B. A English – The Gold Frame by R. K. Laxman

The Gold Frame

About the author .. R. K. Laxman towers over all other cartoonists of his times for the subtle humor and the intimate reflection of the woes of the common man. Satire was his potent weapon, and he could rip apart even the strongest politician with its edge. He is the brother of the celebrated short story writer R. K. Laxman , who too, never wrote anything without a generous use of humor. R. K. Laxman drew the many cartoons for his brother’s stories. The duo enriched the literary scene of contemporary India, and brought humor to thousands of homes.

About this story .. Like the celebrated American short story writer, O. Henry, R. K. Laxman has made use of the art of a quick and abrupt ending to this story. The sudden turn of events catches the reader unawares, and leaves him befuddled.

Comprehension check..

Q1. What does the setting of the story suggest about the subject matter? 

Ans: The story, obviously, is set in one of the streets of Mumbai where the photo-framing shop, owned by an rather eccentric man, is situated.

Q2. What impression you form about Datuu the way he is descrined? 

Ans: Datta, no doubt, is an artisan of great merit who has mastered the art of framing of photos. He is a bit eccentric, and somewhat disorganized. Nevertheless, his craftsmanship enables him to flourish in his business. While dealing with customers, he shows a penchant for acting aloof.

Q3. What is the purpose of the customer to the photo frame shop?

Ans: The customer wanted the photo of a man framed whom he held with very high regard. He thought the elderly person had superhuman qualities, and deserved a befitting frame for his photograph. This is why he had come to the shop renowned for its superb workmanship.

Q4. What are the qualities that the customer attributes to the person in the photograph? 

Ans: The elderly person is assumed to be an embodiment of kindness, and altruism. His nobility was heavenly, making him a really adorable personality.

Q5. How does Datta put the customer in a disadvantage? 

Ans: Datta could quickly judge that the customer had no idea about photo framing. Dattu confounded the man with all sorts of questions about the specifications, and the latter had no idea but to agree to the suggestions vaguely. When the customer began to bargan, Dattu deliberately kept silent, thus making the customer feel awkward.

Q6. What do you think about the price quoted by Datta for the best product? Is it high, low or correct? 

Ans:  Datta understood what was playing in the mind of the customer and quoted a high price.

Q7.  Show how Datta mixed up his professional experience and technical skill with a pragmatic business sense? 

Ans: Datta seldom took the delivery dates seriously because he knew people generally show up to take delivery much later. For the customers who had little knowledge of photo framing, he would reel off impressive array of technical details to off-put the customer.

Q8. How does Datta spoil the photograph? 

Ans: While locating a lost pencil, he jerked his dhoti hard, thus spilling some whte paint on to the photograph. In panic, he tried to ipe ff the paint, but spoiled the photo completely in the process.

Q9. What does Datta do to create a double of the person in the photograph? 

Ans: Totally clueless about the situation,  Datta tries to see if he had any photo among the large stock of unclaimed photo frames lying in his stock. Luckily, he finds one, and decides to brazenly pass it off as the original.

Q10. How is Datta himself outwitted by the customer and falls into the pit dug for him?

Ans:  The customer had planned to put Datta in the defensive by claiming that he had asked for a cut mount with an oval shape, but Datta had given it a square shape. However, Datta gets the most important reprieve that he had hoped for after he had damaged the original irreversibly.

(To be continued)

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