Single Question on The Gold Frame – Paragraphs 2,3,4,5,6,8,9

Question on Character of Datta – Paragraphs 2,3,4,6,8,10

Question on Character of Customer – Paragraphs 2,5,6,9,10

Question on work of R.K. Laxman – Paragraphs 1,2,3,4,5,10

1 The title of the essay THE GOLD FRAME is apt as it makes fun of highly opinionated middle class stuck in the medley of status. What faith gets better than faith embossed with gold? This is the theme of the present story written by R.K.Laxman, who was sibling of R.K.Narayan, a talisman of his kind in Indian short stories.

2 THE GOLD FRAME is an essay written by R.K. Laxman. Like in many of his witty novels, R.K. Laxman uses his flair for commentary here as well for visualizing emotions of an ordinary photo frame maker Datta and a customer. Datta turns catastrophic moment into moment of triumph with sheer presence of mind. The essay deals with the way (manner in which) average minds of Indian middle class treat among themselves. As with the title, the Noun ‘’Gold’’ is apt because many middle-class households consider the yellow metal prestigious. Until the day of reckoning turns up, readers get a hint of a win-win situation for both Datta and the customer, but with foolishness of customer Datta holds his nerve for the last laugh. The story is an eye-opener in a sense as people can easily get flummoxed in their pursuit of looking affluent.

3 The story opens up with the unveiling of the character of Datta, owner of The Modern Frameworks, which is an extra-large wooden packing case, decked between a radio repair shop and a drug store. Datta is a silent and a hardworking man who gives laconic answers even to the desirous few.  He immerses himself so deep in work that he doesn’t have sparing time to orderly arrange scattered pieces of cardboard, glue bottles, glass, to name a few, all lying in his vicinity. In such a medley, created by Datta himself, he often loses sight of pencil stub for making marks on card board. Understandably, he searches everywhere around him before shaking his dhoti in the hunt for pencil stub. This, in the words of R.K. Laxman, is the ultimate operation that often shakes the entire shop setting photo frames on walls in motion.

4 Workmanship of Datta as portrayed by R.K. Laxman offers sarcasm, and provides us with a hint where we can relate to Datta in our day-to-day lives; unfurling of dhoti in search of a lost object is a classic example. Description of various photo frames, of Gods, sages, hockey players, all waiting for Datta’s attention is yet another that cuts ice with commoners. His workaholic mind costs him peace of mind as his customer is hell bent on getting a resplendent oval cut mount frame imported from Germany for seventeen rupees.

5 Attitude of the customer as portrayed by R.K. Laxman offers us fun, especially his behaviour to sound like an affluent man. His redundant slip of tongue as seen from his explicit use of language bordering show off takes Datta by surprise, but he silently goes on doing his work. Visibly upset with Datta for not giving him attention, he tries to cut loose by suspecting The Modern Frameworks’ quality. As Datta decides to unleash the variety of materials and types of frames, he gets baffled at the variety and quality of Datta’s shop. He tries to hide his ignorance by repeatedly uttering the superlative ‘’I want the best’’ without deciding on the material and type of frame. Datta then comes to rescue by laying a trap to the confused customer with the most accepted adjective to Indian middle class ‘’imported’’!

6 The story turns when the customer surprises Datta with a visit to check whether the frame work has been finished. Not knowing how to respond, Datta keeps himself silent and decides to proceed with the order the following day. As usual, he manages to miss his pencil stub and shakes his dhoti apparently misled by false shapes that he mistook for pencil. His usual ultimate operation shakes white enamel paint which lands straight on the face of photograph. Datta unintentionally tries to rub it off only to make the turban on old man’s face a complete mess. R.K. Laxman uses adjective ‘’mutilated’’ as if to mean Datta is on a mission to attack the ‘’sacred’’ photograph brought by the customer!

7 Not knowing how to rescue himself and his shop, Datta offers prayers to seemingly helpful Gods on the walls, who are already awaiting Datta’s timely intervention with respect to their positions on walls.

8 After a series of thoughts of nightmarish consequences, Datta takes the risk no photo frame maker ever took in a bid to mitigate damage. He finds a near-suitable photograph as a substitute, lying as food to cockroaches and silver fish in a box containing a pile of unused photographs. He completes the work well on time to make the frame look like the old man’s, but he is unclear of customer’s judgement of the inadvertent error.

9 The customer reaches Datta’s shop in anticipation of his selected photo frame. Predictably, he doesn’t know of Datta’s manipulation. Datta takes maximum time to reveal the glittering frame work. The customer initially seems visibly pleased at the work of Datta, but as he takes his time analysing the frame work he realizes the shape he liked has been replaced with a square. The customer is so foolish that he doesn’t recognize the photo itself has been substituted.

10 Thus, R.K. Laxman leaves no stone unturned in his pursuit of delivering maximum fun with glittering vocabulary in THE GOLD FRAME. At one end, the author stresses on the need for cultivating common sense while showing respect towards elders. At the other end, the author stresses on the need for taking calculated risks when everything seems to be falling apart.

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