Answer :

(a) It is important to maintain a balance between dreams and reality in order to avoid unhappiness. In the story, we see how Sophie’s daydreams clash immensely with her socio-economic condition and the possibility of those dreams coming true. Without realising this, she continues to fantasize about things without any considerations towards the poor condition of her family.

She could have worked hard to fulfil the dreams she kept thinking of, but instead preferred spending all her time doing nothing but fantasizing. Her family was one with meagre income and resources. Despite all this, she was unable to strike a balance between dreams and reality. This made her fairly dissatisfied with her own life, forced her to tell lies and face unhappiness in life.

(b) Mukesh had to face a lot of adversity in life owing to the poverty in which his family was forced to stay, like the other bangle-makers of Firozabad. Yet, he had the courage to see dreams without giving in to his fate. He dreams of becoming a motor mechanic and leave the family business of bangle-making.

The circumstances of his family make him want not to pursue the bangle-making business. All the bangle-makers in Firozabad are forced to spend a similar lifestyle, where they suppress their own hopes and desires to continue living a mundane life ahead of them. They cannot form a cooperative for any kind of betterment of their life, because of the pressure by policemen and the lack of leadership amidst them. This forces them to lead a life of misery under the tag of the ‘God-given lineage’ that they need to carry forward in the form of the bangle-making business. This is something which is unacceptable to Mukesh and therefore he dares to dream.

(c) In the story, Deep Waters, Douglas tries to overcome his fear of deep waters by devoting several hours to rigorously learning swimming until he masters it. Douglas’ trainer had already finished training Douglas in the different styles of swimming, taking care to make him learn piece-by-piece of the process and the skill. However, Douglas says he was not finished because learning to swim was not just a skill for him but also about overcoming fear. He was still a little underconfident about being under deep waters alone and wanted to practice more and more to overcome it.

He finishes the task begun by the instructor by overcoming this last bit of fear on his own. He tries multiple times to swim alone in the pool, and succeeds after occasional bouts of fear. Finally, he manages to swim in a lake with no fear and no difficulty, and that’s when he realizes he has eventually faced his fears.

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