A Visit to Cambridge Summary | Class 8 | Questions Answers, NCERT

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A Visit to Cambridge Summary Questions Answers, English, NCERT Solutions

A Visit to Cambridge Summary

A Visit to Cambridge Summary : This is a travelogue written by Firdaus Kanga, a Mumbai-based journalist and writer. Firdaus, who has a disability but doesn’t let it stop him from going on trips all over the world. In this chapter, he shares one of his most memorable visits to Cambridge University in England where he met Stephen Hawking. Hawking is the most brilliant and completely paralyzed astrophysicist who wrote “A Brief History of Time.” This is one of the best selling books ever published worldwide.

During a tour of Cambridge University, Firdaus learned about Stephen Hawking who was a genius scientist but disabled. He had succeeded Sir Isaac Newton’s chair in the Physics Department at Cambridge University. After Firdaus finished his tour, he wanted to meet Stephen Hawking. So he called at Stephen Hawking’s house and told his assistant that he had come from India and could not walk anymore and wanted to meet him and write a book about England when he met him.

When the author met Mr. Hawking, they were surprised that he was so smart but also paralyzed and in a wheelchair like they are. They tried to stay calm and ask him some questions. First, they asked if he ever gets mad when people bother him. Mr. Hawking said it does not matter how much someone disturbs him because there is no choice but to stay brave and accept his situation now that he is paralyzed too bad to move on his own anymore. He finds it funny when people think of him as helpless or stupid just because he cannot walk anymore, even though he has more knowledge than anyone else around these days! To this, Mr. Hawking replied “yes,” and he smiled. The author saw that Mr Hawking seemed to be a very good man.

After questioning Mr. Hawking, the author felt that this journey to England was not just inspiring, but successful. He said that disabled people should focus on the good in themselves rather than overthinking about their disability. They should not become overzealous, instead concentrate on things they are good at. 

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NCERT Solutions of A Visit to Cambridge

Comprehension Check (Page 100)

Which is the right sentence?

Question 1: “Cambridge was my metaphor for England.” To the writer,

(i) Cambridge was a reputed university in England.

(ii) England was famous for Cambridge.

(iii) Cambridge was the real England.

Answer: (iii) Cambridge was the real England.

Question 2: The writer phoned Stephen Hawking’s house

(i) from the nearest phone booth.

(ii) from outside a phone booth.

(iii) from inside a phone booth.

Answer: (ii) from outside a phone booth.

Question 3: Every time he spoke to the scientist, the writer felt guilty because

(i) he wasn’t sure what he wanted to ask.

(ii) he forced the scientist to use his voice synthesiser.

(iii) he was face to face with a legend.

Answer: (ii) he forced the scientist to use his voice synthesiser.

Question 4: “I felt a huge relief… in the possibilities of my body.” In the given context, the highlighted words refer to

(ii) standing up, walking.

(iii) speaking, writing.

(i) shifting in the wheelchair, turning the wrist.

Answer: (i) shifting in the wheelchair, turning the wrist.

Working with the text (Page 100-101)

Answer the following questions.

Question 1: (i) Did the prospect of meeting Stephen Hawking make the writer nervous? If so, why?

(ii) Did he at the same time feel very excited? If so, why?

Answer: (i) The scientist was nervous because Stephen Hawking was a very popular, renowned and reputed astronomer. He had written one of the biggest books ever, called “A Brief History of Time.” Besides, he had succeeded to Sir Isaac Newton’s chair at Cambridge University.

(ii) Firdaus Kanga, the author, was excited to meet Stephen Hawking because he never thought he would get the chance to talk to him in person. Firdaus wondered how Hawking became so successful even though he is paralyzed and disabled. This made Firdaus aware of how many possibilities are out there for him and that he could reach further than before.

Question 2: Guess the first question put to the scientist by the writer.

Answer: The writer might have asked the scientist if he feels relieved and brave for accomplishing such great achievements in life despite being disabled.

Question 3: Stephen Hawking said, “I’ve had no choice.” Does the writer think there was a choice? What was it?

Answer: Stephen Hawking said that he had no choice but to stay in the wheelchair. But the writer felt that it was a choice for him to live creatively with his worsening body. Firdaus thought that Hawking could have just given up and given in to life, instead he chose to continue doing things even though he was disabled.

Question 4: “I could feel his anguish.” What could be the anguish?

Answer: Stephen Hawking was a really smart scientist. He found out lots of different things about science. Stephen liked to think about new ideas and he wanted to tell people his thoughts. But he couldn’t speak because he had a machine that made words for him. Sometimes, the writer felt sorry for Professor Hawking because he was not able to express himself in person and needed this machine instead. It was really hard for him to do this sometimes, like when the computer broke down or something like that happened.

Question 5: What endeared the scientist to the writer so that he said he was looking at one of the most beautiful men in the world?

Answer: The writer asked Stephen Hawking if he found it annoying when people interrupted his work. Without thinking, Hawking answered yes. But suddenly, he smiled and the writer thought that he was looking at someone who did not care about his body – just his brain. The writer felt that this man was one of the most beautiful men in the world, even if he is disabled physically.

Question 6: Read aloud the description of ‘the beautiful’ man. Which is the most beautiful sentence in the description?

Answer: The most beautiful sentence in the description of ‘the beautiful’ man is – “Before you, like a lantern whose walls are worn so thin you glimpse only the light inside, is the incandescence of a man.” The above sentence describes Hawking’s personality and his inner beauty or glow that make people not focus on his physical inability.

Question 7: (i) If ‘the lantern’ is the man, what would its ‘walls’ be?

(ii) What is housed within the thin walls?

(iii) What general conclusion does the writer draw from this comparison?

Answer:

(i) If ‘the lantern’ is the man, its ‘walls’ would refer to the structure of the human body.

(ii) The light of life is housed within the thin walls of the external structure.

(iii) The author says that inside the human body there is something called an eternal soul. This thing is made by God, and it shines brightly. The outer physical structure of the human body is just an accessory to this eternal soul.

Question 8: What is the scientist’s message for the disabled?

Answer: Stephen Hawking said that each person should do what they are good at. Disabled people should not try to be like normal people. They can focus on their strengths and use the best of the resources given to them by God.

Question 9: Why does the writer refer to the guitar incident? Which idea does it support?

Answer: Stephen Hawking told the author that Olympics for disabled people was a waste of time. This reminded him of when he spent years trying to play the Spanish guitar. One night, he loosened the guitar strings and didn’t feel bad about it. The author understands Hawking’s message for disabled people which is that one should concentrate on what they are good at instead of trying to be like other people who we call “normal”.

Question 10: The writer expresses his great gratitude to Stephen Hawking. What is the gratitude for?

Answer: The author was inspired by Stephen Hawking. He saw that Hawking had achieved so many great things in life and still worked hard even though he was disabled. The author felt grateful to the scientist and admired him for his courage. This optimism led the author to a new way of life, one where he didn’t complain about being disabled all the time.

Question 11: Complete the following sentences taking their appropriate parts from both the boxes below.

(i) There was his assistant on the line …

(ii) You get fed up with people asking you to be brave, …

(iii) There he was, …

(iv) You look at his eyes which can speak, …

(v) It doesn’t do much good to know …

A
tapping at a little switch in his hand
and I told him
that there are people
as if you have a courage account
and they are saying something huge and urgent
B
trying to find the words on his computer.
I had come in a wheelchair from India.
on which you are too lazy to draw a cheque.
smiling with admiration to see you breathing still.
it is hard to tell what.

Answer:

(i) There was his assistant on the line and I told him I had come in a wheelchair from India.

(ii) You get fed up with people asking you to be brave, as if you have a courage account on which you are too lazy to draw a cheque.

(iii) There he was, tapping at a little switch in his hand trying to find the words on his computer.

(iv) You look at his eyes which can speak, and they are saying something huge and urgent – it is hard to tell what.

(v) It doesn’t do much good to know that there are people smiling with admiration to see you breathing still.

Working with language (Page 102-103)

Question 1:

Fill in the blanks in the sentences below using the appropriate forms of the words given in the following box.

guide succeed chair travel pale draw true

(i) I met a ____________ from an antique land.

(ii) I need special ____________ in mathematics. I can’t count the number of times I have failed in the subject.

(iii) The guide called Stephen Hawking a worthy ____________ to Issac Newton.

(iv) His other problems ____________ into insignificance beside this unforeseen mishap.

(v) The meeting was ____________ by the youngest member of the board.

(vi) Some people say ‘yours ____________’ when they informally refer to themselves.

(vii) I wish it had been a ____________ match. We would have been spared the noise of celebrations, at least.

Answer:

(i) I met a traveller from an antique land.

(ii) I need special guidance in mathematics. I can’t count the number of times I have failed in the subject.

(iii) The guide called Stephen Hawking a worthy successor to Isaac Newton.

(iv) His other problems paled into insignificance beside this unforeseen mishap.

(v) The meeting was chaired by the youngest member of the board.

(vi) Some people say ‘yours truly’ when they informally refer to themselves.

(vii) I wish it had been a drawn match. We would have been spared the noise of celebrations, at least.

Question 2:

Look at the following words.

walk stick

Can you create a meaningful phrase using both these words?

(It is simple. Add -ing to the verb and use it before the noun. Put an article at the beginning.)

..a walking stick

Now make six such phrases using the words given in the box.

read/session smile/face revolve/chair
walk/tour dance/doll win/chance

Answer:

a reading session a smiling face a revolving chair
a walking tour a dancing doll a winning chance

Question 3:

Use all or both in the blanks. Tell your partner why you chose one or the other.

(i) He has two brothers. _______ are lawyers.

(ii) More than ten persons called. _______ of them wanted to see you.

(iii) They _______ cheered the team.

(iv) _______ her parents are teachers.

(v) How much have you got? Give me _______ of it.

Answer:

(i) He has two brothers. Both are lawyers.

(ii) More than ten persons called. All of them wanted to see you.

(iii) They all cheered the team.

(iv) Both her parents are teachers.

(v) How much have you got? Give me all of it.

Question 4:

Complete each sentence using the right form of the adjective given in brackets.

(i) My friend has one of the _______ cars on the road. (fast)

(ii) This is the _______ story I have ever read. (interesting)

(iii) What you are doing now is _______ than what you did yesterday. (easy)

(iv) Ramesh and his wife are both _______. (short)

(v) He arrived _______ as usual. Even the chief guest came _______ than he did. (late, early)

Answer:

(i) My friend has one of the fastest cars on the road.

(ii) This is the most interesting story I have ever read.

(iii) What you are doing now is easier than what you did yesterday.

(iv) Ramesh and his wife are both short.

(v) He arrived late as usual. Even the chief guest came earlier than he did.

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