Madam Rides the Bus By Vallikkannan

I

There was a girl named Valliammai who was called Valli for short. She was eight years old and very curious about things. Her favourite pastime was standing in the front doorway of her house, watching what was happening in the street outside. There were no playmates of her own age on her street, and this was about all she had to do.

But for Valli, standing at the front door was every bit as enjoyable as any of the elaborate games other children played. Watching the street gave her many new unusual experiences.

The most fascinating thing of all was the bus that travelled between her village and the nearest town. It passed through her street each hour, once going to the town and  once coming back. The sight of the bus, filled each time with a new set of passengers, was a source of unending joy for Valli.

Day after day she watched the bus and gradually a tiny wish crept into her head and grew there: she wanted to ride on that bus, even if just once. This wish became stronger and stronger, until it was an overwhelming desire. Valli would stare wistfully at the people who got on or off the bus when it stopped at the street corner. Their faces would kindle in her longings, dreams, and hopes. If one of her friends happened to ride the bus and tried to describe the sights of the town to her, Valli would be too jealous to listen and would shout, in English: “Proud! proud!” Neither she not her friends really understood the meaning of the word, but they used it often as a slang expression of disapproval.

Over many days and months Valli listened carefully to conversations between her neighbours and people who regularly used the bus, and she also asked a few discreet questions here and there. This way she picked up various small details about the bus journey. The town was six miles from her village. The fare was thirty paise one way – “which is almost nothing at all,” she heard one well-dressed man say, but to Valli, who scarcely saw that much money from one month to the next, it seemed a fortune. The trip to the town took forty-five minutes. On reaching town, if she stayed in her seat and paid another thirty paise, she could return home on the same bus. This meant that she could take the one-o’clock afternoon bus, reach the town at one forty-five, and be back home by about forty-five…….

On and on went her thoughts as she calculated and recalculated, planned and replanned.

II

Well, one fine spring day the afternoon bus was just on the point of leaving the village and turning into the main highway when a small voice was heard shouting: “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised commandingly.

The bus slowed down to  a crawl, and the conductor, sticking his head out the door, said, “Hurry then! Tell  whoever it is to come quickly.”

“It’s me,” shouted Valli. “I’m the one who has to get on.”

By now the bus had come to a stop, and the conductor said, “Oh, really! You don’t say so!”

“Yes, I simply have to go to town,” said Valli, still standing outside the bus, “and here’s my money.” She showed him some coins.

“Okay, okay, but first you must get on the bus,” said the conductor, and he stretched out a hand to help her up.

“Never mind,” she said, “I can get on by myself. You don’t have to help me.”

The conductor was a jolly sort, fond of joking. “Oh, please don’t be angry with me, my fine madam,” he said. “Here, have a seat right up there in front. Everybody move aside please – make way for madam.”

It was the slack time of day, and there were only six or seven passengers on the bus. They were all looking at Valli and laughing with the conductor. Valli was overcome with shyness. Avoiding everyone’s eyes, she walked quickly to an empty seat and sat down.

“May we start now, madam?” the conductor asked, smiling. Then he blew his whistle twice, and the bus moved forward with a roar.

It was a new bus, its outside painted a gleaming white with some green stripes along the sides. Inside, the overhead bars shone like silver. Directly in front of Valli, above the windshield, there was a beautiful clock. The seats were soft and luxurious.

Valli devoured everything with her eyes. But when she started to look outside, she found her view cut off by a canvas blind that covered the lower part of her window. So she stood up on the seat and peered over the blind.

The bus was now going along the bank of a canal. The road was very narrow. On one side there was the canal and, beyond it, palm trees, grassland, distant mountains, and the blue, blue sky. On the other side was a deep ditch and then acres and acres of green fields – green , green , as far as the eye could see.

Oh, it was all so wonderful!

Suddenly she was startled by a voice. “Listen, child,” said the voice, “you shouldn’t stand like that. Sit down.”

Sitting down, she looked to see who had spoken. It was an elderly man who had honestly been concerned for her, but she was annoyed by his attention.

“There’s nobody here who’s a child,” she said haughtily. “I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.”

The conductor chimed in. “Oh, sir, but this is a very grown-up madam. Do you think a mere girl could pay her own fare and travel to the city all alone?”

Valli shot an angry glance at the conductor and said, “I am not a madam. Please remember that. And you’ve not yet given me my ticket.”

“I’ll remember,” the conductor said, mimicking her tone. Everyone laughed, and gradually Valli too joined in the laughter.

The conductor punched a ticket and handed it to her. “Just sit back and make yourself comfortable. Why should you stand when you’ve paid for a seat?”

“Because I want to,” she answered, standing up again.

“But if you stand on the seat, you may fall and hurt yourself when the bus makes a sharp turn or hits a bump. That’s why we want you to sit down, child.”

“I’m not a child, I tell you,” she said irritably. “I’m eight years old.”

“Of course, of course. How stupid of me! Eight years – my!”

The bus stopped, some new passengers got on, and the conductor got busy for a time. Afraid of losing her seat, Valli finally sat down.

An elderly woman came and sat beside her. “Are you all alone, dear?” she asked Valli as the bus started again.

Valli found the woman absolutely repulsive – such big holes she had in her ear lobes, and such ugly earrings in them! And she could smell the betel nut the woman was chewing and see the betel juice that was threatening to spill over her lips at any moment. Ugh! – who could be sociable with such a person?

“Yes, I’m travelling alone,” she answered curtly. “And I’ve got a ticket too.”

“Yes, she’s on her way to town,” said the conductor. “With a thirty-paise ticket.”

“Oh, why don’t you mind your own business,” said Valli. But she laughed all the same, and the conductor laughed too.

But the old woman went on with her drivel. “Is it proper for such a young person to travel alone? Do you know exactly where you’re going in town? What’s the street? What’s the house number?”

“You needn’t bother about me. I can take care of myself,” Valli said, turning her face towards the window and staring out.

III

Her first journey – what careful, painstaking, elaborate plans she had to make for it! She had thriftily saved whatever stray coins came her way, resisting every temptation to buy peppermints, toys, balloons, and the like, and finally she had saved a total of sixty paise. How difficult it had been, particularly that day at the village fair, but she had resolutely stifled a strong desire to ride the merry-go-round , even though she had the money.

After she had enough money saved, her next problem was how to slip out of the house without her mother’s knowledge. But she managed this without too much difficulty. Every day after lunch her mother would nap from about one to four or so. Valli always used these hours for her ‘excursions’ as she stood looking from the doorway of her house or sometimes even ventured out into the village; today , these same hours could be used for her first excursion outside the village.

The bus rolled on now cutting across a bare landscape, now rushing through a tiny hamlet or past an odd wayside shop. Sometimes the bus seemed on the point of gobbling up another vehicle that was coming the road. But lo! somehow it passed on smoothly, leaving all obstacles safely behind. Trees came running towards them but then stopped as the bus reached them and simply stood there helpless for a moment by the side of the road before rushing away in the other direction.

Suddenly Valli clapped her hands with glee. A young cow, tail high in the air, was running very fast, right in the middle of the road, right in front of the bus. The bus slowed to a crawl, and the driver sounded his horn loudly again and again. But the more he honked, the more frightened the animal became and the faster it galloped – always right in front of the bus.

Somehow this was very funny to Valli. She laughed and laughed until there were tears in her eyes/

“hey, lady, haven’t you laughed enough?” called, the conductor. “Better save some for tomorrow.”

At last the cow moved off the road. And soon the bus came to a railroad crossing. A peck of a train could be seen in the distance, growing bigger and bigger as it drew near. Then it rushed past the crossing gate with a tremendous roar and rattle, shaking the bus. Then the bus went on and passed the train station. From there, it traversed a busy, well-laid-out shopping street and, turning, entered a wider thoroughfare. Such big, bright-looking shops! What glittering displays of clothes and other merchandise! Such big crowds!

Struck dumb with wonder, Valli gaped at everyting. Then the bus stopped and everyone got off except Valli.

“Hey, lady,” said the conductor, “aren’t you ready to get off? This is as far as your thirty paise takes you.”

“No,” Valli said, “I’m going back on this same bus.” She took another thirty paise from her pocket and handed the coins to the conductor.

“Why, is something the matter?”

“No, nothing’s the matter, I just felt like having a bus ride, that’s all.”

“Don’t you want to have a look at the sights, now that you’re here?”

“All by myself? Oh, I’d be much too afraid.”

Greatly amused by the girl’s way of speaking, the conductor said, “But you weren’t afraid to come in the bus.”

“Nothing to be afraid of about that,” she answered.

“Well, then, why not go to that stall over there and have something to drink? Nothing to be afraid of about that either.”

“Oh, no. I couldn’t do that.”

“Well, then, let me bring you a cold drink.”

“No, I don’t have enough money, Just give me my ticket, that’s all.”

“It’ll be my treat and not cost you anything.”

“No, no,” she said firmly, “please, no.”

The conductor shrugged, and they waited until it was time for the bus to begin the return journey. Again there weren’t many passengers.

IV

“Won’t your mother be looking for you?” the conductor asked when he gave the girl her ticket.

“No, no one will be looking for me, ” she said.

The bus started, and again there were the same wonderful sights.

Valli wasn’t bored in the slightest and greeted everything with the same excitement she’d felt the first time. But suddenly she saw a young cow lying dead by the roadside, just where it had been struck by some fast-moving vehicle.

“Isn’t that the same cow that ran in front of the bus on our trip to town?” she asked the conductor.

The conductor nodded, and she was overcome with sadness. What had been a lovable, beautiful creature just a little while ago had now suddenly lost its charm and its life and looked so horrible, so frightening as it lay there, legs spreadeagled, a fixed stare in its lifeless eyes, blood all over………

The bus moved on. The memory of the dead cow haunted her, dampening her enthusiasm. She no longer wanted to look out of the window.

She sat thus, glued to her seat, until the bus reached her village at three forty. She stood up and stretched herself. The she turned to the conductor and said, “Well, sir,I hope to see you again.”

“Okay, madam,” he answered her, smiling. “Whenever you feel like a bus ride,  come and join us. And don’t forget to bring your fare.”

She laughed and jumped down the bus. Then away she went, running straight for home.

When she entered her house she found her mother awake and talking to one of Vall’s aunts, the one from South Street. This aunt was a real chatterbox, never closing her mouth once she started talking.

“And where have you been?” said her aunt when Valli came in. She spoke very casually, not expecting a reply. So Valli just smiled, and her mother and aunt went on with their conversation.

“Yes, you’re right,” her mother said. “So many things in our midst and in the world outside. How can we possibly know about everything? And even when we do not know about something, we often can’t understand it completely, can we?”

“Oh, yes!” breathed Valli.

“What?” asked her mother. “What’s that you say?”

“Oh,” said Valli, “I was just agreeing with what you said about things happening without our knowledge.”

“Just a chit of a girl, she is,” said her aunt, “and yet look how she pokes her nose into our conversation, just as though she were a grown lady.”

Valli smiled to herself. She didn’t want them to understand her smile. But, then , there wasn’t much chance of that, was there?

Madam Rides the Bus Summary

Valliammai and Her Pastime

Valliammai was a girl, who was known as Valli in short. She was eight years old. She wanted to know about new things. She had no one to play with her of her own age. So her favourite pastime was to stand in front of the door of her house. This always gave her new experiences. The bus that travelled from her street to the town fascinated her the most. Looking at the new passengers every time the bus gave an unending joy to Valli.

Valli Wants to Travel in the Bus

Everyday when Valli watched the bus, she wanted to travel in it. This wish became stronger day-by-day until it became a desire. She used to stare at the people while they got up and down the bus. If one of her friends went on a bus ride and described her about the bus journey , she became jealous of her and would shout.

Vallie Discovers Details About the Bus Journey

For many days and months, Valli listened to the talks of her neighbours and people who went on the bus journey. She even asked them some questions since they were regular travellers. This way she was able to get even the minute details about the bus journey. The fare was 30 paise for one way and the trip to the town took 45 minutes. She kpet on planning and calculating the things for a long time.

Valli Takes the Bus

Valli took the bus on a spring afternoon. There were only six to seven passengers in the bus. The bus was new with soft and luxurious seats. The conductor was a jolly sort of a person and asked Valli to get seated right up there in front. He addressed Valli as ‘madam’. She started looking outside the bus and was attracted by the outside view. She could see the canal, the palm trees, grassland, distant mountains and the blue sky. A cow running towards the bus made her laugh and clap. The cow was not moving aside despite continuous honking by the driver.

Valli Reaches the Town

The bus reached the town after some time. Valli was seeing the bright shops and big crowd. She stayed in  the bus while the other passengers got down. The conductor asked her to get down but she told him that she would go back in the same bus. She refused his offer of giving her a cold drink as a treat.

The Return Journey

Valli saw the same wonderful sights on the return journey. She wasn’t bored and greeted everything with the same excitement she’d felt the first time. Suddenly, she was a young cow lying dead by the road side. It was the same cow that was running towards the bus when she was going to town. She was filled with sadness on seeing her. The bus moved on but the thoughts of the dead cow haunted Valli. She no longer looked outside the window. When the bus reached her village at three forty, she ran straight for home. Her mother did not get to know of her secret journey.

Chapter Sketch

This is a sensitive story of an eight ear old girl. It describes her first bus journey into the world outside her village. The outside world is fascinating and the bus ride a mysterious journey. She wants to experience this mysterious journey alone. She finds each minute information provided by her neighbours, regarding the bus journey and collected money for the bus fare. One day she goes on the bus ride alone and comes back with new experiences.

About the Characters

Valliammai : An eight year old girl. She wished to travel in the bus. She always wanted to know about new things. She was also known as Valli in short.

The Bus Condudctor : The conductor was a jolly sort of person. He asked Valli to get seated in front in the bus. He addressed Valli as ‘Madam’.

Chapter Highlights

  1. The story is about an eight year old girl named Valliammai. She was very curious to know about things.
  2. Her favourite pastime was to stand at the front doorway of her house and see what was happening in the street outside.
  3. She would watch the bust that passed every hour from her village to the nearest town.
  4. She developed a desire to ride the bus. This became her deepest desire.
  5. Valli found out the details of the bus journey by listening carefully to the conversations between her neighbours and regular bus users.
  6. She came to know that the town was just six miles from her village and the fare for the bus journey was thirty paise one way. The trip took 45 minutes.
  7. Valli planned her visit to the town. She saved sixty paise for the fare. Finally, one day she took the 1 o’clock bus to the town.
  8. Valli was very happy to have got into the bus.
  9. On the way to the town, Valli saw a cow running right in front of the bus. She clapped as the cow kept on running towards the bus despite the continuous honking by the driver.
  10. Valli did not get off the bus when it reached the town. She also declined the offer of a cold drink by the conductor.
  11. On the return journey, she saw the same cow lying dead by the roadside. This unpleasant sight made her very sad.
  12. The bus reached the village at three forty. She ran straight for her home after getting down the bus. Her mother did not come to know about her journey.

Word Meanings

devoured : to absorb wholly

peered : to look narrowly or curiously at something

ditch : a long, narrow open hole that is dug into the ground, usually at the side

startle : to surprise someone suddenly and usually not seriously

concerned : feeling worried, troubled or anxious

annoyed : to cause someone to feel slightly angry

haughtily : proudly

chimed in : to break into a conversation or discussion especially to express an opinion

mimicking : copying the speech of someone

bump : an obstacle or a small raised area on a road

irritably : in a way which causes annoyance or anger

repulsive : causing strong dislike or disgust

ear lobe : the soft part of the ear that hangs down from the bottom

sociable : likely to be with and talk to other people

curtly : said or done in a quick and impolite way

drivel : to talk in a very foolish or silly way

bother : worry

painstaking : diligent care and effort

thriftily : to spend more carefully

temptation : a strong urge or desire to have or do something

resisting : to prevent yourself from doing something that you want to do

resolutely stifled : suppressed/controlled with determination

excrusion : a short trip especially for pleasure

ventured out : went cautiously, courageously

cutting across : to cross or traverse, making a shorter route

hamlet : a small village

gobbling : to take greedily

pedestrian : a person travelling on foot

obstacle : something that stand in the way of or holds up progress

glee : joy

honking : to horn

galloped : (of an animal) to run very fast

speck : a very small amount

rattle : to make a rapid succession of short, sharp noises

traversed : travel across or through

thoroughfare : a main road in a town

glittering : shining

gape : to look at someone or something with your mouth open in surprise or wonder

merchandise : things for sale

amused : to get the attention of someone in a pleasant way as time passes

shrugged : to raise (one’s shoulders) slightly and momentarily to express doubt, ignorance or indifference

struck : hit

nodded : move your head down and then up especially to show agreement , approval or greeting

horrible : ugly

frightening : terrifying

spreadeagled : lying with your arms and legs stretched out

haunted : to return repeatedly to the mind

dampen : to make feelings, especially of excitement or enjoyment, less strong

enthusiasm : a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and an eagerness to be involved in it

glued : stuck; fixed

chatterbox : one who speaks a lot

chit : a confident young woman

midst : in the middle of

poke your nose : take an interest in something that does not concern you

Questions and Answers

NCERT Solutions

Oral Comprehension Check (Page 119)

Question 1 : What was Valli’s favourite pastime?

Answer : Valli’s favourite pastime was standing in the front doorway of her house and looking at the  street sutside, because she had not playmate of her age.

Question 2 : What was the source of unending joy for Valli? What was her strongest desire?

Answer : The sight of the bus that travelled between her village and the nearest town, filled each time with a new set of passengers, was a source of unending joy for Valli. Her strongest desire was to ride the bus.

Question 3 : What did Valli find out about the bus journey? How did she find these details?

Answer : Valli found out that the bus journey to the twon took 45 minutes and the one-way fare costed 30 paise. She listened carefully to the conversation between her neighbours and people who regularly used the bus, and asked a few discreet questions here and there. This way she picked up various small details about the bus journey.

Question 4 : What do you think Valli was planning to do?

Answer : Valli was planning to go to the town and then return back by the same bus. The fare was 30 paise  one way and the ride took 45 minutes. In this way, she planned that she would be back by 2:45 PM if she took the bus at 1:00 PM.

Oral Comprehension Check (Page 122)

Question 1 : Why does the conductor call Valli ‘madam’?

Answer : The conductor called Valli ‘madam’ because she behaved like a woman. She declined his help and was very quick in her answers to the conductor’s questions. This made the conductor call her ‘madam’.

Question 2 : Why does Valli stand up on the seat?

Or,

What does she see now?

Answer : Valli wanted to look outside the bus. She found her view blocked by the blind canvas that covered the lower part of the window.  In order to have a better view, she stood up on the seat and peered over (to look over the top of something) the bling. She saw a canal, palm trees, grassland, mountains, green fields and the sky.

Question 3 : What does Valli tell the elderly man when he calls her a child?

Answer : Valli replied that there was nobody in the bus who was a child. She told him that she had paid her fare of 30 paise like everybody else.

Question 4 : Why didn’t Valli want to make friends with the elderly woman?

Answer : Valli did not want to make friends with the elderly woman because she looked quite repulsive. She had big earholes and was wearing ugly earrings. Apart from this, she was chewing betel and her mouth was also filled with betel juice.

Oral Comprehension Check (Page 125)

Question 1 : How did Valli save money for her first journey? Was it easy for her?

Answer : Valli had very painstakingly saved every stray coins that came her way by resisting every temptation to buy peppermints, toys, balloons etc. It had been very difficult for her. Even at the village fair, she resisted the temptation to be on the merry-go-round. Thus, she had been able to save sixty paise for her first bus journey.

Question 2 : What did Valli see on her way that made her laugh?

Answer : Valli saw a young cow, running very fast right in the middle of the road in front of the bus. The driver blew his horn again and again so that the cow moved away.

But the more he honked, the more frightened the animal became and faster it galloped. This seemed very funny to Valli and she laughed and laughed till there were tears in her eyes.

Question 3 : Why didn’t she get off the bus at the bus station?

Answer : Valli found that the bus was new with luxurious seats, so she wanted to come back his village in the same bus. That’s why when the passengers got off the bus at bus station , Valli remained sit in the bus.

Question 4 : Why didn’t Valli want to go to the stall and have a drink? What does this tell you about her?

Answer : Valli had saved only sixty paise for the trip. She didn’t want to waste any money on the drink as she had to come back by the same bus at any cost.

So, when the conductor suggested her to get down and have a drink , she refused. He offered to bring one t oher but she still refused. This shows that she was a well-mannered girl.

Thinking about the Text (Page 127)

Question 1 : What was Valli’s deepest desire? Find the words and phrases in the story that tell you this.

Answer : Valli’s deepest desire was to go on a bus ride. The words and phrases in the story that tell this are ‘source of unending joy’, ‘stare wistfully;, and ‘kindle in her longings, dreams and hopes’.

Question 2 : How did Valli plan her bus ride? What did she find out about the bus, and how did she save up the fare?

Answer : Over many days and months, Valli listened carefully to conversations between her neighbours and people who regularly used the bus and asked a few discreet questions here and there. She came to know that the town was six miles from her village, the bus fare was thirty paise one way and the bus trip took forty-five minutes. She also thought that is she stayed in the bus and came back by the same bus, it would only cost her sixty paise.

She painstakingly saved each and every penny she got, resisting all temptation to buy peppermint, toys etc and even a ride on the merry-go-round at the village annual fair so as to save sixty paise. It was a secret trip which she had planned without the knowledge of her parents.

Question 3 : What kind of a person is Valli? To answer this question , pick out the following sentences from the text and fill in the blanks. The words you fill in are the clues to your answer.

i) “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised……

ii) “Yes, I ……go to town, ” said Valli, still standing outside the bus.

iii) “There’s nobody here…..”, she said haughtily. “I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.”

iv) “Never mind,” she said, “I can ……., you don’t have to help me”. “I’m not a child, I tell you, ” she said,………………..

v) “You needn’t bother about me. I……….,” Valli said, turning her face towards the window and staring out.

vi) Then she turned to the conductor and said, “Well, sir, I hope………”

Answer : Valli appears to be confident child. She does not like people making a fun of her or feeling pity at her because she is a child. She is very careful not to talk to strangers during her journey. She must have enjoyed her bus ride and may be planning her next journey when her budget and time permit.

i) “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised commandingly.

ii) “Yes, I simply have to go to town,” said Valli, still standing outside the bus.

iii) “there’s nobody here who’s a child,” she said haughtily. I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.”

iv) “Never mind,” she said, “I can get on by myself. You don’t have to help me.” “I’m not a child, I tell you,” she said, irritably.

v) “you needn’t bother about me. I can take care of myself,” Valli said, turning her face towards the window and staring out.

vi) hen she turned to the conductor and said, “Well, sir, I hope to see you again.”

Question 4 : Why does the conductor refer to Valli as ‘madam’?

Answer : The conductor called Valli ‘madam’ as she behaved like a grown up and did not think that she was a child. She also refused his help and told him that she could manage on her own.

Question 5 : Find the lines in the text which tell you that Valli was enjoying her ride on the bus.

Answer : Valli thoroughly enjoyed her ride in the bus. The following lines from the text tell us about it.

She saw so many things on her way – a canal, palm trees, grasslands, distant mountains. “Oh! it was all so wonderful,” that’s what she felt.

“Sometimes the bus seemed on the point of gobbling up (take over) another vehicle that was coming towards them or a pedestrian crossing the road. Somehow it passed smoothly, leaving all obstacles behind and then she saw a cow running very fast, infront of the bus. This all seemed very funny to Valli and she laughed and laughed till tears flowed from her eyes.

Question 6 : Why does Valli refuse to look out of the window on her way back?

Answer : Valli refused to look out of the window on her way back as she saw the dead body of the cow who was running towards the bus when she was going to town. This made her sad and frightened.

Question 7 : What does Valli mean when she says…..” I was just agreeing with you what you said about things happening without our knowledge”.

Answer : While making this statement, Valli was trying to hide the fact about her bus ride. She was also feeling elated (happy and excited) at making a successful attempt at her plan.

Question 8 : The author describes the things that Valli sees from an 8 year old’s point of view. Can you find evidence from the text for his statement?

Answer : Yes, for example when the author says, “she was fascinated by the bus and watching the bus fill with a new set of people each time was a source of unending joy for her”. When the author describes the bus, he stresses on teh colour and look of the new bus ‘like silver’ because a child is attracted towards colour.

“The seats were soft and luxurious”.  The description that the author gives when Valli looked outside is also typical of an eight years old. ‘The blue sky’ and ‘acres and acres of green field;, show the enthusiasm of a child. A cow running in front of the bus fascinated the child whereas the sight of the dead cow brought tears in her eyes and she refused to look outside the window on her return journey. This also describes the behaviour of an eight year old child aptly.

Writing (Page 128)

Question 1 : Have you ever planned something entirely on your own, without taking grown ups into your confidence? What did you plan and how? Did you carry out your plan?

Answer : It was during my summer vacations. I wanted to plan a special birthday for my mother. So, I roped my younger sister in my plan to celebrate her birthday. We saved our pocket money and didn’t go for our weekly outings for some time. In this way, we were able to save five hundred rupees for the birthday party.

Now, we had to arrange everything without our mother’s knowledge. On her birthday, we pretended as if we didn’t remember her birthday at all. Instead we requested our father to take her to the market. In the meantime, we arranged everything like cake, decorations, flowers and even invited two of her best friends. When she came back, she was surprised. It was the best birthday she ever had in her life.

Question 2 : Have you made a journey that was unforgettable in some way? What made it memorable?

Answer : I have gone on many trips and excursions, but one journey which one can’t forget is my trip to Hemkund and Badrinath. The scenery over other was mesmerising and as you leave Delhi, you enjoy cool fresh air and see breath-taking lush green fields. The bus ride takes yo on winding narrow roads, with river flowing on one side and mountains on the other side.

To reach Hemkund Sahib, one has to travel 14 kms by foot. Everywhere there are crowds of devotees, chanting holy name sand moving up the hill. When I reached the shrine, it was enveloped in clouds.

The water in the holy tank was ice cold. The moment you step in it, your tiredness vanishes. After that we went to Badrinath by bus. It was also a very nice place. There were many hot springs over there.

Question 3 : Are you concerned about traffic and road safety? What are your concerns? How would you make road travel safer and more enjoyable?

Answer : India has a wide network of roads. Everyday crores of Indian travel on these roads by bus, car, cycle rickshaw, scooter, moped (a light motorcycle), truck etc. Even pedestrians use these roads. As people don’t follow road safety rules, every year many people lose their lives due to fatal road accidents. It is also seen that 90 percent of these fatal accidents involve youngsters who like to drive at very high speed, don’t wear helmets and seat belt, talk on mobiles while driving or love to do stunts inspired by movies.

Despite many directions issues by the traffic police, all their advice falls on deaf ears.

It is our duty to follow all the rules and regulations and to keep safety measure mind while driving. Safe driving is the driving and the rules are framed keeping security in mind.

Extra Questions

Extract Based Questions

Question 1 : But for Valli, standing at the front door was every bit as enjoyable as any of the elaborate games other children played. Watching the street gave her many new unusual experiences.

i) Why did Valli keep on standing at the doorways?

a) To watch happenings on the street outside

b) To have a glimpse of her lover

c) To see the police taking bribe

d) To wait for the clouds to bring rain

ii) How did Valli feel while standing on the doorway?

a) Bored

b) Tortured

c) Joyous

d) Sad

iii) What did watching the street provide her?

a) Bangles for free

b) New unusual experiences

c) Food for free

d) Matter for the gossip

iv)………… is a word in te extract meaning opposite of ‘very common’.

a) Bit

b) Elaborate

c) Enjoyable

d) Unusual

Answer : i) a) To watch happenings on the street outside

ii) c) Joyous

iii) b) New unusual experiences

iv) d) Unusual

Question 2 : The most fascinating thing of all was the bus that travelled between her village and the nearest town. It passed through her street each hour, once going to the town and once coming back. The sight of the bus, filled each time with a new set of passengers, was a source of unending joy for Valli.

i) How many times did the bus pass?

a) Once in half an hour

b) Once in an hour

c) Once in four hours

d) Once a day

ii) What was the source of unending joy for Valli?

a) Call of the ice-cream vendor

b) Smell of moth watering sweets

c) Fight of the children

d) Sight of the bus with a new set of passengers

iii) What was the most fascinating this for Valli?

a) Watching the bus

b) Dancing in the rain

c) Gossiping with children

d) Cooking new recipes

iv) …………. in the extract means ‘never ending’.

a) Fascinating

b) Set

c) Unending

d) Source

Answer : i) b) Once in an hour

ii) d) Sight of the bus with a new set of passengers

iii) a) Watching the bus

iv) c) Unending

Short Questions and Answers

Question 1 : Who was Valli? Why did she keep standing in front of the door?

Answer : Valli was the short name of Valliammai. She was an eight year old girl who was very curious. SVallie kept standing in front of the door as there were no playmates of her age in her street. So, she used to keep on watching the street outside her house.

Question 2 : What was the most fascinating thing that  Valli saw in the street?

Answer : The most fascinating thing that Valli saw on the street was the bus that travelled between her village and the nearest town. It passed through her street each hour, once going to the town and once coming back.

Question 3 : How did Valli gather all the information about the bus?

Answer :  Over many days and months Valli listened carefully to conversations between her neighbours and people who regularly used the bus. She also asked a few discreet (sensible) questions here and there. This way she gathered all the information about the bus.

Question 4 : Where was the town located? What was the fare to travel there by bus?

Answer : The town was located six miles from Valli’s village. The fare to travel to town by bus was thirty paise for one way. The trip to town was about forty-five minutes.

Question 5 : What did Valli keep on planning and calculating continuously?

Answer : Valli kept on planning and calculating which bus to take, how much time it will take to reach the town and the fare that would be required in completing her journey. She even asked some regular travellers few questions regarding the trip.

Question 6 : How did Valli save money to travel by bus?

Answer : Valli had economically saved whatever stray coins came her way. She resisted every temptation to buy peppermints , toys, balloons and ride on the merry-go-round at the village fair to save money for her bus journey.

Question 7 : How was the interior and exterior of the bus?

Answer : It was a new bus. Its outside was painted a gleaming white with some green stripes along the sides. Inside the overhead bars shone like silver. There was a beautiful clock above the windshield and its  seats were soft and luxurious.

Question 8 : How was the view outside the bus when it went through the canal?

Answer : On one side there was the canal and, beyond it, palm trees grasslands, distant mountains, and the sky. On the other side was a deep ditch and the acres and acres of green fields. She even saw a cow running in front of the bus that made her laugh and clap.

Question 9 : Why did the conductor want Valli to sit?

Answer :  The conductor initially told Valli that as she has paid for the ticket, she should sit. When she refused , he told her that she might fall and hurt herself when the bus takes a sharp turn. He also addressed Valli as ‘madam’ and asked her to sit right up there in front.

Question 10 : Why didn’t Valli want to talk to the elderly woman? What questions did the old woman ask Valli?

Answer : The elderly woman was wearing ugly earrings and was chewing betel nut.

The betel juice was about to flow out of her mouth. Valli found all this repulsive and hence did not want to talk to her.

The old woman asked Valli if she was travelling alone. She also asked Valli whether she knew where exactly she had to go in the town.

Question 11 : How did Valli feel on seeing the dead cow on the road?

Answer : Valli was filled with sadness. She thought what had been a lovable, beautiful creature just a little while ago had now suddenly lost its charm and its life and looked so horrible and frightening. After that she did not even look outside the bus.

Question 12 : What did Valli see when she reached home?

Answer : One reaching back home. Valli saw that her mother was awake and talking to one of her aunts. That gave her a sigh of relief because she had not told her mother about her secret trip of bus to the village.

Long Questions and Answers

Question 1 : In such a fast moving world when we hear so many incidents happening with people, do you think Valli did right by not telling her mother about the bus journey?

Answer : No. I don’t think that Valli did the right thing in travelling alone to the town without informing her mother. By doing this, she put herself in a vulnerable (unsafe) position as she could have easily been a victim of child abuse had she come in contact with wrong people. In fact, she was lucky to return home safely. Children should always travel along with their parents or elders as they are easy targets for criminals.

We hear a lot of instances of crime committed against children these days like kidnapping, child abuse, molestation, rape etc.

Valli could have expressed her desire of travelling in the bus to her mother. I am sure that her mother would have fulfilled her wish by taking her on a bus ride. It might happen that her mother would not allow her that time. But being a caring mother, she would definitely take her on a ride of bus. Travelling alone is never safe because one has no idea about the routes and might get lost. So it is always better to inform your parents before doing such acts.

Question 2 : The people and surroundings are a great book to learn. Valli in the lesson ‘Madam Rides The Bus’ learns a lot from others. Mention the traits of her character which help her to learn from her surroundings.

Answer : Valli dreamt of riding on the bus. Her eagerness to fulfill her dream fired her curiosity. This curiousness led her to listen to the conversations of people going on the bus ride and asking discreet questions so that she could gather as much information as she can regarding the bus journey.

On the bus journey, Valli acted confidently and behaved maturedly. She did not consider herself to be any less than an adult. She focussed on fulfilling her dream and did not get tempted to go outside the bus and explore the town when the bus reached the town.

On the return journey, she learnt about death when she came to terms with the dead cow. This made her aware of the fact that death is a part of life and should be accepted as it is a natural phenomenon (incident or situation). Thus, the bus journey made her learn a lot of things.

Question 3 : Once we decide to achieve something, so many difficulties come in our way. With focused attention we can make that achievement. How did Valli succeed in fulfilling her desire of riding a bus?

Answer : In today’s era, it is really difficult to achieve something as we have to face so many hurdles (difficulties) which make us to stop doing our best to achieve our goals. Pressure of doing good, competition, parental and peer pressure and many a times our age are the barriers when it comes to doing something different and great. It is really difficult to get encouraged by the people around us when they got to know our ideas. But with focused attention we can get that achievement.

From the story, we can easily understand that with passion for doing something, we can achieve our goals. Valli an eight year old girl, decided to travel in the bus alone but for an eight year old girl it was not a safe idea. She as not different form others, except that she had certain characteristics that made her fulfil her dream of travelling in a bus to town.

She was a very confident and bold girl. She had always desired to fulfil her dream and for that she saved money for the fare of bus. She planned everything very carefully. She was a good observer and learner. All these qualities made her realise the dream of visiting the town. Hence, once should always remember that there is no age to learn and experience new things. Only with focused attention and planning one can achieve something in life.

Question 4 : What kind of person is Valli? Illustrate your answer from the text that you have read.

Answer : Valli was determined, confident and brave girl. she was also a good planner and executioner. She sacrificed a lot of things to achieve her dream. For example, she curbed the temptation to buy sweets and riding on the merry-go-round in the fair so that she could save money for the bus ride. Sacrificing all these things at such a tender age is very difficult for a child. She also behaved confidently in the bus and did not get hesitated and disturbed in the presence of elders.

When the bus reached the town, Valli did not succumb (surrender) to the temptation of going out to explore the town or having a drink. She did this as she had a limited amount of money which she wanted to save for her return journey. So, Valli used her money wisely. When the conductor offered her a drink, she showed good manners in refusing to have it. This shows that she was also a polite and careful girl as in today’s era it is really difficult to believe others. All these qualities make her different from other children of her age.