Chapter 13 A Roadside Stand

NCERT Solutions Class 12 English Flamingo
Book: National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)
Board: Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
Class: 12th
Subject: English Flamingo
Chapter: 13
Chapters Name: A Roadside Stand
Medium: English

A Roadside Stand | Class 12 English | NCERT Books Solutions

Page No 100:
Question 1:
Have you ever stopped at a roadside stand? What have you observed there?
One is bound to come across roadside stands while traveling on a highway. Having stopped a couple of times on such stalls, I have observed their pitiable condition. These roadside stands normally were set up on broken-down and dirty sheds. The food sold seemed unhealthy and contaminated, as flies could be seen hovering around. The so-called sitting area was bereft of any proper arrangement or even cleanliness. The strong stench of the overflowing sewer and freely parading rodents made it utterly unhealthy to buy or eat anything there.
(A model answer has been provided for students’ reference. It is strongly recommended that students prepare the answer based on their own experience and understanding.)
Page No 102:
Question 1:
The city folk who drove through the countryside hardly paid any heed to the roadside stand or to the people who ran it. If at all they did, it was to complain. Which lines bring this out? What was their complaint about?
The relevant lines are:
“The polished traffic passed with a mind ahead,
Or if ever aside a moment, then out of sorts
At having the landscape marred with the artless paint
Of signs that with N turned wrong and S turned wrong”


According to the city folk, these stalls with inartistic signboards blemish the scenic beauty of the landscape.
Page No 102:
Question 1:
You could stop at a dhaba or a roadside eatery on the outskirts of your town or city to see
1. how many travelers stop there to eat?
2. how many travelers stop for other reasons?
3. how the shopkeepers are treated?
4. the kind of business the shopkeepers do.
5. the kind of life they lead.
1. Once, on stopping at a roadside dhaba, I noticed many things which were new to me. There were many travelers stopping to eat at the dhaba. Most of them came there to eat, not out of choice, but compulsion, as their buses stopped there.
2. There were some people who stopped to ask for directions. Some others stopped to use the toilets or use the space to smoke their cigars.
3. These shopkeepers or dhaba owners were ill-treated. Some people shouted at them while others used objectionable language. A group of college boys, who had come in their jeep, left without paying their bill. However, these shopkeepers remained their docile self and did not argue much, probably fearing hostility.


4. The roadside stalls mostly sold food items. But, there were many other stalls as well. There were tea stalls, telephone booths and small sheds selling cigarettes and tobacco.
5. The lives of these people revolve around their small yet respectable business. Usually, the whole family is involved in the business. Some of them even had their houses nearby. They seemed down to earth and unassuming, and avoided being involved in any fight.
(The above answer is only a sample provided for students’ reference. It is strongly recommended that students prepare the answer on their own.)
Page No 102:
Question 1:
Discuss in small groups.
The economic well-being of a country depends on a balanced development of the villages and the cities.
The economic development of a country cannot stand independently on the shoulders of the cities. The villages play an integral role. Besides, the cities and villages are interdependent. The agricultural products grown by the farmers like the vegetables, cereals, oil, etc. bear importance for everyone, irrespective of the place they live in. On the other hand, the factory made products and employment avenues provided by the cities play their role in economic well-being of a society. In the poem, ‘A Roadside Stand’, the poet emphasises on the balance needed for a systemised growth. The poet feels that the villagers are unassuming and simple, and consequently, they are exploited by the politicians and other social agencies. The poet wants to remove these frauds and make the rural folk retain their self-respect and peace of mind.
(A sample answer has been provided for students’ reference. It is strongly recommended that students prepare the answer based on their own experience and understanding.)
Page No 102:
Question 2:
What was the plea of the folk who had put up the roadside stand?
The poor farmers requested the passerby city dwellers to stop at their roadside stalls and buy something so that they too get a chance to earn their living, not just to make their ends meet but also to be able of afford some comfort in life.
Page No 102:
Question 2:
Notice the rhyme scheme. Is it consistent or is there an occasional variance? Does it indicate thought predominating over sound pattern?
Although the poem is not in free verse, the rhyme scheme used by the poet is very inconsistent. The poet caters to a serious issue in this poem. His thoughts are oscillating between sympathy and rage. This seems to have affected the rhyme scheme of the poem as well. The differing rhyme scheme also shows that his main concern while writing this poem was to portray the plight of the villagers rather than merely beautifying his poem. Thus, his thoughts seem to predominate over sound pattern.
Page No 102:
Question 3:
The government and other social service agencies appear to help the poor rural people, but actually do them no good. Pick out the words and phrases that the poet uses to show their double standards.
The poet criticizes the double standards of the government and other social service agencies who promise to improve the standard of living of the poor farmers and show them the rosy side of life. Yet, when the time comes to deliver their promise, they either forget them or fulfill them keeping in view their own benefits.  The poet calls them “greedy good-doers” and “beneficent beasts of prey”, who “swarm over their lives”. The poet says that these greedy people make calculated and well thought-out shrewd moves, to which the innocent, unaware farmers fall prey. These humble and simple farmers are robbed of their peace of mind by these clever people. The poet says,

“…..enforcing benefits

That are calculated to soothe them out of their wits,
And by teaching them how to sleep they sleep all day,
Destroy their sleeping at night the ancient way.”
Page No 102:
Question 3:
Notice the stanza divisions. Do you find a shift to a new idea in successive stanza?
The poet has divided the poem into four parts. Every stanza focuses on a different facet of the predicament of the poor villager running a roadside stall. In the first stanza, the poet introduces the character, the reason behind his setting up a roadside stand and his plight.  The second stanza focuses on how these poor farmers are exploited by the government and other social agencies. The poem explains the child-like waiting of these farmers and the attitude of the rich in the third stanza. In the last stanza, it focuses on the efforts required to change their lives.
Page No 102:
Question 4:
What is the ‘childish longing’ that the poet refers to? Why is it ‘vain’?
The poet refers to the farmers’ longing for customers at their roadside stall as “childish longing”. This is because no one stopped and even if they did, it was for asking direction or to buy gas. Hence, this child-like wait is ‘vain’.
Page No 102:
Question 5:
Which lines tell us about the insufferable pain that the poet feels at the thought of the plight of the rural poor?
Filled with empathy, the poet is unable to bear the plight of the unassuming and innocent rural people. The lines below show his insufferable pain:
“Sometimes I feel myself I can hardly bear
The thought of so much childish longing in vain,
The sadness that lurks near the open window there,
That waits all day in almost open prayer”

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