My Childhood Best Stories Summary, Explanation:
Can you think of any scientists, who have also been statesmen?
• A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, whose projects in space, defence and nuclear technology guided India into the twenty-first century, became our eleventh President in 2002.
• In his autobiography, Wings of Fire, he speaks of his childhood
Abdul Kalam’s biography is called “Wings of Fire” and the chapter on ‘My Childhood’ deals with the childhood of A.P.J Abdul Kalam. He was the President of India and a great scientist as well. APJ talks about her upbringing, her parents and her siblings. She tells us about her friends and all the things that affect her childhood.
I WAS born into a middle-class Tamil family in the town of Rameswaram on the island of Madras.
My Childhood NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Textbook Stories:
1) I WAS born into a middle-class Tamil family in the island town of Rameswaram in the erstwhile Madras State. My father, Jainulabdeen, had neither much formal education nor much wealth; despite these disadvantages, he possessed great innate wisdom and true generosity of spirit. He had an ideal helpmate in my mother, Ashiamma.
I do not recall the exact number of people she fed every day, but I am quite certain that far more outsiders ate with us than all the members of our own family put together.
2) I was one of many children — a short boy with rather undistinguished looks, born to tall and handsome parents. We lived in our ancestral house, which was built in the middle of the nineteenth century.
It was a fairly large pucca house, made of limestone and brick, on the Mosque Street in Rameswaram. My austere father used to avoid all inessential comforts and luxuries. However, all necessities were provided for, in terms of food, medicine or clothes.
In fact, I would say mine was a very secure childhood, both materially and emotionally.
3) The Second World War broke out in 1939 when I was eight years old. For reasons I have never been able to understand, a sudden demand for tamarind seeds erupted in the market. I used to collect the seeds and sell them to a provision shop on Mosque Street.
A day’s collection would fetch me the princely sum of one anna. My brother-in-law Jallaluddin would tell me stories about the War which I would later attempt to trace in the headlines in Dinamani. Our area, being isolated, was completely unaffected by the War.
But soon India was forced to join the Allied Forces and something like a state of emergency was declared. The first casualty came in the form of the suspension of the train halt at Rameswaram station.
The newspapers now had to be bundled and thrown out from the moving train on the Rameswaram Road between Rameswaram and Dhanuskodi. That forced my cousin Samsuddin, who distributed newspapers in Rameswaram, to look for a helping hand to catch the bundles and, as if naturally, I filled the slot.
Samsuddin helped me earn my first wages. Half a century later, I can still feel the surge of pride in earning my own money for the first time.
4) Every child is born, with some inherited characteristics, into a specific socio-economic and emotional environment, and trained in certain ways by figures of authority. I inherited honesty and self-discipline from my father; from my mother, I inherited faith in goodness and deep kindness and so did my three brothers and sister.
I had three close friends in my childhood — Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan and Sivaprakasan. All these boys were from orthodox Hindu Brahmin families. As children, none of us ever felt any difference amongst ourselves because of our religious differences and upbringing.
In fact, Ramanadha Sastry was the son of Pakshi Lakshmana Sastry, the high priest of the Rameswaram temple. Later, he took over the priesthood of the Rameswaram temple from his
father; Aravindan went into the business of arranging transport for visiting pilgrims; and Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railways.
5) During the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam ceremony, our family used to arrange boats with a special platform for carrying idols of the Lord from the temple to the marriage site, situated in the middle of the pond called Rama Tirtha which was near our house.
Events from the Ramayana and from the life of the Prophet were the bedtime stories my mother and grandmother would tell the children in our family.
6) One day when I was in the fifth standard at the Rameswaram Elementary School, a new teacher came to our class. I used to wear a cap that marked me as a Muslim, and I always sat in the front row next to Ramanadha Sastry, who wore the sacred thread.
The new teacher could not stomach a Hindu priest’s son sitting with a Muslim boy. In accordance with our social ranking, as the new teacher saw it, I was asked to go and sit on the backbench.
I felt very sad, and so did Ramanathan Sastry. He looked utterly downcast as I shifted to my seat in the last row. The image of him weeping when I shifted to the last row left a lasting impression on me.
7) After school, we went home and told our respective parents about the incident. Lakshmana Sastry summoned the teacher, and in our presence, told the teacher that he should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children.
He bluntly asked the teacher to either apologise or quit the school and the island. Not only did the teacher regret his behaviour, but the strong sense of conviction Lakshmana Sastry conveyed ultimately reformed this young teacher.
8) On the whole, the small society of Rameswaram was very rigid in terms of the segregation of different social groups. However, my science teacher Sivasubramania Iyer, though an orthodox Brahmin with a very conservative wife, was something of a rebel. He did his best to break social barriers so that people from varying backgrounds could mingle easily.
He used to spend hours with me and would say, “Kalam, I want you to develop so that you are on par with the highly educated people of the big cities.”
9) One day, he invited me to his home for a meal. His wife was horrified at the idea of a Muslim boy being invited to dine in her ritually pure kitchen. She refused to serve me in her kitchen. Sivasubramania Iyer was not perturbed, nor did he get angry with his wife, but instead, served me with his own hands and sat down beside me to eat his meal.
His wife watched us from behind the kitchen door. I wondered whether she had observed any difference in the way I ate rice, drank water or cleaned the floor after the meal.
When I was leaving his house, Sivasubramania Iyer invited me to join him for dinner again the next weekend. Observing my hesitation, he told me not to get upset, saying, “Once you decide to change the system, such problems have to be confronted.
” When I visited his house the next week, Sivasubramania Iyer’s wife took me inside her kitchen and served me food with her own hands.
10) his own hands and sat down beside me to eat his meal. His wife watched us from behind the kitchen door. I wondered whether she had observed any difference in the way I ate rice, drank water or cleaned the floor after the meal.
When I was leaving his house, Sivasubramania Iyer invited me to join him for dinner again the next weekend. Observing my hesitation, he told me not to get upset, saying, “Once you decide to change the system, such problems have to be confronted.”
When I visited his house the next week, Sivasubramania Iyer’s wife took me inside her kitchen and served me food with her own hands.
11) He told me as if thinking aloud, “Abul! I know you have to go away to grow. Does the seagull not fly across the sun, alone and without a nest?”
He quoted Khalil Gibran to my hesitant mother, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.”
A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM
My Childhood Textbook Questions:
Q. 1) Find Dhanuskodi and Rameswaram on the map. What language(s) do you think are spoken there? What languages do you think the author, his family, his friends and his teachers spoke with one another?
1) Answer these questions in one or two sentences each.
I) Where was Abdul Kalam’s house?
Ans: Abdul Kalam’s house was on Mosque Street in Rameswaram.
II) What do you think Dinamani is the name of? Give a reason for your answer.
Ans: Dinamani is the name of a newspaper. Abdul Kalam attempts to trace the Second World War’s news in the headlines of this newspaper.
III) Who were Abdul Kalam’s school friends? What did they later become?
Ans: Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan and Sivaprakasan were his school friends. Ramanathan Sastry became a priest of the Rameswaram temple. Aravindan went into the business of arranging transport for visiting pilgrims. Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railways.
IV) How did Abdul Kalam earn his first wages?
Ans: Abdul Kalam earned his first wages by distributing newspapers.
V) Had he earned any money before that? In what way?
Ans: Yes, he earned money before also. He used to collect the tamarind seeds and sell them to a provision shop on Mosque Street. A day’s collection would fetch him the princely sum of one anna.
Q. II) Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (about 30 words).
1_ How does the author describe:
(I) his father
(ii) his mother
Ans: (I) The author describes his father as a wise and generous person. He felt happy when he helped others. He did not have much formal education and riches. He was a man of confidence and great wisdom. He avoided inessential comforts and luxuries.
(ii) His mother was a noble and kind-hearted woman. She used to feed a large number of people. She had all the attributes of a typical Indian mother.
(iii) I was born into a middle-class Tamil family. I was a short boy with rather undistinguished looks, born to tall and handsome parents. I studied physics and aerospace engineering and became a scientist.
Q. 2) What characteristics does he say he inherited from his parents?
Ans: The author inherited humility and benevolence from his parents. He learnt lessons in honesty and integrity from his parents. He was self-disciplined because of his parents’ exemplary life.
Q. 3) Discuss these questions in class with your teacher and then write down your answers in two or three paragraphs each.
1) “ On the whole, the small society of Rameswaram was very rigid in terms of the segregation of different social groups,” says the author.
i) Which social groups does he mention? Were these groups easily identifiable (for example, by the way they dressed)?
Ans: The author talks about the people who belong to various castes and follow various religious preachings. Yes, these groups were easily identifiable. Their dressing, traditions, culture and rituals were different.
ii) Were they aware only of their differences or did they also naturally share friendships and experiences? (Think of the bedtime stories in Kalam’s house; of who his friends were; and of what used to take place in the pond near his house.)
Ans: They did share their personal experiences and friendships. Lakshmana Sastry summoned the teacher who separated the author and his friend in the class and told him that he should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children.
iii) The author speaks both of people who were very aware of the differences among them and those who tried to bridge these differences. Can you identify such people in the text?
Ans: The school teacher encouraged communal differences and Lakshmana Sastry and Sivasubramania Iyer discouraged this malpractice.
iv) Narrate two incidents that show how differences can be created, and also how they can be resolved. How can people change their attitudes?
Ans: The influential people can do both things. A teacher has the ability to bridge communal differences and can play with sentiments of the innocent and ignorant people. This is what the new teacher did. But the Science teacher Sivasubramania Iyer changed his wife’s attitude and showed her the right path.
Q. 4) I) Why did Abdul Kalam want to leave Rameswaram?
Ans: Abdul Kalam wanted to leave Rameswaram to study at the district headquarters in Ramanathapuram.
II) What did his father say to this?
Ans: His father said that he knew he had to go away to grow. He gave the example of a seagull and said that a seagull flies across the sun alone and without a nest.
III) What do you think his words mean? Why do you think he spoke those words?
Ans: He spoke these words because he intended to hone his skills. He knew the harsh reality of life that children may have to live far from their parents to make their careers and earn their livelihood. So he showed his wisdom and intelligence in uttering these words.
What is the summary of my childhood?
Ans: My childhood summary focuses on APJ Kalam, who was born into a middle-class Muslim family. Kalam had three brothers and one sister with whom he associated and enjoyed his childhood her. … Kalam’s parents were uneducated and therefore not wealthy, but they had a heart of gold and high standards of self-discipline and honesty.
Who wrote my childhood class 9?
Ans: Abdul Kalam’s history is called “Wings of Fire” and the chapter ‘My Childhood’ deals with the childhood of A.P.J Abdul Kalam. He was the President of India and a great scientist as well.
What is the theme of my childhood?
Ans: The theme “My Childhood” says that our lives are shaped by our experiences and the people around us. Kalam’s secure childhood, supportive parents, supportive friends and loyal teacher instilled in them the good values that gave her ‘Wings of Fire’.
Where was Abdul Kalam House Class 9th?
Ans: Abdul Kalam’s house was on Mosque Street in Rameswaram.
How did Kalam look in his childhood?
Ans: Kalam was a short boy with a mysterious appearance. He lived in the house of their ancestors which was a large pucca house, made of stone and brick. He was given all the necessary luxuries such as food, medicine and clothing in his childhood.
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