Here on this page, we have penned down the summary of the portrait of a lady by very renowned author Khuswant Singh. In this lesson, he has given a beautiful account of his grandmother which looks life-like. He has penned down the beautiful relationship with her and it also shows how beautifully the author can describe anyone by using words.
This piece of text should be carefully analyzed and formatted in a very easy language to understand the crux of the lesson.
You can also watch the explanation video of the portrait of a lady on our channel EDUGOGUE. I hope you will like the explanation.
The portrait of a lady – About the author
Khushwant Singh was born on 2 February 1915 in Pakistan, was an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist, and politician. after his experience in the 1947 Partition of India, he wrote Train to Pakistan in 1956, which became his most well-known novel with he also wrote a history of the Sikhs and the company of women. He was awarded Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.
The portrait of a lady: Characters
Grandmother” was an old woman, with a wrinkled face who couldn’t have grown older. She was short, plump, and slightly bent. She always wore a white spotless Saari, with grey hairs strewn all over her face, due to which the narrator describes her as being a “winter landscape in the mountains”. She has a calm, gentle and reassuring face.
She was a strong woman at the same time very religious. She was a woman who holds her virtues and loves to maintain them. She spent most of her time in temples or reading holy books. She never forgets to sing her prayers and with one hand on her back, with the other, she tells the beads of her rosary.
She was left all alone when the narrator went for higher studies and kept her busy by spinning charkha, feeding sparrows, and reciting her prayers. she beat the drum on the return of his grandson and became ill but on his death bed, she recited her prayers and died peacefully.
Author Khuswant Singh
The author has beautifully drawn a pen- picture of her grandmother and describes the changes that came in their relationship after he went to the city and went abroad for higher studies.
He pens down her daily activities and also describes her appearance creating an image in the reader’s mind. Ultimately, he describes her death.
The Portrait Of A Lady Summary Class 11th
This beautiful piece of literature by Khushwant Singh gave a detailed account of his grandmother. He very beautifully portrays her through her words. She describes a very strong lady who never missed her prayers. Her face was wrinkled and she has white hair which he describes as silver locks.it was very difficult to believe that once she was pretty and young. the narrator also describes her grandfather’s picture that hung above the mantelpiece in the drawing-room. Grandfather wore loose clothes and looked like he reached his centennial. he also wore a big turban.
The narrator’s grandmother was a short and stout lady with a slight bend. She couldn’t walk straight and all the time roam in the house. She had to keep one hand on her waist and with the one she kept busy telling the beads of the rosary, continuously repeating her prayers.
She put on spotless white clothes with silver locks all over her face. she looked like snowy mountains; a true picture of calm and contentment. she was very old that she could not be old further and will look like this for perhaps 20 years.
The narrator beautifully portrays his relationship with her and how they were good friends and when he was left with her in the village she had taken very good care of him. She used to wake him up and get him ready for school. While going to school, they both sang prayers.
The narrator loved her voice and never bothered to learn it. She also washed his slate and plastered it with yellow chalk. She then takes an earthen pot and a reed pen. She would give him stale chapatis with little butter and sugar over there for breakfast. She also carried many of them for the village dogs.
The school was nearby the temple and the priest taught the children alphabets and morning prayers who all wouLd sing in a chorus. There the grandmother sits in the temple and reads the holy books. After that, they come home together and village dogs follow them while they threw chapattis at them
She would tie them in a bundle and hand them to him. She would give him a thick stale chapati with little butter and sugar spread on it. It was his breakfast. She carried several stale chapatis with her for the village dogs.
When the narrator’s parents called them to the city, that was the turning point in their friendship. Though they shared the same room now grandmother does not go with him as he used to go with a motor bus.
There were no dogs as usual so grandmother started feeding sparrows. Many years later, they saw less of each other. The grandmother didn’t like the way the school taught as she did not like English and science subjects as she wants teaching about god should be included in the curriculum. When the narrator once told that he was given lessons in music she believed it to be indecent not meant for gentlefolk.
Second turning point
After many years when the narrator went to university for higher studies, the common link between their friendship was broken. But the grandmother accepted very quietly and kept her busy with her spinning wheel and incessantly kept her prayers repeating. She was reticent in nature and feels good by feeding sparrows in the afternoon while sitting in the verandah. Sparrows created a hell of a noise and came and sat on her legs and some on her shoulders, even on her head. But she never shooed them away instead she smiled, in fact, it was her happiest hour.
Third turning point
When the narrator went on for his studies he was to remain abroad for five years. At that time grandmother was very old and could die at any moment. But still, she was not upset. In Fact, when she came to see off she kept reciting her prayers and kissed her forehead before boarding the train. Khushwant Singh thought it was the last physical contact between them.
When the narrator returned home after many years she found that she did not look older a year. She kept silent and held him into her arms and kept reciting her prayers she kept her same routine and as usual, fed the sparrows.
Unusual change in grandmother
A change came over her in the evening when she once in life omitted her prayers and collected women from the neighborhood. she managed to get a dilapidated drum and started thumping for several hours and singing. She sang of homecoming warriors. We had to persuade her to stop overstraining her but she did not stop that day. The very next morning she fell ill and she herself told us that her end is near. She didn’t want to talk and kept herself busy telling her beads with her lifeless fingers.
Then her lips stopped moving; she died and looked like she was peacefully laid in her bed covered with a red shawl. Arrangements were made for her funeral. In the evening a stretcher was brought and thousands of sparrows sat near her body but that day they didn’t chirrup. The narrator’s mother gave them little crumbs but the birds did even notice.
Then they carried her body outside and sparrows flew away quickly. The bread crumbs were still there. Actually, they came to mourn their grandmother.
NCERT Solutions For Class 11th The Portrait Of A Lady
Q1. The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad.
The three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he left the country to study abroad were –
a. When both of them were in the village. Their bond was inseparable and strong.
b. After coming to the city, they began to spend less time with one another because the author would go to an English school where their grandmother couldn’t accompany him.
c. After the author went to college, he was given a separate room. The common thread of friendship was snapped between them. The grandmother accepted her seclusion with silence.
Q2. Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school.
Three reasons why the author’s grandmother was disturbed when he started going to the city school are-
A. The city school was a modern-style school and the grandmother couldn’t accompany the author to school.
B. Back from school when the author would talk about western science topics that grandmother was unable to understand.
C. The city school also taught nothing about Gods. This too disturbed her.
Q3. Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up.
Three ways in which the author’s grandmother spent her days after he grew up were a. She would spend most of the day spinning. b. She would recite prayers. c. She would take a break from all this a bit in the evening when she would take to feeding the sparrows.
Q4. The odd way in which the author’s grandmother behaved just before she died.
Grandmother had called all the women and sang songs that welcomed the homecoming of soldiers the entire day before she fell ill. Just the next day she fell ill. And although the doctor said that it was a mild fever and she would be well soon, grandmother knew that her end was near. So, she took to prayers completely.
Q5. The way in which the sparrows expressed their sorrow when the author’s grandmother died.
In the evening when the setting sun had lit grandmother’s room, the sparrows came in. They were all waiting in the verandah but apparently, there wasn’t any chirruping sound. No sparrow made a single sound. The author’s mother then broke pieces of bread and threw them at them but they took no notice. This shows that the sparrows were really mourning and were not at all interested in the food.
Q6. The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this?
The different ways in which we come to know this is a. She would recite prayers every morning while getting the author ready for school in the village. b. She would read scriptures at the temple while the author would study c. She would spend most of her time praying in the city house.
Q7. Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change?
When both the author and his grandmother were in the village, they had a very inter-dependent lifestyle. They would do almost everything together. The entire day would be divided into several activities in which they would help each other. But after they shifted to the city, there was a crack in their relationship.
This was because Grandmother no longer understood the topics that the author would study in school. The medium too was English which made her completely aloof from the topics that the author was studying. Later during college when their rooms were separated, the last thread of friendship was snapped.
Q8. Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this.
Yes, the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character. This becomes clear from the fact that she never complains about the fact that the amount of time that author spent with her has reduced after coming to the city.
Although she felt lonely, she never expressed it. She rather engaged herself in productive work so as to compensate for her emptiness. She would also constantly pray. While the author left the country, she was neither crying nor was she disturbed. She rather kept her calm and prayed for his betterment. All this shows that she is a strong character.
Q9. Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost?
I have known my great-grandmother. She was exactly the same traits as the author’s grandmother. She too was a lady of strong character. I lost her about seven years back. But her absence still haunts me. It is still unbelievable that she isn’t among us all. Her liveliness and her charm are still alive in the form of memory.
Q10. Which language do you think the author and his grandmother used while talking to each other?
The author and his grandmother must have used their native language while communicating.
In a nutshell
We have penned down a brief yet detailed Summary of Portrait of a lady by a renowned author Khushwant Singh. We have provided a beautiful literary text of class 11th his piece of text will appeal to the reader’s sense. They could get an idea of the author’s play with words.