The Comet – II
Textual Questions and Exercises
Q1. “For a moment James wondered if he had done his sums right.” Why was James doubtful about his sums and calculations?
Ans. James became doubtful about his sums and calculations when he looked up from his window and saw a star-studded night sky. He knew that somewhere amongst those stars was Comet Dutta, which was heading for a collision with the earth. It was hard for him to believe the calamity of the future on such a peaceful night.
Q2. What did the scientists at the conference say about James’s ‘sums’?
Ans. After rechecking James’ sum for the umpteenth time the scientist arrived at the horrifying conclusion that James was right. There was just a feeble chance of the comet scraping through the earth’s atmosphere. Even then also it would have caused great damage.
Q3. Immediate action was needed, the scientists decided. Give one example each of ‘defensive’ and ‘offensive’ action mentioned in the text.
Ans. The defensive action discussed by the scientists was to live in underground bunkers. The offensive action was to marginally deflect Comet Dutta from its path by giving it a push. This could be done by placing nuclear payload in a spaceship, sending it to intercept the approaching comet and detonating it by remote control.
Q4. “I am not buying any Christmas presents till December 15.” What did Sir John mean by that?
Ans. Sir John meant that he was not very sure that they would succeed in their operation. December 15 was the date when if the experiment failed, the comet would hit the earth.
Q5. What is Duttada expected to do on his return from London?
Ans. Duttada was expected to perform a shanti yajna on his return from London. This yajna was to be performed to pacify the supposed evil spirit behind the comet.
Q6. What is his reaction to the proposal?
Ans. Duttada reacted very angrily to the proposal and said that it was all superstition. So he refused to participate in the yajna.
Q7. (i) What does ‘Project Light Brigade’ refer to?
(ii) What does Sir John say about the Project in his letter to Duttada in October?
Ans. (i) ‘Project Light Brigade’ referred to the plans to deflect the comet’s path by nuclear explosion.
(ii) In his letter to Duttada in October, Sir John said that the charge of the Light Brigade had begun and that they hoped for the best. It meant that the spaceship with the payload had been launched on time.
Q8. Did Sir John buy Christmas presents on December 15? How didDuttada get to know about it?
Ans. Yes, Sir John bought Christmas presents on December 15. Duttada got to know about it in the letter that Sir John had written to him, saying that he was confident of buying Christmas presents on December 15, indicating that the project was successful.
Q9. Why, according to Indrani Debi, had the comet not been disastrous? Do you agree with her?
Ans. According to Indrani Debi, the comet had not proved to be disastrous because of the yajna that had been performed in their house.
No, the yajna had no impact upon the comet. The project undertaken by the scientists prevented the comet from colliding with the earth, thereby saving earth and all its inhabitants from destruction.
Q10. Is Duttada’s general outlook
Choose the right word. Say why you think it right.
Ans. Duttada’s general outlook is rational. He is a scientist and he has a scientific outlook. He knows what the Comet are. He knows that there is no connection between the appearance of comets and misfortunes of the earth.