English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Flamingo Chapter 2 Lost Spring Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words



Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context


Phrase Meaning
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


‘Sometimes I find a Rupee in the garbage’

“Why do you do this?” I ask Saheb whom I encounter every morning scrounging for gold in the garbage dumps of my neighbourhood.


Word Meaning
Encounter Meet, See
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.]


Saheb left his home long ago. Set amidst the green fields of Dhaka, his home is not even a distant memory. There were many storms that swept away their fields and homes, his mother tells him.


Word Meaning
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.

That’s why they left, looking for gold in the big city where he now lives. “I have nothing else to do,” he mutters, looking away.


Word Meaning
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.



“Go to school,” I say glibly, realising immediately how hollow the advice must sound. “There is no school in my neighbourhood. When they build one, I will go.”


Word Meaning
Glibly Without thought, Insincerely
Hollow Meaningless, Useless


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.

“If I start a school, will you come?” I ask, half-joking. “Yes,” he says, smiling broadly. A few days later I see him running up to me. “Is your school ready?”

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.



“It takes longer to build a school,” I say, embarrassed at having made a promise that was not meant. But promises like mine abound in every corner of his bleak world.


Word Meaning
Embarrassed Ashamed
Abound Plenty
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.]

After months of knowing him, I ask him his name. “Saheb-e-Alam,” he announces. He does not know what it means. If he knew its meaning — lord of the universe — he would have a hard time believing it.


Word Meaning
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.]



Unaware of what his name represents, he roams the streets with his friends, an army of barefoot boys who appear like the morning birds and disappear at noon. Over the months, I have come to recognise each of them.


Word Meaning
Unaware Not knowing
Roam Walk aimlessly
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.

“Why aren’t you wearing chappals?” I ask one. “My mother did not bring them down from the shelf,” he answers simply.

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.]

“Even if she did he will throw them off,” adds another who is wearing shoes that do not match. When I comment on it, he shuffles his feet and says nothing. “I want shoes,” says a third boy who has never owned a pair all his life.


Word Meaning
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.

Travelling across the country I have seen children walking barefoot, in cities, on village roads. It is not lack of money but a tradition to stay barefoot, is one explanation. I wonder if this is only an excuse to explain away a perpetual state of poverty.


Word Meaning
Explain away To hide, To say it is unimportant
Perpetual Never ending


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.

I remember a story a man from Udipi once told me. As a young boy he would go to school past an old temple, where his father was a priest. He would stop briefly at the temple and pray for a pair of shoes.

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.



Thirty years later I visited his town and the temple, which was now drowned in an air of desolation. In the backyard, where lived the new priest, there were red and white plastic chairs.


Word Meaning
Drowned Covered, Engulfed,
Desolation Ruin, Empty


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.

A young boy dressed in a grey uniform, wearing socks and shoes, arrived panting and threw his school bag on a folding bed. Looking at the boy, I remembered the prayer another boy had made to the goddess when he had finally got a pair of shoes, “Let me never lose them.”


Word Meaning
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 his prayer. Young boys like the son of the priest now wore shoes. But many others like the ragpickers in my neighbourhood remain shoeless.

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.



My acquaintance with the barefoot ragpickers leads me to Seemapuri, a place on the periphery of Delhi yet miles away from it, metaphorically.


Word Meaning
Acquaintance Being familiar
Metaphorically Symbolically


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].

Those who live here are squatters who came from Bangladesh back in 1971. Saheb’s family is among them. Seemapuri was then a wilderness. It still is, but it is no longer empty.


Word Meaning
Squatters Illegal residents
Wilderness Jungle


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.]

In structures of mud, with roofs of tin and tarpaulin, devoid of sewage, drainage or running water, live 10,000 ragpickers.


Word Meaning
Devoid Without, Absence


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 have lived here for more than thirty years without an identity, without permits but with ration cards that get their names on voters’ lists and enable them to buy grain. Food is more important for survival than an identity.

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.



“If at the end of the day we can feed our families and go to bed without an aching stomach, we would rather live here than in the fields that gave us no grain,” say a group of women in tattered saris when I ask them why they left their beautiful land of green fields and rivers.


Word Meaning
Aching Paining
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.

Wherever they find food, they pitch their tents that become transit homes. Children grow up in them, becoming partners in survival. And survival in Seemapuri means rag-picking.


Word Meaning
Pitch Make, Install
Transit Temporary, Moveable


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.

Through the years, it has acquired the proportions of a fine art. Garbage to them is gold. It is their daily bread, a roof over their heads, even if it is a leaking roof. But for a child it is even more.


Word Meaning
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.

“I sometimes find a rupee, even a ten-rupee note,” Saheb says, his eyes lighting up. When you can find a silver coin in a heap of garbage, you don’t stop scrounging, for there is hope of finding more.


Word Meaning
Lighting up Shining
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 seems that for children, garbage has a meaning different from what it means to their parents. For the children it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders it is a means of survival.

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.

One winter morning I see Saheb standing by the fenced gate of the neighbourhood club, watching two young men dressed in white, playing tennis.

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.

“I like the game,” he hums, content to watch it standing behind the fence. “I go inside when no one is around,” he admits. “The gatekeeper lets me use the swing.”


Word Meaning
Hums Says with a sweat voice
Content Satisfied


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 too is wearing tennis shoes that look strange over his discoloured shirt and shorts. “Someone gave them to me,” he says in the manner of an explanation.


Word Meaning
Discoloured Faded colour


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.

The fact that they are discarded shoes of some rich boy, who perhaps refused to wear them because of a hole in one of them, does not bother him. For one who has walked barefoot, even shoes with a hole is a dream come true. But the game he is watching so intently is out of his reach.


Word Meaning
Discarded Rejected
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.

This morning, Saheb is on his way to the milk booth. In his hand is a steel canister. “I now work in a tea stall down the road,” he says, pointing in the distance.


Word Meaning
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.

“I am paid 800 rupees and all my meals.” Does he like the job? I ask. His face, I see, has lost the carefree look.

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.

The steel canister seems heavier than the plastic bag he would carry so lightly over his shoulder. The bag was his. The canister belongs to the man who owns the tea shop. Saheb is no longer his own master!

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.


“I want to drive a car”

Mukesh insists on being his own master. “I will be a motor mechanic,” he announces.

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’)

“Do you know anything about cars?” I ask. “I will learn to drive a car,” he answers, looking straight into my eyes.

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.

His dream looms like a mirage amidst the dust of streets that fill his town Firozabad, famous for its bangles. Every other family in Firozabad is engaged in making bangles.


Word Meaning
Looms Appears
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.

It is the centre of India’s glass-blowing industry where families have spent generations working around furnaces, welding glass, making bangles for all the women in the land it seems.


Word Meaning
Glass-blowing Glass making
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]

Mukesh’s family is among them. None of them know that it is illegal for children like him to work in the glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air and light; that the law, if enforced, could get him and all those 20,000 children out of the hot furnaces where they slog their daylight hours, often losing the brightness of their eyes.


Word Meaning
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.

Mukesh’s eyes beam as he volunteers to take me home, which he proudly says is being rebuilt.


Word Meaning
Beam Shine
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]

We walk down stinking lanes choked with garbage, past homes that remain hovels with crumbling walls, wobbly doors, no windows, crowded with families of humans and animals coexisting in a primeval state.


Word Meaning
Stinking Foul smelling
Chocked Full of
Hovel A small, dirty house in bad condition
Crumbling Broken, About to fall
Wobbly Shaking
Coexisting Living together
Primeval Ancient


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.

He stops at the door of one such house, bangs a wobbly iron door with his foot, and pushes it open. We enter a half-built shack.


Word Meaning
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.

In one part of it, thatched with dead grass, is a firewood stove over which sits a large vessel of sizzling spinach leaves. On the ground, in large aluminium platters, are more chopped vegetables.


Word Meaning
Thatched Roof made of straw
Sizzling Very hot
Platter Plate
Chopped Finely cut


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.

A frail young woman is cooking the evening meal for the whole family. Through eyes filled with smoke she smiles. She is the wife of Mukesh’s elder brother.


Word Meaning
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.

Not much older in years, she has begun to command respect as the bahu, the daughter-in law of the house, already in charge of three men — her husband, Mukesh and their father.


Word Meaning
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.

When the older man enters, she gently withdraws behind the broken wall and brings her veil closer to her face. As custom demands, daughters-in-law must veil their faces before male elders.


Word Meaning
Withdraws Goes back
Veil A cloth put on the face
Custom Ritual, Tradition


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.

In this case the elder is an impoverished bangle maker. Despite long years of hard labour, first as a tailor, then a bangle maker, he has failed to renovate a house, send his two sons to school. All he has managed to do is teach them what he knows — the art of making bangles.


Word Meaning
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.

“It is his karam, his destiny,” says Mukesh’s grandmother, who has watched her own husband go blind with the dust from polishing the glass of bangles. “Can a god-given lineage ever be broken?” she implies.


Word Meaning
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.

Born in the caste of bangle makers, they have seen nothing but bangles — in the house, in the yard, in every other house, every other yard, every street in Firozabad.

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.

Spirals of bangles — sunny gold, paddy green, royal blue, pink, purple, every colour born out of the seven colours of the rainbow — lie in mounds in unkempt yards, are piled on four-wheeled handcarts, pushed by young men along the narrow lanes of the shanty town.


Word Meaning
Spirals Rounds
Mounds Heaps
Unkempt Poorly maintained
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.

And in dark hutments, next to lines of flames of flickering oil lamps, sit boys and girls with their fathers and mothers, welding pieces of coloured glass into circles of bangles.


Word Meaning
Flickering Unsteady


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.

Their eyes are more adjusted to the dark than to the light outside. That is why they often end up losing their eyesight before they become adults.


Word Meaning
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.

Savita, a young girl in a drab pink dress, sits alongside an elderly woman, soldering pieces of glass. As her hands move mechanically like the tongs of a machine, I wonder if she knows the sanctity of the bangles she helps make.


Word Meaning
Drab Of dull colour
Alongside Near
Soldering Joining by heating
Sanctity Importance, Holiness


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..

It symbolises an Indian woman’s suhaag, auspiciousness in marriage. It will dawn on her suddenly one day when her head is draped with a red veil, her hands dyed red with henna, and red bangles rolled onto her wrists. She will then become a bride.


Word Meaning
Auspiciousness Lucky, Holy
Dawn on To understand, To realise
Draped Wrapped loosely


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.

Like the old woman beside her who became one many years ago. She still has bangles on her wrist, but no light in her eyes.


Word Meaning
Beside Near


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]

“Ek waqt ser bhar khana bhi nahin khaya,” she says, in a voice drained of joy. She has not enjoyed even one full meal in her entire lifetime — that’s what she has reaped!


Word Meaning
Drained of Without
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.]

Her husband, an old man with a flowing beard, says, “I know nothing except bangles. All I have done is make a house for the family to live in.”

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.

Hearing him, one wonders if he has achieved what many have failed in their lifetime. He has a roof over his head!

The person has a house of his own. So he has achieved what many fail to achieve.

The cry of not having money to do anything except carry on the business of making bangles, not even enough to eat, rings in every home. The young men echo the lament of their elders.


Word Meaning
Cry Complaint, Grudge
Echo Repeat, Same
Lament Pain, Regret


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 with time, it seems, in Firozabad. Years of mind-numbing toil have killed all initiative and the ability to dream.


Word Meaning
Little has moved Nothing has changed
Mind-numbing Mind is not able to think
Toil Hard work


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.

“Why not organise yourselves into a cooperative?” I ask a group of young men who have fallen into the vicious circle of middlemen who trapped their fathers and forefathers.


Word Meaning
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.

“Even if we get organised, we are the ones who will be hauled up by the police, beaten and dragged to jail for doing something illegal,” they say.


Word Meaning
Haul up Imprison


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.]

There is no leader among them, no one who could help them see things differently. Their fathers are as tired as they are. They talk endlessly in a spiral that moves from poverty to apathy to greed and to injustice.


Word Meaning
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.

Listening to them, I see two distinct worlds — one of the family, caught in a web of poverty, burdened by the stigma of caste in which they are born; the other a vicious circle of the sahukars, the middlemen, the policemen, the keepers of law, the bureaucrats and the politicians.


Word Meaning
Distinct Clearly separate
Caught in the web Situation from which escape is difficult
Stigma Dishonour, Disgrace
Bureaucrats Officers, Executives


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.

Together they have imposed the baggage on the child that he cannot put down. Before he is aware, he accepts it as naturally as his father.


Word Meaning
Impose Enforced
Baggage Load
Put down Remove


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.

To do anything else would mean to dare. And daring is not part of his growing up. When I sense a flash of it in Mukesh I am cheered. “I want to be a motor mechanic,’ he repeats.


Word Meaning
Dare Courage
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”.

He will go to a garage and learn. But the garage is a long way from his home. “I will walk,” he insists.

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.

“Do you also dream of flying a plane?” He is suddenly silent. “No,” he says, staring at the ground.

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’.

In his small murmur there is an embarrassment that has not yet turned into regret. He is content to dream of cars that he sees hurtling down the streets of his town. Few airplanes fly over Firozabad.


Word Meaning
Hurtling down Moving noisily, Moving speedily
Small murmur Short answer
Embarrassment Discomfort, Shame
Regret Disappointment, Repentance


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.]



Important Links
Lost Spring – Textbook Q&A Lost Spring – Extra Q&A
The Last Lesson – Explanation Deep Water – Explanation
The Last Lesson – Textbook Q&A Deep Water – Textbook Q&A
The Last Lesson – Extra Q&A Deep Water – Extra Q&A
Passages Note Making
Letter Writing Notice Writing
Advertisement Writing Article Writing
Report Writing




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