Directions (1-7): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below them. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
The dark waters of the Rio Negro swirled with the strong breeze as I peered excitedly out of the open motor boat along the fringes of the Amazon forests. We had left the harbour at Manaus more than an hour ago, with the rain drumming over the stretched tarpaulin overhead. Soon, we would be near the famed confluence of the rivers. The River Negro was so called because of the darkness of the waters. But if you were to scoop some into your palms, the water would sparkle in its natural transparency. After some distance, the water merges with the River Solimoes, and here we were cruising along the waves of the intersection (Encontro das Aguas, as the Brazilians say). It is quite strange that when the yellowish-whitish Solimoes runs into the dark waters of the Negro, there is no intermingling. Together, they pour into the Amazon, and the river mouth is so wide that I couldn’t see the horizon any more. The Amazon is no doubt widest at this point.
After pulling over to a couple of houseboats which strategically mark off territories and offer short breaks with refreshments and facilities, we move in silence into the Amazon forests. At first, the forests appear as blotches in the distance merging with the darkness of the cloudy skies and the moving waters below, and then they begin to close in overhead. The last remaining rainforests of the Brazilian Amazon are exotic and exciting. My heart kept beating with the thrill of boyhood dreams being realised; marvelling at the sheer majestic heights of the trees and the lushness of the fronds and creepers. I even forgot my camera dangling from my neck; the experience was exhilarating. There were strange bird calls and the intense smell of wet earth hung over everything.
In my childhood, I used to imagine that if one were to keep digging a tunnel into the earth, one could end up on the other side of the globe, and so from my part of the world I could perhaps surface in the heart of the Amazon in Brazil! Later, when I came across Latin American literature, the phrase magical realism proffered such possibilities in the world of imagination. Of course, I had travelled across deserts and rivers and traversed mountains and seas on the magic carpet of creativity long enough. Nevertheless, my journey to Brazil and to the fringes of the Amazon was a dream come true. When I was invited to deliver a plenary lecture at the International Conference on the Demise of Nature organised at the Federal University of Amazonas in Manaus, I was excited at the prospect of entering the almost pristine Amazonian rainforests. And finally here I was in a boat over the legendary river, alive and in the thick of my dream.
Recalling the 1997 adventure film Anaconda by Peruvian director Luis Llosa shot around this area, I was disappointed that I did not encounter the snake! A brief albeit tiring trek allowed me to take a peek into the jungle’s secrets. It is a mixture of awe and calm that descends in the sublimity of silence deep within. After all, only when you have to leave a place do you realise the brevity of your being there. One lifetime is certainly not enough to explore the magnificence of the Amazon. As a Russian friend had long ago advised me, I silently toss a coin overboard, praying for my return to this same spot sometime soon enough. “Amazonia!” some of the young people with us sing and dance with the moving waters, as we break the spell of the magical circle of the jungle. The indigenous tribal village that we move into soon becomes a space for cultural interaction. The Tupe Indians had organised a ritual dance to entertain us. The high-pitched flutes and their swaying rhythms were bewitching. In the intense quiet of the jungle I watched a small boat dance in the wind and waters. Not many people from my part of the world are fortunate enough to see this, I thought. All the way back as the boat rocked in the wind, the rhythms of the dance echoed in my insides: Amazonas!
Q1. What is the writing style used by the Author in the passage above?
Q2. Which of the following can be the most appropriate title for the passage above?
(a) Amazon in Brazil
(b) River Negro and River Solimoes
(c) The Confluence of Rivers: The Amazing Amazon
(d) In the river of dreams: exploring the Amazon
(e) Travelling to Amazon : a legendary river
Q3. Which of the following statements are incorrect in context with the passage?
(I) The yellowish-whitish Solimoes and the dark waters of the Negro do not intermingle and pour directly into the Amazon.
(II) The Amazon freshwater greatly dilutes the salinity of the ocean, and the colour difference persists over an area of 2.5 million square kilometres.
(III) The adventure film Anaconda was shot around the area of the River Amaon.
(a) Only (I)
(b) Only (II)
(c) Only (III)
(d) Both (I) and (II)
(e) Both (II) and (III)
Q4. What is the famed confluence of rivers being talked about in the first paragraph of the passage above?
(a) The famous harbour at Manaus.
(b) The darkness of the water of River Negro.
(c) The famous junction of River Negro and River Solimoes.
(d) The colours of River Negro and River Solimoes.
(e) The intermingling of River Negro in Amazon.
Q5. Which of the following can be inferred as the theme of the passage?
(a) Dams have been built along the Amazon River and its tributaries to produce hydroelectricity.
(b) Given the size of the Amazon River, it is not surprising that it shelters an impressive mix of communities, sea creatures, and lush vegetation.
(c) Not only was it a trip of a lifetime, it was a life changing experience that confirmed the Author’s decision to make a late life career change from veterinary practice to ecology-based field work.
(d) The Amazon River is more than just one river, hundreds of small streams join larger ones until they reach the Amazon itself.
(e) The Amazon’s dark forbidding heart is a place for chills, thrills and wonderful calm.
Q6. Choose the word which is MOST SIMILAR to the word given in passage.
Q7. Choose the word which is most opposite to the following word given in bold in the passage.
Directions (8-10): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below them. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
India’s diversity has inspired many writers to pen their perceptions of the country’s culture. These writings paint a complex and often conflicting picture of the culture of India. India is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse countries in the world. The concept of “Indian culture” is a very complex and complicated matter. Indian citizens are divided into various ethnic, religious, caste, linguistic and regional groups, making the realities of “Indianness” extremely complicated. This is why the conception of Indian identity poses certain difficulties and presupposes a series of assumptions about what concisely the expression “Indian” means. However, despite this vast and heterogeneous composition, the creation of some sort of typical or shared Indian culture results from some inherent internal forces (such as a robust Constitution, universal adult franchise, flexible federal structure, secular educational policy, etc.) and from certain historical events (such as Indian Independence Movement, Partition, wars against Pakistan, etc.)
According to industry consultant Eugene M. Makar, for example, traditional Indian culture is defined by a relatively strict social hierarchy. He also mentions that from an early age, children are reminded of their roles and places in society. This is reinforced, Makar notes, by the way many believe gods and spirits have an integral and functional role in determining their life. Several differences such as religion divide the culture. Strict social taboos have governed many groups for thousands of years, claims Makar. In recent years, particularly in cities, some of these lines have blurred and sometimes even disappeared. He writes important family relations extend as far as 1 gotra, the mainly patrilinear lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. In rural areas & sometimes in urban areas as well, it is common that three or four generations of the family live under the same roof. The patriarch often resolves family issues.
Others have a different perception of Indian culture. According to an interview with C.K. Prahalad by Des Dearlove, author of many best selling business books, modern India is a country of very diverse cultures with many languages, religions and traditions. Children begin by coping and learning to accept and assimilate in this diversity. Prahalad – who was born in India and grew up there – claimed, in the interview, that Indians, like everyone else in the world, want to be treated as unique, as individuals, want to express themselves and seek innovation. In another report, Nancy Lockwood of Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest human resources association with members in 140 countries, writes that in the past two decades or so, social change in India is in dramatic contrast to the expectations from traditional Indian culture. These changes have led to Indian families giving education opportunities to girls, accepting women working outside home, pursuing a career, and opening the possibility for women to attain managerial roles in corporate India. Lockwood claims that change is slow, yet the scale of cultural change can be sensed from the fact that of India’s 397 million workers, 124 million are now women. The issues in India with women empowerment are similar to those elsewhere in the world.
Q8. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about the India and its Culture?
(a) India is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse countries in the world.
(b) Indian citizens are divided into various ethnic, religious, caste, linguistic and regional groups
(c) Traditional Indian culture is defined by a relatively strict social hierarchy.
(d) Both (a) and (b)
(e) All of the Above
Q9. Which of the following statements is/are correct in context with the passage?
(I) Out of India’s 397 million workers, 124 million are now women.
(II) Modern India is a country of very diverse cultures with many languages, religions and traditions.
(III) In rural areas & sometimes in urban areas as well, it is common that three or four generations of the family live under the same roof.
(a) Only (I)
(b) Only (III)
(c) Both (I) and (II)
(d) All of the Above
(e) None of the Above
Q10. Which of the following can be the most appropriate title for the passage above?
(a) India’s Diversity
(b) Indian Independence Movement
(c) Perceptions of Indian culture
(d) India’s Religious Side
(e) Cultures and Ethics
Sol. The writing style used by the Author is Descriptive. The author is painting a picture in words and describing the place.
Sol. The most appropriate title for the passage above is “In the river of dreams: exploring the Amazon” as it was a dream come true for the author while exploring the Amazon.
Sol. Only statement (II) is incorrect. Nothing about the area of colour difference has been given in the passage.
Sol. In paragraph 1, it is given that the famed confluence of rivers is the intermixing of River Negro and River Solimoes.
Sol. The writer describes the Amazon beautifully with his words which depicts it as a place for chills, thrills and weonderful calm. Thus, option (e) is the correct choice here.
Sol. Brevity: concise and exact use of words in writing or speech.
Concision: the quality of being concise
Permanence: the state or quality of lasting or remaining unchanged indefinitely.
Longevity: long existence or service.
Prolixity: the use of too many words to express an idea
Garrulous: excessively talkative, especially on trivial matters.
Sol. Bewitching: having an often mysterious or magical power to attract
Repulsive: causing intense displeasure, disgust, or resentment
Winsome: having qualities that tend to make one loved
Enthralling: holding the attention or provoking interest
Glamorous: excitingly or mysteriously unusual
Captivating: capable of attracting and holding interest; charming.
Sol. All statements can be inferred from paragraph 1 and 2 of the passage.
Sol. All the statements are true and correct.
For Statement (I), refer the last three lines of the passage.
For Statement (II), refer last paragraph first 3 lines.
For Statement (III), refer second paragraph.
Sol. The most appropriate title for the passage above is “Perceptions of Indian culture “.