Left in Charge
Maa and Bapu had put on their new clothes. They were going to town to sell the vegetables grown in their small field. Bhola was very happy. He was not going with his parents. He was left in charge to take care of Dadima (80 years old), a calf, a kid, a rabbit, ducks, a hen with chicks and the small vegetable field.
His mother warned him. “Don’t forget to feed the cattle and the birds. Keep an eye on the rabbit. It is playing there on the green grass in the vegetable field.”
His father advised him, “Take care of Dadima, keep her room warm with charcoal and give her warm milk. Give her medicine on time.”
Bhola promised nodding his head. He reminded them to bring some sweets, colour pencils and a drawing book.
Their bullock cart was going through the narrow street of the village. The waving hands of parents were still visible. Bhola helped Dadima to lie down on the cot lying in a corner of the courtyard. He went to the backyard to bring some coal for the ‘angithi’ to keep Dadima warm, as she was feeling very cold. He saw the calf making sound ‘Mo – oo – oo”. “Oh! you want some grass!” Bhola kept down his bag, picked up a bundle of grass and ran to the calf.
In the corner of the courtyard, he saw the kid jumping and crying “Mein …
Wha-a-at about Me-ee-ee?”
He kept down his bundle of grass and ran outside the house to get some fresh green leaves for the kid. Only then he saw the rabbit in the vegetable field. He forgot to collect leaves for the kid and rushed towards the rabbit. With a stick, he pushed the rabbit back to its place. Coming back to the house, he found the hen with its chicks making noise – ‘Kut – Kut Kuttakakoon’.
He jumped to get some corn in the basket for them. There in the courtyard an army of duck and ducklings was marching, making noise ‘Quack-Quack … Bhola kept his basket of corn on the floor. He ran to get some water from the well behind the house and came back with a bucket full of water. He kept the bucket also in the middle of the courtyard for the ducks and feeling tired went to the verandah where Dadima was sleeping in the sun.
He rolled down on the floor and went to sleep. A loud barking woke up Dadima. She cried, ‘Oh, My God!’ ‘What have you done, Bhola?’ Bhola sprang on his feet, blinking his eyes. He could see the ducks flapping their wings. They had rolled down the corn on the courtyard floor.
The hen and her chicks were feeding themselves. Outside the house, the goat was chewing some green leaves of vegetable on the vegetable patch. The rabbit was trying to go towards the well; the calf was running and jumping here and there with some grass in its mouth.
Suddenly, he heard the jingling bells of the bullock cart coming near the house. He ran to it and jumped into the bullock cart. Clinging to his mother’s lap, he murmured, ‘Oh! What a lot there was to do in the house, Maa!’
They all went inside the house with the things. The parents noticed that no one was complaining or making noise – not even the hen and chicks, ducks and ducklings, the kid and the calf. Dadima was sleeping in her cot. Bapu patted Bhola’s shoulder, “So, our little one ‘left in charge’, how was the day?”
They all smiled slowly. Bhola was happy to see the things that Maa and Bapu had brought for him.
warn -to tell of something bad that may happen
audible –sound which can be heard
visible –anything which can be seen from a distance
cattle -animals like cows, bulls, or goats kept on a farm
charcoal -coal (fuel)
wave– a movement of the hand to say goodbye
nod-bend one’s head to say yes
vegetable- patch a piece of the ground on which some vegetable is grown
corn- seeds of grain like wheat, barley
spring -(v) jump
blink – shut and open eyes quickly
jingle– sounds made by small bells
cling -hold tightly to feel safe
murmur– speaking softly
complain -say something against someone
march -walking in a line or row
A. Answer the following questions:
- Bhola was not going to town with his parents but he was very happy.
- Bhola was left behind at home to do a lot of work. Make a list of the
things he had to do.
- Write the things Bhola asked his parents to bring from the town market.
- Why did Bhola’s parents smile at the end?
B. Write true/false against each of the statements:
- Bhola did his work well. ( )
- His parents were angry with him. ( )
- The animals and birds did not complain about anything. ( )
- The ducks fed themselves. ( )
- The kid did not get water. ( )
- The rabbit was in the well. ( )
- The calf did not eat the vegetable patch. ( )
C. Rearrange the following sentences in the order in which they occur in the lesson.
- He gave a bundle of grass to the calf.
- The ducks had rolled down the corn on the countyard floor.
- Maa and Bapu went to town.
- Bhola used burning coal to keep his grandmother warm.
- His parents came back.