Leaving Summary Notes

Leaving About The Author

M.G. Vassanji (b. 1950) is a Toronto based novelist of Indian origin. He was bom in Nairobi, Kenya. He left Africa to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania in the US where he received his doctorate in Nuclear Physics, in 1978 he moved to Toronto and was a Research Associate at the University of Toronto.

During this period, he developed a keen interest in medieval Indian literature and history. A gifted writer his works represent the convergence of cultures that characterized both East Africa and North America. His writings focus on issues of diaspora, migration, citizenship, gender and ethnicity.

Leaving Summary

The given short story ‘Leaving’ is penned by M.G. Vassanji. The author is a Toronto based novelist of Indian origin. His writings focus on issues of diaspora, migration, citizenship, gender and ethnicity

In the short story ‘Leaving’ the author explores the theme of Migration. Why do people migrate. We can know why people migrate after reading the story. The story relates to the life of Indian immigrants, their motives and struggles. The story is set in Tanzania, Africa. It revolves around an Indian family living in Tanzania, and deals with the possible migration of one of the sons’ (Aloo) to America and how it affects his and his entire family’s life.

The son is helped by his family to go to an American university, in which he had got a study scholarship. The mother suffers because she is a widow who had raised four children singlehandedly and is troubled by the thought that her son is ‘Leaving’ her. He is ‘Leaving’ his roots.

The short story takes place in Tanzaina, Africa. An Indian family has settled down in a street named Uhuru street which was formerly known as Kichwele street. The narrator (the second youngest child) tells us that her two sisters Mehroon and Razia had finished school and were married. The eldest son, Firoz had dropped out of school and now working as an assistant book – keeper at a stationary mart, Oriental Emporium.
The mother focuses her attention on her two youngest children,

Aloo and her youngest daughter (the narrator). The narrator is Aloo’s elder sister. Aloo was in his final year in school and the narrator was at the university. The mother hopes to educate her younger children and closes down the family owned store to focus on their education. The family moves to a new neighbour – hood, a quiet residential area called Upanga.

The mother hopes that the place provides a better environment for them to study. Aloo turned out to be a bright student. The narrator tells us about Mr. Datto a former teacher of their school, who returns from America. Aloo is inspired by Mr. Datto, and thinks of going to America for further studies. Aloo dreams of studying in an American University to be a doctor. He starts writing to American Universities to get the necessary information. The narrator’s mother views all his efforts with scepticism. But she does not want to either discourage him.

When the responses to Aloo’s enquires started coming in from the American universities, Aloo was thrilled by the prospect of studying in an American University. He felt as if a whole universities was out there waiting for him if only he could reach it. He sure if he could or if he was competent enough to get a place the American Universities. He suffered periods of intense hope and hopeless despair.

In the meantime Aloo was offered a place to study Agriculture at a local University. Aloo was not keen to pursue Agriculture. Liter Aloo is offered a place with a scholarship in California Institute of Technology. He stares at the letter in disbelief. But he is overjoyed and decides to take up the offer. However, his mother would not allow him to accept the offer, citing finances and with the fear of losing him as the reasons.

Aloo is distraught. The mother could not bear to see him in that state and decides to meet Mr. Velji, a former administrator of the school in which Aloo and his elder sister (The narrator) had studied, to seek his advice. Mr. Velji, goes through all the documents sent by the University and advices the mother to let her son go and study at the university. The mother was in a dilemma. If she lets her son go, she will lose him, but if she didn’t she will disappoint him. She brooded over the matter for a long time.

The narrator saw her mother brooding absentmindedly and she recalled the troubles her mother had gone through, while bringing them up. Their father had died when her mother was only thirty- three years old. The young mother had rejected proposals for remarriage and struggled to bring them up.

The narrator, for the first time sees her mother as a person and not just as a mother – someone who has always thought only of her children’s welfare. The mother looks up and asks Aloo to promise her that he will never marry a white women and that he will not smoke or drink. Aloo promises her that and leaves for London. He writes his first letter from London giving a graphic description of the city.

Mr. Velji wisely comments ‘Abird flapping its wings’when he had visited the family. The mother is staring into the distance, she is uncertain ofhis return. (Aloo’s).

Leaving Glossary

  • Uhuru : independence
  • Distraught : upset, agitated
  • Baobab : a short African tree with thick trunk
  • Whist : card game played by four
  • Thmultuous : excited
  • Culling : to select from a wide range
  • Tantalizing : teasingly out of reach
  • Stupefied : astonish
  • Bursary : scholarship
  • Pachedi : a veil worn over a dress, or used to cover head and face.

Leaving Questions And Answers

Comprehension

I. Answer the following questions in one or two sentences

Questions 1.
Who is the narrator of the story?
Answer:
The narrator is the elder sister of the main protagonist Aloo, in the story ‘Leaving’.

Question 2.
Why did the family shift from Uhuru street?
Answer:
The family moved to a quiet residential area of Upanga from Uhuru Street, so that the youngest two children, Aloo and his elder sister could have the right environment to study.

Question 3.
Why was Mr Datto given a tumultuous welcome?
Answer:
Mr. Datoo was a former teacher from the narrator’s school and was also a former student, had returned from America for a visit. So he was given a tumultous welcome.

Question 4.
What motivated Aloo to seek admission to an American University?
Answer:
When Mr. Datoo came on a visit to India from America. He was the centre of attraction among the students of the school. This exicting event inspired and motivated Aloo to seek admission to an American University.

Question 5.
What advice did Mr.Velji give to the Mother?
Answer:
Mr. Velji told the mother that the university was good and moreover they were giving him a bursary and that it would be good for his education.

Question 6.
What promise does the Mother take from Aloo?
Answer:
She asked Aloo to promise her that he will not marry a white women and would not smoke or drink.

Question 7.
What are Aloo’s first impressions of London?
Answer:
Aloo was enchanted at the first sight of London as he looked out of the plane. He saw miles and miles of carefully tilled fields. It seemed to him as if the earth was divided into neat green squares. He found that the mountains were also clean and civilized. He was amazed at seeing blocks and blocks of houses, squares, parks and monuments. He wondered if any city in the world could be as large of London. He also wondered how many of Dar – es – Salaams would fit into the city of London, comparing the size of London to that of Dar – es – sallam.

II. Answer the following questions in a short paragraph each :

Question 1.
Describe the narrator’s family.
Answer:
The family lived on Uhuru street, in Tanzania, the father had passed away when the mother was only thirty – three years old. Mehroon and Razia were married. Fire i he third son had dropped out in his last year at school and was working as an assistant book – keeper at Oriental Emporium. The two youngest children were Aloo and his elder sister (the narrator). Aloo was in his last year at school and the narrator had entered the university and only came back home at weekends.

Question 2.
Why is Aloo not keen to pursue his studies at the local university like his peers?
Answer:
Aloo was an expectionally bright student. The return of Mr. Datoo, his former teacher, ffomAmerica motivated Aloo to seek admission to an American urdverstiy. Aloo was entitled to a place at the local university to study Agriculture. He had applied to study medicine. But the corrupt bureaucray at the local university had selected him to study Agriculture. He did not like the prospect of being an agricultural officer in a rural district. So Aloo was not keen to pursue his studies at the local university.

Question 3.
Despite the obstacles he faced, how did Aloo succeed in his dream of studying abroad?
Answer:
Aloo wrote to a number of Universtities in America. When the responses to his enquiries started coming, he found out which universitites were better and which of them were truly famous. Eventually Aloo received a letter from California institute of technology offering a place with a scholarship. When Aloo told the good news to his mother, his mother would not allow him to accept the offer, citing finances and the fear of losing him as the reasons.

Aloo is distraught. The mother could not bear to see him in that state. She seeks advice from Mr. Velji, a former administrator of the school in which Aloo had studied. After reading all the documents he advices the mother to let her son go to America. The mother is in a dilemma. If she lets him go, she will lose him, but if she didn’t she will dissappoint him. She brooded ore the matter for a long time. At last the mother permits Aloo to go but not before he promises her that he will not marry a white women nor smoke or drink.

Question 4.
How does the Mother ensure that Aloo leaves for further studies with a happy frame of mind?
Answer:
Aloo was distraught when his mother would not allow him to accept the offer to study at the American University. She cited finances and with the fear of losing him as the reasons. Aloo was distraught. The mother could not bear to see him in that state and seeks the advice of Mr. Velji, a former administrator of the school in which Aloo had studied.

After going through all the documents he advices the mother to iet us son go and study at the university. The mother was in a dilemma. If she lets her son go, she will lose him, but if she didn’t she will disappoint him. She brooded over the matter for a long time. At last the mother lets him go, but not before he promises her that he will not marry a white women nor smoke or drink. Aloo was delighted and he hapily made preparations to leave.

Question 5.
Aloo promised to work his way through college to repay the loan & to not let his mother down. Comment on the mixed emotions of the mother.
Answer:
When Aloo got an offer to study medicine at an American university, the mother declines to send him, citing finances and with the fear of losing him as the reasons. Aloo convinces her that he does not need a lot of money to study as he was also offered a scholarship. He need only to carry four hundred dollars as pocket money with him. When the mother understood the four hundred dollars was equilant to three thousand shillings (Tanzanian currency) she was distraught. She asked him how they could raise such a lot of money.

Aloo tried to convince her that they could raise a loan and he will work there to repay the money, the mother felt that their relatives in America could help them but no one in Tanzania would. She sadly asked Aloo why he wanted to go away from her, and if he wanted to go away, was that why she had raised him, suffering all through her life. She felt that Aloo regarded his studies as more important then her love and affection.

She imagined that something drastic would happen to Aloo while he was in America. Yet she could not bear to see Aloo’s distraught face. It was not a question of money but of love, affection and relationship. She knew that Aloo would not let her down yet her love for him would not let her to take the decision to send him to America.

Question 6.
It is a story of generations new and old. Have you experienced a similar situation regarding your career options?
Answer:
Yes, I had the same experience. My parents wanted me to take up Engineering. But I fought tooth and nail and convinced them, citing their financial inability to send me to an Engineering college. I told them I would rather take a science dgree and study basic sciences as their was a lot of career options based on it.

III. Answer the following questions in a page each.

Question 1.
“A whole universe was out there waiting for him if only he could reach it. He was not sure if he could, if he was good enough”. How is hope and hopelessness juxtaposed?
Answer:
In the short story ‘Leaving’ the narrator’s younger brother Aloo turned out to be a bright student. Their mother being a widow had struggled to bring them up and educate them. Though they were poor their mother encouraged them to study. When the former teacher of Aloo’s school returned from America, he was motivated to study medicine at an university in America. Aloo wrote to many American Universitites to get the necessary information The narrator mother views all this with skepticism, but she does not want to either discourage him.

When responses to Aloo’s enquiries started coming in, Aloo was thrilled by the prospect of studing at an American University. He felt as if a whole universe was out thee waiting for him, if only he could reach it. He was not sure if he could or if was competent enough to get a place in one of the American Universities. He suffered periods of intense hope and hopeless dispair.

In his hope that any of the American universities will accept him, he even ignored the offer to study Agriculture at a local university. In fact, he had applied to study medicine at the local university, but the corrupt administration alioted him a place to study agriculture. Eventually Aloo is offered a place with a scholarship in California Institute of Technology.

He stares at the letter in disbelief. Yet he is overjoyed and decides to take up the offer. However, his mother would not allow him to accept the offer, citing finances and with the fear of losing him as the reasons. Aloo is distraught. The mother could not bear to see him in that state and decides to meet Mr. Velji, a former administrator of the school in which Aloo studied and seek his advice. Mr. Velji, goes through all the documents sent by the universtiy and advices the mother to let her son go and study in America. The mother is in a dilemma. If she lets her son go, she will lose him, but if she didn’t she will disappoint him.

She was troubled by the thought that tye couldn’t offered the money to put him through the university. When Aloo tells her that they need not pay for his studies but he need to only take four hundred dollars as pocket money with him. The mother said that they could not even raise such a lot of money even in their dreams, because it was not a little money that he needed.

Aloo was disappointed. But hopefully he told his mother that if a they raised a loan he could pay it back by working as a waiter after his classes at the university. But the question was who would give them a loan? Aloo’s shoulders sagged and he was close to tears. The mother sadly asked Aloo why he had to leave her and go to America, and if he wanted to go away, was that why she had raised him, suffering all through her life. She felt Aloo regarded his studies as more important than her love and affection.

She imagined something drastic will happen to in America. With tears in his eyes Aloo asked her why she had allowed him to apply if she didn’t want him to go and why she had raised his hopes if only to dash them. The mother could not bear to see his agency and after consulting Mr. Velji, a former administrator of Aloo’s school, she let him go to America.

Question 2.
The story dwells on family relations and kinship. Elaborate.
Answer:
The short story ‘Leaving’ revolves around an Indian family living in Tanzania, Africa and deals with the possible migration of one of the sons’ (Aloo) to Americca and how it affects his and his entire family’s life. The son is helped by his family to go to American University in which he had got a study scholarship. The mother suffers because she is a widow who had raised five children and is troubled by the thought that he son is ‘Leaving’ her. He is ‘Leaving’ his roots.

The family lived on Uhuru street, in Tanzania, the father had passed away when the mother was only thirty – three years old. Mehroon and Razia were married. Fire i he third son had dropped out in his last year at school and was working as an assistant book – keeper at Oriental Emporium. The two youngest children were Aloo and his elder sister (the narrator). Aloo was in his last year at school and the narrator had entered the university and only came back home at weekends.

When Aloo got an offer to study medicine at an American university, the mother declines to send him, citing finances and with the fear of losing him as the reasons. Aloo convinces her that he does not need a lot of money to study as he was also offered a scholarship. He need only to carry four hundred dollars as pocket money with him. When the mother understood the four hundred dollars was equilant to three thousand shillings (Tanzanian currency) she was distraught. She asked him how they could raise such a lot of money.

Aloo tried to convince her that they could raise a loan and he will work there to repay the money, the mother felt that their relatives in America could help them but no one in Tanzania would. She sadly asked Aloo why he wanted to go away from her, and if he wanted to go away, was that why she had raised him, suffering all through her life. She felt that Aloo regarded his studies as more important then her love and affection.

She imagined that something drastic would happen to Aloo while he was in America. Yet she could not bear to see Aloo’s distraught face. It was not a question of money but of love, affection and relationship. She knew that Aloo would not let her down yet her love for him would not let her to take the decision to send him to America.

Question 3.
“A bird flapping its wings Mr. Velji nodding wisely in his chair, Mother staring into the distance”.
Answer:
a) What does ‘bird’ signify? Elaborate.
The bird signifies children, especially grown up children. Here it also signifies Aloo. The mother went through a lot of hardship to raise her children. She sacrificed her own joys and needs for the sake of her children. But now her youngest son Aloo was ‘flapping his wings ’ – rearing to go to find his own destiny. This is similar to a bird leaving its nest, after being nurtured by the parent birds. It flies away to lead an independent life.

b) The sense of loss can be realized through the Mother’s eyes. Discuss.
The mother had sacrified her own joys and sorrows to bring up her children. Now the youngest son is going to America to study medicine. The mother suffers because she is troubled by the thought that her son is ‘Leaving’ her. He is ‘Leaving’ his roots. When Mr. Velji comments ‘Abird flapping its wings’, the mother is staring into the distance. The mother feels that her most loved son had distanced himself from her. He may not come back. Her eyes show the agony she is going through after her son left her to go to America.

Leaving Language Activity

Verb Agreement

Exercises 1.

Select the correct alternative in brackets :

Question 1.
The crew (was / were) tired after the contest.
Answer:
was.

Question 2.
Each of my students (has / have) his own computer.
Answer:
has

Question 3.
There (are / is) many avenues. You should not worry.
Answer:
are

Question 4.
My family (were / was) travelling by that train.
Answer:
was

Question 5.
One of the children (have / has) caught fever.
Answer:
has

Question 6.
War and peace (is / are) a great novel by Tolstoy.
Answer:
is

Question 7.
What he means to do with his money (is, are) what I’d like to know.
Answer:
is

Sentences

Exercises 2.

Identify the type of the sentence:

Question 1.
Ann is cleverer of the two sisters
Answer:
Compound.

Question 2.
He stayed at home on account of his illnees.
Answer:
Simple.

Question 3.
He is working day and night so that he may improve his prospects in life
Answer:
Compound.

Question 4.
As soon as I got the letter, I left for Delhi
Answer:
Compound.

Question 5.
He was inexperienced, so he sufered loss in business
Answer:
Compound.

Question 6.
She is very ill but she goes to work
Answer:
Compound

Question 7.
I cannot afford to buy many books, therefore I study in the library
Answer:
Complex

Question 8.
He is more a poet than a statesman
Answer:
Simple

Question 9.
I shall buy it at any cost
Answer:
Simple

Question 10.
The boy in the blue shirt is the captain
Answer:
Compound

English Summary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *