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Read the following passage carefully.
Many of us believe that “small” means “insignificant”. We believe that small actions and
choices do not have much impact on our lives. We think that it is only the big things, the big
actions and the big decisions that really count. But when you look at the lives of all great
people, you will see that they built their character through small decisions, small choices and
small actions that they performed every day. They transformed their lives through a step-by-
step or dayby-day approach. They nurtured and nourished their good habits and chipped
away at their bad habits, one step at a time. It was their small day-to-day decisions that added
up to make tremendous difference in the long run. Indeed, in matters of personal growth and
character building, there is no such thing as an overnight success.
Growth always occurs through a sequential series of stages. There is an organic process to
growth. When we look at children growing up, we can see this process at work: the child
first learns to crawl, then to stand and walk, and finally to run. The same is true in the natural
world. The soil must first be tilled, and then the seed must be sowed. Next, it must be
nurtured with enough water and sunlight, and only then will it grow, bear fruit and finally
ripen and be ready to eat.
Gandhi understood this organic process and used this universal law of nature to his benefit.
Gandhi grew in small ways, in his day-to-day affairs. He did not wake up one day and find
himself to be the “Mahatma”. In fact, there was nothing much in his early life that showed
signs of greatness. But from his midtwenties onwards, he deliberately and consistently
attempted to change himself, reform himself and grow in some small way every day. Day by
day, hour by hour, he risked failure, experimented and learnt from mistakes. In small and
large situations alike, he took up rather than avoid responsibility.
People have always marvelled at the effortless way in which Gandhi could accomplish the
most difficult tasks. He displayed great deal of self-mastery and discipline that was amazing.
These things did not come easily to him. Years of practice and disciplined training went into
making his successes possible. Very few saw his struggles, fears, doubts and anxieties, or his
inner efforts to overcome them. They saw the victory, but not the struggle.
This is a common factor in the lives of all great people: they exercised their freedoms and
choices in small ways that made great impact on their lives and their environment. Each of
their small decisions and actions, added up to have a profound impact in the long run. By
understanding this principle, we can move forward, with confidence, in the direction of our
dreams. Often when our “ideal goal” looks too far from us, we become easily discouraged,
disheartened and pessimistic. However, when we choose to grow in small ways, taking small
steps one at a time, performing it becomes easy.
On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer the following questions by
choosing the most appropriate option.
(1×4 = 4 Marks)
1. The main idea in the first paragraph is that
a. Big things, big actions and big decisions make a person great
b. Small actions and decisions are important in one’s life
c. Overnight success is possible for all of us
d. Personal changes are not important
2. What does the writer mean by saying ‘chipped away at their bad habits’?
a. Steadily gave up bad habits
b. Slowly produced bad habits
c. Gradually criticized bad habits
d. Did not like bad habits
3. Which of the following statements is true in the context of the third paragraph?
a. Gandhi became great overnight
b. Gandhi showed signs of greatness in childhood itself
c. Every day Gandhi made efforts to change himself in some small way
d. Gandhi never made mistakes
4. What is done by great people to transform their lives?
a. They approach life on a day-by-day basis
b. They build character in small ways
c. They believe in performing everyday
d. All of these
(II) Answer the following questions as briefly as possible. (1×6 = 6 Marks)
5. How do small actions and choices impact our lives?
6. Describe organic process of growth through an example from the text.
7. What according to the author is the ‘universal law of nature’?
8. How did Gandhi accomplish the most difficult tasks effortlessly?
9. Which things about Gandhi’s life were not seen by most people?
10. How can we achieve our ‘ideal goals’?
(III) Pick out words from the passage which are similar in meaning to the following: (2
a. intentionally / purposely (Paragraph 3)
b. of deep significance; far-reaching (Paragraph 5)
Q2. Read the following passage carefully.
South India is known for its music and for its arts and rich literature. Madras or Chennai can be
called the cultural capital and the soul of Mother India. The city is built low in pleasant contrast
to the ghoulish tall structures of Mumbai and Kolkata. It has vast open spaces and ample
greenery. The majestic spacious Mount Road looks like a river, wide and deep. A stroll on the
Marina beach in the evening with the sea glistening in your face is refreshing. The breeze
soothes the body, it refreshes the mind, sharpens the tongue and brightens the intellect.