Sunday 29 October 2023

Weathering the Storm in Ersama

Weathering the Storm in Ersama

              By Harsh Mander


·       The story ‘Weathering the Storm in Ersama’ written by Harsh Mander is a beautiful message of kindness, compassion and helpfulness to the humanity.

·       It is an account of a young man, Prashant who experienced a super cyclone in his village in Orissa, which was badly hit by the cyclone. The story narrates small acts of kindness and sensibility by Prashant in order to help the villagers rehabilitate after the storm.

·       The story is great lesson to all the youngsters who can reach out to the needy and grief stricken people in the time of crisis and bring smiles on their grim faces.

·       Prashant stood out as a true example of strong leadership and selfless help. He displayed amazing sensibility, great sense of belongingness and noble spirit of humanity.

Summary /  Synopsis

Prashant was a nineteen years old young man who lived in Kalikuda, a village in the coastal state of Odisha. He lost his mother seven years ago.

On 27 October 1999, when he was staying with his friend in Ersama, it was badly hit by a super cyclone. He along with his friend’s family remained on the rooftop of the house and survived on the tender coconuts from the coconut trees that had fallen on the roof.

As the rain stopped, Prashant left for his home as he feared the worst for his family. He took a stick to help him find the road. At times, he had to swim through the flood waters. On the way he came across dead bodies of human beings and animals which floated with the current. As they crossed villages, not even a single house could be seen. Prashant’s house was shattered, too and he saw the belongings hanging on the branches of the trees. He wept as he felt that he had lost his beloved family.

Then, he went to the Red Cross shelter in search of his family. There Prashant first of all, saw his maternal grandmother. She was elated to see him alive and then, he met his whole family. Prashant saw a crowd of 2500 people at the shelter. Many had lost their families in the disaster and they were grief stricken. Prashant took control of the situation. He formed a group with some elders and young people and forced the merchant to give them the stock of rice and were successful.

After 4 days the crowd had a meal. Then, the group of volunteers cleaned the shelter and tended the injured people. Prashant engaged the widows to work in an NGO run programme named ‘Food for work’. He engaged the children by arranging sports matches for them. He proposed the villagers to set up foster families comprising of the widows, orphaned children and lone men to support each other emotionally, in family environment. Thus, Prashant overcame his grief and learnt to spread smiles on the sad faces even in the time of adversity.


Through a strong and sensible character like Prashant the readers learn the message to spread smiles on the sad faces ignoring personal issues and pains and even in the time of adversity how to keep calm and guide and manage the shattered lives in the wake of natural disaster.

The story is great lesson to all the youngsters who can reach out to the needy and grief stricken people in the time of crisis and bring smiles on their grim faces. Youngsters may draw inspiration to become strong leaders and selfless volunteers during natural disasters. Prashant’s amazing sensibility, great sense of belongingness and noble spirit of humanity is a strong message to this troubles world full of selfishness and hatred.

Friday 27 October 2023

The Beggar

The Beggar

                                By Anton Chekhov

Analysis :

·       The story ‘The Beggar’ written by Anton Chekhov is a story of a beggar, Lushkoff who was a drunkard and due to his drunkenness he lost his work and had to beg.

·       Anton Chekhov, a Russian playwright and short story writer, is regarded to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history.

·       ‘The Beggar’ is a tale of the transformation in the life of a beggar who was brought onto right path and changed into a good person. The behaviour of Olga, the cook made him leave his drinking habit, work and lead a good life.

·       The story highlights that all the pains and efforts of a person are worth, if a spoilt drunkard is put on the right path.

·       Lushkoff, the beggar stopped Sergei, a lawyer and begged to give him some money. Sergei asked the beggar to chop wood for him and asked him to work instead of begging. There, Olga, Sergei’s cook rebuked him, abused him, but used to weep for him and also chop wood for him and he used to get money for work he never did. Her sensitivity, concern and tears and selfless work brought a change in his heart.

Summary /  Synopsis

Lushkoff, the beggar stopped Sergei, a lawyer and cried to have pity on him and give him some money as he had nothing to eat. He had been a school teacher for eight years but he had lost his place due to treachery on the part of his colleagues.

The beggar was wearing old and ragged clothes. He had dull and drunken eyes and red spot on his cheeks. Sergei recognised the beggar who was wearing overshoes of different sizes. He felt that he had met him in Sadovya street day before yesterday, and at that time he had called himself a student who had been expelled from his college. Sergei warned him that he would call the police.

The beggar admitted his mistake and told the truth that he was a drunkard. He also told that he was working in a Russian choir but he was removed from work due to his drunkenness. He had to tell lies and beg for his life’s sake as nobody gave him work.

Sergei gave him the work of chopping wood if he is ready. The beggar agreed, but unwillingly as he was trapped in his own words. He was taken by Sergei’s cook, Olga to the shed to chop woods there. Olga gave the beggar an axe. He beggar put a billet of wood between his feet and struck it feebly with his axe. The billet fell down. The beggar had become weak due to his drunkenness. He could barely stand on his feet. Sergei was looking at him from the window of his room and felt bad as he had set a drunken and spoiled man at work in the cold. After an hour Olga reported that the wood had been chopped and the beggar was given half a rouble.

Sergei asked him to come on first day of every month and every time found work for him. Sometime, he would shovel snow, beat dust out of rugs and mattresses and sometime put the wood shed in order. When, Sergei moved into another house. The beggar was called to help in moving the furniture but he didn’t touch a single item.

Lushkoff, the beggar, was now offered a cleaner employment of copying. Sergei asked him to go to his friend with a letter. Sergei was happy as he had put a beggar on the right path.

After two years when Sergei was standing at a ticket window of a theatre, there, he saw Lushkoff who had become a notary by then. He was paod thirty five roubles a month. Sergei was very happy for him. Lushkoff thanked Sergei for all his help and for bringing him out of scrap. He also told that if Sergei had not helped him, he would have still been telling lies and wasting his life.

He told him that it was Olga who had actually saved him. Olga scolded him, abused him, but she would also sit opposite to him and weep for him. Then, she would also chop wood for him and he hadn’t chopped a single stick of wood. Olga's sensitivity, concern and tears and selfless work brought a change in his heart. He got reformed due to Olga's selfless help and concern and said that he would never forget her. Then it was time for the show and they departed towards the gallery.


The story highlights an important message that all the pains and efforts of a person are worth, if a spoilt drunkard is put on the right path. The life of a beggar became a tale of the transformation as he was brought onto right path and changed into a good person due to Olga’s sensitivity, concern, pure tears and selfless work. A pure and sublime heart can change any beast into a noble character.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

A House is not a Home

A House is not a Home

                          By Zan Gaudioso


·       The story ‘A House is not a Home’ written by Zan Gaudiodo is a beautiful message of kindness, compassion and helpfulness to the humanity.

·       Zan Gaudioso, an American author, has contributed stories to the famous 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' book series. Her most notable contributions have been for the book, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul III.

·        This story is an account of a teenager who experienced a fearful accident when his house caught a fire. The story also narrates powerfully small acts of kindness which revived narrator's faith in life.

·       The story indirectly discusses the difference between a house and a home. A house is a physical structure whereas a home is a place where people live together sharing their ups and downs, supporting one another and spreading love and cheer. Therefore, a home is much more significant than a house made of brick and mortar.

·       The story is about the challenges in the life of a teenager. It is a great lesson to all the youngsters who get depressed due to mishaps. It highlights the importance of being positive and not being depressed by the problems and challenges that are an important part of life. It reiterates that ‘every dark cloud has a silver lining’.

Summary /  Synopsis

The narrator is a teenager who joined Junior High School and gets separated from his friends and teachers. He felt like a freshman in his new school. His friends had gone to a different high school. So, he felt lonely. He missed his old teachers also. He visited them. They advised him to have patience and spend a little time in his school and participate in activities and that after some time he would not miss them.

One Sunday afternoon the narrator was doing homework in his home. Wind was blowing fiercely. His mother stoked the fire. Suddenly, he noticed smoke coming from the ceiling. Fire was spreading very fast and the house was full of fire and smoke. His neighbours called the fire department.

His mother ran back into the house and came back with important documents. She again, ran back into the house again to get the pictures and letters of her late husband. He ran after his mother but the fireman stopped him. The fireman made him sit in the car and wrapped him in a blanket. Soon, another fireman brought the author’s mother out and put her in the truck with an oxygen mask over her mouth. She had only inhaled a lot of smoke while she went inside the house.

The fire was finally controlled after five hours. Suddenly, it struck to the narrator that he had not seen his cat and started weeping. He spent the night at his grandparents’ place.

The next day the narrator went to school. He was wearing his old clothes and tennis shoes. He had no books nor his backpack. He felt like a zombie. He felt if he would remain outcast all his life. He did not want to grow up. He wanted to die.

He walked back through his house after school. Everything had been destroyed. His heart ached for his cat. His mother took him to find a place to live and buy clothes for school also.

Soon all came to know about the narrator’s plight. The school students pushed him to the gymnasium. The table inside had a collection of all the necessary things such as notebooks, clothes, jeans, sweat suits, etc. The narrator grew emotional. He made many friends that day. Some invited him to their home.

After a month the narrator was at his house. It was being rebuilt. He realised that his life was also getting rebuilt. Now he had so many wonderful people around him. 

After a while, a woman approached him. She was holding a cat. She asked him if the cat belonged to him. The author recognised the cat and grabbed it from her at once. The cat purred happily. The cat had run miles away being scared of the fire.

The author sat with his friends with his cat in his lap. The feelings of loss and sorrow had vanished. He felt indebted to his friends for his newly found life. He also expressed gratitude for the kindness of a stranger. Now he felt all the precious things are back to him and so he was because now he wanted to live.

Important Question answers

Q 1. Why did the narrator feel awkward during his first year of high school?

Ans. The narrator felt awkward because it was a new school, much bigger than his previous junior high school. It was a strange feeling to start again as a freshman after enjoying the benefits of being the senior most class in junior high. All his close friends had gone to different high schools and it was completely a new place for him. He missed his teachers so much that he continued to visit them at old school as it was a familiar place where he had spent many happy years. He felt isolated and depressed, and wished not to go to school.

Monday 23 October 2023

The Last Leaf

The Last Leaf

                              By O. Henry


·       The short story ‘The Last Leaf’ is written by O. Henry, an American story writer. He is one of the most renowned story writers in English language. He wrote with his pen name O. Henry. His real name is William Sydney Porter.

·       This short story is an account of a young artist, Johnsy who linked the question of her life and death to an ivy whose leaves were falling rapidly due to autumn. Such beliefs can be disastrous. But, she with the help of her friend discovered a new light after the dark storm in her life.

·       The story is great lesson to all the youngsters who get easily stressed and disappointed at hurdles and in the phase of difficulties. It conveys the message of optimism and positivity despite all the adversities in life.

·       The story is remarkable to have employed all the elements of a wonderful story such as action, conflict, twist, climax, anti climax and surprise ending.

Summary /  Synopsis

Sue and Johnsy were two girls who were artists and used to paint for their livelihood. They lived together in a small flat on the third storey of an old house. Johnsy was suffering from Pneumonia for a month but was not recovering. The doctor asked Sue if anything troubled Johnsy and told her that the medicine wasn't working as she had lost the will to live. Sue became worried. 

Sue tried to observe. Johnsy was looking continuously outside towards an ivy creeper on the opposite wall. The leaves were falling rapidly because it was autumn season. Johnsy was counting backwards from twelve, eleven, ten and so on. Johnsy told her that she would die as and when the last leaf fell. Sue called it nonsense and told her that she would be all right soon. Sue tried her best to divert Johnsy’s attention, to bring her interest towards clothes and fashion, painting and life. Sue started painting and whistled while painting. Sue drew the curtain and asked Johnsy not to look outside as she wanted to finish her painting to earn money and needed light. Johnsy closed her eyes and tried to sleep and relax.

Sue went to Behrman who was a sixty years old painter. He lived on the ground floor in the same building. He had a dream to paint a masterpiece but could not succeed so far in fulfilling his dream. Sue told Behrman about Johnsy’s baseless belief about her death. Behrman and Sue went into Johnsy’s room and saw that the ivy creeper had only one leaf left on the creeper. It was raining heavily and wind was fierce. They felt the leaf would fall any time.

Johnsy woke up from her sleep and looked out of the window. She looked at the last leaf. It was green and healthy. It didn’t fall even in the stormy night and despite the fierce winds. After realising the struggle of the last leaf Johnsy was full of a rejuvenated will to live again.

Johnsy accused herself for her own sickness. She felt ashamed of being a bad girl. She realised that the last leaf had taught her that it is a sin to nurture a wish to die and disrespect life. She also asked for forgiveness as she didn't consider and respect her friend's care and efforts to look after her. She took a mirror, made her hair and drank hot soup also to get well soon.

Next morning Sue told Johnsy that Behrman who had been ill for only two days, died. His clothes and shoes were wet. A ladder, lantern, his painting brushes and colours were found near his bed. He had painted and tied the last leaf in that stormy night to save Johnsy. He caught pneumonia and died. Sue asked her to look closely and think why the leaf wasn’t not fluttering. Then, Sue told her that the last leaf was Behrman’s masterpiece. He painted it the night when the last leaf fell and after that he died. 


The story teaches us all to be optimistic and positive in all the phases of our life. We must sustain the belief that after every night there is a new dawn, no matter how dark is the night. This story is a great lesson, especially to all the youngsters who get easily stressed and disappointed at various hurdles, difficulties, loss or failures and in the phase of adversities.