Chapter 9 - BEFORE YOU READ In this sensitive story, an...

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B EFORE Y OU R EAD In this sensitive story, an eight-year old girl’s first bus journey into the world outside her village is also her induction into the mystery of life and death. She sees the gap between our knowing that there is death, and our understanding of it. Activity 1. Look at the words and phrases given below. Then put a tick against the ones you think you will find in the text. ___ a set of passengers ___ get on the bus ___ get off the bus ___ platform ___ Tickets, please ___ a roar and a rattle ___ a row of seats ___ slowing down to a crawl ___ blowing a whistle 2. You must have travelled by bus more than once. What can you see from a fast-moving bus? Given below are some suggestions. Speak briefly about some of these scenes, or about other such scenes that you have seen; or write a sentence or two about them. rivers green fields hills roadside shops market places railway tracks moving trains vehicles on the road trees a crowd clothes in shops animals
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I T HERE was a girl named Valliammai who was called Valli for short. She was eight years old and very curious about things. Her favourite pastime was standing in the front doorway of her house, watching what was happening in the street outside. There were no playmates of her own age on her street, and this was about all she had to do. But for Valli, standing at the front door was every bit as enjoyable as any of the elaborate games other children played. Watching the street gave her many new unusual experiences. Madam Rides the Bus 117
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First Flight 118 The most fascinating thing of all was the bus that travelled between her village and the nearest town. It passed through her street each hour, once going to the town and once coming back. The sight of the bus, filled each time with a new set of passengers, was a source of unending joy for Valli. Day after day she watched the bus, and gradually a tiny wish crept into her head and grew there: she wanted to ride on that bus, even if just once. This wish became stronger and stronger, until it was an overwhelming desire. Valli would stare wistfully at the people who got on or off the bus when it stopped at the street corner. Their faces would kindle in her longings, dreams, and hopes. If one of her friends happened to ride the bus and tried to describe the sights of the town to her, Valli would be too jealous to listen and would shout, in English: “Proud! proud!” Neither she nor her friends really understood the meaning of the word, but they used it often as a slang expression of disapproval. Over many days and months Valli listened carefully to conversations between her neighbours and people who regularly used the bus, and she also asked a few discreet questions here and there. This way she picked up various small details about the bus journey. The town was six miles from her village. The fare was thirty paise one way — “which is almost
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course ENGLISH 3en taught by Professor Rickyharris during the Fall '10 term at Central European University.

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Chapter 9 - BEFORE YOU READ In this sensitive story, an...

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