Iswaran the Storyteller Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, Class 9  CBSE English Chapter 3 NCERT Moments


(Explanation, Meaning of Difficult words)

Author – RK Laxman


Word Meaning
Narrated Described, Told
Supervisor A person who supervises works
Firm Organisation, Company
Offered Provided
Site Location
On hire On a certain fees
And so on And others

Mahendra had told this story to Ganesh. Mahendra was a young person. He was a supervisor in an organisation. This company made available supervisor. For this service the organisation charged some fees. The supervisors were need at the locations where factories, bridges, dams and other structures were built.



Word Meaning
To keep an eye on To supervise, to watch
Site Location
Keep moving Shift regularly
Now and then Often, From time to time
Head office Main office
Coming up Being constructed
Plant Factory

Mahendra was required to supervise the activities being carried out at the location of construction or the location of work. He was required to shift from one place to another quite often. Orders for moving from one place to another were issued by the main office of his company. He had to shift from a coal mining area to a location where railway bridge was under construction. After some month he would shift from there to a chemical factory which was being constructed at some location.



Word Meaning
Bachelor Unmarried male person
All kind of odd conditions All types of different situations
Ill-equipped Not having good facilities, With inadequate facilities
Circuit house Guest House, Place where visiting officials stay
Makeshift Temporary, Interim
Canvas A type of cloth
Quarry Small mine
Asset A useful person or thing

Mahendra was an unmarried person. He believed in leading a simple life. His requirements were minimum. Therefore he was able to adjust to all types of different situations. He could live in a guest house that had inadequate facilities. He could also live in a temporary tent made of canvas which was installed in a stone mine. But he had one very useful person with him. His name was Iswaran. Iswaran was a cook.


Word Meaning
Attached to Close to someone, Full of affection
Uncomplainingly Without complaining
Posted Deputed
Chatted away Talked a lot
Weave out Create, Narrate
Anecdotes Incidents, Short story
Varied subjects Several topics

Iswaran, the cook, was very close to Mahendra. Without making any complaints Iswaran stayed with Mahendra to whichever location he was deputed. Iswaran cooked food for Mahendra, washed his clothes. Before going to bed Iswaran talked a lot to Mahendra. He could narrate a large number of stories and incidents on several topics.



Word Meaning
Amazing Wonderful, Surprising
Ingredients Constituent, Components
Seemingly Apparently, Superficially
Desolate Without any population
Landscape Area, Locality
For miles around Upto a great distance

Iswaran had a wonderful capability. He could find vegetables and other things required for cooking even in those places where nobody lived upto a great distance. Even when not a single shop could be seen, Iswaran arranged constituents for cooking apparently from nowhere.


Word Meaning
Meticulously Skillfully, To the perfection
Conjure up Make or create as if by magic
Delicious Tasty
Workplace Location where someone works

Sometimes they stayed in a shed that was made zinc coated iron sheets. Within an hour of reaching new place of work, Iswaran would make very tasty food. He would use fresh vegetables. The food would be made very skillfully. It appeared as if the food was made by magic.


Word Meaning
Up early in the morning To wake up early in the morning
Tidy up Clean and arrange things
Leisurely In a relaxed manner without hurry
Muttering Whispering, Reciting in a low voice

Mahendra used to get up early in the morning. He would go to his work after taking breakfast. He would carry some prepared food with him for lunch.  After Mahendra had gone to work, Iswaran would clean the shed and arrange things at their proper place. He would wash clothes. He would take his bath without any hurry. He would use several buckets of water for bathing. While taking bath he would recite prayers in a low voice.


Word Meaning
By then At that time, Till that time
Dozing off Sleeping
Thriller Story having suspense, Detective book
Imaginative Full of imagination
Narrative Description
Flourishes Attractive, Actions
Hold in thrall To have all the attention

It would usually be lunch time till Iswaran completed these activities. After taking his lunch, Iswaran used to read for some time before sleeping. He usually read some detective novel written in Tamil. The book used to have couple of hundreds of pages. Iswaran liked description of imagination and action packed descriptions. He would give his complete attention to reading a book.


Word Meaning
Greatly To a large extent
Influenced Affected,
Ending into the account Describing the last part of the story

When Iswaran narrated a story, his descriptions were also affected by the books of Tamil authors he read. Even when he was narrating a small incident, he would try to create a suspense. After that he would describe the last part of the story or incident.


Word Meaning
Come across See, Find, Meet
Uprooted Fallen
Arched Curved
Gesture Manner
Deserted Empty, Without any traffic or people

If Iswaran were to describe that he had seen a fallen tree on highway, he would describe in a different way. He would curve his eyebrows, extend his hands in strange way, and start saying – The road was empty. I was alone on the road.


Word Meaning
Spotted Saw
Enormous Huge, Very big
Bushy Like a bush
Beast Animal
Sprawled Spread out, Laid
Half inclined Had some intention

Suddenly I saw something that looked similar to a huge animal with lot of bushes on it. The animal was lying across the width of the road. I had some intention to turn around and go back. But I went nearer to that animal. Then I realised that it was a fallen tree. Its dry braches had spread all over the road.


Word Meaning
Stretch Pull
Uncritically Without criticizing it,

Without making assessment of  it

Mahendra would then pull himself in his chair that was made of canvas. He used to listen to stories of Iswaran without making any assessment about its reality.


Word Meaning
Richly wooded forest Forest having many trees
Logs Big piece of wood
Hauled Carried
Lorries Trucks
Well-fed Those who are given proper food

Iswaran used to say that his native place is famous for timber. All around our village we have a forest which has a large number of trees. The big pieces of wood is carried and loaded into the trucks by elephants. Those elephants are given proper diet.


Word Meaning
Turns wild Becomes angry
Mahout Person who controls an elephant
Prologue Introduction
Launch Start
Elaborate Detailed, Lengthy
Anecdote Incident

Iswaran would say that when an elephant becomes angry even an experienced mahout cannot control it. After this brief introduction, he would start narrating details of an incident about an elephant.


Word Meaning
Tusker A male elephant with big teeth
Roam about Wander about, Walk around
Stamping The act of loudly putting feet on something
Tearing up Breaking
Creepers Climber, A plat that grows against a support
At will As per wish

One day a tusker ran away from the timber yard.  It started walking freely. It crushed many bushes under its feet. It pulled away many climbers. It broke braches of many trees. An elephant behaves absurdly when it gets mad.


Word Meaning
Caught up Involved, Engrossed
Emulation Copy, Imitation

Iswaran would get so excited that he would be completely involved in storytelling.  He would get up floor and start jumping around. He would copy the action of stamping of the mad elephant.


Word Meaning
Outskirts of town Outer parts of town
Smashed Broke
Helter-skelter In confusion, Hurriedly, Haphazardly
Panic Fear

The elephant reached outer part of our village. It broke the boundary wall of many house as if these were matchsticks. Then it came to main road of the village. It broke all the stalls that were selling fruits, earthen pots and clothes. People were afraid. In confusion, people hurriedly started running here and there.


Then the elephant broke the brick boundary wall of a school and entered the playground of a school. Children playing in the playground. All the boys got afraid. they ran into their classes and shut the doors of classrooms.


Word Meaning
Grunted Made a sound through throat
Flatten To make flat
Uprooting Pulling out of the ground

The animal made a sound through his throat. It broke the boundary wall of the school which was constructed in bricks. It entered into the playground of the school. It pulled out goal-posts of football ground. It tore the volleyball net. Many drums had been kept in the playground. The elephant kicked all the drums and made them flat. It also pulled out many bushes that were planted around the playground.


Word Meaning
Meanwhile During this time. In the meantime
Terrace Rooftop
Depredation Destruction, Havoc

In the meantime all the teacher had climbed on the rooftop of the school building. From the terrace they watched the destruction being caused by the elephant. They were helpless. They could not do anything.


Word Meaning
Soul Person (in this para)
Inhabitants Residents
Entire Complete

Not a single person remained on the ground. All had either climbed to rooftop or had shut themselves behind doors. Every street of the village was empty.  It seemed as if all the residents of the village had suddenly disappeared.


Word Meaning
Junior class Between class 6 to 10
Came over me Influenced me, Occurred to me
Grabbed Snatched, Grasped, Held
Cane Stick

During those days I was studying in junior class of my school. I was observing the total incident standing on rooftop of the school. Suddenly something occurred to me. I did not know what that was. I snatched a stick from hands of a teacher. I then ran down the staircase and in the open paly ground.


Word Meaning
Menacingly Dangerously, Threateningly
Kicking up Throwing in air
Frightening Fearsome, Terrifying

The elephant made a sound through its throat. It dangerously started swinging a brach of tree. It was holding the branch by its trunk. It stamped its feet on ground. Lot of mud and dust was thrown in air because of stamping. It all lokked so terrifying. But I slowed moved towards the elephant. I was holding the stick in my hand.


Word Meaning
Hypnotised Fully engrossed, With full attention
Rush Move quickly
Trumpeted Made a voice, Shouted

People were standing on the rooftop of nearby houses. They were observing the scene with full attention. Eyes of elephant were red. It looked at me and started running towards me. It lifted its trunk and made a loud voice.


Word Meaning
Mustering Gathering, Summoned
Whack To strike with full force
Toenail Nail of the feet
Stunned Surprised
Shivered Trembled, Shook
From head to foot Whole body
Collapsed Fell down

Then, that very instant, I moved forward. I gathered all my force and with full force hit the third finger of it feet on the nail. The big animal was surprised for a moment. Then its whole body trembled and it fell down.


Word Meaning
Mumbling Speaking in a low and unclear voice
With rapt attention With full attention
Would be left hanging In suspense, Waiting for further discussion

After narrating to this extent, Iswaran would get up. He would not complete the story. He would start speaking in a low and unclear voice that he had to light the fire to heat the dinner. Mahendra had been listening to the story with full attention. Now he will have the suspense as to what had happened after that part of the story.


Word Meaning
Pick up the thread Start from where it was discontinued
Right away Immediately

When Iswaran returned, he would not start narrating the balance part of the story. Mahendra had to remind him that story was yet to be completed.


Word Meaning
Veterinary doctor A doctor that treats animals
Summoned Called
Revive To make conscious
Shrug Move shoulder

Then a veterinary doctor was called to bring the elephant to consciousness. Iswaran moved his shoulders and said that after two days the elephant was taken by its mahout to the jungle. Mahendra asked Iswaran how could he bring down the elephant and make it unconscious.


Word Meaning
Something to do with Related to
Paralyses Stops movements

Iswaran replied that it is related to a Japanese martial art, which called either Karat or ju-jitsu. He had read about it in a book. This trick stops movements of the nervous system for some time.


Word Meaning
Not a day passed Everyday
Recounting Narrating, Recalling
Packed with Full of
Credible True,
Inimitable Unique, Special

Every day Iswaran used to narrate a story. Every story used to be full of adventure, horror and suspense. Mahendra did not know if the story was a true story or just a narration. Mahendra enjoyed listening to the story because it was told in a unique and special manner.


Word Meaning
Make up Compensate, Be a good replacement of something

Mahendra did not have a TV in his house. But stories of Iswaran were a good replacement of TV.


Word Meaning
Auspicious Fortunate, Pious, Religious
Delicacies Special food, Special dishes
Ancestors Forefathers, Those who lived before present generation

One morning while Mahendra was having his breakfast, Iswaran asked him a question. He wanted permission of Mahendra to make special food for dinner. He said that that was a religious day. According traditions, special food was to be prepared. It was to feed the souls of forefathers.


Word Meaning
Delicious Tasty
Complimented Congratulated, Appreciated
Culinary skill Cooking skill
Launched into Started narrating
Garish account Unpleasant narration, Unpleasant description
Supernatural Spirit, Ghost

That night Iswaran prepared very tasty food for dinner. Mahendra certainly liked taste of that food. He appreciated the cooking skill of Iswaran. As such Iswaran was very happy to receive appreciation. But without any prior indication, he started narrating most unpleasant description about spirits and ghosts.


Word Meaning
Burial ground Graveyard,
Jerked out Taken out, Pulled out
Reverie In a happy mood
Drifted into Moved to

Iswaran told Mahendra that once upon a time the entire are of factory was a graveyard. The factory has been constructed on the graveyard. Mahendra had been in a happy mood after consuming an excellent food. But after listening to Iswaran he suddenly came out of the happy mood.


Word Meaning
Come across See, Find

Iswaran told Mahendra that he knew about it from the first day of their arrival .he had seen skull and bones of human being on a path of factory. Even these days Iswaran had seen many skulls and bones in the factory.


Word Meaning
Went on Continued

Iswaran continued to narrate. He told that sometimes he had seen ghosts at night. Iswaran did not easily get afraid because he was a brave person.


Word Meaning
Horrible Terrifying
Off and on Periodically, Often, Usually
Matted hair Hair tied together, Braid
Shriveled face Wrinkled face, A face having lines and folds
Skelton Bone structure of human being
Foetus Small baby

Iswaran further narrated that one terrifying ghost of a woman usually appears during full moon nights. It is very ugly looking ghost. It hair are tied together in the form of a braid. It has lot wrinkles on its face. It usually holds a small baby in its arms.


Word Meaning
Shivered Trembled
Interrupted Speak before other person has stopped talking
Sharply Aggressively, Angrily

After kistening to the narration Mahendra started trembling. He started speaking even before Iswaran  completed his description. Mahendra angrily told Iswaran that he had become mad. In this world things like ghost or spirits do not exist.


Word Meaning
Figment Invention, Creation

Mahendra told Iswaran that such things were merely creation of his imagination. Iswaran should go to doctor get his digestive system and his mind examined. Iswaran was talking nonsense things.


Word Meaning
Sulk Stop talking, Get annoyed
Cheerful Happy
Talkative One who talks a lot

Mahendra went out of the room and went sleep. He thought that Iswaran would be annoyed for some days. But next morning Mahendra was surprised to see that Iswaran was happy. He was also talking a lot as he would usually do.


Word Meaning
Brave talk Fearless words, Talks of bravery
Peered Looked
Vicinity Nearby

Though Mahendra had talked about being fearless but after that day he was bit uneasy while sleeping.  During every night he looked his room outside through his window. He would try to find if any movement was happening near his room in the darkness.


Word Meaning
Sea of darkness Darkness spread every where
Twinkling Sparkling, Shine that increases and decreases

But Mahendra could see only a darkness that was spread till very far from his room. Many miles away from his room he could see the twinkling lights of the factory.


Word Meaning
Admire Appreciate
Landscape Area
Altogether Completely, Totally

Durign full moon night, the moonlight falls on earth. This creates a milk white appearance to the entre landscape. Mahendra had liked to look at the such milk-white landscape appearance of landscape. But after hearing the story of female ghost. Mahendra completely stopped looking outside his window on a full moon night.


Word Meaning
Moan Voice of crying, Groan, Whine
Put it down Assigned, Thought
Prowling Moving in search of prey
Guttural Harsh sound produced through throat

Mahendra woke up during one night because of a low voice of crying of an animal. It seemed to him that the animal was crying just outside his window. Initially he thought that it was the voice of a cat that was searching for mice to eat. But the sound was a bit harsh. So it could not have been sound made by a cat.


Word Meaning
Resisted Tried to avoid, Control
Curiosity Eagerness
Lest he should Otherwise he would
Behold a sight See a scene
Wailing Sound of crying
Feline Related to cat, Cat-like
Temptation Allure, Desire to do something that one should not do

Mahendra tried to control his eagerness to look out of his window. He hought if looked outside he might see a scene which would be very frightening. His heart may stop beating and he may die because of fear. But the sound of crying of the animal became louder and louder. The sound did appear to have been made by a cat. Now he was not able to control the desire to look side.


Word Meaning
Windowsill Bottom most part of window
Not too far away Not at a great distance away
Clutching Holding
Broke into sweat Suddenly started sweating
Panting Breathing quickly through mouth

Mahendra came near the window. He bent upto the windosull and looked outside. The whole area appeared white because of the moon light of the moon. Not very far away from the window, Mahendra saw a figure which was not clearly visible. It appeared like a dark cloud. It was holding something.  Mahendra got afraid and suddenly he started sweating. He came to back to his bed. He was breathing had increased. 


Word Meaning
Gradually Slowly
Recovered Became normal,
Ghastly Frightening
Reason Logic
Reason with himself Think alone, Try to convince oneself
Auto suggestion Because of thoughts of oneself
Subconscious Imagination
Subconscious played on him His imagination affected him or overpowered him

Mahendra slowly became normal after that frightening experience. He began to think why did he see such a scene. He concluded that it must have been because of his own thoughts. Or his imagination had somehow affected him so much that he saw such a figure. Mahendra was trying to convince himself that such figures did not exist  in realty.


Word Meaning
Horror Fear
Faded Decreased

Mahendra got up in the morning, came out of his room to have breakfast. By this time, the fear of last night had reduced by a great extent.  He did not remember much about it. When Mahendra was going out to his work place, Iswaran met him at the gate of the quarter. Iswaran gave lunchbox and the bag to Mahendra.


Word Meaning
Grinned Smiled
Foetus Small child

The very moment Mahendra was going out of his house, Iswaran came smiling to him. Iswaran asked mahendra to recall the narration he had describe about the female ghost carrying a baby in her arms. At that time Mahendra had become very angry with Iswaran for imagining such things. But last night Mahendra had himself seen the ghost. Iswaran heard the groaning sound coming from the room of Mahendra. Iswaran had come to the room of Mahendra at that time.


Word Meaning
Chill Fear
Spine The main bone of back
Chill went down his spine He got frigthened
Handed in his papers Resigned from his job
Resolve Decide
Haunted place Place visited by where ghosts and spirts

Mahendra got frightened. He did not wait at the doorstep to listen to full sentence of Iswaran. He quickly went to his office. He resigned from his job. He did not want to stay at the place that was visited by ghosts and spirits. He wanted to leave the place the very next day.

RK Laxman



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