Solved Short Questions ‘Reach for the Top’
1. Why was the ‘holy man’ who gave Santosh’s mother his blessings surprised?
Santosh was born in a society where the birth of a son was considered a blessing. Assuming that every family wished to have a son, the ‘holy man’ gave his blessing to Santosh’s mother but he was surprised to see that the unborn child’s grandmother had the courage to say that they did not want a son particularly.
2. How was Santosh different from other girls her age?
Santosh was the only daughter in a family with five sons. She was different from other girls her age since the very beginning as she began living her life on her own terms. While other girls wore traditional Indian clothes, she wore shorts. At the age of sixteen, when most of the girls in the village were supposed to get married, she decided to go for higher studies.
3. Why was Santosh sent to a local school?
Santosh belonged to an affluent family of landowners. Her parents could easily afford to send her to the best schools, even to New Delhi as it was very close to where they used to live but following the existing custom and prejudices in the family, they sent Santosh to a local village school.
4. When did Santosh leave home for Delhi? Why?
In Santosh’s village, most of the girls used to get married at the age of sixteen and, naturally, when she turned sixteen, her parents forced her to get married. But she wished to get a proper education first. So, she made it a point that she would never marry if she is not allowed to pursue higher studies. Following her instincts, she left home and got herself enrolled in a school in Delhi.
5. Why did Santosh’s parents agree to pay for her schooling in Delhi?
When Santosh’s parents refused to pay for her education, she told them that she would work part-time to earn money to pay her school fees by herself. After seeing her dedication and determination to study more, her parents eventually agreed to pay for her schooling in Delhi.
6. How did Santosh begin to climb mountains?
When Santosh joined Maharani College, she lived in Kasturba Hostel. Her room faced the Aravali Hills and she could watch the villagers going up the hill and suddenly disappearing after some time. One day she felt like checking it out herself. So, she went up the hills but found no one except a few mountaineers. She asked if she could join them and they welcomed her pleasantly. They motivated her to climb and since then she didn’t turn back.
7. What incidents during the Everest expedition show Santosh’s concern for her teammates?
Santosh was very considerate and helpful towards her fellow climbers. During the 1992 Everest mission, she provided special care to a climber who was almost dying at the South Col. She tried her best but, unfortunately, she couldn’t save him. But she managed to save another climber by sharing her oxygen with him.
Solved Long Questions ‘Reach for the Top’
1. Give a brief character sketch of Santosh.
Santosh is the only woman in the whole world who has scaled Mt. Everest twice. She was a rebel from the very beginning. She was born in a small village of Joniyawas of Rewari district in Haryana. But that did not stop her from living her life on her own terms. She was rational and ambitious. She was courageous enough to fight the existing irrational norms and customs of the society. She was smart in figuring out the solution to her problems. When her parents forced her to get married at the age of sixteen, she was sensible enough to convince them to let her pursue higher studies instead. She was polite yet resolute.
She prepared herself well enough to deal with any obstacles that came her way. She was emotionally stable and mentally strong. She was physically fit to climb Mt. Everest twice. Apart from her skills as a climber, her concern for her fellow climbers and the desire to help the ones in need, defined her more as a strong and considerate person.
2. How does Santosh describe her feelings at the summit of the Everest?
When Santosh was at the top of the world, it took her some to realize that she actually did it. It took her some time to let the enormity of the moment sink in. It was a big achievement. She unfurled the Indian flag and held it high on the mountain. It was an overwhelming feeling for her. The Indian flag was at the top of the world, flying. It was a moment that was marked in her memories for life. It was a spiritual moment for her and she felt extremely proud as an Indian. She did it for herself and for the country. Her actions secured for herself and for India recognition and glory.