
|off and on||now and then|
|throw your mind back||think back and recall a past event|
|unmixed with||free from|
|taken to drugs||be addicted to some narcotics|
|see about||think about|
|mentioning||making a mention|
|to deal with||to encounter|
|worth a try||should be attempted|
|picnickers||people on picnic|
|boulder||a bog round stone by the side of the fall|
|came round||regained consciousness|
|down on his luck||unlucky|
|in retribution of||as a punishment of|
Comprehension Check – Intext Questions
Check 1 – Page 62
1. Why did the man stare at Bepin Babu in disbelief?
Ans. Bepin Babu was met with disbelief from a man when he failed to recognize him. The man claimed that they had spent an entire week together in Ranchi and had conversed about personal matters. However, Bepin Babu’s lack of recognition left the man stunned and staring at him in disbelief, especially considering the friendly nature of their previous encounter.
2. Where did Bepin Babu say he went in October, 1958 ?
Ans. Bepin Babu said that in October, 1958 he had gone to Kanpur to celebrate ‘Puja’. He was with his friend, Haridas Bagchi, during that time.
3. Mention any three (or more) things that Parimal Ghose knew about Bepin Babu.
Ans. Parimal Ghose knew quite a few things about Bepin Choudhury and his life.
(i) About ten years ago, Bepin Choudhury’s wife passed away.
(ii) Bepin Babu had no children.
(iii) Parimal Ghose was able to deduce that Bepin Babu’s brother had died due to insanity, which was why he avoided visiting mental hospitals.
(iv) Having a good understanding of Bepin Babu’s preferences, Parimal Ghose knew that Bepin Babu did not enjoy hotel food.
(v) The cut on Bepin Babu’s right knee during Ranchi visit was also known to Primal Ghose.
Check 2 – Page 65
1. Why did Bepin Babu worry about what Parimal Ghose had said ?
Ans. Bepin Babu was anxious about the information that Parimal Ghose had disclosed to him. This was because the details were personal and unknown to outsiders. Parimal Ghose was accurate about everything except for Bepin’s visit to Ranchi in 1958. This made Bepin concerned about his mental well-being.
2. How did he try to decide who was right – his memory or Primal Ghose ?
Ans. Bepin Choudhury made the decision to contact his friend Harida Bagchi, whom he had spent the 1958 ‘Puja’ with. However, Bagchi was currently in Japan, so Choudhury rolled up his trousers to inspect the cut on his knee himself. Subsequently, he decided to reach out to Dinesh Mukherji and Chunilal to verify his findings.
3. Why did Bepin Babu hesitate to visit Mr Mukherji? Why did he finally decide to phone him ?
Ans. Bepin Babu was hesitant about visiting Mr. Mukherji because he felt it would be embarrassing to ask his friend for details about his life. Additionally, if Dinesh Mukherji confirmed their visit to Ranchi, he would learn about Bepin Babu’s state of mind. As a result, Bepin Babu chose to call him instead.
4. What did Mr Mukherji say ? Did it comfort Bepin Babu or add to his worries?
Ans. Mr Mukherji confirmed that both of them had been to Ranchi in the year 1958. This quite obviously added on to Bepin Babu’s worries.
Check 3 – Page 68
1. Who was Chunilal ? What did he want from Bepin Babu ?
Ans. Chunilal was a very old friend of Bepin Babu. They had been together at school. Chunilal was going through a very rough time as he didn’t have a job at present. He had been coming to meet Bepin Babu over and over again for job prospects.
2. Why was Dr Chanda puzzled? What was unusual about Bepin Babu’s loss of memory ?
Ans. Bepin Babu had an unusual case where he had a complete memory of his life except for one particular episode, leaving Dr. Chanda perplexed. Unlike other patients who tend to forget fragments of their memory, Bepin Babu’s amnesia was limited to only one event.
Check 4 – Page 70
1. Had Bepin Babu really lost his memory and forgotten all about a trip to Ranchi ?
Ans. No, Bepin Babu had not lost his memory or forgotten anything. He had been fooled to believe so by Chunilal that he had made a trip to Ranchi and then he was unable to remember it.
2. Why do you think Chunilal did what he did ? Chunilal says he has no money; what is it that he does have ?
Ans. Bepin Choudhury and Chunilal had been friends for a long time, but lately Chunilal felt that Bepin Babu was neglecting their friendship due to his privileged circumstances. This hurt Chunilal deeply, and in revenge, he played a trick on Bepin Babu. In a letter, Chunilal claimed that he had no money but was using his imagination to write a novel that was being reviewed by a reputable publisher.
Working With the Text (NCERT Page 70)
1. The author describes Bepin Babu as a serious and hardworking man. What evidence can you find in the storu to support this ?
Ans. According to the author, Bepin Babu was a diligent and responsible employee who approached his work with great seriousness and dedication. This is evident from the fact that despite being unwell due to the Ranchi episode, he did not neglect his duties. When Dr. Chanda recommended that he return to Ranchi, Bepin Babu called his office and provided instructions before embarking on the journey, demonstrating that he prioritized his job even when he was not feeling well.
2. Why did Bepin Babu change his mind about meeeting Chunilal ? What was the result of this meeeting ?
Ans. Chunilal had been coming over and over again to meet Bepin Babu to make appeal for a job. Bepin Babu, therefore, asked him to leave. Immediately, however, Bepin Babu changed his mind because he thought Chunilal might have a fair idea about his Ranchi visit in 1958.
After this meeting, however, Bepin Babu was left further troubled, since Chunilal confirmed Bepin Babu’s Ranchi visit.
3. Bepin Babu lost consciousness at Hudroo Falls. What do you think was the reason for this ?
Ans. It’s possible that Bepin Babu lost consciousness at Hudroo Falls because he had lost hope of regaining his lost memories. Given his poor health and constant worry about his memory lapses, the inability to recall that particular episode may have caused him to become overwhelmed with his thoughts, leading to his collapse.
4. How do you think Bepin Babu reacted when he found out that Chunilal had tricked him ?
Ans. Bepin Babu was taken aback, stunned, and humiliated upon discovering that Chunilal had deceived him. He didn’t want to reveal his embarrassment to anyone, so he went along with Chunilal’s lie and informed Dr. Chanda that he had recalled everything during his visit to Ranchi.
Working with Language – Page 71
1. Look at these two sentences.
He had to buy at least five books to last him through the week.
Bepin had to ask Chuni to leave.
Had to is used to show that it was very important or necessary for Bepin Babu to do something. He had no choice. We can also use ‘have to’/ ‘has to’ in the same way.
Fill in the blanks below using ‘ had to ‘ / ‘have to’/ ‘has to’.
(i) I ………. cut my hair every month.
(ii) We ………….. go for swimming lessons last year.
(iii) She …………. tell the principal the truth.
(iv) They ……… take the baby to the doctor.
(v) We ……… complain to the police about the noise.
(vi) Romit ……….. finish his homework before he could come out to play.
(vii) I …… repair my cycle
(i) have to
(ii) had to
(iii) had to
(iv) had to
(v) had to
(vi) has to
(vii) had to
2. Here are a few idioms that you will find in the story. Look for them in the dictionary in the following way.
First, arrange them in the order in which you would find them in a dictionary. ( Clue: An idiom is usually listed under the first noun, verb, adjective or adverb in it. Ignore articles or prepositions in the idiom).
To help you, we have put in bold the words under which you must look for the idioms in the dictionary.
(i) at/from close quarters (close : adjective)
(ii) break into smile (break: verb; look under ‘break into something’)
(iii) carry on (carry : verb)
(iv) have a clean record (you may find related meanings under both these words)
(v) beat about the bush (verb)
Now, refer to your dictionary and find out what they mean.
Ans. The dictionary order
(i) beat about the bush (ii) break into a smile (iii) carry on (iv) from close quarters (v) have a clean record of Meaning
(i) Not to talk in a straightforward manner
(ii) smile abruptly or suddenly
(iii) to continue
(iv) Nearby or close by
(v) Without any blemish
3. Study the sentences in the columns A and B below.
|Column A||Column B|
|I saw this movie yesterday||I have seen this movie already.|
|Bepin Babu worked here for a week last year||Bepin Babu has worked here since 2003.|
|Chunilal wrote to a publisher last week.||Chunilal has written to a publisher.|
|I visited Ranchi once, long ago.||I have visited Ranchi once before.|
Compare the sentences in two columns, especially the verb forms. Answer the following questions about each pair of sentences.
(i) Which column tells us that Bepin Babu is still working at the same place ?
(ii) Which column suggests that Chunilal is now waiting for a reply from the publisher?
(iii) Which column suggest that the person still remembers the movie he saw ?
(iv) Which column suggests that the experience of visiting Ranchi is still fresh in the speaker’s mind?
(i) Column B – Bepin Babu has worked here since 2003.
(ii) Column A – Chunilal wrote to a publisher last week.
(iii) Column B – I have seen this movie already.
(iv) Column B – I have visited Ranchi once before.
4. Given below are jumbled sentences. Working in groups, rearrange the words in each sentence to form correct sentence.
You will find that each sentence contains an idiomatic expression that you have come across in the lesson. Underline the idiom and write down its meaning. Then use your dictionary to check the meaning.
One sentence has been worked out for you as an example.
Jumbled sentence : vanished/ The car/ seemed to/ into thin/ have/ air
Ans. The car seemed to have vanished into thin air.
Idiom: vanished into thin air : disappeared or vanished in a mysterious way.
(i) stop/ and tell me/ beating about/ what you want/ the bush
(ii) don’t pay/ if you/ attention/ you might/ the wrong train/ to the announcement/ board
(iii) The villagers/ tried/ the crime/ on the young woman/ to pin
(iv) Bepin Babu/ orders to/ telling people/ under/ loved/ doctor’s/ eat early/ that he was
(v) the students/ the teacher/ his eyebrows/ when/ said that/ all their lessons/ raised/ they have revised
(i) Stop beating about the bush and tell me what you want.
Idioms: beating about the bush to not talk about something directly.
(ii) If you don’t pay attention to the announcement you might board the wrong train.
Idiom: Pay attention to be attentive
(iii) The villagers tried to pin the crime on the young woman.
Idiom: To pin the crime to accuse someone for any crime
(iv) Bepin Babu loved telling people that he was under doctor’s orders to eat early.
Idiom: Under orders to follow the instructions.
(v) The teacher raised his eyebrows when the students said that they had revised all their lessons.
Idiom : raised his eyebrows was shocked or surprised mildly.
Speaking and Writing (NCERT Page 73)
1. What do you think happened after Bepin Babu came to know the truth? Was he angry with this friend for playing such a trick on him ? Or do you think he decided to help a friend in need?
Ans. Upon discovering the truth, Bepin Babu was completely taken aback. He never could have imagined in his wildest dreams that he would be deceived in such a way. Initially, he was quite upset with Chunilal and could not fathom how his friend could play such a serious prank on him. Additionally, he was disturbed by Dinesh Mukherji’s lie, which had led him to believe that the situation was grave.
However, he soon realized that what troubled him the most was the fact that his friends were responsible for his current state of mental imbalance and poor health.
Bepin Choudhury quickly came to understand how he had contributed to Chunilal’s financial troubles as a friend, and how he had failed to be a source of support and aid in his time of need. As a result, he made a decision to help his friend in any way he could, without delay. He also wrote a letter of apology to Chunilal and visited him in person to seek his forgiveness.
2. Imagine you are Bepin Choudhury. You have received Chunilal’s letter and feel ashamed that you did not bother to help an old friend down on his luck.
Now, you want to do something for him. Write a letter to Chunilal promising to help him soon.
A prank is a childish trick. Do you remember any incident when someone played a prank on you or your friends? Describe the prank in a paragraph.
I received your letter yesterday evening, just after returning from Ranchi in poor health. The shocking revelation in your letter left me dumbfounded and numb for some time, unsure how to react. Despite having suffered greatly in the past week, I knew I should have been angry with you. However, realizing the suffering you must have endured for the past two months because of me left me speechless. I am deeply ashamed of how I handled your situation, and regret not having made more of an effort to help you find a position or otherwise improve your circumstances. My callous attitude has not only hurt you, but has also caused me pain today. My dear friend, I humbly ask for your forgiveness for the sake of our longstanding friendship. I promise to assist you in any way I can moving forward. Although I am embarrassed to face you, I hope to meet with you soon. Please let me know if you have forgiven me, and I will do everything in my power to make amends.
Ans. When I was young, I was very scared of lizards. One day, one of my cousins threw a plastic lizard on me. I was scared to death, thinking it to be a real one. I was so scared that I wanted to have revenge on my cousin.
So, I called him from another phone and pretended to be his teacher and asked him to pass the phone to his father so that I could complain about his mischievous behaviour in class. Thinking of me as his teacher, my cousin was so apologetic for all his unruly acts that it gave me a lot of pleasure.