NCERT Solutions for Class 8 English Chapter 13 - The Comet-I

Question 1:

Why does Indrani Debi dislike Duttada’s ‘hob nobbing’ with Dibya?


In spite of doctor’s warning to take special precautions against the cold, Duttada goes on the roof where he has installed his ‘Dibya’. He does not even put on his sweater. That is why Indrani dislikes Duttada's hobnobbing with Dibya.

Question 2:

She (Indrani) is complaining and smiling. Why is she smiling?


On finding the bed empty and the door open, Indrani smiles thinking of her husband’s (Duttada’s) forgetfulness to the practical problems of living. She knows that he has gone on the roof to hobnob with ‘Dibya’.

Question 3:

What was Duttada’s secret ambition?


Duttada’s secret ambition was to discover a new comet.

Question 4:

What did he do to achieve it?


After his retirement, Duttada got ample money to buy a telescope. To Duttada, the telescope marked the fulfilment of the ambition of a lifetime.

Question 5:

What is the difference between a planet and a comet, as given in the story?


Unlike a planet, a comet can be new as it usually comes from the remote corners of the solar system. Like a planet, a comet also orbits round the Sun. But the orbit of a comet is highly irregular.

Question 6:

Why was Duttada hopeful that he would discover a new comet soon?


Duttada was optimistic. He knew that the professionals would be looking at faint stars and nebulous galaxies. They might miss such an insignificant thing as a comet. He was, therefore, hopeful that he would discover a new comet soon.

Question 7:

Why does Duttada say—‘‘I almost wish I had not discovered this comet?’’


Duttada was an introvert. His discovery made him famous. He had to attend a number of receptions and functions. He did not like this overdose of publicity. In disgust he said the given words to himself.

Question 8:

Why is his (Duttada’s) wife unhappy about the discovery?


Duttada’s wife thinks that comets bring ill-luck. So she is unhappy that a good man like her husband is associated with the discovery of a comet.

Question 9:

How did Sir John get hold of Jame’s original manuscript?


James had given his findings about Comet Dutta to ‘Nature’, a famous science journal, to be published without delay. Taylor, the editor of ‘Nature’ was a friend of Sir John. He met Sir John at lunch in the club and showed him the original manuscript. Thus, Sir John got hold of James’s original manuscript.

Question 10:

What is the important point the paper makes?


Dr. James Forsyth made calculations about the comet, Dutta. He observed that comet Dutta was fast heading towards the Earth and its collision against the planet was inevitable.

Question 11:

Why does Sir John say that James's paper should not be published?


James in his paper, predicts comet Dutta’s collision against the Earth. If this dreadful news is published it would send a wave of panic in the world.

Question 12:

What do the two men finally decide to do?


The two men finally decide to hold an important secret conference of international experts.

Question 13:

Do you think ours is a traditional society? What are some of the things we do to be called traditional? Do you find these things to be useless or useful?


Yes, ours is a traditional society. Majority of us believe in age old traditions. We observe fasts, perform yajna, feed priests to pacify the souls of our forefathers, etc. These things are not absolutely useless. Observing fast is useful for health. By performing yajna, we purify the atmosphere as harmful germs are killed. These things are useless if performed blindly, without knowing their significance.

Question 14:

Give two three examples to show how science has been useful to us.


Science has affected every sphere of life - medicine, entertainment, transport, communication, industry, commerce, etc.
(i) Man has eradicated some fatal diseases and found treatment for others through science.
(ii) Science has created many means of entertainment - cinema, T.V., radio, Internet, etc.
(iii) It has made life easy and comfortable. We have air coolers, washing machines, refrigerators, etc. that make our life and work easy. (iv) Science has conquered the distances of time and space through telephones, road, water and air transport. Show Answer

Question 15:

Give one example to show how science has been misused, and has as a result been harmful to us.


Science has created weapons of destruction which have brought death and annihilation. Two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were completely destroyed by atom bombs dropped on them during World War II.

Question 16:

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.

Question 17:

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.

Question 18:

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.

Question 16:

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...

Question 17:

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.