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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CHAPTER 2 – LOST SPRING (Short Answer Type Questions)
Q1. Where did the rag-packing families of Seemapuri come from? Why did they have to leave their native place?
According to Saheb, their departure from Bangladesh was caused by storms which destroyed their fields, lands, home and everything they had with them. But in reality, they came from since they had no source of income there to survive.
Q2. What advice does Anees Jung give Saheb-e-Alam? Why does it sound hollow to her?
The narrator noticed Saheb picking up rags in front of her home every day. She promised Saheb to open her own school and advised him to study there free of cost. It sounded hollow to her as she knew that it takes longer to build a school. In short, she had made a hollow promise to him which could not be kept.
Q3. “Garbage to them is gold.” Explain this statement.
People of Seemapuri are rag pickers and they depend on it solely for meeting their both ends. Yes, there is no doubt that garbage is gold for them because it is the only mean of earning & survival for the families living in Seempuri. It is their daily bread and roof on their head. That’s why they consider it as important as gold is.
Q4. Why does Anees Jung relate the story of a man from Udipi?
Once a man from Udipi met & told the narrator about a boy who would always go to temple and pray for a pair of shoes and how, later on, he got that pair of shoes. Narrator, just to highlight the poverty of Seemapuri barefoot boys, who do not have slippers and shoes to wear, relate this story.
Q5. How does rag picking mean different to children and elders?
Rag-picking is the only source of income for the people living in Seemapuri but its meaning varies from person to person. For children, it is something wrapped in wonder since they get to earn little bit by selling of that rubbish. For elders, it is their daily bread and roof over their heads.
Q6. “Seemapuri, a place on the periphery of Delhi Yet miles away from it” What does the narrator mean by this statement?
This statement signifies that Seemapuri is not so developed as the other areas of Delhi are. It is home to more than 10000 rag pickers who live there and depend on rag picking altogether. It is located in Delhi legitimately but nothing it legitimate here. There is no sign of development in Seemapuri therefore the narrator makes this statement.
Q7. How did Saheb get a pair of tennis shoes? Why does he explain the author how he had got them?
Actually, Saheb has got a pair of tennis shoes from a rich boy who has discarded them because of a hole in one of them. He is extremely excited on taking in the shoes because his dream has come true of wearing tennis shoes. He had always a dream of playing tennis and looking alike the tennis players.
Q8. Is Saheb happy working at tea stall? Do you think this job will affect his life adversaly?
Saheb is not happy working at tea stall. Earlier he used to be his own master, picked up the rags from the place whichever he liked, roamed freely here and there but now he works under someone at a minimal salary of Rs. 800 per month along with two square meals. Yes, I think working at tea stall will lower his confidence of growing richer and being his own master in life.
Q9. What excuses does the army of barefoot boy make for not wearing chappals or shoes?
The army of barefoot boy makes plenty of excuses for not wearing footwear. One of them explains that he does not wear chappals because his mother does not get them down from the shelf, another one calls it a fashion of remaining barefoot. But in reality, these children cannot afford to have a pair of footwear as they belong to lower class families which hardly gets two square meals per day to eat.
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