Lost Spring: MBOSE Class 12 English Core notes, answers

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Get summaries, questions, answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF of Class 12 English Core textbook (Resonance), Lost Spring: Stories of Stolen Childhood by Anees Jung, which is part of the syllabus of students studying under MBOSE (Meghalaya Board). These solutions, however, should only be treated as references and can be modified/changed. 

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.Anees Jung encounters Saheb every morning, searching for valuables in the garbage dumps of her neighborhood. Saheb, whose full name is Saheb-e-Alam, meaning “Lord of the Universe,” left his home in Dhaka with his family due to storms that destroyed their fields and homes. Now living in the big city, Saheb and his family seek gold in the garbage. When asked why he doesn’t go to school, Saheb explains there is no school in his neighborhood and promises to attend if one is built. He spends his days with other barefoot boys, wandering the streets, all of whom are familiar to Jung.

The lack of footwear among these boys is notable. Some children explain they don’t have shoes because their mothers didn’t bring them down from the shelf, while others are seen wearing mismatched or worn-out shoes. This widespread barefoot condition is sometimes attributed to tradition, but Jung believes it is more a reflection of persistent poverty.

Jung recounts a story from Udipi, where a boy used to pray for shoes at a temple. Decades later, shoes became commonplace for children in that town, but many like the ragpickers in her neighborhood remain shoeless. This narrative highlights the enduring poverty and lack of basic necessities for children like Saheb.

Saheb’s family lives in Seemapuri, on the outskirts of Delhi, a place filled with squatters who migrated from Bangladesh in 1971. Living in mud structures with tin roofs, devoid of basic amenities, they have survived without official identities but with ration cards that allow them to vote and buy food. For these families, food is a priority over identity.

Rag-picking has become a survival skill for Seemapuri’s residents. Garbage is their lifeline, providing them with daily sustenance and shelter, despite its precarious nature. For children like Saheb, finding a coin in the garbage offers a glimmer of hope, turning trash into treasure.

One winter morning, Jung observes Saheb watching men play tennis. Saheb enjoys watching the game and even uses the swing when allowed by the gatekeeper. He wears tennis shoes, a gift from someone, despite the shoes being old and damaged. For Saheb, even worn-out shoes are a luxury.

Saheb eventually starts working at a tea stall, earning 800 rupees and meals. However, he loses the carefree look he had as a ragpicker, now burdened by the responsibility of his new job.

Mukesh, another boy Jung meets, dreams of becoming a motor mechanic. Living in Firozabad, a town famous for its bangle industry, Mukesh’s family has been involved in bangle-making for generations. Despite the hazardous working conditions, including high temperatures and poor lighting, Mukesh is determined to break free from this cycle.

Mukesh’s family lives in a half-built house, amidst stinking lanes filled with garbage. His brother’s wife, although young, commands respect as the daughter-in-law and takes care of the family. Mukesh’s father, despite years of hard work, remains impoverished, unable to send his sons to school or improve their living conditions.

Mukesh’s grandmother believes in destiny, feeling that their lineage as bangle makers cannot be broken. The town of Firozabad is filled with bangle-making families, their homes and streets cluttered with bangles of various colors. Boys and girls work alongside their parents, often losing their eyesight due to the harsh working environment.

Savita, a young girl, helps in making bangles, unaware of their significance in Indian marriages. She will eventually understand their importance when she becomes a bride. However, many like her live in perpetual poverty, unable to escape their fate.

Jung suggests organizing a cooperative to the young men in Firozabad, but they are hesitant, fearing police harassment and legal issues. The community is trapped in a cycle of poverty, apathy, greed, and injustice, with no leader to guide them towards change.

Jung observes two distinct worlds: one of the impoverished families burdened by caste and poverty, and the other of the middlemen, policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians who exploit them. Children like Mukesh grow up accepting this burden, with little hope for change.

Mukesh, however, remains determined to become a mechanic. Despite the challenges, he plans to walk to a garage to learn the trade. While dreaming of driving cars, he hesitates to dream of flying planes, showing his realistic approach to his aspirations.

The story “Lost Spring” portrays the harsh realities of underprivileged children in India, like Saheb and Mukesh, who struggle for a better life amidst poverty. Their dreams, however small, provide a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak existence. The narrative highlights the need for systemic change to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation that traps these children and their families.

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Textual questions and answers

State whether the statements are true or false

1. The author planned on building a school for the rag pickers.

Answer: False

2. One of the boys had no chappals on because his mother had put them on a shelf out of his reach.

Answer: True

3. It is a tradition for rag pickers to stay barefoot.

Answer: False

4. The bangle sellers have no permits but they have ration cards because this gets their names on voters’ lists.

Answer: True

5. A rich boy presented Saheb with a new pair of shoes.

Answer: False

6. Mukesh is proud of his home in Firozabad.

Answer: False

7. The bangle makers are aware that child labour is illegal.

Answer: True

8. The young men were excited at the idea of starting a cooperative.

Answer: False

Answer these questions briefly

1. a. Name the two boys that represent ‘stolen childhood’ in the text.

Answer: Saheb and Mukesh.

1. b. State the family background of each boy.

Answer: Saheb’s family is from Dhaka and they moved to Seemapuri after their fields and homes were destroyed by storms. Mukesh’s family is from Firozabad and they are bangle makers.

2. The two boys have much in common and yet they view life very differently. What is the main difference between them?

Answer: The main difference is that Saheb has accepted his fate and works in a tea stall, while Mukesh is determined to be his own master and dreams of becoming a motor mechanic.

3. Do you think Saheb is happy working in the tea stall? Give a reason for your answer.

Answer: No, Saheb is not happy working in the tea stall because his face has lost the carefree look and he is no longer his own master.

4. How do you know that the women of Seemapuri are practical people?

Answer: The women of Seemapuri are practical because they prioritize feeding their families over other needs, indicating their focus on survival.

5. a. Who is Mukesh?

Answer: Mukesh is a boy from Firozabad who works in the glass bangle industry.

5. b. How is he different from all the other children?

Answer: Mukesh is different because he dreams of a better future and is determined to be his own master.

5. c. What is his dream?

Answer: His dream is to become a motor mechanic.

5. d. He has a plan to make his dream a reality. What is it?

Answer: His plan is to go to a garage and learn to be a mechanic.

5. e. Why is the author pleased with Mukesh?

Answer: The author is pleased with Mukesh because he dares to dream and is determined to change his destiny.

6. List the hazards of working in the glass bangles industry.

Answer: The hazards include working in high temperatures, dingy cells without air and light, and the risk of losing eyesight.

7. a. What is the new idea put to the bangle makers by the author?

Answer: The new idea is to organise themselves into a cooperative.

7. b. How do they react?

Answer: They react with skepticism and fear of being punished by the police.

7. c. Why do they react in this manner?

Answer: They react this way because they are afraid of the police and the middlemen who exploit them. They have lost hope and feel powerless to change their situation.

8. a. If he knew its meaning-lord of the universe—he would have a hard time believing it.

Answer: Saheb does not know the meaning of his name, which is ‘lord of the universe’. If he did, he would find it unbelievable because his life as a ragpicker is far from that of a lord.

8. b. Garbage to them is gold.

Answer: For the ragpickers, garbage represents a source of livelihood, as they can find items of value in it.

8. c. For the children it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders it is a means of survival.

Answer: For the children, garbage holds the excitement of potential discoveries, whereas for the adults, it is a necessary means of providing for their families.

8. d. Saheb is no longer his own master!

Answer: Saheb has lost his freedom and independence after starting work at the tea stall, where he is now bound by his employer’s rules.

8. e. ‘Can a god-given lineage ever be broken?’

Answer: Mukesh’s grandmother believes that their family’s occupation of bangle making is destined by their caste and cannot be changed.

9. a. drowned in an air of desolation

Answer: This phrase describes the temple town which has become bleak and desolate over the years.

9. b. his eyes lighting up

Answer: This describes Saheb’s excitement and hope when he finds something valuable in the garbage.

9. c. his dream looms like a mirage amidst the dust of streets

Answer: This refers to Mukesh’s dream of becoming a motor mechanic. It seems distant and almost unattainable in the harsh realities of his life.

9. d. but no light in her eyes

Answer: This phrase indicates the loss of hope and vitality in the old woman who has endured a lifetime of hardships.

9. e. the young men echo the lament of their elders

Answer: The young men in Firozabad express the same feelings of helplessness and despair as their elders, showing that little has changed over the generations.

Answer these questions in detail

1. From the text, discuss all the reasons why a street child has no childhood.

Answer: A street child has no childhood because they are forced to scrounge for gold in garbage dumps to survive, lack access to education, live in poverty without basic amenities like proper housing, and must work from a young age to support their families, as seen in Saheb and Mukesh’s stories.

2. What are all the mental and social blocks that stop the bangle-seller family from progressing?

Answer: The mental and social blocks include their acceptance of their fate as bangle makers, the stigma of their caste, lack of awareness about the illegality of child labour, fear of police and legal repercussions if they try to organize, and generational poverty that kills initiative and the ability to dream.

3. Define each of the words given below. Name a person/persons from the text that symbolises each of these words.

Answer: a. Poverty: Saheb’s family, who scrounge in garbage for survival. b. Apathy: The young men in Firozabad, who feel organizing into a cooperative will only lead to trouble. c. Greed: The middlemen who exploit the bangle makers. d. Injustice: The systemic exploitation faced by the bangle makers and ragpickers, perpetuated by sahukars, policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians.

4. ‘Together they have imposed the baggage on the child that he cannot put down.’ Do you think this statement sums up the predicament of all street children who are forced to work for a living? Discuss using instances from the text.

Answer: Yes, this statement sums up the predicament of all street children who are forced to work for a living. Saheb and Mukesh, despite their dreams, are burdened by the responsibilities and limitations imposed by their socio-economic conditions. Saheb’s job at the tea stall and Mukesh’s inherited trade of bangle making illustrate how these children cannot escape the cycles of poverty and labour.

5. ‘He is content to dream of cars that he sees hurtling down the streets of his town.’ Lost Spring is a story about the underprivileged children of India who live in abject poverty and yet cling to their dreams for a better life. Do you agree?

Answer: Yes, Lost Spring is a story about underprivileged children like Saheb and Mukesh who live in abject poverty but still cling to their dreams for a better life. Saheb dreams of going to school and playing tennis, while Mukesh dreams of becoming a motor mechanic, showing their resilience and hope despite their harsh realities.

Appreciating form and language

This is a factual essay. It employs a direct style of narration. Anees Jung has extensively used direct quotations of people that she has met to lend authenticity to her writing and to add a human touch to the subject matter.

Jung has also used a number of figures of speech to heighten the impact of her writing. Example:

The heading Lost Spring is a metaphor.

Here, she compares the season of spring to the childhood years of an individual. The underprivileged child has no childhood to speak of, so it is ‘lost’. This means that the ‘spring time’ of his life is missing.

Simile: ‘As her hands move mechanically like the tongs of a machine.’

A paradox is a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd at first but in reality expresses a possible truth. Example: Garbage to them is gold.

Identify the figures of speech in these expressions:

  • Garbage…For the children it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders it is a means of survival.
  • Even shoes with a hole is a dream come true.
  • His dream looms like a mirage amidst the dust of streets.
  • Together they have imposed the baggage on the child that he cannot put down.

1. Identify the figures of speech in these expressions: Garbage…For the children it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders it is a means of survival.

Answer: Metaphor.

2. Identify the figures of speech in these expressions: Even shoes with a hole is a dream come true.

Answer: Hyperbole.

3. Identify the figures of speech in these expressions: His dream looms like a mirage amidst the dust of streets.

Answer: Simile.

4. Identify the figures of speech in these expressions: Together they have imposed the baggage on the child that he cannot put down.

Answer: Metaphor.

Extra fill in the blanks

1. Saheb left his home because ______ swept away their fields and homes. (Storms/Floods)

Answer: Storms

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21. The streets of Firozabad are filled with the ______ of bangles. (Sound/Spirals)

Answer: Spirals

Extra true or false

1. The author planned on building a school for the rag pickers.

Answer: False

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22. Mukesh’s eyes are adjusted to the light outside more than the dark of the bangle making hutments.

Answer: False

Extra question and answer

1. Where does Saheb look for gold?

Answer: Saheb looks for gold in the garbage dumps.

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19. What does the story reveal about the systemic issues faced by the underprivileged in India?

Answer: The story reveals several systemic issues faced by the underprivileged in India, including lack of education, child labor, and generational poverty. The ragpickers and bangle makers live in deplorable conditions, without access to basic amenities like clean water and proper housing. Children are forced to work in hazardous environments, and there is a general acceptance of their fate due to societal and economic pressures. The systemic exploitation by middlemen, police, and bureaucrats further exacerbates their plight, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and limiting their ability to dream of a better future. The narrative highlights the need for systemic change to address these deep-rooted issues.

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