Q. Who does ‘I’ refer to in this story?
Ans. ‘I’ refers to the thief Hari Singh. He was habitual of robbing his employers.
Q. What is he ‘‘a fairly successful hand’’ at?
Ans. He is a fairly successful hand at robbing the people.
Q. What does he get from Anil in return for his work?
Ans. The thief gets meals from Anil in return for his work.
Q. How does the thief think Anil will react to the theft?
Ans. The thief thinks that Anil will show only a touch of sadness, not for the loss of money, but for the loss of trust.
Q. What does he say about the different reactions of people when they are robbed?
Ans. He says that the greedy man shows fear; the rich man gets angry; the poor man shows acceptance.
Q. Does Anil realise that he has been robbed?
Ans. Anil realizes that he has been robbed. He finds the bundle of notes wet. He comes to know someone might have taken it out. So it becomes wet due to rain.
Q. What are Hari Singh’s reactions to the prospect of receiving an education? Do they change over time? (Hint: Compare, for example, the thought: ‘‘I knew that once I could write like an educated man there would be no limit to what I could achieve.’’ With this later thought ‘‘whole sentences, I knew, could one day bring me more than a few hundred rupees. It was a simple matter to steal—and sometimes just as simple to be caught. But to be a really big man, a clever and respected man, was something else.’’) What makes him return to Anil?
Ans. Anil teaches Hari Singh to write his name and says he will teach him to write whole sentences and to add numbers. He feels that once he learns and masters the art of writing he will attain what he desires. He can bring laurels to him and can get a respectable position. But it is also the reality that money is bewitching and attracts everyone. He draws the bundle of notes without a sound and begins to run. He reaches the station but misses the train. The thief thinks and broods over his act. He realizes that the excitement of theft makes him forget his future prospects. He recollects that the whole sentences can one day bring him more than a few hundred rupees. It is as much easier to steal just as sometimes it is simple to be caught. So he decides to go back to Anil to master the art of learning and writing.
Q. Why does not Anil hand the thief over to the police? Do you think most people would have done so? In what ways is Anil different from such employers?
Ans. Anil does not hand the thief over to the police because he feels convinced that the thief wishes to change the course of his life. He wants to reform the thief. His trust can do it easily. Most people would have called the police to arrest the thief. Anil’s acts appeal to thief’s senses and he is ready to follow the path of righteousness. Anil behaves differently and changes the personality of a being. He knows that the thief is the culprit when he finds the bundle of notes wet. Anil gives a fifty-rupee note to the thief and says that he made some money yesterday. Moreover, Anil appoints him and declares that he will be paid regularly. He also says that he will start teaching him how to write sentences.
Q. Do you think people like Anil and Hari Singh are found only in fiction, or are there such people in real life?
Ans. Such people are found in real life also. The society has numerous philanthropists and magnanimous people like Anil. Circumstances produce people like Hari Singh. But their inbred qualities keep growing them from inside and haunt them round the clock. Moreover, fiction represents the society. It happens in real life also.
Q. Do you think it a significant detail in the story that Anil is a struggling writer? Does this explain his behaviour in any way?
Ans. It is mentioned in the story that Anil writes for magazines. It is also written that Anil sells a book to a publisher and gets money from him which is stolen by the thief. So, we can say that Anil is a struggling writer. His behaviour is matchless. He does not tell anything to the police about the thief and appoints him as a servant. He promises to teach Hari Singh. Only a writer can take this decision not an ordinary person.
Q. Have you met anyone like Hari Singh? Can you think and imagine the circumstances that can turn a fifteen-year-old boy into a thief?
Ans. I have not met anyone like Hari Singh so far. The circumstances that can turn a boy into a thief are as follows:
- Poor financial condition
- Exploitation by the rich
- Untimely death of parents
- Lack of proper guidance
- Non-availability of employment
- Lack of societal co-operation.
Q. Where is the story set? (You can get clues from the names of the persons and places mentioned in it.) Which language or languages are spoken in these places? Do you think the characters in the story spoke to each other in English?
Ans. The story is set in India. People speak here Hindi, English and other regional languages. The characters speak Hindi with one another.