Children at Work – NCERT Solutions

Q. Velu stood on the platform but he felt “as if he was still on a moving train.” Why?

Ans. Velu had run away from home. Being a small boy he was naturally tired, hungry and afraid of the ticket examiner. He lay down near the compartment door. He could not get over the feeling that his train journey was over.

Q. What made him feel miserable?

Ans. Velu was alone, tired and hungry. He didn’t have a ticket also. So he felt miserable.

Q. Velu travelled without a ticket. Why?

Ans. Velu travelled without a ticket because he had no money.

Q. How did he escape the ticket collector’s attention?

Ans. He escaped the ticket collector’s notice because the ticket collector did not come to that unreserved compartment.

Q. Why had Velu run away from home?

Ans. Velu had run away from home because of the misdeeds of his father, who used to snatch all the money from him and his sister. He also beat the children.

Q. Why did he decide to follow the ‘strange’ girl?

Ans. Velu agreed to go after the ‘strange’ girl because he was hungry and the girl promised to get food for him.

Q. Can Velu read Tamil and English? How do you know?

Ans. Velu could not read sign boards in English. But he read the Tamil sign on the Central jail.

Q. “If you are not careful, you will soon be counting bars there,” the girl said.

  1. What is she referring to?
  2. What does she mean when she says “If you are not careful.”? (She says something a little later which means the same. Find that sentence.)


  1. She is referring to Central jail.
  2. She pointed out to Velu that doing wrong was not so important as escaping the police or getting caught. The sentence is: ‘You don’t have to do anything. Just don’t get caught, that’s all’.

Q. Where did the girl lead Velu to?

Ans. The girl led Velu to a marriage hall.

Q. What did they get to eat?

Ans. They got some food from the garbage bin. It was leftover food.

Q. What work did she do? (Think of a one-word answer).

Ans. Ragpicking.

Q. What material are the ‘strange’ huts made out of?

Ans. The ‘strange’ huts are made out of tin sheets, bricks, wood and plastic.

Q. Why does Velu find them strange?

Ans. Velu finds those huts strange because in his own village the huts were made of mud and palm leaves.

Q. What sort of things did Jaya and children like her collect and what did they do with those things?

Ans. Jaya and other children like her collected paper, plastic, and glass etc. They sold all that to a kabadi or junk-dealer.

Q. Is Velu happy or unhappy to find work? Give a reason for your answer.

Ans. Velu is not at all happy. He had never done such a dirty job in his village.

Q. Is Velu a smart boy? Which instances in the text show that he is or isn’t?

Ans. No, Velu is not a smart boy. He runs away from his home to escape his father’s beatings. He felt miserable at the railway station. He found himself alone and hungry. He accepted rag picking because he wasn’t fit for any other job.

Q. Do you think Jaya is a brave and sensitive child with a sense of humour? Find instances of her courage, kind nature and humour in the text.

Ans. Yes, Jaya is a brave and sensitive girl. She takes pity on Velu and gets food for him. She herself earns her livelihood bravely by collecting discarded material and selling them. She has a sense of humour also. She calls the ‘dirty trickle of water Buckingham Canal’.

Q. What one throws away as waste may be valuable to others. Do you find this sentence meaningful in the context of this story? How?

Ans. Yes, the plastic, the paper and rusty metal sheets thrown away by the people, become valuable to ragpickers. They eat leftover food for survival. They sell junk food to some dealer to earn their livelihood.

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