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It was all very new to her. Three women with infants came running behind them. Vidyaroopini tugged at her mother's blouse not knowing what to do. She kept staring at the women and the infants who were
crying non-stop. "Don't pay any attention to them," said her mother, quickening her pace. "The longer you do, more will arrive," she continued as she dragged Vidyaroopini along. Those women did not stop. They kept trailing them but shifted their pleas towards Vidyaroopini. She smiled at them and whispered 'hello' to the one closest to her.

Vidyaroopini's mother kept on walking till they reached the shopping centre. The women were chased away by the security guards as cool air and chirpy chatter greeted their entry. "What do they want?" she asked her mother.

"They are beggars. You don't entertain them," her mother explained. Vidyaroopini eyed her mother, puzzled. She was always taught to help the poor and needy and what her mother now said contradicted all her learning. She slurped on her chocolate milkshake and pondered over what her mother had just said.

"How will they survive if we refuse to help them?" she asked. Her mother stopped browsing the racks of shimmery silk blouses and knelt down holding her shoulders.

"What they earn is not exactly theirs. I was told the ringleader takes it away from them at the end of the day. Apparently, there is one in each street! If you really feel bad, we can buy packets of food or even clothes so the women and children could use them, and not have to give them away," she suggested.

The shopping centre was filled with people all merry and laughing. Walking to the glass panels, Vidyaroopini looked out at the dusty streets and searched for the beggars who had followed them. They were nowhere in sight but there were others who wore tattered and torn clothes. They were going around the locals and foreigners stretching out their arms. They were pointing to their stomachs and mouths when they made eye contact with the foreigners. The security guards did not move from their stations till the foreigners walked towards the shopping mall.

The chocolate milkshake was finishing. Vidyaroopini noticed her mother going into the changing room and immediately ran to the milkshake counter. She ordered a strawberry milkshake. "Hurry," she said to the cashier.

A security guard was pushing a young girl out of the way when he saw Vidyaroopini walk out. She stopped him and stepped forward to meet the girl. She handed the drink over and motioned for her to drink
it. "Madam, they're not used to these," the security guard advised.

The little girl opened the lid and dipped her nose into the drink. She giggled from its coldness and used her finger to swirl the thick liquid around. She took one sip of it and shook her head wildly. She said something in her own language and dumped the costly drink into the nearby bin.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Where were Vidyaroopini and her mother headed ?
  2. Vidyaroopini's mother said that 'the longer you do, more will arrive' (paragraph 1). What did she mean by this ?
  3. Why do you think the women 'shifted their pleas' (paragraph 1) towards Vidyaroopini ?
  4. Why did the security guards chase the beggars away ?
  5. What does 'contradicted' (paragraph 3) mean ?
  6. Vidyaroopini's mother said that what the beggars earned was 'not exactly theirs' (paragraph 5). In what way was this so ?
  7. Based on the passage and in your own words, explain who a ringleader is.
  8. According to Vidyaroopini's mother, what was the better way to help the women beggars ?
  9. What was the intention of the beggars when they pointed to their stomachs and mouths ?
  10. How true was the security guard's advice to Vidyaroopini ?
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Answers
 

1.

They were headed for the shopping center.
 

2.

She meant the longer they paid attention to the beggars, more beggars would take note and follow them as well.
 

3.

They probably felt that Vidyaroopini would give them some money as she was paying attention to them (or kept staring at them).
 

4.

The security guards chased them away so they would not enter the shopping center and disturb the shoppers.
 

5.

It means to mean the opposite of what was initially said.
  6. The money the beggars got from begging did not belong to them as it would be taken away from them by the ringleader at the end of the day.
  7. He is the one in charge of all the beggars in a particular street.
  8. They could give the women beggars packets of food or clothes so that they could use them rather than have them taken away.
  9. They wanted to let those they were begging from know they were hungry and they needed money to buy food to eat.
  10. The beggar girl threw away the milkshake that Vidyaroopini had given her because she could not appreciate it, just like what the security guard had said. / The security guard told Vidyaroopini that the beggar girl was not used to the drink and true enough, she threw the milkshake away.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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