Short Summaries of Lessons: Second Year

The 3Ls of Empowerment

The speech of Christine Lagarde is about the importance of women's empowerment in today's world, particularly in terms of economic participation. The author suggests that this requires a concerted effort focused on "learning, labor, and leadership." Education is necessary to break the chains of exclusion, but it is not enough on its own. Women also need better access to work opportunities and to be paid equally for the same work. Finally, women need to be encouraged and empowered to take on leadership roles and overcome the barriers they currently face. The author believes that creating an equal society will benefit everyone.

Any Woman

The poem "Any Woman" written by Katharine Tynan is a reflection on the role and importance of women in society. The speaker compares women to the pillars of a house, the keystone of an arch, and the fire upon the hearth, highlighting their essential nature in maintaining the stability and warmth of a home. The speaker also emphasizes the importance of women in raising and nurturing children, describing them as the "light of love alive" and the "twist that holds together" families. The poem ends with a touching prayer by the mother to not take her till her children grow up.


The story "Matchbox" is about a woman named Nomita and her husband Ajit. Ajit has a habit of opening and reading Nomita's mail before giving it to her. This behavior has led to a suspicion in Nomita's mind that Ajit may be withholding some of her mail. Nomita's mother often writes to her about her financial struggles, and Ajit often laughs and dismisses the letters, suggesting that they are not worth reading. This behavior causes Nomita to feel ashamed and humiliated. She even forbids her mother from writing to her on postcards. The story portrays the theme of women's autonomy and freedom being limited by men, and the way in which men can use this power to control women's lives.


The anecdote "Horegallu" is about people who act as horegallus in the lives of others.  Sudha Murty's grandfather was such a person.  He used to listen to the problems and worries shared by the villagers sitting on a horegallu.  Later in Mumbai the author met a modern day horegallu named Ratna. She would often listen to her colleagues when they had problems or troubles. The author, who was young at the time, was skeptical of Ratna's approach and questioned how listening could solve problems. But Ratna explained that she did not have the answers and that people had to solve their own problems, but by listening to them with sympathy and without judgement, she was able to help them relieve half their burden. The author realized that Ratna's small acts of kindness were a form of social service that made a positive impact in the society.

Mending Wall

'Mending Wall' is a poem by the famous American poet Robert Frost.  It is about two neighbors mending the wall between their properties during spring.  The poet thinks that a wall is unnecessary as both of them are growing different crops.  But the neighbour insists that 'good fences make good neighbours'. The wall in the poem serves as a symbol of the human tendency to build barriers, both literal and figurative, in order to separate themselves from others.

Amigo Brothers

"Amigo Brothers" is a short story by Piri Thomas about two childhood friends, Antonio and Felix, who are amateur boxers and training for a big match against each other. The story explores their deep friendship, their shared passion for boxing, and the challenges they face as they prepare for the fight. The story highlights the themes of loyalty, brotherhood, and the sacrifices one must make in order to achieve their dreams. In the end, the fight takes place and both fighters make every effort to win, but in the end, only one can be the victor. The story ends with the two friends reconciling their differences and embracing each other, showing that their bond is stronger than any competition.
The Hour of Truth
'The Hour of Truth' is a one act play by Percival Wilde.  The central character is Robert Baldwin who works in a bank owned by John Gresham.  After committing a financial misappropriation in the bank Gresham is facing trial.  The only witness against him is Baldwin.  Although Gresham is his childhood friend, he holds his principles more important than his friendship.  He is not ready to accept the bribe Gresham offers.  His honesty is rewarded in the end.  He is offered a better position in a bigger bank.

When a Sapling is Planted

Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contributions to sustainable development, democracy, and peace. In her acceptance speech, she acknowledged the role of the environment in peace and security, and she stressed the importance of community-based conservation efforts. She also spoke about the importance of empowering women and giving them a voice in decision-making. Conservation of the environment and preservation of biodiversity is possible only in a democratic space. She ended her speech by calling on everyone to work together to create a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

Rice is a poem by Chemmanam Chacko.  It was originally written in Malayalam and later translated into English by K Ayyappa Panicker.  The first part poem is the wishful thinking of the poet about his village.  He is returning after four years of research in North India.  But the second part of the poem presents the reality which is far from his expectations.  The poem is a criticism against the shift in agricultural practices from food crops to cash crops.
A Three Wheeled Revolution
In the interview given to Sujatha Ramprasad, Irfan Alam shares his experience as a successful social entrepreneur.  From an early age he had a talent for entrepreneurship.  He organized the rikshaw pullers of Bihar and helped them to increase their income by 40%.  He says that students should consider entrepreneurship as a career opportunity.  It is important to take calculated risks to achieve your dream.


Shaheen Mistry is a social entrepreneur who started Akanksha Foundation to educate slum children. She was motivated to serve underprivileged children while she was still a student. In this autobiographical article, she narrates the difficulties she faced while starting the foundation.  But by mobilizing volunteers, she was able to make Akanksha a successful endeavor.

Stammer is a philosophical poem by K Satchidanandan,  The poet presents stammer as a mode of speech, not a handicap.  Stammer is the gap between word and its meaning.  As a society we stammer when we have to speak truth to power. Language which is a creation of man is imperfect probably because man himself is imperfect.  By that logic God too must have stammered while creating man, because man inherited his imperfection from his creator.

Crime and Punishment
The story is about a teacher who is trying to teach a boy math but is struggling because the boy is being contrary and not following the teacher's instructions. The teacher becomes frustrated and eventually slaps the boy's face, causing him to cry. The boy's parents have different views on how to raise the child and the teacher feels caught in the middle of it. The boy makes a threat to tell his mother and the teacher is left in a state of panic, unsure of what to do next. The story ends with the boy demanding to end the lesson for the day and the teacher is left to deal with the aftermath of his actions. 

This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit
This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit" is a humorous poem written by Ogden Nash. The poem is about a visit to a dentist and the patient's fear and anticipation of the pain that is to come. Nash uses wit and sarcasm to poke fun at the situation and ease the reader's anxiety about going to the dentist. The poem is light-hearted and meant to be entertaining, rather than informative.

Post Early for Christmas

'Post Early for Christmas' is a humorous one act play by R H Wood.  During the Christmas rush in a post office, several humorous events take place.  One customer says that there was news about a parcel containing a time bomb.  Just then a foreign tourist comes to send a parcel.  When the parcel makes ticking sound everyone thinks that it is a time bomb.  But actually, it is found to be a clock.



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