SECTION – A
(Reading) 20 marks
1. Read the passage carefully. 8
I was born in the small but beautiful mountain village of Nakuri near Uttarkashi in Garhwal, with the gurgling, playful
Bhagirathi river flowing nearby. My parents were a hard-working and extremely self-contained couple. Even though our family was
poor, barely managing the essentials, my father taught us how to live and maintain dignity and self-respect–the most treasured
family value till today. At the same time my parents also practised the creed, “Kindness is the essence of all religion.” They were
large-hearted, inviting village folk passing by to have tea at our home, and gave grain to the sadhus and pandits who came to the
house. This characteristic has been ingrained in me so deeply that I am able to reach out to others and make a difference in their lives –
whether it is in my home, in society or at the work place. I was the third child in the family–girl, boy, girl, girl and boy
in that order–and quite a rebel. I developed a tendency to ask questions and was not satisfied with the customary way of life for a girl-child. When I found my elder brother, Bachchan, encouraging our youngest brother, Raju, to take up mountaineering I thought, why not me ? I found that my brothers were always getting preferential treatment and all opportunities and options were open to them. This made me even more determined to not only do what
the boys were doing, but to do it better. The general thinking of mountain people was that mountaineering as a sport was not for them. They considered
themselves to be born mountaineers as they had to go up and down mountain slopes for their daily livelihood and even for routine
work. On the other hand, as a student, I would look curiously at foreign backpackers passing by my village and wonder where they were going. I would even invite them to my house and talk to them to learn more about their travels. The full significance of this came to me later when I started working. The foreigners took the trouble t come all the way to the Himalayas in order to educate themselves on social, cultural and scientific aspects of
mountaineering, as well as to seek peace in nature’s gigantic scheme of things.
Answer the following questions : 1×8=8
(a) What does the author tell us about the financial condition of
her parents ?
(b) What is the most treasured value of the author’s family ?
Read the passage given below. 12
One would imagine that at the very sight of the panther, deer, antelopes, and its other preys would just run for their lives.
Nothing of the sort. They all stand their ground and make such a loud noise that the panther is left with no other choice except to
leave quietly. I have seen a tiny chital babe standing in the middle of an opening in the forest, stamping its feet on the ground and
shooing away a tiger. With the white of its erect tail showing, it kept up its shrill call until the tiger made itself scarce. No tiger in
its senses would attempt to catch such an impertinent brat, just as you would not dream of catching an offending crow cawing away
in your verandah. While the panther sticks to cover and hugs the edge of the forest, the game animals, on the other hand, like to assemble right
out in open vast grazing grounds. Open spaces which the panther carefully avoids, are what the game animals deliberately seek.
It is difficult to describe the pandemonium kicked up by various animals when they spot or suspect a panther around. The chital strikes a shrill note, the kakar emits a deafening bark and the sambar rings a bell. The peacock on its perch, the jungle fowl on the ground, and the monkey on treetops, all join in the chorus of condemnation of the panther. They curse the panther in their own inimitable language. The resulting confusion of sounds is so
irritating to the sharp ears of the panther that it is left with no other option except to go away. The panther has thus to deal with its ever alert and watchful
associates who show no mercy and expect none. It is a fight between finesse and flight between clever attack and skillful
defence. Contrary to the common belief, the panther never springs upon its prey. It stalks as close to its victim as it can manage, and then makes the final dash by rushing at it at a lightning speed