The Summit Within
By HPS Ahluwalia
1. Standing on Everest, the writer was
(ii) very sad.
(iii) jubilant and sad.
Answer: (iii) He was jubilant because of reaching the highest peak in the world and was sad because he had had to go down to reach the real world.
2. The emotion that gripped him was one of
(i) victory over hurdles.
(ii) humility and a sense of smallness.
(iii) greatness and self importance.
(iv) joy of discovery.
Answer: (ii) Anybody can get overawed by the sheer scale of nature’s creation and feels so small in front of it.
3. “The summit of the mind” refers to
(i) great intellectual achievements.
(ii) the process of maturing mentally and spiritually.
(iii) overcoming personal ambition for common welfare.
(iv) living in the world of thought and imagination.
(v) the triumph of mind over worldly pleasures for a noble cause.
(vi) a fuller knowledge of oneself.
Mark the item(s) not relevant.
Answer: (i) As per the passage it is not about an achievement.
1. Answer the following questions.
(i) What are the three qualities that played a major role in the author’s climb?
Answer: The first quality was author’s affinity to mountains. The second quality was the ambition of climbing the Everest was like second nature to him. It was as natural an urge as breathing. The third quality was a deep desire to be a small part of the larger universe. These things made a deadly combination to kindle a burning desire to reach the highest peak in the world
(ii) Why is adventure, which is risky, also pleasurable?
Answer: An adventure presents great obstacles to the man. It is human nature to endure all pains to cross those obstacles. Once you cross an obstacle you get pleasure of achievement.
(iii) What was it about Mount Everest that the author found irresistible?
Answer: Author was always fond of mountain climbing. Everest is special as it is the highest and the toughest peak to conquer. Climbing the Everest takes your last ounce of energy. Once you are half way up there can be no going back, because coming down is as difficult as going up. Then there is the irresistible urge to achieve the ultimate, climbing the toughest and the highest mountain in the world.
(iv) One does not do it (climb a high peak) for fame alone. What does one do it for, really?
Answer: There is a deep sense of getting the ultimate feeling of how small a part of universe you are. The desire is also filled by lots of emotion. According to author mountains are like abodes of the God. Reaching a peak means witnessing the communication with the God. It is also to get a feeling of adventure. The fame part automatically comes with the package. For example a cricketer doesn’t start playing cricket for fame, he does it because he enjoys cricket more than anything else in life. Once you enjoy doing something then only you attain perfection in doing it. It is your achievements which bring fame as a bonus.
(v) “He becomes conscious in a special manner of his own smallness in his large universe.” This awareness defines an emotion mentioned in te first paragraph. Which is the emotion?
Answer: The emotion mentioned is ‘humility’. It means a sense of being small and mortal. It is a fact that our planet earth is a small speck of dust in the larger universe and we are a tiny part of this planet. The sheer grand size of a mountain peak dwarfs your size and has a sobering effect on you. Due to this you tend to realize that you are just a small part of the large scheme called the universe.
(vi) What were the “symbols of reverence” left by members of the team on Everest?
Answer: Many people who have reached the Everest have left totems of their religion. The author left a picture of Guru Nanak, his companion Rawat left a picture of the Goddess Durga and Sir Edmund Hillary buried a cross there. The author describes them not as symbols of achievement but as symbols of reverence.
(vii) What, according to the writer, did his experience as an Everester teach him?
Answer: The act of climbing the Everest taught the author to face life’s ordeal resolutely. The author feels that in real life we have mental obstacles to cross. These obstacles are like our internal mountain peaks. These peaks are even more difficult to surmount.
2. Write a sentence against each of the following statements. Your sentence should explain the statement. You can pick out sentences from the text and rewrite them.
(i) The experience changes you completely.
One who has been to the mountains is never the same again.
(ii) Man takes delight in overcoming obstacles.
Overcoming obstacles is a means to test and show your physical endurance and will power.
(iii) Mountains are nature at its best.
Their beauty and majesty pose a great challenge.
(iv) The going was difficult but the after-effects were satisfying.
You look back at pains you underwent and get a sense that it was worth taking those pains to attain your goal.
(v) The physical conquest of a mountain is really a spiritual experience.
As the site of standing on a peak gives you a sense to be in communion with the God, to be in the vast lap of mother nature, you tend to feel the presence of the all powerful God.
The School Boy
I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.
This poem is about how a little boy feels when he is forced to go to school. The boy loves to rise with the sunshine. He loves to hear the chirrup of birds in the morning. He loves the hooting call from hunters horn and he enjoys the singing of the skylark. Like every little child he enjoys the beautiful which nature presents to us everyday.
But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day,
In sighing and dismay.
Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour.
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning’s bower,
Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.
The boy does not like his early morning rush to the school as it kills all the joy of a blissful life. Teachers eyes seem to be cruel and penetrating under which a student has to spend an entire day. He is sitting in school sighing in depression. He sits there with a drooping shoulder because he can’t enjoy fiddling with books. At the end of the day it looks like he had been through a long tiring shower.
How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring.
The poet has compared a boy in school with a bird in a cage. The way a bird can’t enjoy singing in the cage, a child cannot but forget his bubbly nature.
O! Father and Mother, if buds are nip’d,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are strip’d
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and cares dismay,
How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?
Now the child gives a good argument to his parents. If buds are nipped and flowers are blown away then plants will be left with nothing to enjoy the arrival of the spring season. If spring will be devoid of flowers, then summer will be more sorrowful. Without flowers in spring trees would be unable to bear fruits in the summer and there will be no joy left in the summer.