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THE TALE OF THE MELON CITY BY- VIKRAM SETH ' The Tale of Melon City ' is a satire

on the ' just and placid king '.In an amusing way the poet, Vikram Seth narrates the tale of the Melon city where the King ordered that an arch should be built and so the workmen built the arch but when the King came under the arch, his crown fell off as the arch was built too low. The King thought of it as a disgrace and ordered that the chief of builders be hanged. The chief of builders claimed that it was the workmen's fault but the workmen shifted the blame to the masons and the masons accused the architect. The architect said he wasn't guilty because it was the King himself who made amendments when he saw the architect's plan, hearing this the King said that he needs some advice,so the wisest man was found and carried to the court because he was very old and thus very wise. The wisest man suggested that the culprit must be hanged.The King sensed the mood of the crowd and announced that a hanging must take place. The noose was set but it was set very high and only one man fitted it who was the King himself, therefore the King was hanged.Now, a new King was to be found,the Ministers announced that the first person to pass the City Gate will choose the new king. An idiot passed the City Gate and when the ministers told him that he has to name a King, he replied that a melon should be proclaimed the King, he said so because it was his standard answer to all the questions as he liked melons. Even years later, the people have no problem from their King, a melon, no constraint is imposed on them, that is, there is lawlessness in the State and miscreants can do anything they want.
The order of orders
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Chief of builders Workmen Mason Architect The king blamed for the amendments in the plan The Arch Any man who fits the height of the noose The king was finally killed. The next to pass city gate will decide the king. An idiot passed by city gate He decided to crown a melon as king(it was his standard answer as he liked melons) People remained happy as they lived in peace and liberty. Laissez faire Principle established as ruler didnt interfere in affairs of people.

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BIRTH Snapshots Chapter Exercise Questions)


Question-1: "I have done something: oh, God! I've done something real at last. Why does Andrew say this? What does it mean? Answer-1: Dr. Andrew Manson, a young doctor just returned from a medical college with no experience was a newbie in this profession. He had opened his own surgical chamber in the neighborhood of drillers which was not going well. One day at around midnight he was informed by Joe Morgan that his wife was in labour and needed medical help. Joe and his wife, Susan Morgan married nearly twenty years ago were expecting their first child. Joe and his mother-in-law were feeling very nervous because the delivery of child was going to be before time. It took a long, tiresome effort of the doctor to complete the delivery. But unfortunately, Susan Morgan gave birth to an almost stillborn child and her own health condition started deteriorating. The doctor became sad as well as afraid since this shock could be too much for the Morgans to bear. He was in a dilemma as to whose life he should save first. Dr. Andrew Manson had never faced such a difficult case before. Being a doctor, it was his duty to save a life. However, with his terrible efforts ultimately, he could save both lives. First, he saved the mother who lay collapsed, almost pulse less and then an almost stillborn baby that was nothing less than a miracle. He thanked God and felt a sense of relief. As a doctor, he felt contented that at last he had done something successful. Therefore, he said the above words as he derived an immense satisfaction as a doctor. It was not only his duty that he had done, but he had brought life to both mother and child filling the Morgan family joy.

Question-2: "There lies a great difference between textbook medicine and the world of a practising physician". Discuss. Answer-2: There lies a great difference between textbook medicine and the world of a practising physician. Textbooks provide doctor information regarding the symptoms of an ailment and the specific medicines for the treatment to be administered. However, the reality is stranger than fiction. A practising physician has to deal with all kinds of situations. Sometimes the textbook medicines and treatments don't click. Every doctor has to decide each case on merit. While practising a doctor has to bring in several innovations keeping in view the complexity of the case. This is exactly what happens with Andrew Manson. He acts not strictly according to the textbook but acts instinctively. The results are wonderful. Here Andrew rightly diagnosed the symptoms that the child was suffering from asphyxia pallida. It was a case of suffocation or unconsciousness caused by the lack of oxygen and excess of carbon dioxide in the blood, accompanied by paleness of the skin, weak pulse, and loss of reflexes. He knew treatment and gave it to the child also, but the child did not respond. Then Andrew used an innovation and the child recovered. Hence, a practising physician has to use his brain along with his experience and knowledge of textbook medicines

KEY POINTS

Andrew was returning home after a disappointing visit with his lady love, Catherine. Andrew Manson did not expect this to be a particularly monumental night of his career He was returning from a long journey which saw him home as late as midnight. Exhausted, he found Joe Morgan, anxious and somewhat scared, waiting for him. Morgan's wife was in labour, before the expected date. This is their first child in a marriage of nearly twenty years. Joe Morgan seemed to trust Andrew implicitly. However, the community might not as evident in the novel. The presence of the midwife before the doctor arrived and Mrs. Morgan's reluctance to take anaesthesia reflected the lack of complete faith in modern medicine Hopes riding on the delivery: the parents' as well as the grandmother's. Dr. Manson reassured the grandmother and told her that both the mother and the baby shall be fine. Andrew waited in the kitchen reflecting on the information he had gleaned earlier in the night which showed him that most marriages were dismal failures. However, he felt that Catherine was an exception. The labour led to a stillborn baby. Initially, Andrew felt suddenly overwhelmed with the enormity of the situation and the many hopes he had dashed despite his initial reassurance. In moments though, Andrew's training kicked in. He instinctively decided to save the mother first, handing the baby over to the midwife. The midwife, who had no medical training, saw the body in her arms as a lifeless lump and placed it under the bed among sodden newspapers. Andrew took the baby out from under the bed and quickly diagnosed the most probable cause for the still birth i.e. Asphyxia, pallida. He recalled a method he had once observed through which a child had been successfully resuscitated. He tried: the simultaneous hot and cold dips to shock the body and get the heart to jump start, then rubbed the baby's body with a rough towel crushing and releasing the little chest as a form of CPR. On the verge of giving up, a medical miracle occured. The child finally began to breathe. The author described the mucus as a joyful iridescent bubble because it was the first sign of life in the stillborn baby. Andrew redoubled his efforts till the baby was safe. As he left the house, he realised that he had truly saved a life that night fulfilling the purpose of his profession. For the first time in his life, he felt he had done something 'real', something worthwhile.

THE MIDWIFE AND ANDREW Beliefs of the small town: The midwife is present in the house before the doctor arrives. The mining community did not have complete faith in modern medicine and perhaps, preferred to have someone older, more experienced and traditional present during a birth. Yet, Joe Morgan trusted Andrew completely. Contrasting personalities: The midwife is a foil to Andrew. She feels hopeless, resigned, helpless, fearful and untrained. On the other hand, Andrew proves to be more optimistic, diligent, efficient, self-sufficient, spontaneous and well-trained.

THE TITLE OF THE EXCERPT Literally, the 'Birth' refers to the stillborn baby who was revived after great struggle. Symbolically, the title also refers to the birth of a true doctor who finally felt worthy of his title and confident about his future. The child's birth also ushers many new relationships such as that of a grandmother, father and mother.