In The Portrait of  a Lady by Khushwant Singh, what are the three phases of the author’s relationship with his grandmother before he leaves the country to study abroad?  

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Portrait of a Lady by Khushwant Singh traces the phases of a boy's relationship with his grandmother while growing up. At first there is an inter-dependency which satisfies the needs of a young boy and the yearnings of an old lady. The grandmother is tasked with caring for her grandson because his parents have moved to the city and the boy and his grandmother will only follow later. The boy is happy for his grandmother to accompany him wherever he goes and she is happy to make a substantial contribution to the boy's upbringing. 

The relationship changes when the boy and his grandmother move to the city to live with his parents. The boy is less dependent on his grandmother taking the bus to school and forming relationships with his peers. Although they share a room at home they no longer have the same interests. The grandmother is fearful of modern teaching methods and a lack of scripture at school. She must rely on the fact that she has taught him well (although uneducated herself). 

When the boy goes to university he no longer shares a room with his grandmother. He is now a young man and the room of his own symbolizes his independence. Even though his relationship with his grandmother has changed significantly and her role has changed as the boy has grown up, their love and respect for each other never changes. As far as the boy is concerned his grandmother has "been old and wrinkled for the twenty years I have known her." She has been a steadfast example in his life.

dafe | Student

The relationship  between grandmother & author was friendly ,    as in the first phase when author's parents leaved him to the village & went to live in the city she used to wake him up in the morning & get him ready for school , she used to fetch his slate which was washed and plastered with yellow chalk , ink pot & a red pen , she use to tie them in a bundle & hand this all things to author. And they use to go to temple every day while moving to school.

in the second phase we came to know that when author's parent were settled in the city , they call them there & this was the only turning point in their friendship as in the city author use to go to english school in a motor bus & that's why gramndma was not more able to give a company in his studies & to school. thus their relationship was changed as before & now they see less of each other.

in the third phase when author went to university he was given a separate living room & from that day relation between him & grandmother was changed their friendship was snapped . she use to sit in her wheel & start her prayers & she never tries to talk to anyone .

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The Portrait of a Lady

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