Portrait of a lady summary

Portrait of a lady summary: Khushwant Singh’s grandmother, who raised him, is shown in “The Portrait of a Lady,” a touching pen drawing.

The author explains his relationship with his grandma and the changes that occurred over time in their relationship. Her beauty and simplicity left an indelible impression on the poet.

Author NameKhushwant Singh
Born2 February 1915, Hadali, Pakistan
Died20 March 2014, Sujan Singh Park, Delhi
SpouseKawal Malik (m. 1939–2001)
EducationGCU, Panjab University, King’s College London, The Dickson Poon School of Law, St Stephen’s College
AwardsPadma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Punjab Rattan Award

How was kushwant singh’s grandmother?

Khushwant Singh’s grandma was short, frail, and stumbling around the home, counting the beads on her rosary. For the past two decades, he had watched her look the same, and he assumed she was truly ancient and couldn’t get any older. 

He couldn’t imagine that she could have been young and beautiful and that she had married. The drawing room’s portrait of his grandfather hung on the wall.

He, too, appeared to be elderly and grandfatherly. Looking at his image, it was clear that he had a large family, but it was difficult to imagine him in his youth with his wife and children.

Khushwant Singh’s parents moved to the city when he was young, putting him in the care of his grandmother.

Summary: The Portrait of a Lady

The author starts the storey with a well-received biography of his grandmother. His grandma was a tiny, healthy woman with a slight hunch, he recalls. Her silver hair was thrown haphazardly across her wrinkled face. She used to walk around the home dressed entirely in white. Her one hand was on the waist, while her other was counting the beads on her rosary.

She is not particularly lovely in the writer’s opinion, but she is usually gorgeous. He compares her calm demeanour to the winter landscape. She used to rouse him from his bed in the early mornings, plaster his wooden slate, prepare his food, and send him to school during their extended stay in the village.

On their walk home, she used to feed the stale chapatis to the street dogs. Their move to the city was a turning point in their wonderful relationship. His grandmother was unable to take him to school anymore. Now, the writer takes a school bus to a city school where he studies English, Physics, Mathematics, and other subjects that his grandmother couldn’t understand.

She was concerned with the municipal school’s lack of biblical and religious instruction. Instead, he was given music lessons, but his grandmother remained silent.

The writer was granted his room at his residence when he went to university. This was the most important factor in destroying his relationship with his grandmother. She had stopped speaking to everyone in the house. She sat with her spinning wheel for long periods, praying to God. In the afternoon, she fed the sparrows.

His grandmother was unconcerned when the writer moved to another country for higher education. She said her goodbyes to him at the airport. The writer was concerned that seeing her at this age would be his last opportunity to speak with her. But when he returned home after a 5-year absence, he was greeted by his grandmother, who was overjoyed at his return.

The next morning, she fell ill. Despite the doctor’s assurances that it was just a minor fever that would pass quickly, she sensed that her time was coming to leave this world. She didn’t want to waste time talking to strangers.

She went to her bed and prayed and said the beads until her lips stopped moving and her lifeless fingers let go of the rosary. Thousands of sparrows rushed in to grieve her death and perched spread around her body. When the body of the elderly lady was taken away for funeral rites, all of the sparrows flew away silently.


In summary, the writer and his grandmother had a beautiful relationship and adored one other in The Portrait Of A Lady. 

The story demonstrates how a youngster and his grandmother can create a great bond. It eloquently depicts how powerful familial and romantic relationships are, and how distance may separate them even while their hearts are united. This is most likely why, despite her advanced age, the grandma managed to live another day with her grandchild at her side before passing away.

Robin Singh

Robin Singh is education professional tutor of NCERT. I have good knowledge of CBSE all subjects. Expert in maths, physics and chemistry. if students have any doubt about NCERT Solutions so contact us info@cbsenotes.in.

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