Part -3


Q1. Who was Saheb? What was he doing and why?
Ans. Saheb was a young boy of school-going age. He was looking for gold in the garbage dumps of the big city. He had left his home in Dhaka, Bangladesh and came to the big city in search of living. He has nothing else to do but pick rags.

Q2. “But promises like mine abound in every corner of his bleak world.” What promise does the author recall? In what context was it made? Was it fulfilled?
Ans. The author asked Saheb about going to school. Saheb explained that there was no school in his neighbourhood. He promised to go to school when they built one. Half joking, the author asked whether he would come in case she started one. Saheb smiled broadly and agreed to come. After a few days, he ran upto the author and asked if the school was ready. The author felt embarrassed. She had made a promise that was not meant.

Q3. What is the meaning of Saheb’s full name? Does he know it? How does he conduct himself?
Ans. His full name is “Saheb-e-Alam”. It means the lord of the universe. He does not know it. If he knew it, he would hardly believe it. He roams the streets barefoot with other rag-pickers. This army of arefoot boys appears in the morning and disappears at noon.

Q4. How does the author focus on the ‘perpetual state of poverty’ of the children not wearing footwear?
Ans. The author notices that most of the young children engaged in rag picking are not wearing footwear. Some of them do not have chappals. Others want to wear shoes. Some say it is tradition to stay barefoot. To the author it seems lack of money. Poverty forces them to walk without footwear.

Q5. Explain: “For children, garbage has a meaning different from what it means to their parents. ”
Ans. Small children scrounge heaps of garbage. They expect to get some coin, note or valuable thing in it. Sometimes they find a rupee or even a ten rupee note. This gives the hope of finding more. They search it excitedly. For children, garbage is wrapped in wonder.
For the elders it is a means of survival. Thus, garbage has two different meanings.

Q6. Where does the author find Saheb one winter morning? What explanation does Saheb offer?
Ans. The author finds Saheb standing by the fenced gate of a neighbourhood club. He is watching two young men, dressed in white, playing tennis. Saheb says that he likes the game, but he is content to watch it standing behind the fence. He goes inside when no one is around. He uses the swing there.

Q7. What job did Saheb take up? Was he happy ? [All India 2014]
Ans. Saheb took up the job at a tea-stall. But he was not happy with it. He was no longer his own master. His face had lost the carefree look. Although he earned ? 800, even then he was not satisfied.

Q8. How has “a dream come true” for Saheb but what is “out of his reach?”
Ans. Saheb is wearing discarded tennis shoes. One of them has a hole. Saheb does not bother about the hole. For one who has walked barefoot, even shoes with a hole is a dream come true. But tennis, the game he is watching so intently, is out of his reach.

Q9. How does Saheb’s life change when he starts working at the tea-stall?
Ans. Saheb now has a regular income. He is paid 800 rupees and all his meals. Thus, food is no problem. But his face has lost the carefree look. The steel canister in his hand now seems a burden. He is no longer his own master. He may have to work for longer hours. The helplessness of doing things at his own will makes him sad.

Q10. Who is Mukesh? What is his dream? Why does it look like “a mirage amidst the dust?”
Ans. Mukesh is the son of a poor bangle-maker of Firozabad, where every other family is engaged in making bangles. His poor father has failed to renovate his house or send his two sons to school. Mukesh insists on being his own master. His dream is to be a motor mechanic. He wants to drive a car. Given the conditions of existence, his dream looks like a mirage amidst the dust.


Q11.What do you learn about Firozabad from this chapter ?
Ans. Firozabad is famous for its glass bangles. It is the centre of India’s glass-blowing industry.
Families have spent generations working around furnaces, welding glass, making bangles for all the women in the land. Every other family in Firozabad is engaged in making bangles.

Q12. “Born in the caste of bangle-makers they have seen nothing but bangles.” Where do they ‘see’ bangles?
Ans. Children like Mukesh are bpm in the caste of bangle-makers. They know no other work.
They see bangles in the house, in the yard, in every other house, every other yard, every street in Firozabad. The spirals of bangles lie in mounds in unkempt yards. They are piled on four wheeled hand carts.

Q13. What contrast do you notice between the colours of the bangles and the atmosphere of the place where these bangles are made?
Ans. The bangles are of every colour bom out of the seven colours of the rainbow. These are sunny gold, paddy green, royal blue, pink and purple. Boys and girls work in dark hutments, next to the flickering flames of oil lamps around furnaces, blowing glass, welding and soldering it to make bangles.

Q14. What are most of the bangle-makers ignorant of? What would happen if law were enforced strictly?
Ans. Most of the bangle-makers are ignorant of the fact that employing children in bangle making is illegal. This is a hazardous industry. Many children become blind before reaching tHeir adulthood. If the law were enforced strictly, 20,000 children would be released from
working hard throughout the day at hot furnaces with high temperatures. *

Q15. Where is Mukesh’s house located? What is he proud of?
Ans. Mukesh’s house is built in a slum-area. The lanes stink with garbage. The homes there are hovels with crumbling walls, wobbly doors and no windows. These are crowded with families of humans and animals. Most of these houses are shacks or huts. Mukesh is proud that his house is being rebuilt. His eyes shine as he volunteers to take the author to his home,

Q16. What impression do you form about Mukesh ‘s family on having a glimpse of their ‘house?’
Ans. Mukesh’s house is a half built shack with a wobbly door. One part of it is thatched with dead grass. There is a firewood stove. Spinach leaves are sizzling in a large vessel. More chopped vegetables lie on aluminium platters. The eyes of the frail young woman are filled with smoke, but she smiles. The scene depicts their grinding poverty but contentment with their lot.

Q17. Give a thumb-nail sketch of the “frail young woman” in the chapter ‘Lost Spring’.
Ans. The young woman is the wife of Mukesh’s elder brother. Her eyes are filled with the smoke of firewood. Though not much older in years, she commands respect as the daughter- in-law of the house. She adheres to customs and traditions. She veils her face before male elders. She gently withdraws behind the broken wall to do so.

Q18. How would you regard Mukesh’s father’s life and achievement?
Ans. Mukesh’s father was bom in the caste of bangle-makers. His father went blind with the dust from polishing the glass of bangles. He is an old and poor bangle-maker. He has worked hard for long years, first as a tailor and then as a bangle-maker. He has failed to renovate a house or send his two sons to school.


Q19. “Savita is a symbol of innocence and efficiency.” Comment.
Ans. Savita is a young girl. She has put on drab pink dress. She is soldering pieces of glass. Her hands move mechanically like the tongs of a machine. She is innocent as she is ignorant about the sanctity of the bangles she helps to make.

Q20. What do bangles symbolise? When, according to the author, will Savita know “the sanctity of the bangles she helps make?” How is the Indian bride dressed? 
Ans. Bangles symbolise auspiciousness in marriage for an Indian woman. Savita will come to know “the sanctity” of the bangles when she becomes a bride. The head of a bride is draped with a red veil. Her hands are dyed with red henna. Red bangles are rolled on to her wrists.

Q21. “She still has bangles on her wrist but no light in her eyes.” What exactly does the author want to convey through this?
Ans. ‘She’ is an elderly woman who became a bride long ago. Since her husband, an old man with a flowing beard is still alive, she still has bangles on her wrist. She has, however, not enjoyed even one full nteal in her entire lifetime. So, there is no light in her eyes. This is just a comment on the abject poverty and helplessness of the bangle-makers.

Q22. “The young men echo the lament of their elders. ” What do you think is the common complain t ? How has it affected their lives?
Ans. The bangle-makers of Firozabad are quite poor. They do not have enough money to do anything except carry on the business of making bangles. Some even do not have enough to pacify their hunger. Building a house for the family is an achievement for them. Years of mind-numbing toil have killed all initiative and the ability to dream.

Q23. Why do the bangle-makers not organise themselves into a cooperative?
Ans. Most of the young bangle-makers have fallen into the traps of the middlemen. They are also afraid of the police. They know that the police will haul them up, beat them and drag to jail for doing something illegal. There is no leader among them to help them see things differently. Their fathers are equally tired. They can do nothing except carrying on their i inherited business.

Q24. Which two distinct worlds does the author notice among the bangle-making industry ?
Ans. The families of the bangle-makers belong to one of these worlds. These workers are caught in the web of poverty. They are also burdened by the stigma of the caste in which they are bom. They know no other work. The other world is the vicious circle of the moneylenders, the middlemen, the policemen, the keepers of the law, the bureaucrats and the politicians.

Q25. How is Mukesh different from the other bangle makers of Firozabad? [Delhi 2014]
Ans. Mukesh is quite different from other bangle makers of Firozabad because he has the courage to take initiative and break from the traditional family occupation. He has strong will power also. He insists on being his own master by becoming a motor mechanic.

Q26. What do you think is the plight of the children born in the families of bangle-makers?
Ans. The vicious circle of the middlemen and their allies have entrapped the poor bangle- makers in their nets. The stronghold is suffocating. They have imposed a heavy burden on little children. They can’t put it down. Before they are able to think, they accept the baggages as naturally as their fathers.

Q27. What do you think is the theme of ‘Lost Spring, Stories of Stolen Childhood’?
Ans. The theme of the chapter is the grinding poverty and the traditions which condemn poor children to a life of exploitation. The two stories taken together depict the plight of street children forced into labour early in life and denied the opportunity of schooling. The callousness of the society and the political class only adds to the sufferings of these poor people.