‘Haroun Meets Iff’ is an extract taken from the novel ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ written by Salman Rushdie. Young Haroun lives with his father Rashid, who is a famous storyteller. However, ever since his wife left him, Rashids imagination has run out, and he has not been able to tell any stories. He has now been requested by a corrupt local politician to campaign for him in the upcoming elections. In order to persuade Rashid to campaign for him, the politician offers Rashid and Haroun a stay on board in his luxurious houseboat. There at boat Haroun outwits the genie Iff to fail his mission to close the tap of story.
Rashid Khalifa is the father of Haroun. He is a gifted storyteller but fails to get supply of stories to tell after her wife leaves him. A politician hires him for election campaign. He asks him to go to the valley of K to tell stories to the voters. However, ever since his wife left him, he has not been able to tell stories. The only sound that escapes his mouth is ‘ark, ark, ark’. Rashid is scared of not being able to tell stories, but he is even more scared of the politician. He agrees to campaign for him. They board a train and soon reach the Dull Lake in the valley of K, from where they are ferried across on board a luxurious swan shaped houseboat. The houseboat is called Arabian Nights Plus One. Inside there are elaborate decorations and luxurious rooms. In the middle of Rashid’s bedroom, there is an enormous wooden peacock that is removed to reveal a large bed. Haroun’s room has a large turtle that does the same thing. Haroun and Rashid both find it difficult to sleep in their respective beds and so they decide to exchange their rooms. Rashid is mostly worried that he will get up on stage the next day and have nothing to say but ‘ark’. In the new room, Haroun dozes off and then hears some commotion in his bathroom. He wakes to see an astonishing figure which had a huge onion for a head and huge aubergines for legs. It was holding a toolbox and was mumbling. Haroun sneaks over to the bathroom and listens to his mutterings. Haroun soon realises that it is an old man with a long blue beard, wearing a purple turban and baggy silk pyjamas. He is muttering about how he is being forced to uninstall something at the last minute because a subscription ran out and how he does not have time for such things. Haroun accidentally steps on a creaky board and the old man looks up, spins around several times, and disappears. As he leaves, he drops a wrench on the floor. Haroun grabs the wrench.
Slowly, the old man rematerializes in front of Haroun. The old man demands the wrench back, but Haroun refuses. The old man tells Haroun that he is the Water Genie, Iff from the Ocean of the Streams of Story. He is there to turn off the Story Water from the Great Story Sea because ‘the gentleman no longer requires the service; has discontinued narrative activities, thrown in the towel, packed it in’. Haroun is shocked at the thought that his father has shut off the Story Stream and asks how the genie knows his father is quitting. Iff tells him that the news was sent by a ‘P2C2E’ (Process Too Complicated To Explain) involving Thought Beams. Haroun asks how the cancellation can be reversed, and Iff tells him to take the issue up with the Walrus, who is the Grand Comptroller at P2C2E House, Gup City, Kahani. Iff reveals the invisible story water tap to Haroun and Haroun then makes the most important decision of his life. He asks Iff to take him to Gup City to see the Grand Comptroller. Iff refuses but ultimately has to follow to get the wrinch. he agrees to take him to the Gup city.
relish – to get great pleasure or taste from something
fabulous – extremely good, superb, incredible, any mythical creature
intricately – complicated because of many parts of any structure
chandeliers – branched lighting fixture hanging from ceiling
ornate – covered with lot of decoration with complicated patterns
opulent – rich and wealthy, well decorated
drop off – to begin to sleep
for good – forever
all up – finished, complete, dead
weird – strange, unusual, difficult to understand
silhouetted – shadowy outline of a figure
aubergine – eggplant, brinjal
grumbling – to talk in a complaining manner
wham-bam – suddenly, immediately, on the spot
pronto – quickly
meddle – interfere
pinched – stolen
monologue – one,
sport – wear
whereupon – and then
disgruntled – annoyed and angry
materialising – appearing suddenly out in the air, taking physical shape
yield – surrender agree or accept
divulge – to disclose or tell the secret
sulk – angry
to throw in the towel – to quit, to give up
grin – smile
pack it in – to cease doing something like job, hobby etc
up the spout – in difficult situation, likely to fail
eggheads – intellectual persons
dubiously – in a suspicious manner
glint – a small bright flash of light
accredited – officially authorised
scram – to move quickly
bang to rights – caught red handed
make tracks – to leave a place
A. Based on your understanding of the story give reasons for the incidents mentioned in the table.
- a. He was upset on his failing ability to tell stories. He had accepted the offer but was worried as what would become of him if he fails to woo the voters. He was also angry at being bossed about.
- b. He came to cut off Haroun’s Story Water supply.
- c. The Walrus was the Grand Comptroller at P2C2E House in Gup City.
- d. The Grand comptroller had ordered him to do so. Rashid had imagined cancelling his subscription to the Supplier of Story Water from the Great Story Sea.
- e. He wanted to meet the Walrus so that he could get his father’s Water supply reversed before it was too late.
- f. Haroun had taken away the tool from Iff. Haroun asked him to take him to the Gup city to get the tool back.
B. Answer these questions with reference to the context.
- Haroun and Rashid walked up a wooden ladder on to a verandah of intricately carved wood and into a living room with crystal chandeliers and throne-like seats.
a. Who were Haroun and Rashid?
b. Where was the living room?
c. Why were they there?
d. Who had sent them there?
- ‘It’s no use—I won’t be able to do it—I’m finished, finished for good!’
a. Who is the speaker?
b. What won’t the speaker be able to do?
c. Why did the speaker say these words?
d. Who tried to help the speaker?
- ‘Feel here,’ said the Water Genie, pointing to a patch of empty air six inches above the basin.
a. What was the name of the Water Genie?
b. Who was being addressed by the Water Genie?
c. What was the Water Genie asking the person to feel?
d. What did the person manage to feel above the basin?
- a. Rashid was a master story teller and Haroun was his son.
b. The living room was in a houseboat called Arabian Nights Plus One.
c. Uniformed boatmen showed them to their bedrooms.
d. Iff visited the houseboat.
- a. Rashid is the speaker.
b. He won’t be able to tell stories again.
c. He said so because he felt that he could not think of any new stories to tell as his wife had left him.
d. His son Haroun tried to help him.
- a. His name was Iff.
b. Haroun was being addressed by Iff.
c. He was asking him to feel a patch of empty air six inches above the basin. This was the Story tap. It was invisible.
d. He felt the story tap which was invisible
C. Answer these questions.
- What was Rashid asked to do and by whom?
- Why was Rashid finding it hard to narrate stories?
- Who sent Rashid to the houseboat and why?
- Describe the houseboat.
- What kind of beds did Rashid and Haroun have in the houseboat?
- Why was Haroun not able to sleep?
- Who visited the houseboat and why?
- Describe Iff’s appearance and behaviour.
- What did Iff tell Haroun about Gup city and its leader?
- Why did Haroun want to go to Gup City and how did he manage to convince Iff to take him there?
- The writer has created a world of fantasy, working around the art of storytelling. Comment.
- Do you agree with Iff when he says, ‘but for stories with that Extra Ingredient, ah, for those, even the best storytellers need the Story Waters.’
1. Rashid was asked by a corrupt politician to campaign for him with his ‘praising stories’ to woo the voters.
2. Rashd was upset because his wife had left him. In such an upset atmosphere he was not able to think of stories.
3. A corrupt local politician had sent Rashid to the houseboat to campaign for him by telling ‘praising stories’.
4. The houseboat was luxurious. It well decorated with intricated carved wood, crystal chandeliers, thrown like seats, walnut tables, brocaded cushions, turtle and peacock beds.
5. The bedrooms were even more opulent than the lounge. There was an enormous painted wooden peacock in Rashid’s bedroom. Haroun’s bedroom had an equally outsized turtle, which likewise became a bed when its shell was removed.
6. He couldn’t sleep because he was worried about the fact that he had lost his ability to make up new stories to tell.
7. Iff, a water genie visited the houseboat to cut off Rashid Story Tap supply.
8. Iff was an ancient looking man with an outsize onion for head and an outsize aubergine for legs. He wore a huge purple turban on his head and baggy silk pyjamas. His had sky-blue beards.
9. Iff told Haroun that at P2C2E House, Gup City, Kahani the leader was the Walrus. All stories came from there. At P2C2E House in Gup City there are many brilliant persons employed, but there is only one Grand Comptroller. All the others were Eggheads.
10. Haroun wanted to go there because he wanted the Walrus to reverse the order that said that Rashid’s Story supply subscription would be cancelled. He took away Iff’s tool from him and refused to give it back to him if he refused to take him to Gup City.
11. The world of fantasy in the story is clearly visible from the following examples:
a. The creation of a character like Iff.
b. The creation of Gup city and Walrus.
c. The imaginary Story Supply tap.
d. Gup City is supposed to be the source of all his stories.
12. Yes, we agree that ‘extra ingredient’ (entertaining and entwining story-elements) or ‘story waters’ (inspirations) are needed even by the experts in the fields of storytelling.
A. Identify these sentences as simple S, compound CMP or complex CPX.
- Life is wonderful. …………………….
- I don’t know what to say. …………………….
- Most people work hard to make a living. …………………….
- Kavita works hard and wants to do well. …………………….
- In an effort to do well, she often forgets to rest and eat. …………………….
- Assignments, homework and projects occupy her mind. …………………….
- She becomes restless and loses her peace of mind. …………………….
- She realises that she must sleep as well. …………………….
- She should study hard, but she should also get some rest. …………………….
- Study and rest will help her lead a balanced life. …………………….
1. explode 2. cancel 3. distribute 4. draw attention to 5. extinguish 6. write 7. discuss 8. be friends again 9. admire
B. Complete these sentences as indicated in the brackets, using dependent or independent clauses.
- Sally met her friend. (compound)
- Meena washed her hands (compound)
- Ali owns a car (complex)
- Mummy is very kind (compound)
- It is likely to snow tomorrow (complex)
- ………………………………… Ila had a bath. (complex)
- Teji walked to the market (compound)
- Yani likes ice cream (compound)
- …………………………………………………………….. I adopted a cat. (complex)
- They got wet in the rain (compound)
- …………………………………………………………….. Harsh painted a picture. (complex)