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By- Anees Jung
Moral/ Message of the lesson – Lost Spring
The lesson ‘Lost Spring’ shares two ‘stories of stolen childhood’. The characters and places are different but the problem is the same. Thousands of Sahebs and Mukesh are condemned to live a life of misery and exploitation. Grinding poverty and traditions compel children to work in the most inhuman and hostile conditions. The author succeeds in highlighting the plight of such unfortunate children.
1.Ragpickers of Seemapuri (periphery of Delhi-miles away metaphorically-located nearby but lacks the luxury/glamour associated with the city). Squatters from Bangladesh came in 1971-10,000 ragpickers.
(i) Left homes in Dhaka-storms swept away fields & homes.
(ii) Prefer living here-with ration cards can feed families. Children partners in survival-rag picking-fine art-is gold-gets them a roof overhead.
For children-wrapped in wonder/for parents-means of survival.
(iii) Saheb E Alam—name ironical-means lord of the universe-scrounges in the garbage. Would like to go to school, but there is none in the neighbourhood, so, picks garbage.
(iv) Live in terrible conditions—structures of mud-roots of tin & tarpaulin, devoid of sewage, drainage, running water.
(v) Saheb unhappy at tea stall-gets Rs. 800, all his meals-but lost his freedom-bag his own-Canister belongs to the owner of the Tea shop.
(vi) Desire but do not own shoes. Most moved around barefoot, due to poverty, not tradition as one was led to believe.
2.Firozabad— the centre of glass blowing industry-Bangle makers-working in hazardous conditions.
(i) Mukesh’s family live in terrible conditions-work in glass furnaces with high temperatures, dingy cells, without air & tight, stinking lanes, choked with garbage, crumbling walls, wobbly doors, no windows, crowded with families of humans & animals co-existing in a primaeval state.
Often lose brightness of eyes.
(ii) Mind-numbing toil-all these years has killed all initiative & ability to dream.
(iii) Do not organize into the co-operatives-vicious circle of middlemen, if organized-hauled by police, jailed, beaten for doing something illegal. Life moves from poverty to apathy to greed & to injustice.
(iv) distinct worlds—one family caught in a web of poverty, burdened, by the stigma of caste in which they are born; the other a vicious circle of
Daring-not a part of growing up.
Mukesh’s attitude different-dares to dream of being a motor mechanic.
(v) Miserable plight & occupation of the people in Firozabad-centre of the glass blowing industry.
Every family engaged in working at furnaces, welding glass, making bangles, for generations.
Has about 20,000children working in hot furnaces, slogging daylight hours, often losing the brightness of their eyes before they become adults.
(vi) The scene in Mukesh’s house-wobbly iron door, half-built shack. In one part, thatched with dead grass, a firewood stove over which was placed a large vessel of sizzling spinach leaves. More chopped vegetables in a large platter. A frail young woman, Mukesh’s elder brother’s wife was cooking the evening meal for the whole family.
(vii) Reaction to poverty-Resigned to their fate-born to the caste of bangle makers. Mukesh’s father was initially a tailor, then a bangle maker; had worked hard but had not been able to either renovate his house or send his sons to school. Could only teach them bangle making.
Mukesh’s grandmother had seen her husband go blind with the dust from polishing bangles.
Accepted fate-God gave lineage, that could not be broken.
(viii) Mukesh’s dream-wants to be a motor mechanic-decided to go to a garage to learn about cars. Will walk all the distance. (ix) Irony — Savita’s story-Young girl, working mechanically, soldering pieces of glass. Unaware of the sacred significance of bangles/ suhaag for Indian women. Would realize it when she became a bride. The old woman had bangles on her wrist but no light in eyes. Had not enjoyed even a full meal in her life. Husband knew only bangle making.
Had only built a house for his family.