CHILDREN AT WORK
The children will be able
To understand the message of the lesson.
To know the use and meaning of new words.
To get the message that running away from home will lead to many unexpected experiences.
To know that they have to do many undesirable works after running away from their homes.
To be aware of the world and its bitter experiences
Pulled in – arrived
wobbly – unsteady
Terrible – causing great fear, sorrow or discomfort
Exhausted – tired
stuffing – filling
Stare – look fixedly
glumly – sadly / gloomily
mutter – speak in a low voice
Grimace – twisted expression on the face
Velu was an eleven year old boy who had run away from home. He reached Chennai Central in the Kanyakumari Express without a ticket. He had no money for the ticket but luckily the ticket collector didn’t come to the unreserved compartment. He tried to sleep on the floor near the door but the group of men playing cards and shouting made him sleepless. After getting off, he sat on a bench on the platform, putting his small bundle down. In all his eleven years, he had never seen so many people. He watched them very carefully and he felt the noise miserable. He was feeling miserable and exhausted. He had eaten nothing but some peanuts and a piece of jaggery in these two days. He carried a shirt, a towel and a comb in his bundle.Velu was awakened by a rough voice. When he turned around he saw a girl of his own age, wearing a long banian that reaches her knees. Her hair was stiff and brownish and she had a huge sack on one shoulder. She was picking up dirty plastic cups from the floor and stuffing them into her sack. She asked his name and inquired whether he had run away from home? But Velu didn’t want to share his secret with this strange girl that he ran away home because he couldn’t bear his father beating him for one more day. His father would snatch all the money Velu and his sisters earned and spend it on drinks.
The girl asked about his plan but he didn’t answer. When he felt hunger pinching him, the girl told him that she can find some food if he wants.
It was still morning but Velu’s bare feet burned as the sun blasted down on the tar and he was soaked with sweat. He was thinking about the food and after an hour they stopped in front of a big building which was an auditorium. He read the names of the groom and the bride and he saw big cars parked outside. When the girl told him to come, looking at the huge hall and the people inside, he asked “Are we going to eat here?”
She led him behind the hall where a huge garbage bin was overflowing with rubbish. Two goats were standing on the pile, fighting for a banana leaf. She picked up a squashy banana and held it out to him and told, “Here’s your food.”
Velu remarked that those houses are strange because in his village the houses are made of mud and palm leaves.
Jaya went around to one of the huts and dumped her sack outside and picked up an empty one and told, “Let’s go.” She threw him a pair of old shoes without laces and pushed a sack and a stick into his hands and told to go with her.
Velu was confused and thought about the work which she wanted him to do with those things. The only work he had ever done was on the landowner’s farm, weeding and taking cows out to graze. So he asked her, “Are there any farms in the city?” She laughed at this and told him that there are no farmers there and they were ragpickers.
Velu had never heard a thing that people collect things from rubbish bins. She clarified the fact that it is not rubbish they are collecting but only paper, plastic, glass and such other things. He was puzzled when he heard that they sell it to Jam Bazaar Jaggu. He asked her who is he and why is he buying all these because he had heard of only people throwing away rubbish not buying them. She explained him that after buying this he sells it to a factory.
Jaya told she had no time to waste like him but Velu didn’t move from there. He was thinking that he hadn’t run away and come to this new place to dig through garbage bins.
short question answers
1.How had Velu reach Chennai?
Velu had walked for most of the first day to Kanur and then got on the train to Chennai.
2. How did Velu meet Jaya?
Velu was sitting on the bench at the platform. He was feeling very miserable and exhausted. Then he heard a rough voice and looking there he saw a girl of his own age.
3. Why did Velu not answer when the girl asked if he had run away from home?
He didn’t want to share his secrets with a stranger. So he didn’t answer her questions.
4. How did Velu cross the road?
Jaya and Velu had to wait for a long time before they could get a gap to run through. He hesitated but the girl dragged him to the other side.
5. What was Buckingham Canal?
There was a dirty trickle of water with a bridge across it. Seeing this Jaya told him that it was Buckingham Canal.
6.Why did Velu find the huts strange?
Velu found the huts strange because in his village the houses are made of mud and palm leaves.
7. What was the only work Velu had ever done?
The only work Velu had ever done was on the landowner’s farm, weeding and taking cows out to graze.
8. How did Jaya react when Velu asked her about farms?
Jaya laughed and told that there are no farmers there.
9. Did Velu run away fro home to become a ragpicker?
No, he hadn’t run away and come to that new place to become a ragpicker.
10. What did Velu finally decide to do?
Velu finally decided to be a ragpicker till he finds a better job.
1.Velu stood on the platform but he felt “as if he was still on a moving train.” Why?
Velu was tired and hungry and he had no idea where to go. So looking at the large crowd he stood on the platform.
2. What made him feel miserable?
Velu saw the crowd and understood that nobody is giving any notice to him. He do not know what to do and where to go.
3. Velu travelled without a ticket. Why?
Velu travelled without a ticket because he had no money to buy a ticket.
4. How did he escape the ticket collector’s attention?
He escaped the ticket collector’s attention because he didn’t come to the unreserved compartment.
5. Why had Velu run away from home?
Velu had run away from home because he couldn’t stand his father beating him for one more day. His father would snatch away all the money he and his sisters earned and spend it on drink.
6. Why did he decide to follow the ‘strange’ girl?
He decided to follow the ‘strange’ girl because she had promised to find some food for him. He was very hungry and knew no way to get the food for himself.
7. Can Velu read Tamil and English? How do you know?
Velu can’t read English because he failed to read the signboards in English. But was able to read the Tamil sign on the Central Jail.
8. “ 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……”?
(i) The girl is referring to the Central Jail.
(ii) She means that doing wrong is not important because sometimes innocent people can also be arrested by the police.
9. (i) Where did the girl lead Velu to?
(ii) What did they get to eat?
(i) The girl led Velu to a big building with the sign Sri Rajarajeshwari Prasanna Kalyana Mandapam which was a marriage hall.
(ii) They got the leftover food from the garbage bin like two bananas and a vada.
10. What work did she do? Think of a one word answer
11. What material are the ‘strange’ huts made out of?
The strange huts are made out of all sorts of things like metal sheets, tyres, bricks, wood and plastic.
12. Why does Velu find the huts strange?
Velu finds the huts strange because in his village the houses are made of mud and palm leaves.
13. What sort of things did Jaya and children like her collect and what did they do with those things?
Jaya and children like her collected paper, plastic, glass and such other things. They sold these things to Jam Bazaar Jaggu who later on sold them to a factory.
14. Is Velu happy or unhappy to find work? Give a reason for your answer.
Velu was not happy to find work. He had to accept it because he had no other choice. So he scratched his head and sighed before accepting the work.