Velu stood on the platform but he felt "as if he was still on a moving train". Why?
Velu felt he was still on a moving train because he had been travelling for a long time and his legs wobbled by the time he got on to the platform.
What made him (Velu) feel miserable?
The terrible noise on the platform, hunger and exhaustion made him feel miserable.
Velu travelled without a ticket. Why?
Velu travelled without a ticket because he had no money with him.
How did he escape the ticket collector's attention?
Velu escaped the ticket collector's attention as he did not come to the unreserved compartment in which Velu had travelled.
Why had Velu run away from home?
Velu's father was a drunkard. Whatever Velu earned, his father took away. Velu was also beaten by his father daily. Therefore he ran away from home.
Why did he (Velu) decide to follow the 'strange' girl?
Velu was completely new to Chennai. He did not know where to go and what to do. But the 'stranger' girl seemed to know everything. She could help him get food too. Therefore Velu decided to follow her.
Can Velu read Tamil and English? How do you know?
Velu can read Tamil but he can't read English. He reads the Tamil sign which says Central Jail. But he knows nothing of what is written on the English signboards.
"If you are not careful, you will soon be counting bars there," the girl said.
(i) What is she referring to?
(ii) What does she mean when she says "If you are not careful..."?
(She says something a little later which means the same. Find that sentence.)
(i) She is referring to jail.
(ii) She means to say that Velu must be careful about whatever he does, otherwise he would land up in jail.
That sentence is–
"Just don't get caught, that's all."
Where did the girl lead Velu to?
The girl led Velu to a big building Sri Rajarajeshwari Prasanna Kalyana Mandapam where a marriage ceremony was going on.
What did they get to eat?
They got bananas and Vada to eat.
What work did she (Jaya) do? Think of a one-word answer.
What material are the strange huts made out of?
The strange huts are made out of metal sheets, tyres, bricks, wood and plastic.
Why does Velu find them strange?
Velu finds them strange because he has never seen such huts before in his village where all huts are made up of mud and palm leaves.
What sort of things did Jaya and children like her collect and what did they do with those things?
Jaya and other children like her collected paper, plastic, glass, etc. from the rubbish bins. They sold them to a junk dealer named Jaggu.
Is Velu happy or unhappy to find work? Give a reason for your answer.
Velu is not happy at all. He sighs while saying that he will do the job until he finds a better job.
Is Velu a smart boy? Which instances in the text show that he is or isn't?
Yes, Velu is a smart boy. He runs away from home to save himself from his father's beating. He travels to Chennai without ticket and without any fear in his mind. He understands the importance of Jaya's help. So he makes a quick decision and follows her.
Do you think Jaya is a brave and sensitive child with a sense of humour? Find instances of her courage, kind nature and humour in the text.
Yes, Jaya is a brave and sensitive child with a good sense of humour. She works alone and is very quick at her job. She knows that Velu is a helpless child in the crowded city of Chennai. So she helps him find food and job. She is humorous too. She says to Velu, "If you stand around in the middle of the road like that, you'll be chutney."She also refers to the dirty trickle of water as the "Buckingham Canal".
"What one throws away as waste may be valuable to others". Do you find this sentence meaningful in the context of this story? How?
This sentence is holds a lot of meaning especially in the context of this story. Jaya, in this story, collects waste material, sells it to a junk-dealer and makes her living. The junk-dealer too makes profit by selling the waste material to a factory.