The story The Portrait of the Lady by Khushwant Singh revolves around the story of the author and his relationship with his grandmother. The author's mother was a deeply religious woman who was very kind hearted. She epitomised purity and peace of mind which is very well written as an expanse of pure white serenity. Though she wasn't beautiful physically, she possessed deep spiritual beauty. She took great delight in feeding birds and animals.
The story begins with the narrator describing how old his grandmother was. The thought of the author’s old grandmother being young and pretty, in early years of her life, raised a conflict in the mind of the author. Her hair was white as snow and she had a little stoop in her back.
When Singh was a child and his parents were away he was brought up by his grandmother who used to wake him up and get him ready for school. While performing this daily chore, she used to sing prayers which she wanted him to learn by heart but in vain. She would walk with him to and from his school. On their way back, they would throw chappatis to the village dogs.
When his parents settled in the city Singh went to stay in the city with her. This was a turning point in the relationship he shared with her. He disliked many things taught in the school. She could no longer help him with his lessons. A small gap had developed between them which wasn't very prominent. She didn't accompany him to school any long.
With the passage of time ,Singh went to the university with which ended the last string of attachment which held them together....