Lost Spring is a collection of two short stories that reflect the bleak childhood of kids who have been forced into poverty and are trapped in this vicious circle that they fail to realise the injustice done to them and accept it as their destiny. Let’s have a look at the stories in the chapter:
The First Story:
In the first story the children of the countryside are portrayed moving barefoot. They have left their occupation of farming because they do not get proper return from the grains they sell. Their families have chosen to be rag-collectors in the city. Here, they can hope to find a single coin or maybe a twenty rupee note from the garbage.
The protagonist in this story is Saheb-e-Alam, an innocent boy who believes the narrator’s joke about building a school and thinks he’ll attend it one day. The child, like his parents and siblings, is looking through garbage day and night but is the master of his own. He loses this freedom when he chooses to work at a local tea-stall as it will pay enough for his meals.
The scenario in the story is mixed with emotions of hope, maturity and sincerity inculcated in the children at an early age as they hope to rise above poverty some day. At present, they only fight for survival for a single meal. For this they happily give away their freedom to be children. The story is shocking but ends on a note where the protagonist has financially moved up but it has cost him identity.
The Second Story:
The narrative begins with the bangle-maker’s house where everyone seems to be engulfed in their daily chores of bangle-making, preparation for evening meals, etc. Their situation is more horrible than the children in the first story. The entire generation has accepted the profession of bangle-making and have lost their freedom of imagination and creation.
All they can think of is being ready with the next batch of bangles so that they can eat. The elderly lady of the house has one wish which is “to have a proper meal once”. She has only eaten just enough to curb her hunger in her entire lifetime. The achievement of this family’s head is that he has managed to provide a roof over their head. Only the protagonist, Mukesh, dares to dream of becoming a mechanic.
This story shows that sometimes, death doesn’t mean end of life but life itself is perilous. “Bangle” is a symbol of joy, auspiciousness, happy moments in the life of the woman who wears it. Ironically, the bangle-maker’s life is exactly opposite. They are accustomed to an endless darkness- within and without. They lose their eyesight early from the glass dust going in their eyes. The burden to be what they have always been is shifted to their children also who know nothing but bangle-making.
Lesson to learn:
While most of us live comfortably, there are many who are just born and have never lived. Through these stories the narrator in very non-ornamental language expresses the pitch-black labyrinth of poverty where childhood gets lost. We learn to be supportive of people who need to be shown a different point of view. In the second story, the writer hints at how the small businessmen stand nowhere if they do not have a leader or more so - a saviour.