Page No 54:
What does the author notice one Sunday afternoon? What is his mother’s reaction? What does she do?
One Sunday afternoon, the author noticed a strange smell. Then he saw smoke pouring in through the seams of the ceiling and filling the room very quickly. They could barely see anything. By the time they ran out into the front yard, the roof was already engulfed in flames and was spreading very quickly. His mother ran back into the house. She had brought out a small metal box full of important documents. She wanted to bring out important things from the house one by one. She was in a ‘crazed state’.
Why does he break down in tears after the fire?
After the fire, he broke down into tears because it suddenly struck him that he was suffering a big loss. He realized that his cat could not be seen anywhere. Then, everything hit him at once − the new school, the fire, and his cat. That was when he broke down and cried.
Why is the author deeply embarrassed the next day in school? Which words show his fear and insecurity?
He was deeply embarrassed the next day at school because of the state in which he was. The clothes he was wearing looked odd. His shoes were gone in the fire and he had to wear tennis shoes to school. He had no homework or books and his backpack was also burnt in the fire. Some of the words that show his fear and insecurity are ‘outcast’, ‘geek’, ‘wanted to curl up and die’, ‘zombie’, and ‘surreal’.
The cat and the author are very fond of each other. How has this been shown in the story? Where was the cat after the fire? Who brings it back and how?
The cat and the author were very fond of each other. The author said that the cat was never far from him. He had rescued it when it was a kitten and he felt that it knew that he was the one responsible for giving it ‘the good life’. The cat had been so freaked by the fire that it ran over a mile away. A woman took it in and worked hard to find out whose cat it was. The cat’s collar had their phone number on it. However, their phones had been destroyed and disconnected due to the fire. The woman somehow knew that the cat was loved and missed. She eventually managed to bring it back to the author.
What actions of the schoolmates change the author’s understanding of life and people, and comfort him emotionally? How does his loneliness vanish and how does he start participating in life?
The author’s understanding of life and people changed when at the gym class, he saw a big table set up with all the important things he had lost in the fire. His schoolmates had collected money and bought for him school supplies, notebooks, and all kinds of different clothes such as jeans, tops, and sweatsuits. He felt as if it was Christmas. People who had never spoken to him before introduced themselves to him. This genuine concern touched him. This was when his loneliness vanished.
He was watching his house getting rebuilt along with two of his new friends from school. After the fire, he had stopped focusing on his feelings of insecurity and had opened up to all the people around him. His life had taken a new turn.
Page No 55:
What is the meaning of “My cat was back and so was I”? Had the author gone anywhere? Why does he say that he is also back?
“My cat was back and so was I” means that he had found his cat and he himself had a new outlook on life. He got his cat back after he had lost all hope of finding it. He said that he was also back because he had a feeling of gratitude for his life now. Earlier he had a feeling of insecurity and fear regarding his new school whereas after the fire, the generosity of his friends and the return of his cat changed his outlook on life as he started participating in life and he felt that he was ‘back’.