Leela’s Friend – R K Narayan

Mr. Sivasankar was looking for a servant when Sidda came in. He appeared tidy. He said that he had been working for a doctor near the market and he was out of work as the doctor’s family left the town. Mr. Sivasankar sought his wife’s opinion on the matter. She too was positive about admitting Sidda.

While Mr. Sivasankar and wife were talking about this, their five year old daughter Leela came out. She liked Sidda and requested her parents not to send Sidda away. Thus, Sidda was appointed as servant at Leela’s house. Sidda was given two meals a day and four rupees a month. In return for this, he washed clothes, tended the garden, ran errands, chopped wood and looked after Leela.

Questions & Answers

  1. What was Mr. Sivasanker’s first remark of Sidda?
    Mr Sivasanker studied Sidda and remarked that he didn’t seem a bad sort. He observed that Sidda looked tidy.
  2. Why was Sidda’s request to work for Mr. Sivasanker readily accepted?
    When Sidda came knocking Mr. Sivasanker’s door in search of a job, Mr. Sivasanker was looking for a servant for his family. Besides, unlike the ordinary servants, Sidda looked tidy.
  3. Why was Mr. Sivasanker unable to make up his mind? How did he finally settle this crisis?
    Sivasankar didn’t trust servants after a couple of servants had left his service. They were all bad servants. On seeing Sidda, Sivasankar felt that he could prove worse than the other servants. Although he discussed this matter with his wife, Sivasankar could not reach a decision. However, when his daughter Leela exclaimed her approval of Sidda, Sivansankar admitted Sidda.
  4. What works were assigned to Sidda? What was he to earn?
    Sidda had to wash clothes, tend the garden, run errands, chop wood and look after Leela. For this, Sidda was given two meals a day and four rupees a month.
  5. Mr Sivasankar is a fickle minded man. Why do you think so?
    Although in the beginning Mr Sivasankar seems to be very careful, he didn`t have the impression that Sidda was one of the bad sort but Leela decides about Sidda`s role. Mr Sivasankar trusts his daughter. After a while, when the chain has been stolen, Mr. Sivasankar gets critical about him. He is informed by the police that Sidda was a criminal.
  6. How did Sidda prove to Leela that he knew the Moon?
    Sidda, in his attempt to be more friendly with Leela, had to tell her a couple of lies and one of them was that he could touch the Moon. He told her that he had touched the Moon several times, perched on a coconut palm. To prove that he knew the Moon, he showed Leela the Moon in the sky and then brought her to their well and showed her the Moon’s reflection in the water too. Seeing this, she was thrilled and asked him how he was able to make the Moon fall into the well and Sidda replied that he had asked the Moon to follow them to the well. Thus Leela believed Sidda.
  7. How did Leela play teacher to Sidda?
    Leela held a class for Sidda in her own childish manner. She had a box filled with catalogues, illustrated books and stumps of pencils. It gave her great joy to play the teacher to Sidda. She made him squat on the floor with a pencil between his fingers and a catalogue in front of him. She had another pencil and a catalogue and ordered Sidda to write. And he had to try and copy whatever she wrote in the pages of her catalogue. When she saw that Sidda could not be a good student, she would scold him like any teacher does. She would ask him if his was the way she taught him to write B or draw a crow. However, she pitied him and redoubled her efforts to teach him but Sidda could not write or draw. At times Leela would make him sit in his chair for very long time till his wrists cracked.
  8. How did Sidda escape from Leela’s punishments?
    At times Sidda got really tired of Leela’s long long lectures and punishments. He would then lied that Leela was being wanted by her mother for dinner. Hearing this, Leela would stop his classes and run to her mother.
  9. How do you understand Leela’s relationship with her parents?
    The relationship between Leela and her parents seems to be distanced. On the one hand, her father trusts her and lets Leela decide about appointing Sidda. The parents let Leela wear jewels and she is very free although she is only 5 years old. She is allowed to do a lot of things. But on the other hand, Sidda seems to be more important for Leela than her parents. When Leela lost the chain, her mother slapped her. Mrs Sivasanker is not able to tell her stories, although she is her mother. Leela told her parents that Sidda had not taken the chain but the Mr Sivashankar doesn’t believe her. He warns his daughter and lets her know to behave. All in all, the relationship between Leela and her parents was very much material and distanced.
  10. What family circumstances led to the unusual bond between Leela and Sidda?
    Leela’s parents were not remarkably anything to her. Her father had no time to spend with her and mother often scolded her. She was not fond of telling her stories which Leela was always crazy about. In fact all that Leela loved was stories. Sidda was an amazing story teller. He knew how to grab Leela’s heart by telling unfailing stories about anything. He told her incomparable stories of animals in the jungle, of gods in heaven, of magicians who could conjure up golden castles and fill them with little princesses and their pets. Day by day she clung closer to him. She insisted upon having his company all her waking hours. She was at his side when he was working in the garden or chopping wood, and accompanied him when he was sent on errands. Thus, as days passed by, Sidda became her constant companion.
  11. What incident led to Sidda’s being suspected for theft?
    One evening Sidda went out to buy sugar and Leela went with him. When they came home, Leela’s mother noticed that a gold chain Leela had been wearing was missing. When Sidda was called in to ask about this, she thought that he looked queer. She asked him about the chain. His throat went dry. He blinked and answered that he did not know. She mentioned the police and shouted at him. When she returned from the kitchen, Sidda had vanished into the night. This hardened her suspicion upon Sidda.
  12. Write a character sketch of Mr. Sivasankar.
    Mr. Sivasanker is a product of the so called city life. He was not a pint loyal to Sidda as Sidda was to his family. At the end of the story Mr. Sivasanker has got a new knowledge of Sidda and does not want him back at his home to work for them. He only has Siddas criminal activities in mind which he had done before. As to his daughter, he brings up Leela like a bird in a golden cage. He doesn’t have any time to play with his child.
  13. How did Leela react when sidda ran away from their house?
    When Leela was told that Sidda had fled after stealing, Leela was greatly disturbed. She was not the least angry with him for stealing the gold but for abandoning her.
  14. Why was Leela’s mother disturbed although Sidda had run away?
    Her mind was disturbed. The thought of Sidda made her panicky. The fellow, with his knowledge of the household, might come in at night and loot. She shuddered to think what a villain she had been harbouring all these days. It was God’s mercy that he hadn’t killed the child for the chain.
  15. How does the author present Leela’s character different from those of her parents? (Included – Describe the character of leela)
    Both, Leela and her parents represent childish innocence and complicated adulthood. Leela didn’t like the way her parents treated their servant. She wanted Sidda to be allowed to sit and sleep the way they did. She didn’t conceive the idea of discrimination. She was of the opinion that Sidda ran away because of the harsh way he had been dealt with.

Under Construction

  1. Why did Sidda run away?
    Mr Sivasanker came home an hour later, grew very excited over all this, went to the police station and lodged a complaint. After her meal Leela refused to go to bed. ‘I won’t sleep unless Sidda comes and tells me stories . . . I don’t like you, Mother. You are always abusing and worrying Sidda. Why are you so rough?’
  2. What is the summary of communication between sivasanker and sidda?
  3. Was Sidda really a criminal? If he was, why didn’t he steal anything from Leela’s house?
    By the time Sivasanker returned, Leela had fallen asleep. He said, ‘What a risk we took in engaging that fellow. It seems he is an old criminal. He has been in jail half a dozen times for stealing jewellery from children. From the description I gave, the inspector was able to identify him in a moment.’
  4. ‘Where is he now?’ asked the wife. ‘The police know his haunts. They will pick him up very soon, don’t worry. The inspector was furious that I didn’t consult him before employing him . . .’
  5. Four days later, just as Father was coming home from the office, a police inspector and a constable brought in Sidda. Sidda stood with bowed head. Leela was overjoyed. ‘Sidda! Sidda!’ she cried, and ran down the steps to meet him.

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

Comments (12)

Leave a comment
    • Samarr

    • May 6, 2017

    Describe the character of leela

    • Abhijit ghosh

    • July 10, 2017

    Describe the character of sidda

    • Aniket

    • July 10, 2017

    How did Leela react when sidda ran away from their house

    • ramesh

    • July 18, 2017

    Was sidda thief

    1. No, he was not.

    • Chanda

    • July 23, 2017

    Good evrthing…..

    • Mudassir

    • July 24, 2017

    What is the summary of communication between sivasanker and sidda

    • sariful

    • August 14, 2017

    1)What is the summary of communication between sivasanker and sidda?
    2)How did Leela react when sidda ran away from their house?
    3)Describe the character of leela

    1. Answers are published. Please check!!!

    • suraj bhuiya

    • October 14, 2017

    Nice kahani

    • Satyam Choudhary

    • November 16, 2017

    Please reply my question
    1.Relationship between Leela and sidda?
    2.Characteristics of mister Shiva shankar
    3.What the point define that mister Shiva shankar was a confused man

    • Md sarfaraz

    • January 30, 2018

    Why was the police inspector furious with Mr.Sivasanker?

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