"The Portrait of a Lady" is a story written by Khushwant Singh. The story is the author's personal story about his grandmother and their relationship. The story is written from a forest person perspective. It shows a tone of melancholy, as the author describes his changing relationship with his grandmother. The story can be divided into three times- childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
His grandmother raised the author in the village, and she took care of his schooling when his parents were living in the city for work. During this time, the author was closest to her and even described their relationship as "good friends". The author shared fond memories with her, and his grandmother would prepare him for school every day and, on their way back home from school, fed the stray dogs of the village. Sometime soon, he and his grandmother moved to the city to live with his parents, and it is from this point on, they started growing distant. In the city, the author was sent to an English school and his grandmother disapproved of it.
In the city, the author and his grandmother shared a room, yet their distance was ever-growing. Unlike his life in the village, he found nothing in common to do with her here. Gradually as he grew up and enrolled in a University, their bond was broken. He had a separate room for himself. His grandmother resigned herself into seclusion in her room with her spinning-wheel and came out only for some time to feed sparrows. Even when he returned home from abroad, to her, the happiest moment of her day was feeding sparrows. Soon after, she fell gravely ill, and she foresaw it as her end. She passed away the next day. The sparrows returned to be fed by her but much to their grief, she was no more, so they flew away.
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