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We had a fantastic time at the 'Maiden Lake'-a scenic, peaceful and some say, mystical lake right in the middle of the island. There seemed to be mystery and magic surrounding it.

I had screamed with joy on the banana boat. It was an inflatable raft in the shape of a banana and riders had to hold on to dear life as the speedboat jetted across the still lake. Till today, I can still remember our crazy laughter reverberating around that crater-like lake.

We had gone kayaking right after the banana ride. Strangely, it was not as exhilarating. Rather, it felt solemn and subdued. I had this strange feeling that something ominous was about to happen... but when?

We retreated back to the holiday bungalow. A beautiful white bungalow overseeing the sea, it was perfectly picturesque. It was almost as if the sea could actually travel up the sandy beach and touch the marbled flooring. The bungalow was that close to the sea.

The city-dweller in me had refused the quaint wooden chalets scattered on the beach. After inspecting one that looked rather dark and depressing, I had tantrumed my way for an upgrade. My husband of a few months conceded to my request and soon we had a room in a huge bungalow with at least ten rooms in it. I gleefully checked it out.

It was an ordinary room. There was a bed, a television set, and a wooden cupboard. I checked the cupboard and it was locked. I found that strange. I drew the curtains and saw that the window overlooked
a forested area. It sent a chill down my spine though the day was still warm.

My eyes rested on a map that we happened to buy from one of the many roadside stalls. It was a curious-looking map of the lake that we had gone to. It looked ancient and I smiled. It did look somewhat like a treasure map, with its hand-drawn diagrams and ancient symbols.

I peered at the drawing drawn right in the middle of the lake and it looked like the form of a big reptile- the crocodile. I mused. Silly! Why did they have drawings of crocodiles in the middle of the lake when there weren't any? Then I froze. I had assumed that there weren't any! Suddenly, everything turned doubtful and hazy. For the rest of the day, my imagination grew wild.

Later that night, I kept looking at the clock. It was twenty minutes before twelve-the bewitching hour. Somehow, I felt it in my bones that something would happen when the hands struck twelve.

My eyes were trained on the small clock as my husband's gentle snores punctuated the passing seconds. I willed my eyes so that they would not stray to the windows.

Then the clock struck twelve. I braced myself.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

I nearly jumped out of my skin. I tried to wake my husband up but like a felled tree, he did not move.

I glanced at the clock. One minute had just passed but it seemed like an eternity. My thumping heart beat faster as I grabbed his shoulders and shook him like a rag doll.

Only then, he arose, bleary-eyed. He was heavy with sleep-strange for someone who usually spent his nights doing work well after one.

For a moment, we kept silent. The cursed knocks were no longer heard. I never knew who or what had made those knockings.

Outside, an old man was shuffling along the road. He had tried to ask for food and money at the previous bungalow but no one had answered his knocking. Perhaps he would have better luck at the next bungalow...

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why do you think the lake is said to be 'mystical' ?
  2. What was the banana boat filled with ? Quote a word that can support your answer.
  3. What did the author do after the banana road ride and how different was it from the ride ?
  4. What was the distance of the sea to the author's lodging ? Quote the phrase that supports your answer.
  5. Was the bungalow their first choice ? How do you know ?
  6. How do you know that the author was happy to stay in the bungalow ?
  7. How did the author feel when she looked at the forested area ?
  8. Why did the author like the map that was bought from one of the roadside stalls ?
  9. What did the writer do when she heard the knocking at night ?
  10. Who was actually knocking on the door ?
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Answers
 

1.

The lake seemed to be mysterious and magical.
 

2.

It was said to be inflated so it was probably filled with air.
 

3.

She went kayaking. It was not as exhilarating and it felt solemn and subdued.
 

4.

It was very near and the phrase that tells me so is, 'touch the marbled flooring'.
 

5.

No it was not as it was it an upgrade over the wooden chalet.
  6. She had gleefully checked it out.
  7. She felt frightened.
  8. It looked like an ancient treasure map.
  9. She tried to wake her husband.
  10. An old man who was seeking food and money was knocking on the door.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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