Descriptive writing: expresses opinions. It can be argumentative, i.e. may give reasons, explanations, or explore cause and effect relationship. Passages of this kind are analytical. Sometimes the author presents his views with great depth of reasoning or force of argument with the intention of convincing the reader to his point of view. Such texts have great persuasive power.
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Unseen Passage for Class 12 Descriptive CBSE With Answers
Unseen Passage Practice Examples for Class 12 Descriptive CBSE
1. Read the following passage carefully.
1. New Year is the time for resolution. Mentally, at least most of us could compile formidable lists of ‘dos and don’ts’. The same old favourites recur year in and year out with monotonous regularity. We resolve to get up early each morning, eat healthy food, exercise, be nice to people whom we don’t like, and find more time for our parents. Past experience has taught us that certain accomplishments are beyond attainment. If we remain deep-rooted liars, it is only because we have so often experienced the frustration that results from failure.
2. Most of us fail in our efforts at self-improvement because our schemes are too ambitious and we never have time to carry them out. We also make the fundamental error of announcing our resolution to everybody, so that we look even more foolish when we slip back into our bad old ways. Aware of these pitfalls, this year I attempted to keep my resolutions to myself. I limited myself to two modest ambitions, to do physical exercise every morning and to read more in the evening. An overnight party on New Year’s Eve provided me with a good excuse for not carrying out either of these new resolutions on the first day of the year, but on the second, I applied myself diligently to the task.
3. The daily exercise lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up. The self-discipline required to drag myself out of bed eleven minutes earlier than usual was considerable. Nevertheless, I managed to creep down into the living room for two days before anyone found me out. After jumping about in the carpet and twisting the human frame into uncomfortable positions, I sat down at the breakfast table in an exhausted condition. It was this that betrayed me.
The next morning, the whole family trooped in to watch the performance. That was really unsettling, but I fended off the taunts and jibes of the whole family good-humouredly and soon everybody got used to the idea. However, my enthusiasm waned. The time I spent at exercises gradually diminished. Little by little, the eleven minutes fell to zero. By January 10, I was back to where I had started. I argued that if I spent less time exhausting myself at exercises in the morning, I would keep my mind fresh for reading when I got home from work. Resisting the hypnotizing effect of television, I sat in my room for a few evenings with my eyes glued to a book.
One night, however, feeling cold and lonely, I went downstairs and sat in front of the television pretending to read. That proved to be my undoing, for I soon got back to the old bad habit of dozing off in front of the screen. I still haven’t given up my resolution to do more reading. In fact, I have just bought a book entitled ‘How to Read a Thousand Words a Minute’. Perhaps, it will solve my problem, but I just have not had time to read it.
A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate option. (1 × 5 = 5 marks)
What were the writer’s resolutions?
(a) Physical exercise in the morning
(b) Read more in the evening
(c) Both (a) and (b)
(d) Not to make more resolutions
(c) Both (a) and (b)
How much time did the daily exercise last initially?
(a) 10 minutes
(b) 11 minutes
(c) 5 minutes
(d) 8 minutes
(b) 11 minutes
How many days did the writer continue his resolution?
(a) 8 days
(b) 9 days
(c) 10 days
(d) 7 days
(b) 9 days
What did the writer do one night, when he was feeling cold and lonely?
(a) Sat in front of TV pretending to read
(b) Completed an entire book
(c) Went for a walk
(d) Gave up the idea of reading
(a) Sat in front of TV pretending to read
Which book did the writer buy?
(a) How to Read a Thousand Words a Minute
(b) How to be a Good Reader
(c) How to be Firm on your Resolutions
(d) The Importance of Exercising
(a) How to Read a Thousand Words a Minute
B. Answer the following questions briefly. (1 × 7 = 7 marks)
According to the writer, what has past experience of New Year’s resolutions taught us?
The past experience of New Year’s resolutions has taught us that certain accomplishments are beyond attainment.
According to the writer, why do most of us fail in our efforts for self-improvement?
Most of us fail in our efforts for self-improvement because our schemes are too ambitious and we never have time to carry them out.
Why is it a big mistake to announce our resolution to everybody?
It is a big mistake to announce our resolution to everybody because when we do not accomplish what we had resolved, we look even more foolish.
Why did the writer not carry out his resolution on New Year’s Day?
An overnight party on New Year’s Eve provided the writer with a good excuse for not carrying out either of his new resolutions on the first day of the year.
“I fended off the taunts and jibes…”. Whose taunts and jibes is the writer talking about? Why was he being taunted?
(a) The same old favourites occur with monotonous regularity.
(b) We never have time to carry them out.
Find a word from the passage (para-1) which means ‘not changing and therefore boring’.
Find a word from the passage (para-3) which means ‘to become weaker in strength or influence’.
2. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. Medical tourism may be defined as ‘travel from a normal place of residence to a destination at which medical or surgical treatment is provided or performed, and which involves more than one night away from the country of residence’. Medical tourism is a rapidly growing global market. It is now being actively developed by both public and private sector tourism and health – care organizations.
2. eld, there are a growing number of specialized sectors of medical tourism, including surgical tourism, wellness and spa tourism, dental tourism, and reproductive tourism.
3. The worldwide medical tourism market is currently valued at $20 billion annually. These numbers are expected to double in the future. During the past decade, many hospitals in Asia have offered cosmetic surgery to the American public for a fraction of the cost in the United States of America (USA). Because cosmetic surgery is not covered under most insurance plans, individuals were enticed to travel abroad for the procedure to avoid high out – of – pocket expenses. These surgeries were often coupled with inexpensive vacations in India or Thailand at five–star resorts.
4. Today, a handful of hospitals in Asia have expanded their service offerings to include complex procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery, mitral valve replacement, joint replacement, and herniated disc surgery. These institutions also provide services to simplify the workflow by transferring medical records for patients across the Pacific, making air and hotel reservations, and hosting patients when they arrive at the destination airport.
5. More than 1,50,000 North Americans travel abroad for health care annually. Patients can expect rates which are 25–75 percent less than those in the United States of America. Medical tourism is particularly attractive in the United States of America, where an estimated 43 million people are without health insurance and 120 million without dental coverage – numbers that are both likely to grow. Patients in Britain, Canada, and other countries with long waiting lists for a major surgery will be just as eager to take advantage of foreign health care options.
6. Patients are discovering high quality, low-cost care, and excellent customer service in overseas locations. Patients are travelling for complicated’ surgeries, including cardiac and orthopedic procedures. This builds on the established phenomenon of medical tourism for cosmetic and dental surgery. Employers, health plans and benefits consultants are taking notice and in some cases are launching pilot programmes. Media coverage has attracted attention to medical tourism, while. medical travel facilitators have sprung up to help patients and companies go abroad. Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, India, the Philippines, Malaysia and others are incorporating medical tourism into their economic development strategies.
7. Hospitals in the Middle East and the Asian markets can reap huge benefits with the current trend in medical tourism. With the price of health care in the United States of America skyrocketing, many people are approaching these hospitals for better care and easy access at a lower cost. Hospitals and brokers can engage patients directly to increase revenues. By being part of this phenomenon, they can build a distinct brand identity in this industry.
8. They can also benefit from obtaining critical and immediate feedback on their services from patients around the world so that they can further improve their services.
9. Medical tourism will also help achieve broader benefits for the health – care industry in the United States of America as a whole. When overseas providers begin to present a credible alternative to their US counterparts, it may spur domestic providers to re-engineer their clinical and administrative processes and to challenge inefficient, outdated work practices. Thinking of health care in terms of discrete, albeit often complex services with measurable inputs and outputs will advance the field. Customer service levels can be expected to rise, and not just in services that face direct competition. Advanced, inexpensive communications technology will enable the broader application of ‘virtual medical tourism,’ through increased use of new forms of telemedicine.
10. The direct impact of medical tourism will be modest at first because only certain procedures and treatments lend themselves to medical travel and only a small percentage of patients will travel over the next few years. However, the impact is likely to increase over time as medical tourism becomes an accepted part of the solution to high health care costs as the industry evolves.
2.1. Choose the correct option.
(a) The worldwide medical tourism market is currently valued at ………………………….. annually.
i. $20 billion
ii. $30 billion
iii. $40 billion
(b) The word ………………………….., as used in paragraph 9, is synonymous to the word ‘dependable’.
2.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions.
(a) What is medical tourism?
(b) Give examples of some specialized sectors of medical tourism.
(c) Why are individuals enticed to travel outside the USA for cosmetic surgery?
(d) What is the estimated number of North Americans travelling abroad for health care every year?
(e) Mention any one reason why medical tourism is becoming popular in the USA.
(f) Why will the direct impact of medical tourism be modest at first?
2.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.
(a) tempted (para 3)
(b) believable (para 9)
3. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. The invention of the computer has been one of the greatest advances in technology. They are already widely used in industries and universities. Computers are mandatory in almost all spheres of human life.
2. Computers are capable of doing extremely complicated work in all branches of learning. They can solve the most complex mathematical problems or put thousands of apparently unrelated facts in order. These machines can be put to varied uses. For instance, they can provide information on the best way to prevent traffic accidents, or they can count the number of times the word “and’ has been used in the Bible. They work accurately and at high speeds; they save research workers years of hard work. This whole process by which machines can be used to work for human beings has been called ‘automation’. In the future, automation may enable human beings to have far more leisure hours than they do today. The coming of automation is bound to have important social consequences.
3. Some years ago an expert on automation, Sir Leon Bagrit, pointed out that it was a mistake to believe that these machines could think’. There is no possibility that human beings will be ‘controlled by machines’. Though computers are capable of learning from their mistakes and improving their performance, they need detailed instructions from human beings to be able to operate. They can never, as it were, lead independent lives or ‘rule the world’ by making decisions of their own.
4. Nowadays, computers are small enough to fit into pockets. Computers can be used like radios. For instance, people going on holiday can stay informed about weather conditions. Car drivers can be given alternative routes when there are traffic jams. It will also be possible to make tiny translating machines. This will enable people who do not share a common language to talk to each other without any difficulty or to read foreign publications.
5. It is impossible to assess the importance of a machine of this magnitude. Computers are also used in ordinary public hospitals. By providing a machine with a patient’s systems, a doctor will be able to diagnose the nature of his illness. Similarly, machines could be used to keep a check on a patient’s health record and update it. Doctors will, therefore, have immediate access to a great many facts which will help them in their work. Bookkeepers and accountants too could be relieved of dull clerical work; the tedious task of compiling and checking lists of figures could be done entirely by machines. Computers are the most efficient aids human beings have ever had. There is no limit to the way they can be used to improve our lives.
3.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) The whole process by which machines can be used to work for human beings has been called ……………………………
iii. both i. and ii.
(b) According to Sir Leon Bagrit, there is ………………………….. possibility that human beings will be controlled by machines.
3.2 Answer the following questions briefly.
(a) Why does the writer refer to the computer as one of the greatest advances in modern technology?
(b) What is automation?
(c) How does automation help human beings?
(d) Mention two areas wherein computers can be effectively used, according to the writer.
(e) Though computers are capable of learning from their mistakes and improving on their performance they will never be able to replace human beings. Why?
3.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.
(a) complex (para 2)
(b) estimate (para 5)
4. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. “We become brave by doing brave acts,’ observed Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics. Dispositions of character, virtues and vices, are progressively fixed in us through practice. Thus, ‘by being habituated to despise things that are terrible and to stand our ground against them we become brave and it is when we have become so that we shall be most able to stand our ground against them.’
2. Being able to resist threats is not to be confused with fearlessness. However, being afraid is a perfectly appropriate emotion when confronted with fearful things. The great American novelist Herman Melville makes the Aristotelian point beautifully in a telling passage in Moby Dick, where Starbuck, the chief mate of the Pequod, first addresses the crew. ‘I will have no man in my boat’, said Starbuck, ‘who is not afraid of a whale.’ By this, he seemed to mean that the most reliable and useful courage was that which arose from the fair estimation of the encountered peril. An utterly fearless person is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.
3. A brave person is not one who is never afraid, such a person is more reckless than brave. A rash or reckless person is more of an impediment than a help in an emergency. It is hard to educate’ such a person on the spot. The coward, on the other hand, lacks confidence and is disposed to be overly fearful; he or she might be induced to follow in the footsteps of his or her braver counterpart.
4. The infectious nature of courageous behaviour on the part of one person can inspire or shame a whole group. The courage inspired by Horatius at the bridge in ancient Rome and by Henry V at Agincourt was similar to the kind of courage displayed by those who silently suffered abuse when they joined ranks with Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. in acts of non – violent protest, directed at rousing the public conscience against injustice.
5. Another key to their success was the reason: practical reason delivered with the kind of eloquence supported by an understanding of one’s cultural heritage that steels the will to take intelligent action. The mere inclination to do the right thing is not sufficient. It is important to know what the right thing to do is. We need wisdom – the wisdom of a wise leader – to give our courage an intelligent direction. And we need the will, the motivating power that inspiring leaders help us discover within ourselves, even when we fail to discover it on our own.
6. If Aristotle is right, then courage is a settled disposition to feel appropriate degrees of fear and confidence in challenging situations (what is ‘appropriate’ varies a good deal with the particular circumstances). It is also a settled disposition to stand one’s ground, to advance or to retreat as wisdom dictates. Before such dispositions become settled, however, they need to be established in the first place. Practice enables us to do so, which in turn means facing fears and taking stands – acting bravely in spite of what one truly feels.
7. Fear of the dark is almost universal among young children, and it provides relatively safe opportunities for the first lessons in courage. In families, older siblings are greatly assisted in cultivating their own dispositions in this respect by putting up a brave front before their younger brothers or sisters. “You see? There’s really nothing to be afraid of.’ This is excellent practice, and a fine place to begin. Occasions for displaying bravery – for standing by them in challenging circumstances – are occasions for becoming brave ourselves; that is, for learning how to handle our own confidence and fear, for figuring out the right thing to do, and for mustering the will to do it.
8. Bravery, well nurtured and backed by moral courage is exemplary, and hence, should be promoted.
4.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) Nicomachean Ethics is written by …………………………..
iii. none of the above
(b) Starbuck is a character in the book …………………………. .
i. Moby Dick
iii. Herman Melville
4.2 Based on your understanding of the passage, answer these questions.
(a) Explain: ‘We become brave by doing brave acts’.
(b) When is ‘being afraid’ an appropriate emotion?
(c) How is a brave person different from:
(i) a reckless person?
(ii) a coward?
(d) How does the fear of the dark in children provide opportunities for lessons in courage for elders?
4.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the opposite of the following.
(a) unaccustomed (para 1)
(b) justice (para 4)
5. Read the following passage carefully.
1. I was in Hyderabad, giving a lecture when a 14-year-old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life was. She replied, “I want to live in a developed India.” For her, you and I will have to build this developed India. You must proclaim: India is not an underdeveloped nation; it is a highly-developed nation.
2. Allow me to come back with vengeance. Got ten minutes for your country? YOU say that our government is inefficient. YOU say that our laws are too old. YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage. YOU say that the phones don’t work, the railways are a joke, the airline is the worst in the world and mails never reach their destinations. YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pit. YOU say, say and say.
3. What do YOU do about it? Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name – YOURS. Give him a face – YOURS. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your international best. In Singapore, you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground Links as they are. You pay $ 5 (approx. ? 60) to drive through Orchard Road (the equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road) between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
4. YOU come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket, if you have overstayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall, irrespective of your status or identity. In Singapore, you don’t say anything, DO YOU? YOU wouldn’t dare to eat in public during Ramadan in Dubai. YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah. YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (? 650) a month to “see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else.” YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 kph) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, “Do you know who I am? I am so and so’s son. Take your two bucks and get lost.” YOU wouldn’t chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand. Why don’t YOU spit paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don’t YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston? We are still talking of the same YOU.
5. YOU, who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. YOU, who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road, the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India? Once in an interview, the famous ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay Mr. Tinaikar had a point to make, “Rich people’s dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place,” he said. “And then the same people turn around to criticise and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America, every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. The same is in Japan. Will Indian citizens do that here?” He’s right.
6. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up, but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms, but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries, but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. This applies even to the staff, who is known not to pass on the service to the public.
When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl- child, and others, we make loud protests and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? “It’s the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my son’s rights to a dowry.” So who’s going to change the system? What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us, it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities, and the government. But definitely not me and YOU.
7. When it comes to us, in making a positive contribution to the system, we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along and work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand, or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards, hounded by our fears, we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure, we run to England. When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.
8. Dear Indians, the article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection, and pricks one’s conscience too….I am echoing J. F. Kennedy’s words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians.
9. “Ask What We Can Do for India and Do What has to be Done to Make India What America and Other Western Countries a Today”.
10. Let’s do what India needs from us.
A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer the following questions by
choosing the most appropriate option. (1 × 5 = 5 marks)
What was the writer doing in Hyderabad?
(a) Touring with friends
(b) Giving a lecture
(c) Attending a function
(d) Organising an event
(b) Giving a lecture
What was the 14-year-old girl’s goal in life?
(a) To live in a developed India
(b) To become an astronaut
(c) To become a scientist
(d) To make her country proud of her
(a) To live in a developed India
What happens after choosing a government?
(a) We expect the government to do everything
(b) We forfeit all responsibilities
(c) We want to be pampered
(d) All of these
(d) All of these
What does a system consist of?
(a) Our neighbours and other households
(b) The government
(c) Other cities and other communities
(d) All of us
(d) All of us
Where do Indians run when New York becomes insecure?
B. Answer the following questions briefly. (1 × 7 = 7 marks)
What are the negative remarks we make about our country?
Government is inefficient; laws too old; municipality does not pick up garbage; phones don’t work; railways a joke; the airline is the worst in the world; mails don’t reach their destinations.
How does an Indian behave in Singapore?
In Singapore, an Indian is at his international best; doesn’t throw cigarette butts on roads; eat-in stores; pays 5 dollars to drive through Orchard Road.
List two deeds an Indian would not dare to do while traveling abroad.
Indians do not dare to eat in public during Ramadan in Dubai; go out in Jeddah without covering their heads; do not dare to bribe an employee of the telephone exchange in London; do not dare to speed beyond 55 mph in Washington; do not chuck empty coconut shell anywhere; do not spit paan on streets.
What is our attitude towards elections and social issues?
We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibilities expecting the government to do everything for us. For social issues, make loud protestations and continue to do the reverse at home.
What do you understand by the statement, “Our conscience is mortgaged to money”?
It means that we leave the country and run away to make more money; we don’t do anything to improve our country.
Find a word from the passage (para-6) which means ‘to steal things of small value’.
Find a word from the passage (para-8) which means ‘the examination or observation’.
6. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. Children love computer games and actually, there are a number of benefits to this form of entertainment. Whether played on a handheld device, a computer, or a television set, these provide hours of quiet fun. The games can boost computer skills and improve hand-eye coordination. A 2004 study showed that surgeons who play computer games commit fewer surgical errors than their nongame – playing counterparts.
2. It is not difficult to understand the appeal of video games. Most children and teenagers feel the repression of adults where they are generally told what to wear and eat when to go to sleep, how to spend most of their day, and even who to befriend. In a video game, the child feels in control, whatever the circumstances around him or her maybe, whether they are driving a race car or battling with an enemy.
3. A video game promotes great excitement. A good game sets the pulses racing and the adrenaline pumping; even if someone is merely on the couch holding a controller. Games with a time component amplify this excitement.
4. Video games have different skill levels. The challenge they offer forms another lure. They start at a basic level and increase in difficulty as the player improves his or her game by crossing hurdles. This draws the player into the game and gives him or her a sense of accomplishment, making it hard to stop playing.
5. Many parents view video gaming as a relatively harmless addiction when compared to the dangers of the real world. The lure of video games ensures that the children are at home, adding to the parents’ sense of security. But video game addiction can ruin lives. Children who play for about four to five hours per day have little time for socializing, homework or outdoor sports.
6. Not surprisingly, spending time on a gaming machine is much more exciting than doing homework. A further concern is that the child addicted to video games becomes less active and falls prey to health problems such as obesity and other related illnesses. If a child prefers to get his or her fix of sports activities through a gaming console instead of physical sports, he or she is likely to be affected by the long term damages this will have on health and fitness.
7. Saying no to a habit is tough, too. Video games and computer addicts find it difficult to give up the addiction. They need to use computers for homework and to communicate with friends. Parents need to set strict limits and monitor computer usage.
8. Most importantly, parents should help their children find alternative sources of entertainment. They should be encouraged to participate in sports or in other extracurricular activities in school or just play outdoors with the neighborhood children. Parents should not be afraid of the words ‘I am bored’. The truth is, if children get bored enough, they will find something to do. They can also be encouraged to help around the house and pitch in with some of the household chores.
6.1 Choose the correct option.
(a) The word ‘counterparts’, in paragraph 1, means
i. persons who have the same position or function as somebody else in a different place or situation
ii. different parts of a sales counter
iii. none of the above
(b) The word ………………………….., in paragraph 2, is synonymous to the word “subjugation’.
6.2 Based on your understanding of the passage, answer these questions.
(a) Computer games have numerous positive effects. Give any one example from the passage to support this statement.
(b) Name three devices on which video games can be played.
(c) How can doctors benefit from video games?
(d) Why do most children and teenagers feel the repression of adults?
(e) Why do many parents view video gaming as a relatively harmless addiction?
(f) Why should parents not be afraid of the words ‘I am bored’?
6.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the opposite of the following.
(a) absolutely (para 5)
(b) entertained (para 8)
7 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. I got up at 4 in the morning, melted snow, and brewed tea. After a light breakfast of a few biscuits and half a slab of Chocolate, I left my tent at around 5.30 a.m.
2. Ang Dorjee was standing outside. No one else was about. Ang Dorjee was going to climb without oxygen. But because of this, his feet would get very cold. He, thus, wanted to avoid long exposure at heights and a night at the Summit Camp. He had, therefore, to either get to the peak and back to the South Col the same day or abandon the attempt.
3. He was keen to start immediately and asked if I would like to go with him. Going to the top from the South Col and back in a day would be strenuous and tough and there was the risk of Ang Dorjee turning back if his feet got too cold. I, however, had full confidence in Ang Dorjee as well as in my stamina and climbing capability. Besides no one else was ready to move at that time.
4. At 6.20, when Ang Dorjee and I stepped out from the South Col, it was a perfect day. There was a gentle breeze but the cold was intense. I was, however, warm in my well-insulated climbing gear. We climbed unroped. Ang Dorjee set a steady pace but I had no difficulty keeping up with him.
5. The steep frozen slopes were as hard and brittle as sheets of glass. We had to use the ice – axe and I had to kick really hard to get the front teeth of the crampons to bite into the frozen surface. I took every step very deliberately on the dangerous stretches. In less than two hours, we reached the Summit Camp.
6. Ang Dorjee looked back and asked if I was tired. I replied, “No,’ to his surprise and delight. He told me that the earlier summit party had taken four hours to reach the Summit Camp and added that if we could keep our present pace, we would be on the summit by 1 p.m.
7. Lhatoo was following us and caught up with us when we rested below the South Summit. After drinking some tea, we moved on. Lhatoo had brought a nylon rope so Ang Dorjee and I roped up while Lhatoo walked in the middle, holding the rope with one hand, more for balance than security.
8. Lhatoo noticed that I had been climbing with oxygen at about two and a half litres per minute against the normal four for these heights. After he increased the oxygen flow on my regulator, I found even the steeper stretches comparatively easy.
9. Beyond the South Summit the breeze increased. At that height the eddies of strong winds whipped up the powder snow, reducing visibility to nil. On many occasions, I had to get into a crouching position with my back to the onslaught of the icy wind saturated with fine particles of bone dry powder snow.
10. It was terrifying to stand erect on a knife-edge ridge, with a sheer drop on either side. I had to dig my ice – axe deep and secure myself by attaching the waist – strap to the ice – axe head. There was some tricky climbing between the South Summit and what is popularly known as Hillary’s Step. Ang Dorjee and Lhatoo were already over it, but I was still negotiating its vertical face when Ang Dorjee gesticulated towards the top. I was thrilled. The goal was near.
11. With renewed vigour, I was on top of the step in seconds. The sun had made the snow soft and climbing was easier here than it had been earlier.
12. We trudged in the heavy powder snow for some time. Then the gradient started easing off noticeably. A few steps later, I saw that after only a couple of meters there was no upward climb. The slope plunged steeply down.
13. My heart stood still. It dawned on me that success was within reach. And at 1.07 p.m. on 23 May 1984, I stood on top of Everest, the first Indian woman to have done so. Extract from Everest: My Journey to the Top by Bachendri Pal
7.1 Choose the correct option to complete the following sentences.
(a) The first obstacle that Ang Dorjee faced was that ………………………………
i. it was cold and dark
ii. there was no one with him
iii. there was a lack of oxygen
iv. the region was unknown
(b) The narrator chose Ang Dorjee because
i. he was used to the region
ii. his energy levels were high
iii. he could take risks
iv. he did not complain
7.2 Based on your understanding of the passage, answer these questions.
(a) What were the preparations that the duo had made for the climb?
(b) How did snow prove to be one of the biggest hurdles?
(c) What is Hillary’s Step? How is it viewed by the climbers?
7.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.
(a) fluffed up(para 8)
(b) signaled (para 10)