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I am not usually superstitious but then she was may first car and I was not about to take any chances. It being Friday, I decided to drive her home on Saturday. So I had the car delivered to my office car park and took the bus home as usual. She was not much of a car to be proud of, just a simple second hand Nissan Sunny costing a little more than twenty thousand. But one thing made me proud - she was mine, all mine.

Next day, I told my wife and two children that I wanted to take them to meet a friend. My children jumped for joy but not so my wife. She had to be persuaded and persuaded and finally I had to spoil the surprise and tell her the truth. Well, she was curious now and agreed to go to my office. I could not wait to go by bus and so hailed a taxi. I could see the look of excitement in my wife's eyes.

As usual the taxi journey was fast and we were at my office by 9:00 am. I took them all to my Sunny and introduced them to her. I told them that she was the new family member. My children gave loud whoops of joy and almost immediately tried to open the door, though I had the key. This was followed by a fight as to who was to have the honor of sitting in front. My wife settled the argument by getting into the front seat herself. I got into the driver's seat and started the car. I felt a thrill run right through me as she sprang to life. Slowly, I backed her out of the lot and turned her and drove out of the car park.

As I turned into the main road, I became nervous. I had never driven without my driving instructor before. I decided to be careful and kept to the left all the way. The day was hot and I turned on the air-conditioner. Then I fiddled around with the switches to see which was which. Suddenly the wiper came on. I could not remember which switched turned that on and started to fiddle around again. It is difficult to fiddle around while you are driving and I could not see very well. The reason, I could not concentrate on the switches - I had to concentrate on the road too. Behold me then, inexperienced driver driving along on the extreme left of a busy road, fiddling around trying to turn off the wiper while both eyes had to be concentrating on where I was going. I must have touched something right, because the wipers began to move faster.

There was only one thing left to do, I signaled and stopped at the side of the road. Everyone in the car, and on the road, stared at me curiously. There was no reason to stop where I did. There were no shops, or houses or anything. They must also have wondered why I was driving with the wipers on when it was not raining. I took a deep breath and calmed myself. Then I looked around at the various switches in front of me. Finally, I found the switch which worked the wiper and turned if off. Everyone in the car breathed a sigh of relief.

I smiled sheepishly and then signaled to the right and drove out again. Without any further mishap, I managed to drive to the temple. The car needed to be blessed. The priest was happy to perform the blessing ritual for eleven dollars. He went around and applied vermilion on parts of the car and then chanted prayers. I understood that the essence of the prayers was to ensure that the car was safe for those traveling in it and for those on the road. I was happy that I was going to have some divine protection.

After that we went home. In spite of the assured assistance of divinity, I decided on one thing: I would never drive with anyone in my car again until I was thoroughly familiar with the car and all those switches. The next day being Sunday, I would spend the whole day on that. I believed that I could learn everything about the car in one day. I did.

Soon the car became a routine part of our lives. We grew to love her and my daughter even gave her a name - a female name of course. To Indians, a car or any vehicle is female.

   
  Questions
   
  1. (a) The writer contradicts himself twice in paragraph 1. Write down the contradictions in your own words.
    (b) Why did the writer lie to his wife and children?
    (c) Did he have any trouble persuading them to go with him? Why?
    (d) What was the argument that ensued after the writer introduced the car to his family?
       
  2. (a) What problem did the writer encounter on the road and why?
    (b) How did he overcome the problems?
    (c) Was the writer embarrassed? Why?
       
  3. (a) In your own words, describe the ritual in the temple. Why was it done?
    (b) What did the writer do to ensure that he would drive safely?
       
  4.   For each of the following words give one word or a short phrase (not more than seven words) which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      i.   delivered   v.   settled
      ii.   persuaded   vi.   fiddled
      iii.   curious   vii.   wondered
      iv.   excitement   viii.   sheepishly
       
  5. Imagine that you are the writer's wife. Briefly describe the adventures that Saturday morning. You should not use more than 160 words..
       
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  Answers
       
  1. (a) The writer says he is not superstitious and then acts as if he is, and again says she was nothing to be proud of but he was proud of her. in this way he contradicts himself twice.
    (b) He wanted to surprise them by showing them the car.
    (c) His wife did not want to go with him and had to be persuaded.
    (d) Both the children wanted to sit in front and so they argued.
       
  2. (a) He was trying to turn on the air-conditioner and turned on the wipers instead. he did not know which switch he threw.
    (b) He had no choice but to stop at the road side and figure out the switches, before he could solve the problem.
    (c) He certainly was embarrassed as a lot of passing drivers saw his plight.
       
  3. (a) The priest placed vermilion on certain parts of the car and chanted prayers. the prayers was supposed to protect those traveling in it and other road users.
    (b) He decided to spend the whole Sunday in driving around and getting used to the car.
       
  4. i sent
    ii coaxed
    iii interested
    iv thrill
    v decided
    vi fumbled
    vii thought
    viii stupidly
       
  5. He woke up one Saturday morning and suggested we all go to his office to meet a friend. I was not interested until he told me the real reason. He had bought a car and wanted to surprise all of us. I agreed and we want to his office by taxi.

As soon as we saw the car, the children got into an argument as to who should sit in front. Finally, I decided to settle the issue by sitting in front myself. we left the car park and went on to the main road. it was obvious to me that he was nervous and not very sure of what to do.

On the way he went and switched on the wipers by mistake. we had to stop at the road side to sort it out. We were embarrassed as everyone stared. After that we went to the temple to bless the car. The we drove home.( 156 words )

           
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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