To be answered in groups
1. There are two settings in the short story: the outer space, which recovers Mr. Mitra’s journey, and the inner space, where the funeral takes place. What do characters do in each of them? How do they feel?
2. How does Hinduism conceive of suicide? How does Christianity?
3. “There was an uneasiness in their conversation, as if they were avoiding something: it was their being here they were avoiding. Of course, people never remembered the dead at shraddh ceremonies; they talked about other things; but that forgetfulness occurred effortlessly. In this case, the avoidance was strategic and self-conscious; the conversation tripped from subject to subject.” Explain the reasons for the atmosphere of uneasiness.
4. Why does the narrator conclude: “He had a vaguely unsatisfying feeling, as if the last half hour had lacked definition”?
5. Why is the short story called “Real Time”?
To be answered individually (200-300 w)
7. Imagine you are Anjali and that you are having a conversation with a friend about your situation. Write a dialogue in which you describe how you feel as regards the pressures that both Indian and Western Societies impose on you. Consider the following background information to organise your dialogue.
“Naturally, they didn’t have the answer. They passed an apartment building they knew, Shanti Nivas, its windows open but dark and remote. Probably they’d been a little harsh with her, her parents Her marriage, sixteen years ago, had been seen to be appropriate. Usually, it’s said, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Saraswati, of learning two sisters, don’t bless the same house; but certainly that wasn’t true of the Poddars, who had two bars-at-law in the generation preceding this one, and a social reformer in the lineage, and also a white four-storeyed mansion on a property near Salt Lake where they used to have garden parties. Anjali had married Gautam Poddar very soon after taking her M.A. in history from Calcutta University.”