When you don’t have too many distractions

CBSE Board Class 12 English Un-Solved Passages

Chapter – 2  Reading Comprehension (Descriptive Passages)

Read the following passage carefully:

1. When you don’t have too many distractions during work from home, and are saved the grind of daily commute, but are also bereft of friendly engagements and leisurely conversations as we have been this last year-it is natural to start worrying that your growth is on halt! Such a fear paralyses me, as I do believe that our greatest duty to us is to keep evolving, keep learning something new all the time And an important way to ensure that is to be connected to creativity to create, or to immerse you in the creation of another mind. Be it a good book, a great movie, a piece of art, poetry, a short story, a TED talk or a podcast- anything meaningful and beautiful enough to engage you with intensity.

2. Such an engagement is as important to me as breathing. But there are times between good books or movies when I start feeling at a loose end. Some days ago, when I found myself in this state, I decided to slot certain activities that engage the mind and imagination as daily musts. I eyed my husband steadily solving his daily Sudokus and decided that this should be one morning activity for me too-to keep the mind alert and fresh. Done! He was assigned the task of providing me with one Sudoku each morning. I am at it!

3. Around this time along my way came a wonderfully thick tome of Irish short stories edited by Sinéad Gleeson. Now, I have been a great supporter of this literary genre, and deeply regret its diminished significance. Novels have taken up all the space for fiction in today’s literary landscape. We have very few exceptional short story writers left across the world, with most awards recognizing the long form of fiction and the Bestseller lists also edging out collections of short stories. Magazines, which once encouraged short stories, stopped doing so long ago! So, writers are only left with the option of publishing anthologies.

4. I resolved not to call it a day till I read one short story at least, no matter whatever other book I am reading, or any movie I may watch that day. Some of the world’s best and most memorable pieces of writing are short stories. How can anyone ever forget, once read, O Henry’s The Gift of the Magi or The Last Leaf? Or, Guy de Maupassant’s The Necklace? It is the short story form that made them the legends these are! Indian literature boasts of many short story writers-Munshi Premchand, Saadat Hasan Manto, Rabindranath Tagore, R Chudamani, Kamala Das, Ismat Chugtai, Amrita Pritam, Ruskin Bond, Anita Desai-thousands of gems to enlighten your mind and spirit!

5. Short stories convey unforgettable life lessons very effectively, focused and succinct as they are. At a time when we struggle with short attention spans and limited time, what better than a short piece of fiction? If well-written by a master storyteller, most short stories leave you thinking, with vignettes lingering in your mind and imagination for days after you finish one. And that is the state you will find me in these days.

TOI e-Paper Feb. 7, 2021

Vinita Dawra Nangia 


A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage answer the questions given below by choosing one of the options that follow:

(i) According to the author we owe ourselves the opportunity to

(a) learn and grow all the time.

(b) create something new lifelong

(c) read for at least sometime every day.

(d) read and solve puzzles every day.

(ii) One of the following is NOT among the creativity pursuits listed in the article. 

(a) a movie

(b) a piece of art

(c) a novel or poetry

(d) webinars

(iii) From the passage find a word with meaning “asing minimum words to state or express an idea?

(a) genre

(b) succinct

(c) exceptional

(d) anthology

(iv) Which of the following is not likely to be called a tome?

(a) dictionary

(b) encyclopedia

(c) newspaper

(d) anthology

(v) “And an important way to ensure that is to be connected to creativity-to create, or to immerse yourself in the creation of another mind.” From the following meanings of ‘immerse, choose the most appropriate one in the context.

(a) soak

(b) plunge

(c) submerge

(d) engross

B. Answer the following questions briefly W) Why reading short stories is recommended?

(i) Short stories as a literary form have faded in importance in modern times. Why?

(ii) On the contrary short stories should suit our times. Why?

(iii) What do writers O Henry, Ruskin Bond and Guy de Maupassant have in common?

(iv) Why does the author fear that personal growth has been at halt during this last year?

(v) Why reading short stories is recommended?

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