Madam Rides the Bus Explanation, Line by Line,  Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 10 NCERT First Flight Chapter 9


(Explanation and Meaning of difficult words)



Author – Vallikkannan

Word Meaning
Curious Eager to know or learn

There was a girl whose name was Valliammai. In short she was called as Valli. Her age was eight years. She was very eager to learn about everything.


Her favourite activity to pass time was to stand in front of the door of her house to watch what was happening in the street. She did not play with anybody in the street because nobody was of her age. Therefore she could only watch incidents happening in the street.


Word Meaning
Elaborate Fancy, Detailed, Complex
Unusual Extraordinary

Valli enjoyed standing at the door and watching. It was as enjoyable as playing fancy games with other children. She gained lot of extraordinary information by watching the street.



Word Meaning
Fascinating Very interesting
Sight Scene, Glimpse, 

The most interesting thing was the bus travelling between her village and the nearby town. A bus passed through her street every hour. Once going to the town and next hour coming back from the town. Each time, different passengers were travelling in the bus. Valli always enjoyed observing every bus.



Word Meaning
Day after day Everyday
Gradually Slowly
Crept Came, Slipped
Overwhelming Immense, Massive, Forceful

She watched the bus every day. Slowly a small wish came to her mind and the wish became bigger. She wanted to travel in that bus at least once. This wish became stronger and  it became an immense desire.



Word Meaning
Wistfully Being sad because you can’t get it
Kindle Appear, Inspire
Longing Wish, Desire

The bus used to stop at the corner of the street. She was aware that she may not be able to travel in a bus. Valli used to stare at the people getting down from the bus. Faces of those travelers used to come in her dreams, hopes and wishes. These dreams used to inspire her to travel in bus.




Word Meaning
Slang Informal language

If any of her friends had travelled in the bus to the town,  the friend would try to describe scene of the town. On such occasions, Valli would get jealous. She would shout in English : ‘Proud, proud!’ Valli and her friends did not understand meaning of this word. But they used it to express their disapproval or disliking.



Word Meaning
Discreet questions Specific questions

For many days and many months, Valli carefully listened to the conversation between people who had regularly travelled in the bus. She used to ask some questions during their conversations.




Word Meaning
Picked up Learnt
Almost nothing at all Very small amount
Scarcely Hardly, Rarely
Seemed a fortune Was very big amount

By this method she learnt many details about the bus journey. The town was six miles from the village. The fare of one side travel was thirty paise. One person who was wearing good clothes said that this was very small amount. Valli had hardly seen this much of money during a month. So thirty paise was a very big amount for her.



The travel time from village to town was forty five minutes. After reaching town if she remained in the bus and paid another thirty paise, she could return to the village in the same bus.




Valli calculated that if she started from the village by one-o’ clock bus in the afternoon, she would reach the town at one forty-five and could be back to the village by about two forty five. She thought many times about it. She did her calculation many times. She checked her planning many times.




Word Meaning
Command Order, To give order
Commandingly Giving order

In the one clear afternoon of the spring season, bus had reached the point of leaving the village and turning on the main highway. A small voice was heard to stop the bus. A small hand was raised to order the bus to stop.




Word Meaning
Crawl Move at very slow speed

The bus slowed down and moved at very slow speed. The bus conductor took out his head from the door and said to hurry up. He told Valli to tell the passenger to come quickly. Valli shouted that she wanted to get into the bus to travel.



Now the bus had stopped. The conductor was surprised to hear that Valli wanted to travel alone in the bus. Valli said that she wanted to go to the town. She told that she had money with her. While standing outside the bus she showed some coins to the conductor.




Word Meaning
Stretched out Extended
Never mind Not to worry

The conductor told Valli that first she should get into the bus. He extended his hand to help her. But Valli told him not to worry about her. She said that she can get into the bus without any help. She does not need help of conductor.




Word Meaning
Jolly sort Cheerful, Fun-loving
Fond of Liked

The bus conductor was a cheerful person and fond of joking. He addressed Valli as madam and requested her not to be angry at him. He asked Valli to sit at a seat that was in the front of the bus. He asked other passengers to move sideways to give way to Valli madam.



Word Meaning
Slack time Less crowded period, Lean time
Avoid Not to do something

That time was of period of lesser business. There were only six or seven passengers in the bus. They all looked at Valli and laughed with the conductor. Valli became very shy. She did not look at anybody. She walked quickly to an empty seat and sat down.



The conductor smiled at Valli and asked her if the bus can begin to move. Then he blew his whistle twice and the bus started to move with a loud sound.



Word Meaning
Gleaming Shining
Stripes Lines
Overhead Above
Windshield Front glass of a vehicle
Luxurious Very comfortable

It was a new bus. Outside colour of the bus was shining white with some lines of green colour on its sides. Inside the bus, the top bars were shining like silver. Exactly in front of Valli and above the front glass, there was a beautiful clock. Seats were soft and comfortable.



Word Meaning
Devoured Looked quickly
Cut off Blocked, Obstructed
Canvas Type of cloth
Peered Looked

Valli quickly looked at everything in the bus through her eyes. When she looked outside she found that she could not see everything because a canvas on the lower part of the window blocked her view. So she stood on the seat and tried to see from above the canvas cloth.



Word Meaning
Bank Side, Edge,
Grassland Fields of grass

Now the bus was moving along the side of a canal. The road was very narrow. On one side of the bus there was a canal. Beyond canal there were palm trees and fields of grass. At a far distance there were mountains and blue sky.



Word Meaning
Ditch Trench, Channel
Startled Surprised

On the other side of the road was a trench. Beyond that there were large areas of green fields as far as one could see. It was very wonderful. Suddenly she was surprised by a voice. The voice advised Valli not to stand on the seat. It asked her to sit down.



Word Meaning
Honestly Really
Concerned Worried
Annoyed Angry

While sitting down she looked around to see who had spoken. An elderly man had given the advice, he was really worried about her. But she was angry that he had noticed her or was watching her.



Word Meaning
Haughtily Proudly, Angrily
Chimed in Spoke in between, Joined discussion

Valli angrily told that there was no child in the bus. I have paid thirty paise same as every other person has paid. The conductor joined the discussion and said to the man that Valli was a grown up madam. A small girl cannot pay her own fare and travel alone to the city.



Word Meaning
Shot an angry glance Looked angrily

Valli looked at the conductor angrily and said that she was not a madam. She further told him to recall that he had not yet given her ticket.



Word Meaning
Mimicking Copying

Copying her style of speaking, conductor replied that he would remember. Everyone in the bus laughed. Slowly Valli also started laughing.



The conductor punched a ticket and gave it to her. He advised Valli to sit on the seat and be comfortable. He told Valli that she should not stand on the seat because she has paid for the seat.



Valli said that she was standing because she wanted to stand. The conductor informs Valli that she may fall down and get injured when bus takes a sharp turn or goes over a bump. He addressed Valli as a child and requested her to sit down.



Word Meaning
Irritably Angrily

She angrily told that she was not a child. She was eight years old. The conductor told that certainly she was eight years old. It was foolish of him to call her a child.



Word Meaning
Elderly Aged, Old person

The bus stopped. Some new passengers got into the bus. The conductor got busy for some time. Valli was now afraid of losing her seat so she sat down. An elderly woman came and sat near Valli. She asked Valli if she was travelling alone. The Bus had started to move again.



Word Meaning
Absolutely Totally
Repulsive Hateful, Unpleasant
Spill over Come out
Sociable Friendly, Cordial

Valli did not like that woman. She had big holes in her ear lobes. She was wearing ugly earrings. Valli could smell beetle nuts she was chewing. The juice of beetle nut was about to come out of her mouth. Valli thought who can be a friend of such a woman.



Word Meaning
Curtly Abruptly, Rudely

Valli rudely replied that she was travelling alone and she had a ticket also. The conductor told the woman that Valli was going to the town after buying a thirty paise ticket. Valli told conductor to do his own work. But then she laughed and conductor also laughed.



Word Meaning
Drivel Nonsense talk
Proper Correct

But the old woman continued her nonsense talk. She asked if it was correct for such a young person to travel alone. She asked Valli if she knew where exactly in the town would she go. What is the street and what is the house number.



Vali told the lady to not to worry about her. She declared that she could take care of herself. Then she turned her face towards window and started looking out.




Word Meaning
Painstaking Thorough, Accurate
Elaborate Detailed

Valli had carefully made accurate and detailed plan for her first journey.



Word Meaning
Thriftily Miserly, Spending less
Stray Random, Unexpected
Resist To control
Peppermints Toffees

By spending less money she had saved whatever coins she randomly received from anyone. She controlled her every wish to buy peppermints, toys, balloons and other such things. Finally she had saved sixty paise.



Word Meaning
Resolutely Firmly, With determination
Stifled Suppressed, Controlled, Withheld

It has been very difficult not to spend money. It was especially difficult when there was a fair in the village. Though she had money, with great determination she controlled her desire to ride merry go-round.




After she had saved money, her next problem was how to go out of the house without knowledge of her mother. But she did that without much difficulty.



Word Meaning
Nap Short sleep
Excursions A short journey
Ventured Went, Made a risky journey
Hours Period of time

Every day after  taking lunch, her mother used to sleep from 1 PM to 4 PM. During this period of time Valli used to stand at the doorway of her house. Sometimes she took the risk of going out of her house into the village. Today during this period of time she will be going out of her village for the first time.



Word Meaning
Landscape Area
Hamlet Small group of houses
Tiny Very small
Gobbling up Colliding
Pedestrian Person walking on foot

Now the bus was moving through an area that did not have any house. Now the bus was moving through an area that had small group of houses or a shop on the side of road. Sometime it appeared that bus will collide with another vehicle coming from other side or with a person crossing the road.



Word Meaning
Passed on Ended, Moved on

But somehow the bus moved on smoothly and peacefully. [Meaning that accident did not occur]. All obstacles were left behind and the bus moved ahead. The trees at the distance appeared running but stopped as soon as the bus stopped. But trees again started running when bus moved.



Word Meaning
Glee Happiness
Crawl Move at very low speed

Suddenly Valli started clapping her hands with happiness. A young cow was running very fast in the middle of the road and right ahead of the bus. Its tail was high in the air. The driver slowed down the bus to a very low speed. The driver sounded the horn again and again.



Word Meaning
Honked Sounded horn
Galloped Ran fast

But whenever he sounded the horn, the cow became more frightened. And it ran faster in the front of the bus. This incident was very funny to Valli. She laughed so much that tears came to her eyes.



The conductor told Valli that she had already laughed a lot. He advised her to save some of her laugh for tomorrow. Eventually the cow moved away from the road.



Word Meaning
Speck A small dot
Rushed Moved quickly
Tremendous Very big

Very soon the bus came to a railway crossing. A small dot of train could be seen at a far distance. This dot was become bigger and bigger as the train came near. The train moved past the crossing at a great speed. The sound of train was very big. The bus shook slightly because of movement of train.



Word Meaning
Passed Crossed
Traversed Travelled
Well laid out Nicely arranged
Thoroughfare Main road
Glittering Shining, Impressive
Merchandise Goods, Products

After this, the bus started to move and it crossed railway crossing and passed the railway station. Then the bus travelled to a busy street. This street had nicely constructed and nicely arranged shops. Then it entered a wide main road. Shops on this road were very big and bright. There was an impressive display of clothes and other products in each shop.



Word Meaning
Struck dumb Unable to speak due to surprise
Gaped Stared
Got off Got down

She was so surprised that she could not speak anything. She merely stared at everything. Then the bus stopped and everyone got out of the bus. The conductor asked Valli why she was not getting down from the bus. He said that in thirty paise she could come up to that point only.



Valli said that she would not get down from the bus. She wanted to go back to the village in the same bus. She took out another thirty paise from her pocket and gave to the conductor. The conductor asked Valli if there was any problem. Valli replied that she just wanted to have a ride in the bus.



Word Meaning
Sights Scenes
Amused Happy, Filled with fun,

The conductor said that since she is already in the town, she may like to see the town. Valli said that she was afraid to move alone in the city. The conductor felt funny at the way girl spoke this time. He said that but she was not afraid to come alone in the bus.



Word Meaning
Stall Shop

Valli answered that there was nothing to be afraid of while travelling alone in the bus. Conductor suggested Valli to go to a shop and buy something to drink. There is nothing to be afraid about it also.



Valli said that she cannot buy it. Conductor said that he will bring something to drink for her. Valli said that she did not have money to buy a drink. She asked him to give her tickets. Nothing more than that she wanted. Conductor said that it will be a treat from him, Valli need not pay anything.



Word Meaning
Shrugged Ignored

Valli firmly said no to the conductor. The conductor now ignored Valli. They waited till it was the time for the bus to start its journey back to the village. Once again there were not many passengers in the bus.




Word Meaning
Look for Search
Wonderful Interesting, Good

The conductor gave Valli her ticket. He asked if her mother would be searching for her. Valli said that no one would be searching for her. The bus started and during the journey there were same interesting scenes.



Word Meaning
Not in the slightest Not at all
Greeted Enjoyed, Welcomed
Struck Collided, Hit

Valli did not get bored at all. She enjoyed everything with the eagerness of the first time. Suddenly she saw a dead young cow lying on the side of road. Some fast moving vehicle had collided with it.



She asked conductor if that was the same cow which was running ahead of the bus during their journey to the town. The conductor moved his head to indicate yes. Valii was full of sadness.



Word Meaning
Charm Attractiveness, Attraction
Spreadeagled Legs and hands stretched out
Horrible Bad
Frightening Full of fear

This was a lovable and beautiful animal some time ago. Suddenly it had lost its happiness and life. It looked very bad and full of fear. It legs were stretched out and lifeless eyes were staring at one point only. There was blood around its body.



Word Meaning
Haunted Troubled
Dampen To reduce
Enthusiasm Interest, Excitement

The bus continued to move. The memory of the dead cow troubled her. It reduced her excitement. Now she did not want to look out of the window.



Word Meaning
Glued Fixed

Therefore she continued to sit fixed on her seat till the bus reached her village at 3:40 PM. She stood from her seat and stretched herself. Then she looked at the conductor and said that she hoped to meet him again.



The conductor smiled at her said OK madam. He said that whenever she wanted to ride a bus, she could come to his bus. He reminded her to always bring the fare.



Valli laughed and jumped down from the bus. She ran directly towards her home. When she reached home she noticed that her mother had already woken up. She was talking to one of Valli’s aunts. This aunt lived in the South Street of the village.



Word Meaning
Chatterbox Talkative, One who talks a lot
Conversation Discussion, Talk

This aunt was very talkative. She never stopped talking after starting to talk. Her aunt asked Valli where she had been to. Her aunt had spoken very casually as if she did not expect a reply. So Valli smiled at her. Her aunt and her mother continued to talk.



Her mother told to aunt that there are so many things around us and in the world. We cannot know everything. And even when we know about certain things, we cannot fully understand about it.



Valli agreed with her mother and said yes in a low voice. Her mother asked Valli about what she had said. Valli replied that she agreed with what her mother that certain things happen around us without our knowledge.



Word Meaning
Chit of a girl Naughty girl
Poke a nose To interfere

Aunt said that Valli was a naughty girl. Aunt also said that Valli interfered into their conversation as if she was a grown up lady.



Valli smiled to herself. She did not want them to understand why she was smiling. But there was very less chance for them to understand her smile.







Poet – Ogden Nash

Word Meaning
Kitten Baby cat
Wagon A small vehicle
Realio, trulio Really, Truly
Poetic Devices
Belinda lived in a little white house Alliteration
With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse Repetition
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon, Repetition

Belinda is a little girl who lived in a white coloured house. She had a black coloured baby cat as her pet. She also had a grey mouse, yellow dog and a really little dragon as a pet. She also had a small wagon of red colour.



Word Meaning
Sharp Smart, Brave
Poetic Devices
Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink, Repetition
Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink, Alliteration
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard, Simile
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard. Alliteration

Name of the kitten was Ink. Name of the mouse was Blink. Name of the dog was Mustard. These pets were very smart and brave. Name of the dragon was Custard. It was a coward.



Word Meaning
Spikes Sharp pointed surface
Scales Skin same as fish
Underneath Below
Fireplace Place where fire is burnt
Dagger Knife, Small sword
Toes Fingers of feet
Poetic Devices
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath, Alliteration
Mouth like a fireplace, Simile
chimney for a nose Metaphor

The dragon had big and sharp teeth. It had some sharp projections on top of its body and scales on its lower portion. Its mouth looked like a fireplace and was very hot. Its nose was as long as a chimney. The nails on feet of the dragon were like a knife.



Word Meaning
Barrel full of bears Group of bears
Chase To pursue, To run behind
Rage Anger
Poetic Devices
Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears, Simile
Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears, Alliteration
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage, Simile
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage. Alliteration

Belinda was as brave as a group of bears. Ink and Blink were so brave that they could chase away lion. [Meaning that they were more brave than lions]. Mustard was as brave as an angry tiger. But custard always wanted to stay in a cage for his safety.



Word Meaning
Tickled Teased
Unmercifully Without any sympathy
Rudely Impolitely, Without respect
Poetic Devices
Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful, Repetition
they rudely called him Percival, Personification
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon Alliteration

Belinda used to tease the dragon without having sympathy or mercy towards it. Ink, Blink and Mustard teased the dragon by calling him Percival. [Percival was a knight of King Arthur of England. He was known for his bravery and being pious]. The animals used to sit in the red wagon and laugh at the dragon for his cowardice.



Word Meaning
Giggled Laughed
Poetic Devices
And Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse, Onomatopoeia
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage. Alliteration

Belinda used to laugh a lot at the cowardice of dragon. Her laugh was so loud that it could be heard everywhere in the house. Blink also used to laugh at the dragon. The laughing sound of a mouse is called ‘weeck’. Ink and Mustard used to tease the dragon by asking his age. [Meaning that they considered him to be a child]. Custard always wanted to stay in a cage for his safety.



Word Meaning
Nasty Bad, Terrible, Harsh
Growled Sound of a dog
Pirate Robber
Winda Window
Poetic Devices
Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound, Repetition
Meowch! cried Ink Onomatopoeia
Meowch! cried Ink, and ooh! cried Belinda, Repetition

Suddenly they heard very harsh sound. Mustard the dog growled and all animals started looking around to see what had happened. Ink and Belinda spoke different sounds. A robber was climbing through the window.



Word Meaning
Cutlass A small sword
Pirate Robber
Poetic Devices
Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right, Repetition
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright, Alliteration
His beard was black, one leg was wood; Repetition
His beard was black, one leg was wood; Alliteration
It was clear that the pirate meant no good. Alliteration

The pirate had pistol in his each hand. He had a small sword between his teeth. His beard was of black colour. His one leg was made of wood. It was clear that the pirate had come to harm them.



Word Meaning
Paled Got afraid
Fled Ran away
Terrified Afraid, Feared
Yelp Sound of dog
Trickled Silently ran away
Strategically In a planned way
Poetic Devices
Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help! Repetition
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp Onomatopoeia
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed. Alliteration

Belinda was afraid and shouted for help. But Mustard got afraid and ran away. It was making sounds of fear. Ink silently went to the basement of the house. And to save itself, the mouse went into its mousehole.



Word Meaning
Snort Sounds from nose
Clashed Fought, Struck
Dungeon Cage, Prison
Clatter, Clank, Jangle Different metallic sounds
Squirm Twist, Wriggle
Robin Type of bird
Poetic Devices
snorting like an engine Simile
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon Simile
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm Onomatopoeia
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm Alliteration
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm Simile

But Custord jumped up at the pirate. His nose was producing sounds of an engine. [He was very angry]. He struck the pirate with his tail. His tail was as hard as the iron rods of a cage. He twisted and moved his body. Every time it produced a metallic sound. [Meaning that his body was very strong and powerful]. He attacked the pirate as a bird attacks a worm. [The pirate was helpless, he could not do anything]



Word Meaning
Gaped Stared
Gulped Swallowed
Grog Alcoholic drink with water, Liquor
Flagon Container
Gobbled Eat quickly, Swallow quickly
Poetic Devices
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon, Alliteration

The pirated started at the Belinda’s dragon. He took out a container from his pocket and drank some liquor. Then he fired two bullet but these did not hit the dragon. And the dragon quickly ate every piece of the pirate.



Word Meaning
Embraced Hugged
Mourned Felt sad
Glee Happiness, Joy
Gyrate Dance
Poetic Devices
Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him, Repetition
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate Alliteration
Around the dragon that ate the pirate. Repetition
Around the dragon that ate the pirate. Alliteration

Belinda hugged the dragon and Mustard licked him. No one was feeling sad for the pirate who was eaten by the dragon. Ink and Blink danced with joy around the dragon that had eaten the robber. Everybody was happy that dragon had saved them from the robber.



Word Meaning
Flustered Confused
Poetic Devices
And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink Repetition
That everybody is braver than me. Alliteration

Now the little dog Mustard spoke. He said that he would have been twice as brave as dragon if he was not confused. Now Ink and Blink also spoke. They said they would have been thrice as brave as the dragon. Custard agreed that everybody was braver than him.



Belinda continues to live in a white coloured house. She has a black coloured baby cat as her pet. She also has a grey mouse, yellow dog and a really little dragon as a pet. She also has a small wagon of red colour.



Belinda is as brave as a group of bears. Ink and Blink are so brave that they can chase away lion. [Meaning that they are more brave than lions]. Mustard is as brave as an angry tiger. But custard always wants to stay in a cage for his safety.

Poet wants to say that nothing has changed. Every animal continues to behave as earlier. No one appreciates bravery of dragon.





Important Links
Madam Rides the Bus – Textbook Q&A Madam Rides the Bus – Extra Q&A
Mijbil the Otter – Explanation The Sermon at Benaras – Explanation
Mijbil the Otter – Textbook Q&A The Sermon at Benaras – Textbook Q&A
Mijbil the Otter – Extra Q&A The Sermon at Benaras – Extra Q&A
Re-arrange Exercises Error Finding Exercises
Active-Passive Rules Gap Filling Exercises
Passages Direct-Indirect Speech Rules
Story Writing Tips Letter Writing



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