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?
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.
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