10 First Flight

Madam Rides the Bus


In this story, the author tries to present a world as seen from a child’s perspective. The main character of this story is an eight year old girl who lives near a bus stop in a village. For major part of the day, she enjoys standing in her doorway; watching frenetic activities at the bus stop.

Valli develops a desire to enjoy a ride on the bus but she needs to plan meticulously to realize her dream. She has to curtail her expenses so that she can save enough money for two-way fair. She also has to make the journey during the time when her mother takes afternoon nap.

While on her journey, Valli does not want anybody’s help and wants to feel independent. She enjoys every bit of her journey to the town. But she is careful enough not to get off the bus in the unknown environs of the town.

On her return journey, a sad accident spoils her mood and she just keeps to herself throughout the journey. She does not seem to be satisfied with one ride and wishes to make another attempt in future. She is also quite mischievous when she is sure that her mother did not know about her journey.

NCERT Exercise

Part 1

Question 1: What was Valli’s favourite pastime?

Answer: As Valli had no playmate of her age, so her favourite pastime was to stand in her doorway and watch the street. The street outside used to be full of activities which were enough to keep her amused and engaged.

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

Answer: The bus was a source of unending joy for her. The bus used to bring a new set of passengers every-time it came from the town. The diversity of people, their activities were a treat to watch for Valli. Her strongest desire was to take a ride in the bus at least once.

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

Answer: Valli tried to listen to her neighbours to get the desired information about the bus journey. She would ask some discrete questions to get more information. She got information about distance of the town from her village and the total journey time it usually took.

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

Answer: Till now information provided in the story indicate towards her plan to fulfill her strongest desire which was to go on a bus ride.

Question 5: Why does the conductor call Valli ‘madam’?

Answer: Valli is trying to behave more mature than her age. She is trying to look overconfident and smart. The conductor is amused at her behaviour and in an effort to tease her calls her ‘madam’.

Question 6: Why does Valli stand up on the seat? What does she see now?

Answer: Valli’s view was obstructed because of a canvas blind on the window and because of her small height as well she was unable to have a good view outside. She stood up on her seat to have a better view of the scenery outside. She could see a canal with palm trees, grasslands, distant mountains and blue sky as backdrop. On the other side there was a ditch followed by vast tract of greenery.

Question 7: What does Valli tell the elderly man when he calls her a child?

Answer: Valli doesn’t like to be called a child. She thinks that she is grown up. She says that she had paid her full fair the way adults do. This is typical behaviour shown by many kids of Valli’s age.

Question 8: Why didn’t Valli want to make friends with the elderly woman?

Answer: The elderly woman was having big earlobes with bigger holes. She chewing betel nut and the betel juice was about to seep out of her mouth. She was giving a sight of unrefined elderly lady. That is why Vaali did not want to make friends with her.

Question 9: How did Valli save up money for her first journey? Was it easy for her?

Answer: Valli saved every coin that came her way. She made great sacrifices by controlling her normal childish urges of having candies, toys and joyrides. This must have been difficult for her. Kids find it very difficult to savour a candy or to enjoy a toy.

Question 10: What did Valli see on her way that made her laugh?

Answer: A scared cow was running for her life in the middle of the road. It was jumping with tails up. The more incessantly bus driver honked the more furious its scamper became. Valli could not control her laughter after seeing this.

Question 11: Why didn’t she get off the bus at the bus station?

Answer: She did not know anything about the town so was afraid of getting lost. Moreover, her meticulous savings plan allowed her enough money to buy only tickets for her journey. Additionally, she had to return before her mother could find her missing.

Question 12: Why didn’t Valli want to go to the stall and have a drink? What does this tell you about her?

Answer: She did not want to take obligation from the conductor. This indicates that she is taught of not taking anything from strangers. She may be a small child but she knows how to behave properly in the outside world.