English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Flamingo Chapter 2 Lost Spring Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words
Author – Anees Jung
|Looking For||Searching for|
|Perpetual state of poverty||Never-ending poverty|
|Slog their daylight hours||Work hard throughout the day|
|Dark hutments||House with very less light|
|Roof over his head||A house to live|
|Imposed the baggage on the child||Forcibly put burden on the child|
|Scrounging||Searching to obtain something|
|Scrounging for gold||Searching to obtain of value|
The story starts with an answer that occasionally Saheb finds a Rupee in the garbage. The narrator meets Saheb every morning. While Saheb would be searching the garbage to obtain something of value. Narrator asks Saheb why he does that.
[In this para ‘gold’ means something of high value.]
|Amidst||In the middle of|
|Distant memory||Memory of long time ago|
|Swept away||Taken away by water|
Saheb’s home was in the middle of green fields of Dhaka. He does not remember anything about his home because he had left it long ago. Many floods used to come there. During flood their house and field got destroyed.
|Mutter||Speak in low voice|
They left Dhaka and came to the Delhi city to find something valuable. [Here ‘gold’ means something valuable. It also means some work that will help them live.] Saheb now answers that he searches garbage because he does not have anything else to do.
|Glibly||Without thought, Insincerely|
Without much thinking, writer advises Saheb to go to school. Immediately she realizes that this advice is not useful. Saheb replies that there is no school near his place of stay. He tells that if a school is built in his neighbourhood, he will go.
The writer asks Saheb if she started a school, will he come. Writer appears to be making a joke out of Saheb. Saheb replies, “Yes”. After some days Saheb came running near to the writer. He asks the writer if the school is ready.
|Bleak||Without hope, Unpleasant|
Writer replies that it takes more time to build a school. The writer felt ashamed because she gave a hope which she could not fulfill. The life of Saheb is without any hope. Such type of promises are many in his life. [Here ‘such type of promises’ means talks, assurances or promises that will never become true for Saheb.]
|Lord of Universe||King of World|
The writer asks his name after many months. He replies “Saheb-e-Alam”. This means king of the world. Writer feels he does not meaning of his name. Writer thinks Saheb would have difficulty to accept meaning of his name. [The writer is pointing out at the irony of his name. While meaning of his name is king of universe, Saheb is a rag picker. His life is opposite of a king.]
|Barefoot||Without shoes or slipper in foot|
|Come to recognise||Started recognising|
Saheb does not know meaning of his name. He walks aimlessly in streets with his friends. All of them do not have shoes or slippers in their feet. They come in streets in the morning and go back in the afternoon. They are being compared as birds, who come for a fixed duration. After many months, writer recongnises each of them.
Writer asks one of the boys why he is not wearing chappals? My mother did not take out chappals from the shelf, is the simple reply. [Probably the shelf was higher and he himself could not take out slippers. Or he is trying to hide that he does not have slippers.]
|Shuffles||Move feet without lifting from ground|
Another boys says that he (the first boy) would have thrown chappals if his mother took out chappals. The second boy is wearing shoes which are not of correct size. Writer says this to the boy, the boy does not say anything. He moves his feet. This shows that he was embarrassed. The third boy said that he wanted shoes. He had never worn shoe earlier.
|Explain away||To hide, To say it is unimportant|
The writer has seen children barefoot throughout the country. The writer has travelled to many places in the country. The explanation normally given is that it was their tradition to remain barefoot. It was not lack of money. Writer feels it an explanation or excuse to hide their never ending poverty.
Writer recalls a story told to her by a resident of Udipi town. During young age he used to a go to school after crossing a temple. His father was priest in that temple. In his prayers, the boy used to ask for a pair of shoes.
After 30 years writer went to the same temple. The temple was in ruins. There was no activity. In the back of the temple new priest used to live. There were red and white chairs.
|Panting||Taking quick breaths|
A boy came to the backyard. He was young. He was wearing grey uniform, socks and shoes. He was taking quick breaths. He threw his bag on the folding bed. Writer recalled another boy. That boy had prayed to the goddess that he should always have shoes.
The goddess had granted wish of that boy. Now son of the priest wears shoes. Earlier priests did not wear shoes. Either they used to be barefooted or wear wooden chappals. But even today ragpickers in neighbourhood of the writer did not have shoes.
Because of being familiar with ragpickers I went to Seemapuri. It is a place on the outer side of Delhi. This place is symbolically very far from Delhi. [Meaning that facilities available in Delhi do not exist here].
People living in Seemapuri are illegal residents. They had come from Bangladesh in 1971. Sheb had also come from there. That time (in 1971) Seemapuri was a jungle. It is still a jungle but all the space is filled. [Here the phrase ‘it stll is’ is used symbolically. It means that the area does not have means of decent living.]
The houses are made of mud. Their roofs are of tin and tarpaulin. The area is without sewage, drainage or tap water. About 10,000 ragpickers live at Seemapuri.
They are living there since last thirty years. They do not have any identity card. They do not have any permit. But they have their ration card. With the help of ration card they get their voter card. Ration card helps them to buy grains at cheaper rate. It is more important to get food than an identity.
|Tattered||Torn and old|
The writer asked a group of women why they had left their green fields and banks of river. One woman replies that here they get food for their families. So we can go to sleep without pain in our stomach. (Here the phrase ‘aching stomach’ has been metaphorically used. It means the pain of hunger.) It is more important to get food than living in green field that does not give food.
They make their tents wherever they can earn some food. Their tents are temporary. It can be moved to new place. Their children also earn to help survival of family. The only means of earning in Seemapuri is rag-picking.
|Proportion of||Scale of , Level of|
|Fine art||Skillful activity|
Ragpicking is going on in Seemapuri since many years. It has now become an art. [Writer means to say that people are very skillful in ragpicking]. Garbage is being called gold. The writer wants to say that garbage for them is very valuable because they earn their food by ragpicking. They get a place to live because of earning by ragpicking. The roof of the tent is always leaking. During rains water enters into their tents. But for a child ragpicking is much more than a source of living.
|Silver coin||Something valuable|
Saheb says to the writer that sometimes he finds a ten rupee note in the garbage. His eyes are shining while saying this. This is the shine of hope. He further says that when he finds something valuable in the garbage he does not stop. He searches more in the hope of finding more such items. [This statement shows that he is always hopeful and greedy also.]
It appears to the writer that meaning of garbage is different for children and their parents. For parents it is means of livelihood for their family. For children it is a hope and a wonder. This is because children try to find some excitement in scrounging.
Once during winter season, in the morning, writer notices that Saheb is standing at the gate of a club in his neighbourhood. The gate has a fencing. He is watching two men. Their dress is white. They are playing tennis.
|Hums||Says with a sweat voice|
Saheb says that he likes the game of tennis. He is satisfied to stand behind the fence and watch the game. He says that the gate keeper allows him to go into the club when there is no one in the club. He uses swings installed there.
[The writer is bringing out how poor children are deprived of means of entertainment. They are not able to fulfill their desires. It also brings about the kindheartedness of a section of society.]
Saheb is wearing white tennis shoes. His dress is not white. Colour of shirt and shorts had faded. He explains that someone gave him the dress and shoes.
|Dream come true||Fulfilling of wish|
|Intently||Carefully, With interest|
One of the shoe has a hole. It appears that these shoes were discarded by a rich boy. However this does not affect Saheb. He has been walking barefoot. So wearing shoes is like fulfilling his wish. But he will not be able to play tennis. Though he watches the game carefully and with interest.
|On his way||Going to|
|Down the road||At other end of the road|
|Canister||A metalic container|
This morning Saheb was going to the milk booth. He had a metal container in his hand. He says that he is now working at a tea stall. The shop is at the other end of the road. He points towards the shop.
Saheb says that he earns 800 rupees a month. He is also given food for the day free of cost. Writer asks Saheb if he likes the job. His face is not carefree now. Meaning that he is not happy.
Saheb finds canister heavier than plastic bag. He could carry the bag very easily over his shoulder. [This means that he does not like his job. But he is doing it unwillingly.] The canister is not his own but the bag was his own. Saheb is not a free person now. He needs to obey others.
Mukesh wants to drive a car. He wants to be a mechanic of cars. This is because Mukesh wants to be a free person – one who can do what he wants. (This is the meaning of ‘being his own master’)
Writer asks Mukesh if he knows anything about cars. Mukesh answers that he will learn to drive a car. He looks directly into the eyes of writer.
|Mirage||Looks true but actually not true|
|Looms like a mirage||Looks possible but unlikely|
|Every other family||Majority of families|
The streets of Firzobad town is full of dust. His eyes are full of his dream. Dream of Mukesh is not likely to be realized. This town is famous for making bangles. Majority of families work for making bangles.
|Welding glass||Joining glass by heating|
Firozabad is centre of glass making industry. [Means that a glass making is a big activity here]. Many generations of families have worked in this industry. They work around furnaces doing several activities. Bangles used here are supplied to every place in the world. [It also means that in Firozabad, bangles are made in great numbers]
|Dingy||With less light, Dark|
|Slog||To work very hard|
|Brightness of eyes||Eye sight|
Family of Mukesh works in making bangles. No-one knows that it is against the law for children to work near glass furnace that has high temperature. The furnace area has less light and air circulation is bad. At the furnace Mukesh and other children work very hard. Losing eyesight is very common. They do not know if law is applied, Mukesh and all other 20,000 children can be removed from working at the furnace.
|Volunteer||To do by own wish|
Mukesh wants to take writer to his home. His eyes are shining while he takes the writer to his home. Mukesh informs the writer that his home is getting rebuilt. [Means that some renovation is being done at his house]
|Hovel||A small, dirty house in bad condition|
|Crumbling||Broken, About to fall|
Writer and Mukesh walk through the lanes. Foul smell is coming from these lanes. These lanes are full of garbage. Homes are small and broken. Walls are about to fall. Doors are shaking. Houses do not have windows. Houses have lot of people and animals. They live together in ancient style.
|Bang||To hit hard|
|Shack||A roughly built house,|
Mukesh stops at one house of that type. He strikes at the shaking iron-gate with his foot. The door is pushed open. They enter into a poorly built house. The house in not fully constructed.
|Thatched||Roof made of straw|
One part of the house has grass and straws as its roof. In a corner a firewood stove is placed. On the stove spinach leaves vegetable is being cooked. Aluminium plates are kept on the ground. These plates have more cut vegetables.
|Frail||Weak and thin|
A weak looking young woman is cooking dinner for the family. Her eye are filled with smoke. She smiles at the writer. She is wife of elder brother of Mukesh.
|Command respect||To get respect|
She is not very old by her age. She gets respect of everybody as a daughter in law of the house. She takes care of three men of the house – her husband, Mukesh and their father.
|Veil||A cloth put on the face|
Here the older man refers to father of Mukesh. When the older man comes to house, she goes behind the wall. She put a veil on her face. This is the tradition of the house.
|Impoverished||Poor and weak|
|Despite||In spite of|
|Renovate||To bring to good condition|
The elder person is a poor and weak bangle maker. He has done hard work for many years. First as a tailor and then as a bangle maker. In spite of hard work, he has not been able to bring house to good condition. He could not send his two sons to schools. He has managed to teach them only bangle making.
|Destiny||Fate , Fortune|
|Lineage||Related to ancestors|
Grandmother of Mukesh says that this is their destiny. Her husband had become blind while working as a bangle maker. He used to polish glass bangles. Dust of glass had entered into his eyes. We have to adopt the profession of our ancestors. So we have to do the same thing. She means to say that one needs to accept what God gives them. It shows the state of helplessness.
They were born in the house of bangle makers. Their ancestors have also been making bangles. So they have seen only bangles in their house, in every other house and in every street of the town of Firozabad.
|Shanty||Old and without light and air|
Round bangles of every colour of rainbow lie in heaps in poorly maintained yards. These are put in a four wheeled cart. Young men push these carts along the streets of town. The town is old and poorly maintained. It has inadequate light and air.
In dark houses some boys and girls are sitting with their parents. They are joining ends of glass to make circular bangles. Light of the lamp is unsteady, sometimes it becomes more and sometimes less.
|Lose eyesight||Become blind|
Children like to work in less light than in full light. They have adjusted themselves to poor light. The writer wants to say that this is not their choice but a compulsion. Because they work in poor light, they become blind before they are grown-ups.
|Drab||Of dull colour|
|Soldering||Joining by heating|
A girl by the name of Savita is wearing dress of dull pink colour. She is sitting near to an elderly woman. The girl is joining glass. Her hands are moving like a machine. Writer has a doubt if the girl knows the importance of bangle she is making..
|Dawn on||To understand, To realise|
Bangles are considered holy for marriage. It represents ‘suhaag’ (husband) of a woman. Savita will understand it one day. She will wear a red saari and a veil. She will apply henna on her hands. She will wear red bangles in her wrist. Then she will be a bride.
Savita will be a wife just like the old woman who is sitting next to her. The old woman got married many years ago. She has bangles in her hand but no shine in her eyes. [Means she has no hope or joy in life]
|Reaped||Receive because of one’s action|
The old lady says that she has never had full meal on any day. And this is what she has received in her life. [This she calls as achievement of her life. A big satire on their condition of working, earning and living.]
Husband of the old lady has a long beard. He says that he knows only bangle making. He has managed to build a house for his family. This is the only thing he could for his family.
The person has a house of his own. So he has achieved what many fail to achieve.
Every house complains that they have just enough money to continue the business of bangle making. But they do not have enough money to buy food. [This tells us that in spite of all family member working, they find difficult to buy food. So their earning is very small] The younger generation have the same regret. or complaint.
|Little has moved||Nothing has changed|
|Mind-numbing||Mind is not able to think|
It appears that nothing has changed in Firozabad. Because of hard work, their mind is not able to think anything else. So they are not able to think about something new. They do not have any dream.
|Fallen into||Trapped into, Walked into|
|Vicious circle||Situation that does not have a solution|
The writer suggests to form a co-operative society. This suggestion is made to group of young men. These men had walked or were forced to walk into the trap of middlemen. Now escape from their clutches is not possible. These middlemen had trapped their ancestors also. And it continues up to this generation.
They say that if they get together police beats them and puts them in prison. The reason given by police is that they have done something illegal.
[The writer wants to say that middlemen and police are working together to ensure that condition of people remains unchanged. So that middlemen can continue to get the work done at very low cost.]
|Talk in a spiral||Talk about same things|
|Apathy||Lack of sympathy|
They do not have any leader. They do not have any guide who would help them think in a different way. Their fathers were tired of working. They are also tired of working. Their talks are limited to four topics – poverty, lack of sympathy, greed and injustice. They only talk but take no action. Hence their condition remains unchanged.
|Caught in the web||Situation from which escape is difficult|
In the life of bangle makers there are two separate aspects and areas. The first is their family. The family is poor. The family suffers because of their caste. The second aspect is made up of ‘sahukars’, middlemen and policemen, the officers and politicians. Bangle makers are not able to support their family. They are not able to come out of clutches these group of people.
These two aspects have collectively put a load on every child. The child is not able to remove that load. He accepts the load unknowingly and without understanding. Same thing had happen with his father.
|Flash of it||Small amount of it|
|Cheer||To feel happy|
If a person wants to do anything other than bangle making, it is considered courage. The writer says that having courage is not part of their life. But when writer sees a small amount of courage in Mukesh, he feels happy. Mukesh once again says, “I want to be a motor mechanic”.
Mukesh says that he will go to a garage to learn how to repair cars. But the garage is very far from his house He says that he will walk to the garage. He is insisting to become a motor mechanic.
The writer asks Mukesh if he has a dream of flying an aeroplane. Mukesh becomes silent. He looks at the ground. Then he says ‘No’.
|Hurtling down||Moving noisily, Moving speedily|
|Small murmur||Short answer|
In his short answer there is a discomfort. But his discomfort has not yet become a disappointment. [The discomfort is because he knows he is not dreaming big. The discomfort is also because he does not have money to undergo training to become a pilot] He is satisfied to have a dream of cars, of being car mechanic. He sees cars moving in his town. Airplanes do not fly over Firozabad.
[A very powerful message. What you see you can dream to become. So it is important to widen the horizon of our knowledge to dream big and then achieve it.]