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Chapter 7: Glory at Twilight
The slow, narrow-gauge Indian train with its awkward freak of an engine had a way of making unauthorised stops for no good reason, between fields of corn or at the foot of a village—it was said that the guard signalled a halt to pluck a pumpkin or ripe melons from its stem or to buy fistfuls of green gram from a peasant.
Some of the passengers grumbled and sat with drawn brows, composing in their minds angry letters to Authority, or to the Press, but others seized the chance to slip merrily out of doors for a breath of air and a view of the green fields. Satyajit, languid on the cushioned bench now vacated by the other occupants, reached out for his cigarettes but, on second thought, withdrew his hand brusquely.
That won’t do, he told himself with a stern shake of his head. His smoke was rationed. He had attuned himself in the past month to a fast-growing list of denials, large and small, and this was one. How can he afford the unrestricted luxury of chain smoking? Life lay sharpening to realities that still had the semblance of an undreamable dream. He winced, the turning wheel of fortune in his unhappy eye, as always. Along the orbit of reminiscence he went round and round, pulled by a force beyond his will.
The banking establishment of which he had attained control. The amazing tempo of it all. Luck had come his way, undeniably, but behind it was his mind, his initiative, grit, energy. Starting as a mere clerk he had become Managing Director. And now? What now? Tall, thin, near forty, he had sharp features, the hair receding on his temple in wide shiny smooth patches.
His eyes hated glare and he wore smart eye-glasses to shield them. His mouth, thin-lipped, would tighten in repose to a line that suggested strength of will but might have been only pride. ‘What now?’ he said to himself in an underbreath. Those words had become his obsession. ‘What now?’ He had no business to be on this wretched train on a neglected railroad, travelling away from the city where he must look for work, for the means of living.
With the sudden collapse of his bank, all his private assets were gone overnight; the equities; the house on Tagore Street; even the two cars, his and his wife’s. A mercy that she was away from the scene, with her parents at Delhi, and unaware of the full extent of the ruin. A telegram had come last Tuesday announcing the safe birth of her child.
Their first-born, for he had married late in life. His son, his heir. And he had sold off his diamond ring to send his young wife a remittance for the name-giving rites. She had married a man of fortune—that made it harder for him in this crisis. True, she knew all about his earlier life. But that was story-book stuff. It could be narrated happily to their first-born when he grew older.
The story lay killed by its sequel—failure. Glory was all overlaid with dark shame. Glory was dead. It would be easy enough today if there were none else to think of except himself. Born in a humble village home, self-educated, struggle had been his life-breath.
How grateful he was for the clerkship he secured. A turning of the wheel of fortune? he had wondered. The next turning, a year after, was more dramatic. What made him give a fixed look to the man beyond the brass grille of the counter? The cheque presented for encashment was not a large sum
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 English Chapter 7 Glory at Twilight
1. It is difficult to adjust to a fall from glory.
The story described the truth clearly as how it is very difficult for a person to get adjusted to the truth and accept his defeat after living his life as an achiever. After reaching extreme heights of success, failing all of a sudden would make it difficult for a person to accept it. Every person in the neighbourhood was aware of his success story. Hence, it is difficult to cope with failure and letting people know about the tragedy.
2. ‘Failure had a tempo faster than success.’
The concept of people achieving success faster also fails very fast holds the truth according to this story. The speed of failure is faster than the speed of success. At one point, we strive hard to attain success while it takes just seconds for failure to reach us. It is a matter of luck that a man achieves success while his failure is caused by his own actions. When success is planned accordingly and achieved by hard work, it stays for a long time. When failure hits, it is abrupt and never lets us know before coming. Hence, it can be said that the tempo of failure is faster than success.
3. Satyajit should have revealed his predicament to his uncle.
Predicament means an unpleasant, perplexing, difficult or dangerous situation. In this story, Satyajit was stuck between loss of his wealth and his uncle’s expectation to lend him money to get his other daughters married. He was not able to tell about his present situation due to his pride and ego, mainly after being considered as a benedict to his uncle. He was selfish and did not want to leave his status as God among all the people at his uncle’s house. Revelation lightens one’s mood and unburdens one’s heart. Hence, it would have been easy for Satyajit to be honest and true about his actual state and let go of his pride.
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