Summary of Lost Spring
(By: Anees Jung)
This chapter is an excerpt taken from one of the books written by Anees Jung wherein she shares her experience with two child labourers namely Saheb and Mukesh who are deprived of their aspirations and other basic requirements and necessities of their lives. Apart from that, whe highlights the hazards of working as a child labourers.
In the first part, she talks about a boy namely Saheb whose family came to India from Bangladesh in 1971 when their homes and fields were swept away by the storms. She encounters him every day searching for rags in her neighborhood. His regular visits encourage the narrator to ask Saheb if he goes to school. When denied, she makes a hollow promise to boy which makes her feel embarrassed time and again.
The more she meets Saheb, the better she knows him. She gets to know that Saheb has an army of barefoot boys who roam here and there uselessly and that is too barefoot. On enquiry, she gets to hear many excuses from the gang which only highlights their grinding and abject poverty that they have been suffering from ages.
Her acquaintance with the barefoot boy leads him to the streets of Seemapuri which is a haunt of rag pickers. According to her data, around 10000 families are living over there devoid of sewage, drainage and other basic necessities required for the survival of human beings. There lanes are choked with garbage and stinking. Besides, she gets to know that people are engaged in only one business i.e. rag picking.
She gets to know about Saheb’s interest as well that he is fond of playing tennis even though it is out of his reach. Even, one of the mornings she gets to see Saheb wearing a pair of tennis shoes which are the rejected shoes of a rich boy due to a hole in one of them.
Then one of the days, she gets to see Saheb working at a tea stall. On enquiring him, she gets to know that he gets to earn Rs.800 per month along with two square meal per day but he loses his carefree look. According to the narrator, earlier Saheb was his own master but now he words under someone. He is no longer his own master according to the narrator.
In the second part, she visits Firozabad which is a small town of U.P and a center of glass blowing industry. She finds more than 20000 children over there in the pretext of mature labour. She even condemns the laws which are made in India but never enforced.
There she meets a boy Mukesh who is different from other bangle makers. He does not want to continue his patriarchal business rather he wants to become a motor mechanic. He makes the narrator aware of the pathetic conditions wherein the young bangle makers work. According to him, they work in dingy cells, ill-ventilated rooms and small cubicles and often lose their eye-sight before being adult.
Her acquaintance with Mukesh leads her to Firozabad which is full of stinking lanes, crumbling walls and wobbly doors. People are engaged in bangle making whether they are young or old. No one knows anything else than bangle making. In Firozabad, the narrator, meets members of Mukesh’s family. On talking to them, she finds them conservative and superstitious who blame their Karma. She talks to group of young men who fear of organizing themselves into cooperatives because of politicians, bureaucrats, sahukars and middlemen.
She even mentions about a young girl Savita whose hands move quicker than that of tongs and machines. But the irony is, she herself does not know about the sanctity of wearing bangles.
She takes pleasure in seeing the attitude of Mukesh who is adamant to become a motor mechanic and change his permanently written destiny according to his guardians.
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