Why didn't he (the author as a student) pay the school fee on the day he brought money to school?
The author didn't pay the school fee on the day he brought money because the teacher who collected the fee, Master Ghulam Mohammad, was on leave.
What were the coins ‘saying’ to him?
The coins were enticing him to spend them on buying hot jalebis.
Do you think they were misguiding him?
Yes, they were misguiding him. He was a good boy and belonged to a noble family. He got much more at home.
Why didn’t he take the coins’ advice? Give two or three reasons.
(i) He was a good boy.
(ii) He got so much at home that he considered even looking at something in the market a sin.
(iii) The money he had was for the school fee and he did not want to spend it.
What did the oldest coin tell him?
The oldest coin asked him to tell the other coins honestly if he did not feel like eating those hot jalebis. He advised him to buy sweets with the fee money and pay fee with the scholarship money.
Did he follow his advice? If not, why not?
No, he did not follow his advice. He belonged to a noble family. He enjoyed considerable prestige. For a child of such status, standing in the middle of the bazaar eating jalebis was not right.
He reached home with the coins in his pocket. What happened then?
When he reached home the coins began to speak and shriek. Thoroughly fed up, he rushed out of the house barefoot and ran towards the bazaar. Thus, they forced him to buy jalebis.
Why didn't he eat all the Jalebis he had bought?
There were so many jalebis. Therefore he could not eat all.
What did he do with the remaining jalebis?
He distributed the remaining jalebis among the children who had collected around him.
"The fear was killing me." What was the fear?
The author had eaten so many jalebis that his stomach could not digest. He was in constant fear that with every breath a burp would come and with every burp a jalebi or two would come out. Thus his secret of eating jalebis would be exposed.
"Children's stomachs are like digestion machines." What do you understand by this? Do you agree?
Children are playful by nature and even if they overeat, the food gets digested easily. Their digestion system is quite strong unlike elders. In the story too, the narrator overate but got normal the next morning.
How did he plan to pay the fees the next day?
He planned to pay the fees with the scholarship money he expected to get the next day.
When it is time to pay the fees, what does he do? How is he disobeying the elders by doing so?
When it is time to pay the fees, he leaves the school and reaches a deserted corner of the railway station. The elders had forbidden him to cross the railway tracks and eat sweets with one's fees money. He is, therefore, disobeying his elders.
What was the consequence of buying jalebis with the fees money?
Buying jalebis with the fees money created a problem for him. He had to flee from the school and spend the school time under a shady tree in a deserted corner of the railway station. Show Answer
His prayer to God is like a lawyer's defence of a bad case. Does he argue his case well? What are the points he makes?
Yes, he argues his case well. In his address to Allah Miyan he says that he is a good boy. He has memorised the entire namaaz, last ten surats of the Quran and the entire ayat-al-kursi. He appeals Him to help him just once.
He offers to play a game with Allah Miyan. What is the game?
The game is that he will run to the signal. In the meantime, Allah Miyan will secretly place four rupees+R476 under the big rock.
Did he get four rupees by playing the game? What did he get to see under the rock?
No, he did not get four rupees by playing the game. He got to see a big hairy worm under the rock.
If God had granted his wish that day, what harm would it have caused him later in life?
If God would have granted the author's wish that day, he would have indulged in blind faith. He would have become lazy, idle and complacent.
Select and read sentences that show.
(i) that the boy is tempted to eat jalebis.
(ii) that he is feeling guilty.
(iii) that he is justifying a wrong deed.
(i) But then, these jalebis are no common sort of jalebis and they are crisp, fresh and full of sweet syrup.
(ii) Sitting there under the tree, at first. I felt like crying.
(iii) I didn't eat them all by myself though I fed them to a whole lot of children too...
Discuss the following points:
(i) Is the boy intelligent? If so, what is the evidence of it?
(ii) Does his outlook on jalebis episode change after class VIII? Does he see the episode in a new light?
(iii) Why are coins made to 'talk' in this story? What purpose does it serve?
(i) Yes, the boy is very intelligent. The story tells that he was a promising student. He had won a scholarship in the IV standard exams. He had even memorized the entire namaaz, last ten surats of the Quran and the entire ayat-al-kursi.
(ii) Yes, his outlook on the jalebis episode changes after class VIII. He comes to the conclusion that if Allah Miyan were to provide for all the asking and requests, then man would have been idle and lazy.
(iii) The coins are made to talk to give the story a humorous touch. The purpose it serves is that money in the pocket makes even a wise man go astray.