|1968 On a sticky august evening two weeks before her due date, Ashima Ganguli stands in the kitchen of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in a bowl. She adds salt, lemon juice, thin slices of green chili pepper, wishing there were mustard oil to pour into the mix. Ashima has been consuming this concoction throughout her pregnancy, a humble approximation of the snack sold for pennies on Calcutta sidewalks and on railway platforms throughout India, spilling from newspaper cones. Even now that there is barely space inside her, it is the one thing she craves. Tasting from a cupped palm, she frowns; as usual, theres something missing. She stares blankly at the pegboard behind the countertop where her cooking utensils hang, all slightly coated with grease. She wipes sweat from her face with the free end of her sari. Her swollen feet ache against speckled gray linoleum. Her pelvis aches from the babys weight. She opens a cupboard, the shelves lined with a grimy yellow-and-white-checkered paper shes been meaning to replace, and reaches for another onion, frowning again as she pulls at its crisp magenta skin. A curious warmth floods her abdomen, followed by a tightening so severe she doubles over, gasping without sound, dropping the onion with a thud on the floor.|
|The sensation passes, only to be followed by a more enduring spasm of discomfort. In the bathroom she discovers she is not well. She calls out to her husband, Ashoke, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering at MIT, who is studying in the bedroom. He leans over a card table; the edge of their bed, two twin mattresses pushed together under a red and purple batik spread, serves as his chair. When she calls out to Ashoke, she doesnt say his name. Ashima never thinks of her husband' s name when she thinks of her husband, even though she knows perfectly well what it is. She has adopted his surname but refuses, for proprietys sake, to utter his first. It's not the type of thing Bengali wives do. Like a kiss or caress in a Hindi movie, a husbands name is something intimate and therefore unspoken, cleverly patched over. And so, instead of saying Ashokes name, she utters the interrogative that has come to replace it, which translates roughly as "Are you listening to me?"|
|At dawn a taxi is called to ferry them through deserted Cambridge streets, up Massachusetts Avenue and past Harvard Yard, to Mount Auburn Hospital. Ashima registers, answering questions about the frequency and duration of the contractions, as Ashoke fills out the forms. She is seated in a wheelchair and pushed through the shining, brightly lit corridors, whisked into an elevator more spacious than her kitchen.|
A) Her husband does not listen to her, so she has to say it
B) She is calling her husband
C) She is expressing her anger
D) Her husband is too involved in his work, so she has to say it
Correct Answer: B
Solution :Rationale: (b) And so, instead of saying Ashokes name, she utters the interrogative that has come to replace it, which translates roughly as Are you listening to me?
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