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The girls were brushing their teeth when Chanu got home. He staggered down the hallway and
dropped a large cardboard box at his feet. He wriggled out of the straps of a canvas bag that was
slung across his shoulders and swung it down. It dislodged another large chunk of plaster from the
wall. The dust settled on ChanuТs hair.
He slapped his hands together a few times, the way a man might if he has finished his tasks and
is waiting for praise. СHere,Т he said, still trying to catch his breath, СDonТt I always do as you ask?
I got it.Т He beamed at his wife Nazneen. The girls stuck their heads out from the bathroom. СCome
on.Т he called to them. СSee what I have got for your mother.Т
The girls came out in their nightdresses and stood close to Nazneen. СYou know, when I married
your mother I thought I was getting a simple girl from the village and she would give me no troubleТ
He was playing the fool for them. Rolling his eyes and puffing his cheeks. СBut she is the boss woman
now. Anything she says, your father goes running off and does it. Look. Look inside the box.Т
The girls moved forward together. Bibi began pulling at the brown tape. Shahana pushed her
aside and took charge. Suddenly both girls were ripping at the cardboard, plunging arms inside and
СAh, wait. Let your mother seeТ
Nazneen came close and squatted beside the box. Inside there was a sewing machine and a tangle
of wire.
СBirthday present,Т said Chanu.
It was not her birthday
СEarly birthday present,Т he said.
СIt is what I wanted,Т said Nazneen.
They never celebrated their own birthdays, only the girlsТ.
СLetТs try it,Т said Bibi.
Chanu bent down and unzipped the large canvas bag. It contained a computer.
СIs it your birthday present?Т asked Bibi.
СThatТs it.Т He was delighted. СThatТs what it isТ
They put the computer on the dining table and the sewing machine next to it. Thread was found
and pieces of cloth. Nazneen broke one needle. Chanu fitted another and she sewed a dish towel to
a cloth that she used to wipe the floor. Shahana sewed a hem on a pillowcase. Bibi had a turn but
could not manage the foot tread and the needle at the same time. She held the cloth steady while
Shahana had another turn. Then Chanu found the setting for zigzag stitches and made patterns on
a pair of old underpants. Nazneen wiped the pale green casing although the only marks on it were
tiny worn-in scratches that could not be removed. The machine had become a little warm from its
exertions and she felt it should rest.
СThe computer,Т cried Bibi.
СLet me do it,Т said Chanu as the girls pressed up to the screen. There was much plugging and
replugging and poking of buttons before the screen began to burr and turn slowly from black to
grey to blue. All the time Chanu kept up an informative commentary, You see Е† , This wire goes in
the ... , Must never touch any ... , IТll show you how the ... . Shahana twisted her arms up in the loose
fabric of her nightdress. She wanted to tell her father to take off his coat. Nazneen stopped her with
a pleading look. These gay moods came rarely enough.
Chanu sat down and began to type. He examined the keyboard closely before each stroke, putting
his face right down by the letters as though something valuable had slipped between the cracks.
Minutes later he had completed a sentence. The girls pushed up to take a look. It was long past
Bibi read it out. СDear Sir. I am writing to inform you.Т
СIt all comes back so quickly,Т said Chanu. His cheeks were red with pleasure.

A15 We are told that when Chanu arrived home,
1) he tried to avoid doing damage to the wall.
2) he accidentally dropped something he was carrying.
3) he had difficulty carrying what he had brought with him.
4) he tried to come in without the others noticing.

A16 When Chanu told the others to see what he had brought,
1) he joked about his relationship with his wife.
2) he said that he expected them to be delighted.
3) he told the girls that their mother deserved it.
4) he complained about being told what to do.

A17 When the girls opened the box,
1) they started arguing with each other.
2) Chanu told them to be more careful.
3) Nazneen expressed satisfaction at what it contained.
4) Shahana was able to do so more easily then Bibi.

A18 When Chanu showed the others what was in the bag,
l) he made it clear that they could not use it.
2) he showed that he preferred it to the sewing machine.
3) he made sure that they handled it carefully.
4) he pretended that it was also a birthday present.

A19 What happened while they were using the sewing machine?
l) They all had problems doing what they wanted to do.
2) All four of them operated it for a time.
3) The girls did better than their parents.
4) It didnТt work as well as it should have done.

A20 When Chanu was putting the computer together,
l) Nazneen was very keen for him to remain in a good mood.
2) it made a noise that it shouldnТt have made.
3) he admitted that he was not sure how to do it.
4) the others began to get bored.

A22 When Chanu used the computer for the first time,
l) he was proud that he could remember how to do something.
2) he was worried that it might be faulty in some way.
3) he tried not to let the others see how hard it was for him.
4) he changed his mind about what to do on it.




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