• This is final file, needs Punjabi correction.
• Contact person for this script from SSA, Punjab team – Mrs Brar 9780107971.
• Word limit- 1875
PORTRAIT OF A LADY BY KHUSHWANT SINGH
Welcome to today’s lesson. Today, we will learn ‘how to write a character
sketch’. Do you know? What does a character sketch mean? The word character
sketch consists of two words – character and sketch .
VO & MO
Character means reputation
MO & VO
Sketch means a portrait or a drawing.
ryKw icqr Bwv cirqr icqrx - iksy ivAkqI dy cirqr bwry
Now you must be thinking that while writing an essay on a person you do the
same. But you will see the difference between the two.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEEN CHARACTER SKETCH
AN ESSAY ON A PERSON
• While writing an essay, we are free to use our own imagination about a
ieh lyK iLKx vWg hI hY pr lyK iv`c AsI AwpxI klpxw vrq
MO & VO
• We talk about the good qualities of that person.
AsIN ivAkqI bwry isrP cMgIAW g`LW krdy hW [
MO & VO
• While writing a character sketch, we are confined to the nature of the
character what the writer has portrayed in the story, novel or a play.
pr cirqr icqrx ilKx ligAW AsIN pwqr dy suBwA bwry
dsdy hW ijvyN lyKk nyN khwxI ,nwvl jW nwtk iv`c
• Both good and bad aspects of a person are discussed. icqrq kIqy jw
rhy ivAkqI dy suBwA dy cMgy Aqy mwVy dovyN p`KW qy
ivcwr kIqI jWdI hY [
So while writing a character sketch we have to read the text. Now look at this
picture. (Pic. of grandmother on the screen)
What do you see in the picture? Yes, an old lady. May be like somebody’s
grandmother. Do you love your grandmother? O’, sure. Some of you who are
living in joint families must have experienced the cozy lap of your grandmother.
You can easily write about your grandmother. But the way khushwant Singh has
written about his own grandmother in ‘Portrait Of A Lady’ is amazing. He has
described about her appearance, habits, nature and day to day activities in such a
way that the reader finds her in front of him. So today we will discuss about
Khushwant Singh’s grandmother. We see two phases of his grandmother’s life.
The first phase is that when Khushwant Singh‘s family lives in a village. Just have a
look on these pictures.
Description of Pictures--
• An old, short and fatty lady wearing white Punjabi suit, wrinkled face, grey
hair, with one hand telling the beads of a rosary and other resting on her
waist to balance her stoop.
What does this picture tell us about the physique of the grandmother?
• She is fat, short and slightly bent.
• Her face is a criss- Cross of wrinkles.
• Her grey hair usually remains scattered on her puckered face.
• She can not walk strait so she hobbles with one hand on her waist to
balance her stoop.
• The other hand telling the beads of her rosary.
Pic-2 -the grandmother getting her grandson ready for school.
Pic-3 the grandmother giving him breakfast of stale chapattis with sugar and
butter spread on them.
Pic-4 Grandmother handing over a wooden slate, earthen inkpot, and pen to
the grand son.
Children! What do you observe in these pictures? Let’s try to write them.
• The grand mother making her grand son ready for school.
• Giving him breakfast of stale chapaties.
• Handing her grandson the all required things. It shows she is very
Pic-5 Grandmother accompanying him to the school with stale chapattis in her
hand and her lips moving.
Pic-6 Grandmother is sitting inside the temple, reading holy book. The writer is
sitting in a veranda with the other students in rows singing the alphabets and
prayers in a chorus.
Pic-7 The grandmother and the grandson leaving the school, throwing stale
chapattis to the dogs and the dogs are following them, growling and fighting
with each other for the chapattis.
Now let us try to write about the habits of the grandmother on the basis of
the pictures you have seen just now.
( VO - You see in the picture grand mother is wearing white Punjabi suit. So
you can write about her dress also. She)
• Wears white spotless dress.
(You must have noticed that in every picture, her lips keep on moving. So you
• Her lips always move in inaudible prayers.
( In the picture you see that the grand mother accompanying her grand son
to the school because the school is attached to a temple. So what does it
show about grand mother? )
• She is very religious; daily goes to the temple, reads holy books and tells
the beads of the rosary.
(VO- While getting her grand son ready, she keeps on singing prayers in a
bit loud voice because)
• She also wishes that her grand son could learn prayers by heart.
• Loves her grand son very much.
• Accompanies her grand son to the school.
• Help him to get ready and also help him in his lessons.
(VO- It shows that she is)
• Very sincere and dutiful.
(In the picture you must have noticed that the grand mother is feeding
chapaties to the village dog. So you can write that)
• She feeds the chapattis to village dogs. Therefore she is very kind to the
And now the scene shifts from village home to a city house.
Description of Character --
Character -- Khushwant Singh, a twelve years old boy wearing an English school
Uniform, going to school by the school bus
Description of Scene--
Scene – Khushwant singh comes back to home and the grandmother asked him
(Show conversation between these two characters)
Grandmother: Khushi! What did you do at school, today?
Khushwant: They taught us English and about Archimedes’ Principle.
Granny: Science and English! What else?
Khushwant: We had music and dance classes. I enjoyed very much.
Grandmother: The lowly things! Did they teach you anything about God?
Khushwant: No, granny.
Grandmother: Very bad!
So surely you have more knowledge about the grandmother. Let’s see.
When the grand son returns from the school she asks him what he has learnt
at school. So you will write that)
• She shows keen interest in the education and learning process of her grand
• She is against Western culture and loves Indian culture.
• She can not understand science so she has no interest in it.
(The reaction, she shows about the music in the animation clearly shows that)
• She hates music as she thinks it as the profession of the beggars and bad
(VO- She asks her grand son if he has been told about God at school. Clearly
• She wants her grand son to be religious like her.
Now have a look on some more pictures.
1. The grandmother is spinning on the spinning wheel (charkha) . (sound: looking
at the picture you can see the grandmother sitting by the wheel spinning and
reciting prayers. This was what she did from morning till evening)
2. At noon when she rests she feeds sparrows and hundreds of small birds sitting
on and around her. (sound: These were her happiest moments for her in the
(VO-These pictures show that)
• Old age is no bar to work hard for her.
• She remains busy in spinning, reciting prayers and feeding sparrows.
• She is very kind to animals.
Now let’s have a look at some more pictures.
Scene 1- Khushwant Singh is to leave for abroad in order to study in a University.
Grandmother with other family members comes to leave him at station. Without
showing any emotion her lips moved in prayer and she kissed writer’s forehead.
Scene 2- After five years, when the writer comes back collected the women of the
neighbourhood, got an old drum and started to sing of the home coming of
Scene 3- Thousands of sparrows sat silently scattered around her corpse, as if
they were mourning her death. They took no notice of the bread crumbs and flew
away silently when the corpse was taken away for cremation.
Now let us try to write more about the grandmother:
(VO- You have seen her feeding dogs and sparrows. There you can write that she
• Very kind to the dogs and sparrows.
When her grand son returns after completing his education, she sings the
songs which are sung at the retuning of victorious warriors. There fore you can
• She loves her culture, fond of singing and spinning.
(VO- You see , she is very reserve at the time of the departure of her grand
son. She does not show any emotions. It shows that by nature she is very)
• Calm and cool.
• Does not show resentment.
• Instead, she becomes quiet.
(VO- Now, recall the scene of sparrows being fed by grand mother. Her
behavior with the little birds shows that)
• Not only that she loved the sparrows but they shared a mutual affection
towards each other.
So children you have gathered a lot about the grand mother. Now you can write
in your own words. You may face the difficulty in understanding some new words.
Don’t worry I am here to help you. Here is a glossary to help you.
• Wrinkles- lines of aging on the face
• Pretty- attractive and pleasant
• Revolting- unpleasant, disgusting
• Absurd- completely ridiculous
• Undignified- ungraceful
• Fables- traditional short stories
• Hobbled- to walk with difficulty
• Stoop- Bent
• Rosary- String of beads used to count prayers
• Puckered – wrinkled
• Inaudible- That you can not hear
• Prophets- messenger of God
• Serenity- calmness
• Scriptures- holy books
• Seclusion- being private
• Frivolous- silly and amusing
• Sagging – bending down
• Pallor- pale coloring
Well children now you can compile all the points and start writing the character
sketch of Khushwant Singh’s grand mother and we will meet in the next episode.
Till then keep on working hard.
You can also do an activity to retain the character of the grand mother.
1. Read the lesson carefully.
2. Note the adjectives and verbs related to grand mother
3. Cut a picture of an old lady or you may draw yourself or take the help of
4. Paste this picture in the center of a chart paper.
5. Write the adjectives selected by you on small strips of paper.
6. Paste these strips around the picture.
7. Now make simple sentences using the verbs and the adjectives.
8. Write them on bigger paper strips in bold hand and with different colors.
9. Paste these strips on another chart paper.
10. Now paste both the charts in you class room.
The script is frozen by Mrs Baljeet Brar on 23.07.09
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