Madam Rides the Bus Thinking about the Text

Question: 1

1. What was Valli’s deepest desire? Find the words and phrases in the story that tell you this.

2.    How did Valli plan her bus ride? What did she find out about the bus, and how did she save up the fare?

3.    What kind of a person is Valli? To Answer this Question, pick out the following sentences from the text and fill in the blanks. The words you fill in are the clues to your answer.

(i)   “Stop the bus!Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised      

(ii)  “Yes, I  go to town,” said Valli, still standing outside the bus.

(iii) “There’s nobody here     ” she said haughtily. “I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.”

(iv) “Never mind,” she said, “I can    . You don’t have to help me. “I’m not a child, I tell you,” she said,    

(v)  “You needn’t bother about me. I _,” Valli said, turning her face toward the window and staring out.

(vi) Then she turned to the conductor and said, “Well, sir, I hope”

4. Why does the conductor refer to Valli as ‘madam’?

5.    Find the lines in the text which tell you that Valli was enjoying her ride on the bus.

6.    Why does Valli refuse to look out of the window on her way back?

7.    What does Valli mean when she says, “I was just agreeing with what you said about things happen ing withou t our knowledge.”

8.    The author describes the things that Valli sees from an eight-year-ol d’s point of view. Can you find evidence from the text for this statement?

Answer: 1

1.    Valli’s deepest desire was to ride on the bus she saw everyday standing on her front door. The sentences in the story which depict this are as follows:”Day after day she watched the bus, and gradually a tiny wish crept into her head and grew there:she wanted to ride on that bus, even if just once. This wish became stronger and stronger, until it was an overwhelming desire.”

2.    After Valli had saved her money she had to slip out of her house without her mother’s knowledge. Her mother usually took a nap from one to four. That was her best opportunity. She planned that she would take the one o’clock afternoon bus, reach the town at one forty-five, and be back home by about two forty-five. She knew that the town was six miles from her village. The fare was thirty paise one way. The trip to the town took forty-five minutes. On reaching the town, if she stayed in her seat and paid another thirty paise, she could return home on the same bus. She had carefully saved whatever stray coins came her way, resisting every temptation to buy peppermin ts, toys, balloons, and the like, and finally she had saved sixty paise.


(i)   “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised commandingly.

(ii)  “Yes, I simply have to go to town,” said Valli, still standing outside the bus.

(iii) “There’s nobody here who’s a child,” she said haugh tily. I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.”

(iv) “Never mind,” she said, “I can get on by myself.You don’t have to help me. “I’m not a child, I tell you,” she said, irritably.

(v)  “You need n’t bother about me. I can take care of myself,” Vall i said, turning her face toward the window  and staring out.

(vi) Then she turned to the conductor and said, “Well, sir, I hope to see you again.”For Valli, the bus jou rney was desire. She spent her money that she had saved after making so many sacrifices to buy the ticket. She would have attained a great satisfaction in doing so. This was the reason that in spite being a child, Valli wanted to be treated as a grown-up on the bus. She had a great sense of self-respect which preven ted her from taking anyone’s help. She felt she was able to take care of herself very well, and was easily irritated when anyone treated her as a child.

4.    Valli was about to board the bus and the conductor stretched out his hand to help her get on the bus. Valli said commandingly that she does not require any help and could get on by herself. She behaved like as a grown-up girl and therefore, the conductor called her ‘mada m’ in an effort to tease her. When the elderly man called her a child and asked her to sit down on her seat out of concern, she replied that nobody was a child on the bus. She kept stressing on the fact that she had paid her fare like everybody else and therefore, she should not be treated differently.

5.    The following lines in the text show that Valli was enjoying her ride on the bus:

)>   “Valli devoured everything with her eyes.”

)> “On the one side there was the canal and, beyond it, palm trees, grassland, distant mountains, and the blue, blue sky. On the other side was a deep ditch and then acres and acres of green fields – green, green, green, as far as the eye could see. Oh, it was all so wonderful!”

)> “Everyone laughed, and gradually Valli too joined in the laughter. Suddenly, Valli clapped her hands with glee.”

)>   “Somehow this was very funny to Valli. She laughed and laughed until there were tears inher eyes.”

)> “Valli wasn’t bored to the slightest and greeted everything with the same excitement she’d felt the first time.”

6.    Valli was every enthusiastic and excited throughout her jou rney. But on her way back home she refused to look out of the window because she saw a young cow lying dead by the roadside. It had been struck by some fast-moving vehicle. It was the same cow that was running in front of their bus, during their trip to the town. She was overcome with sadness. The memory of the dead cow haunted her and therefore, she refused to look out of the window.

7.    Valli’s mother said that many things happen around us, but we are usually unaware of them. Valli had gone on a bus ride to town, all alone, and had come back without any harm. She did all this without the knowledge of her mother. Hence, she agreed with what her mother said.

8.    The author has described the things that Valli saw from an eight-year-old ‘s point of view. She was fascinated by a bus. Watching the bus filled with a new set of people each tim e was a source of unending joy for her. Her strongest desire was to ride the bus. She saved money by cutting on pepper mints, toys, and balloons, and even resisting the temptation to ride the merry-go-round at the fair. When the author describes the bus, the points he stresses on are the colour and look of the bus. It was a ‘new bus’, painted a ‘gleaming white’. The overhead bars ‘shone like silver’. The seats were ‘soft and luxurious’.

The descriptions that the author gives when Valli looked outside are also typical for an eight-year­ old. The ‘blue, blue sky’ and the ‘acres and acres of green fields – green, green, green’ show the enthusi asm of a kid on looking at different colours. Valli clapped her hands in glee on watching a cow run right in front of the bus. She found it so funny that tears came into her eyes. On the other hand, she was overcome with sadness on her way back when she saw the same cow lying dead. It had been a ‘lovable, beautiful creature’ and later it ‘looked so horrible’. The memory of the dead cow haunted her so much that she refused to look outside the window. These are the typical reactions of a young child.

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