Silk Road, Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Hornbill Chapter 8
(Explanation and Meaning of difficult words)
Author – Nick Middleton
|Ducking back||Going back|
|Manoeuvres||Movements – usually predetermined or predefined|
|Swathe||A narrow strip|
|Cairn of rocks||Heap of stone made as a monument, landmark etc|
|Careered down||Climbed down|
|Salt flats||Area where salt has been deposited|
|Flawless||Without defects, Perfect, Clear|
|French loaves||Pieces of French bread|
When were departing in the early morning, a perfect half moon was shining in the clear sky. Colour of the sky appeared blue. The clouds were in the shape of large French loaves. When the Sun rose in the sky the clouds appeared pink. The rays of Sun were falling on the mountains. The mountains appeared of pink colour shade.
|Farewell present||A gift given when someone is leaving|
|Kailash Kora||Pilgrimage of Kailash|
We were leaving the place Ravu. Our host Lhamo wanted to give us a farewell gift. During one evening I had told Lhamo that I would be going to Kailash to complete the pilgrimage. Daniel translated this to her. She advised me that I must buy some warmer clothes.
|Ducking back||Going back|
|Sized up||Looked carefully|
|Clambering||Walked with difficulty|
Lhamo went back into her tent. She had to bend because the door was of lesser height. She brought a sheepskin coat for me. This coat had long sleeves. All men of this area wore similar type of coat. Tsetan carefully looked at me while we were getting into the car with some difficulty. He told me that I was looking like a shepherd.
|Mountain passes||Roads made along mountains|
We took a short cut route to bypass Changtang. Tsetan knew a route through south-west direction. This route would take us directly to Mount Kailash. He informed me that we would need to travel roads that were running through high mountains.
He told us that if there was no snow, we would not face any difficulty. I asked him what the possibility of snow was. He did not know. He said we would come to know after reaching there.
|Gazelles||Type of animal|
|Frown||Slightly distort the face or eyebrows|
|Bounding away||Running away|
|Void||Open space, Place where nobody lives|
From the gradually sloping hills of Ravu, we reached a huge open plain area between the mountains. Only some gazelles were grazing there. They were slowly eating the dry grass of the pasture. They would slightly distort their face before running away in the open space.
We moved ahead. The fields now had lesser grass. Only stone surfaces were now visible in the fields. Now we could see a big herd of wild asses. Tsetan told us that the herd has so far not seen us. We reached the field before the herd could see us.
|Kyang||Wild ass of Tibet region|
|Pall of dust||Cloud or layer of dust in the sky|
|En masse||Together, Every body|
|Plume of dust||Cloud of dust|
He saw a cloud of dust in the sky far from us. He called it Kyang. When we came near the plain area, we saw a herd of wild asses that was running together. All the animals were moving close to each other. It looked as if a group was doing an exercise in a predetermined manner. Because of running of animals, a cloud of dust was generated in the sky.
|Wilderness||From nowhere, Suddenly|
|Tending||Taking care of , Rearing|
Now once again hills had started appearing. Earlier there were rocks along the way. We saw shepherds who were alone and taking care of their herds of animal. These shepherds were both men and women. They had fully covered themselves with warm clothes. They used to stop and look at our car. Sometimes they waved their hands as we went ahead of them.
|Evasive||Try to avoid|
|Veering||Change direction, Move to other direction|
Whenever our path was close to animals, the sheep would try to avoid coming in our way. They would move away from our fast moving vehicles.
|Nomad||Person moving from one place another,|
|Mastiff||Type of dog|
|Fix us in their sight||Continue to stare|
We crossed the tents of nomadic people. These tents were made at a lonely places. Usually a dog of mastiff breed used to be outside their tents. As soon as they saw our vehicles, these large dogs would tilt their heads. They continuously stared at our cars.
|Exploded into action||Suddenly started taking action|
When we reached closer to them. They would suddenly start running towards us at their full speed. They used to run very fast.
|Shaggy||Full of long hair|
|Furious||Frightening, Violent, Fierce|
|Swerve||Abruptly change direction|
These big dogs had long hair on their body and were dark black in colour. They usually had a collar of bright red colour around their necks. They had very big jaws. Their barking was frightening and violent. They were not afraid of our vehicles. They would quickly come right in the path of our vehicles. Tsetan had to apply brakes to the vehicle and abruptly change direction to avoid collision.
|Easing off||Stop or reduce the speed|
These dogs would follow us for about one hundred meters. When we had moved out of their area, they would stop or reduce their speed.
Now we understood why these dogs were popular among rulers of China. Chinese rulers used to use these during hunting. These used to be brought to China from Tibet through the Silk Road.
Silk Road refers to a route that was a famous and popular path for trade between China and other countries.
|Snow capped mountains||Mountains that had snow at their top|
Now we had reached at an area from where we could see mountains that had snow at their peaks. We came into a valley where the river was quite wide. It was full of ice. The ice was pure white and shining in the Sun.
|Hugged||Very very close|
|Meanders||Twisting path of river, Having many curves|
|Closed in||Came nearer|
Our path was very close to the river bank. The river and the path had many curves. Gradually we were moving to higher regions. Side of the valley were now closer to us. Meaning that on either side of path we had mountains.
The turns of the road were now more sharp. The vehicle was jumping more because the road was not smooth. Tsetan was driving the car in third gear. Our car continued to climb up.
|Labour||To make large efforts|
|Lichen||Type of plant|
|Hunks||Lump, Chunk, Piece|
Now we moved away from the river. It was difficult to to drive on the road that was becoming steeper. Along the rocks we could see patches of bright orange coloured plants of lichen. It appeared that some portion of rocks never received sunlight. On these parts of rock snow had formed permanently.
|Tight bend||Sharp bend|
Now the pressure in my ears was increasing. I caught my nose and blew away through it. We had great difficulty in negotiating the next sharp bend. Suddenly Tsetan stopped the car.
I could not understand why he had stopped the car. Tsetan quickly came out of the car. Daniel also came out of car. Daniel shouted ‘snow’. He was very excited to see the snow. He blew some air out of his mouth. Its colour was white because of cold.
|Swathe||A narrow strip|
|Petered out||Decreased, Ended|
We could see a white strip of about fifteen meter length, on the road. After this the earthen surface of the road could be again seen. On each side of the road there was snow. Therefore the sudden increase of height along the side of the road looked smooth.
The rocks along sides of the road were very steep. It was not possible to climb the vehicle on these and move ahead of the snow patch.
|Stepped on to||To walk on, To stand on|
|Encrusted||Gathered in a heap, Became hard|
|Stamping||Putting foot on ground with force|
I got down from the vehicle and stood near Daniel. Tsetan stood on the heap of snow. He started moving his feet on the snow to move it sideways. From time to time he was hitting the snow with his foot to understand how strong the snow was. I looked at my wristwatch. It was showing how high we had climbed. We were at 5210 meters above sea level.
According to me , depth of snow was not much. Daniel advised that the danger is not the depth of snow. The top surface of snow is always slippery thus more dangerous. Our car may slip and turnover. Tsetan picked some dust in his fists. He spread it on the surface of the snow.
|Apparent||Visible, Evident, Obvious|
We both started helping Tsetan. Soon the entire surface of snow was covered with soil. I and Daniel remained out of the car to reduce weight of the car. Tsetan drove back to move the vehicle slightly away from the snow. Then he slowly moved the car on the snow and continued to drive slowly. He crossed the entire length of snow. It appeared to us that it was not a difficult task.
After about 10 minutes Tsetan again stopped the car. There was one more obstruction. He again came out of the car and examined the situation. This time he decided to drive the car around the snow.
|Studded with||Full of|
|Lurching||Swaying, Jumping over|
|Hairpin bend||Very sharp curve|
The slope was now very steep. The path was full of rocks. With great difficulty Tsetan was able to drive our four-wheel drive vehicle through these roads. The vehicle was jumping over many obstacles of the uneven road. He negotiated several sharp bends. Finally we reached a portion of the road which did not have snow on it.
|Crept past||Moved ahead slowly|
|Throb||A fluctuating pain|
|Gulps||Swigs, To drink in small quantity|
I looked at my watch and noticed that we were continuously climbing to greater height. The sunshine was bright. We had climbed to more than 5400 meter above the sea level. I started feeling a very bad fluctuating pain in my head. Such pain may be caused when someone moves up quickly in hilly region. I took some swigs of water. It is said that it helps a lot in such pains.
|Cairn of rocks||Heap of stone made as a monument, landmark etc|
|Ragged||Old and torn|
Finally we reached at the top of the valley which was at 5515 meters above sea level. At the top of hills a heap of stones was decorated with white cloths and old flags used for prayers.
|Unscrewed||Opened by rotating|
|Emitted||Gave, Generated, Created|
|Hiss||A sound when air or vapours comes out of a container|
We all walked round the cairn in clockwise direction. This was the tradition of the area. Tsetan checked tyres of the car. We stopped at the patrol filling station. Tsetan opened the lid of the petrol partially. A hissing sound was generated.
Because of lower pressure of atmosphere at high altitude, volume of petrol was increasing. I thought it was dangerous. Tsetan laughed at my fear. He said that petrol will not start burning. But one should not smoke while the lid is being opened.
We quickly climbed down to the other side of the valley. Since we had climbed down my head was not aching now. We stopped for lunch at 2 PM. We ate noodles. The hotel was in a tent made of canvas. It was mainly for the people working in nearby dry salt lake.
|Plateau||A flat are between hills|
|Salt Flats||Area where salt has been deposited|
|Pockmarked||Spread across, Exisiting at many places|
|Vestiges||Reminders, Sign, indication|
|Great collision||A very big change that occurred on earth|
In the plateau of Tibet we can find many dry fields of salt and lakes of salty water. These are the indications that once Tibet was close to Tethys Ocean. But during a big change that had occurred on earth, this area was lifted up and now it is in hilly region.
|Hive of activity||Place where many people work|
|Trudge||Move slowly with lot of effort|
|Salt encrusted||Covered with slat|
Lot of people were working at this place. Men were having pickaxes and shovels. They were slowly walking ahead and coming back. They were wearing long coats made of sheepskin. Their boots were covered with salt.
All people were wearing goggles to protect their eyes from the sharp shine of sunrays. A long line of blue colour was regularly coming out the lake. These trucks were full of salt.
By the end of the afternoon we had reached a small town Hor. Now we were again on the main east-west highway. Through this route business was carried out between Lhasa and Kashmir.
Daniel was going back to Lhasa. He found a lift in one of the trucks going to Lhasa. We said good bye to him. We were at the tyre-repair shop.
|Quick succession||Quickly one after the other|
While driving down from the salt lake our vehicle had two punctures quickly one after the other. Tsetan was very eager to get these repaired because now we did not have any extra tyre. In addition to this, second tyre was very smooth. Hence it was necessary to get the tyres repaired.
|Grim||Unattractive, Dismal, Dreary|
|Venerated||Highly respectable, Worshiped|
The Hor village was an unattractive and horrible place. It did not have tress or other greenery. Lot of waste was scattered in the village that got deposited over a long period of time. This situation was certainly bad because this town was very close to Lake Manasarovar. This lake is worshiped in Tibet.
|Cosmology||The science of origin of this world|
Ancient Hindu and Buddhist culture regards Manasarovar as origin of four great Indian rivers – the Indus, the Ganges, the Sutlej and the Brahmaputra.
|Striking distance||Very close|
|Forge ahead||Move ahead|
Only the Sutlej river starts from lake Manasarovar. All other rivers originate from the other sides of Mount Kailash. We were very close to the great mountain Mount Kailash. I was very eager to move ahead to reach there.
But I had to wait for some time. Tsetan advised me to drink some tea. There was only one café in the village. Similar to other building of the village this was made in concrete and poorly painted. It had three broken windows.
|Draught||Flow of air|
|Compensate||Reduce the effect|
The air was very cool. I could see a view of the lake through one of the windows. And this view reduced the effect of flow of cool air.
A person from China served me tea. He was young and wearing military uniform. He cleaned the table with a dirty old cloth. So table became more oily. He brought me a glass and a thermos of tea.
|Solitary confinement||Alone in a room|
I was alone in the tent. After half an hour Tsetan came into the café. We drove through many rocks and refuse. We were moving in west direction to reach Mount Kailash.
|Stark contrast||Exactly opposite|
|First encounters||First visit|
|Burst into tears||Started crying|
My experience in Hor was exactly opposite to the description provided by earlier visitors of their visit. A Japanese monk Ekai Kawaguchi had come to Manasarovar Lake in 1990. He was so impressed by its purity that he had started crying.
|Prone||Vulnerable, To easily get affected|
After some years Sven Hedin, a person from Sweden had visited Lake Manasarovar. He was not a person to get easily affected by emotions. But he too started crying after seeing the holy water.
|Turned out to be||Proved, Evolved|
When we started from Hor it was already dark. After 10:30 PM we stopped infront of a guest house in Darchen village for night stay. That night was yet another night full of troubles.
While walking around in the town of Hor, I had once again caught cold. Probably it was because of the waste that was lying in open in the town. But actually my cold did not get cured even after taking herbal tea.
My one nostril was once again blocked. I was trying to sleep. I was not sure if I would be able to breathe through the second nostril .We were now at 4760 meters above the sea level.
|Accustomed||In the habit of|
|Noctural||Occurring in the night|
The height of this town was not much higher than that of Ravu. But at Ravu many times during the night I felt the need to breathe deeply. Now I was getting used to such disturbances during my sleep in the night. But I was scared.
|Switched to||Changed tp|
I was tired and hungry I started breathing through my mouth. After sometime I started breathing through one nostril. Which for sometime appeared sufficient. I was trying to sleep. Then I suddenly woke up.
|Nasal passage||Passage of nose, Nostrils|
I felt something wrong was happening to me. I felt my chest had become heavy. I sat up. This immediately cleaned my nostrils. I was able to breathe. I felt relief in my chest. I found it strange.
|Land of nod||State of sleep|
I again lied down and tried to sleep. The same thing happened again. My chest started feeling heavy. I was about to again sleep but I felt I should not sleep.
It seemed to me that I was again getting electric shocks. But these shocks were not similar to the earlier ones. This time I was not breathing heavily. I was not able to sleep.
As soon as I sat up, I started feeling better. I was able to breathe properly and my chest felt good. But when I tried to lie down, I had an obstruction in my nose. I felt something different in my chest.
|Could not put finger on reason||Could identify the reason|
I tried to take support of the wall to sit up against the wall. But I did not get much relief. So I did not sleep. I could not identify the exact reason but I was afraid to sleep.
A voice within me was warning me. It told me that if I tried to sleep, I may never wake up. So I was awake throughout the night.
|Following morning||Next morning|
|Monastery||Place where monks live|
The next morning , with Tsetan I went to the medical college of Darchen. The medical college was a new building. It looked like a place where monks stayed. It had a very strong door. From this door we entered a large open space.
We went to the room of a doctor. This consulting room was dark and cold. A Tibetan doctor was sitting in the room. He was not wearing any kit or uniform that a doctor normally wears. He was not wearing a white coat. He was wearing a thick coat and a woolen hat. He looked like a normal Tibetan.
|Shot me a few questions||Asked me a few questions|
I explained to him that I was not able to sleep. I also explained what I felt during the night and my unwillingness to sleep. He asked me some questions. He checked my pulse.
He finally told through Tsetan that I was suffering from cold and the effect of high altitude. He said that he would give me some medicines. The doctor spoke through Tsetan because he could not speak the language spoken by the narrator.
I asked the doctor if I will become alright to complete my kora. He replied that I would soon recover.
|Screws of paper||Packets made in paper|
I came out of the medical college. I was holding an envelop that had fifteen small packets made in paper. Doctor had given me medicines for five days. I immediately started taking medicine.
I opened package of the medicine that was to be taken after breakfast. It had brown powder that was to be taken with hot water. Its taste was similar to that of cinnamon. I could not identify the lunchtime and night time medicines.
|Sheep dung||Potty of sheep, Poop of sheep|
|Slept like a log||Had sound sleep, Did not get up during sleep|
Both paper packets had some tablets of brown colour and round shape. They looked like poop of sheep. But I took these medicines. I took complete course of medicines that day. I had a sound sleep in the night.
Now Tsetan understood that medicines were showing desired result. I will live some more time. So he decided to return to Lhasa. He told me that according the culture of Bhuddhism it does not matter if somebody lives longer or dies earlier. But death of a passenger is not good for the business of tourism.
|Punctuated by||Occurred at some distance to each other|
|Gurla Mandhata||A mountain peak in Tibet|
|Wisp of something||Very small quantity|
After a sound sleep of the night, the town of Darchen did not look so bad to me. It was full of dust and neglect. Many heaps of broken stones and waste were lying here and there. Sun was shining bright in the clear blue sky. Therefore I could have a glimpse of Himalayas in southern direction. The top of the Himalayas was full of snow. I could also see the Gurla Mandhata mountain, the highest peak of Tibet. Close to its peak, there was only a small amount of cloud.
|Rudimentary||Old style, Elementary, Simple|
Some old style basic general stores were there in the town of Darchen. These were selling cigarette and soap manufactured in China. These were also selling some basic items required day to day. These were also selling flags to be used in prayers.
|Pool||A game of cards|
|Battered||Worn out, Shabby|
|Incongruous||Not matching, Unsuitable|
|Brook||Small stream of water|
In front of the shops, some men had gathered around a worn out table. This table was looking quite shabby and did not match with other surroundings. The men were playing pool. Women were washing their hair in the ice cold water of a small stream of river. This rivulet flowed close to my guest house.
The people of Darchen town seemed to be easy going. They did not hurry up for any activity. But the town had a major shortcoming for me. There was no other pilgrim in the town.
|Height of the season||Most busy season|
|Bustling||Full of activity|
I was told that during peak season, the town is full visitors. Many visitors bring their own tents. So the area of town increases. These pilgrims establish their own tents. Many times tents are established upto the plain area of the town.
I had planned my journey so as to reach during start of the season. I wanted to avoid the rush. But it seemed to me that I had come too much early.
One afternoon I was having tea in the only café of Darchen. I started thinking about the things I could do in Darchen. I understood that opportunities were very less.
It appeared to me that I had not improved myself in positive thinking. Although I had read some books about it.
|Did not fancy doing it alone||Did not want to do alone|
I had many difficulties in getting sleep. But I had to wait for my onward journey to Mount Kailash. The path to Mount Kailash was frequently travelled by pilgrims. But I did not want to take up this journey alone.
|Seasonal||During a season only. Intermittent|
The pilgrimage to Kailash could be done in a particular season only. In other seasons the route used to get blocked by the snow. I did not know if the snow on the path had cleared. Some pieces of ice were still stuck along the stream running near Darchen. This was a discouragement to take up the journey alone.
After departure of Tsetan I did not meet any person in Darchen who could speak English. So I could not know if the snow along the way had cleared. This information was important to the author.
|Cavernous||Having many parts|
This was the situation till I met Norbu. The café in Darchen was small. It did not have enough lights. It had different section. A metal stove was put in the middle of the café.
Walls and ceiling of the café were covered by the sheets. These sheets were made of plastic strips. These were of blue, red and white colour. The material used was same as that used for making strong big bags that are sold in China. Bags made of this material are also sold in other countries of Asia and some countries of Europe.
The highest export by China along the Silk Road is of materials made of plastic.
This café had only one window. I used to sit near this window. This helped me clearly see pages of my notebook. To pass my time I used to bring novel with me to the café.
|Struck up||Started , Initiated|
When Norbu came in the café he saw my book. Through a signal he asked me if he could sit at the same table. The table was unsteady and shaky. He asked me if I was from England. He ordered tea for himself. We soon started talking.
I had a doubt that he did not belong to area around Darchen. He was wearing a windcheater. Rim of his spectacles was made of metal and of western style. He was from Tibet. He was working in Beijing in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He had come here to do some field work .
Norbu said that he had come to perform Kailash kora. I was surprised. Norbu used to write many essays and reports about Kailash kora. Since many years he has been also writting about importance of kora as per literature and customs of Budhist religion. But he had never done a kora.
After hearing from him, I told him the purpose of me coming to Darchen. There was shine of hope in his eyes. He told me that we could form a team. He called us as two scholars who had run away from library. Now I realized that my positive thinking was giving some result.
My relief of meeting Norbu was soon disturbed. I understood that he did not have required equipment to complete the kora. I also did not have all the required equipment.
|Tiresome||Something that will tire someone|
Norbu told me that he was fat. Therefore it was difficult for him to climb. He reminded me that at more heights one gets easily tired while walking. He did not completely followed Bhuddhism. But he was passionate. He was certainly a Tibetan.
|Envisaged||Planned, Thought of|
|Devout||One who has strong faith, Religious,|
|On reflection||Thinking again, Considering again|
Originally I had planned to complete kora with those who believed in Bhuddhism. But I again thought about it. I decided that probably Norbu would be a perfect person to travel with.
|Yak||An animal found in mountains and used for carrying luggage|
|Prostrate||To become weak, To feel tired|
Norbu suggested that we should hire some yaks to carry our luggage. I thought it was a good suggestion. Norbu did not have any desire to walk in the mountains with luggage. He thought he may get tired or start feeling weakness.
|Collapsing||Lying , Spreading|
|Hysterical||Of very high intensity|
He said in a loud voice that he did not want to get tired. He started laughing very loudly. While laughing he spread his hand and body on the table. This was not his usual style. I observed that he had a large stomch.
Father to Son
Poet – Elizabeth Jennings
This poem is about relationship between a father and a son. The poet has expressed feelings of a father through this poem. Also expressed is the need to have a good communication between family members. Lack of communication may lead to several misunderstandings.
|Though we have lived together now||Alliteration|
|In the same house for years. I know||Alliteration|
|He was when small. Yet have I killed||Alliteration|
Father expresses that he has not understood feelings of his son. Though they have lived together for a long time in a house relations between them are not healthy. Father realizes that he knows very little about his son. He wants to make one more attempt to build a healthy relationship with his son. He wants to recall all the time he has spent with his son since his childhood.
This stanza represents the gap between thoughts of a father and a son. Each of them wants to maintain his own thought process. They do not want to listen views of each other. But at a later date father realizes the pain of not having enough communications with his son. Now they are probably not talking often. Father feels the need to build a good relationship with his son.
|The seed I spent or sown it where||Alliteration|
|The land is his and none of mine||Metaphor|
|We speak like strangers, there’s no sign||Simile|
|This child is built to my design||Simile|
Father accepts that he was responsible for creating the communication gap with his son. Now the son does not expresses himself so father does not know what is going on in the mind of his son. They do talk to each other but do not express their feelings. Hence they are behaving like strangers. They do not try to understand each other. The child has a physical resemblance to his father. However the father does not know anything about likes or dislikes of his son.
This stanza expresses the helplessness of a father. He takes all the blame of lack of communication on himself. He accepts the importance of communication and the pain lack of it can cause. People can live together but still be far away from each other. This situation is very painful.
|Prodigal||Spending too much,
Using something in large quantity
|Silence surrounds us. I would have||Alliteration|
|His father’s house, the home he knew,||Alliteration|
|His father’s house, the home he knew,||Metaphor|
|Rather than see him make and move||Alliteration|
|Shaping from sorrow a new love.||Alliteration|
Because of lack of understanding, father and son speak less to each other . Father wants his son to speak more and more to him. Father wants his son to return to the house that was once a home for him. Father would prefer this rather than his son making a separate home for himself and live there. Father is ready to forgive his son. Father wants to forget all the sorrows of past and initiate love into their life.
In this stanza father has expressed his willingness to correct his own ways. He is not blaming his son. He takes all the blame on himself. Father wants to develop a new way of understanding between them after forgetting whatever happened in the past. He does not want that both should live separately. This separation could be physical as well as emotional or only emotional. Each of these situations is bad.
|On the same globe and the same land,||Repetition|
|On the same globe and the same land,||Metaphor|
|We each put out an empty hand,||Metaphor|
Father wants that he and his son should live together in the same house. They should also be part of the same universe. This sentence expresses need of emotional attachment. Father is sad that his son is away from him. He cannot understand why this sadness is causing anger in him. He wants that they should extend an empty hand to welcome each other. They both have a strong desire to be in the company of each other and to forgive each other.
In this stanza father expresses his wish to move ahead to forgive his own son. Living in the same globe and the same land has a deeper meaning. The word ‘land’ represents living under one roof. The word ‘globe’ represents the thought process or the emotional aspects of living. The father wants to have emotional interaction as well. Father wants to welcome his son into his abode once again without any pre-conditions. This is the meaning of ‘putting an empty hand’. He blames himself for lack of communication and is ready to forgive his son.