by Dash Benhur
AECC 02 : Block 1 – Short Story – Summary with Questions and Answers
Summary of the text
The Bicycle by Dash Benhur is a simple story with a profound, philosophical message. It’s a nostalgic account of Sudhir Babu, who is an old-fashioned English teacher with an enduring passion for poetry. He has a bicycle, nicknamed Veersen that has served him well for decades. Both Sudhir Babu and his trusted bicycle have gone through the ups and downs of life. Sudhir Babu has developed an emotional attachment with Veersen, and has never thought of abandoning it for a new one. In some way, it explains why and how develop an attachment with the things they use in their daily lives. It’s a old value that is fast disappearing in present times when ‘use-and-throw’ culture has been fuelled by cunning manufacturers who don’t produce goods of very high quality, so that the consumer finds a reason to discard it for a new one. Such trend is typical to today’s consumerist, and materialistic ethos. No one seems to bother how such tendency to buy new items harms the environment by accelerated exploitation of earth’s limited resources.
Times have rolled by. Sudhir Babu’s grandson, Tana, grows up. He owns a flashy, red, and trendy bicycle. Against this modern-day product, Veersen becomes a poor comparison. No wonder, Tana chides both Sudhir Babu and his trusted bicycle for being so out of fashion. His fascination for poetry, obviously, fails to impress the young child. Sudhir Babu endures the derision nonchalantly. After all, the age belongs to Tana, not to him. The generation gap manifests itself glaringly. In the eyes of the youngster, both Sudhir Babu and Veersen are relics of the past.
Sudhir Babu gives a thorough make-over to the derelict cycle. It comes back to life, ready to serve its master again with renewed zeal. On one occasion, Sudir Babu and his friends are caught in darkness while returning from a picnic. Veersen’s dynamo lights up and dispels the darkness. Sudhir Babu beams in appreciation. It’s impossible to find a new-age young man or woman, earning a high income, sticking to their old gadgets for more than three or four years. Old values are crumbling inexorably, no doubt.
Sudhir Babu’s wife ages and is beset with the infirmities of dotage. She becomes irritable and jittery. Sudhir Babu feels hurt and bewildered. He soothes his mind by reminiscing about their happier days of the past. One can draw valuable philosophical lessons from the plight of Sudhir Babu and his wife. Being stoic and gracefully accepting the vagaries of old age are golden lessons this simple story teaches so aptly.
Finally, the curtains come down. Sudhir Babu meets with an accident and is sternly told by his family members not to ride his favorite cycle again. Veersen has to fall in line. The separation from the owner is painfully inevitable. Sudhir Babu is resigned to his life confined to his home; Veersen has to rust away to its death. Life on earth looks so difficult.
Questions and Answers
1. What was the theme of Sudhir Babu’s poems for the last two years?
Answer: Sudhir Babu had a bicycle that had nearly outlived its designed life, but his long association with it had led to the cycle carving a place for itself in his heart. So, he wrote many poems centered around this cycle
2. Why was Tana annoyed with his grandfather’s poetry?
Answer: For the young boisterous Tana, his grandfather’s infatuation with a cycle that had almost become a ramshackle piece was somewhat annoying. He was irked because the unattractive, old cycle got so much adoration from his grandfather.
3. How was Tana’s bicycle different from that of Sudhir Babu’s bicycle?
Answer: Tana’s cycle was new and shining. It was red in colour and had shock absorbers fitted to it. It had a new-age look.
4. What was Sudhir Babu’s profession?
Answer: Sudhir babu taught English in a nearby college.
5. Why was Tana annoyed with his grandfather’s poetry?
Answer: Tana, the restless youngster could never understand the emotional bonding between the old decrepit cycle and his grandfather who owned it. He didn’t quite approve of the way his grandfather lavished praise on the cycle that deserved to be scrapped. This annoyed him.
6. What kind of a bicycle did Sudhir Babu have? By what name did he address his bicycle?
Answer: Sudhir Babu’s cycle was an old vintage type that had been bought decades ago. Years of use and disuse had robbed it of all its charm. However, it had a dynamo fitted to its back wheel that emitted a strong beam of light when the cycle ran. In this regard, it stood apart from other cycles. Suresh Bab had named it Veersen”.
7. What other incidents does Sudhir Babu recall where Veersen had emerged as the real hero?
Answer: On one occasion, Sudhir Babu had gone on a picnic with his friends. On the way back, it got dark, and the cycle-borne picnickers found it hard to find the road. Sudhir Babu’s cycle came to the front and dazzled like a petromax throwing a bright beam of light on the road. It carried the day.
8. How did Sudhir Babu breathe a new lease of life into his old bicycle?
Ans: Sudhir Babu gave the ageing cycle to a repairer for seven days with instructions to give it a complete make-over. The repairer did a thorough job, and gave Veersen a nice smart look.
9. Why was Veersen consigned to a lonely position on the front verandah? Why did Sudhir Babu’s family bar him from riding the bicycle?
Answer: On one unfortunate occasion, Sudhir Babu while riding his old, trusty Veersen met with an accident. He hit a roadside pole head along. The resulting injury made Sudhir Babu spend a few days in hospital. From then on, His family members forbade him from riding Veersen again. The cycle was left to stand alone in the verandah and fell into disuse. Its charm fed off rather fast.
10. How did the bicycle come to the rescue of Sudhir Babu and his friends when they found themselves stranded in a forest?
Answer: It had got dark and the small group of picnickers found it very hard to negotiate their path in the terrain. Sudhir Babu’s Veersen had a dynamo and a headlight. It was made to lead the other cyclists with its bright beam of light.
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