Summary of Lost Spring (Poem by Anees Jung)

lost spring summary

Lost Spring Summary 

The poem ‘Lost Spring’ is written by Anees Jung and gives a peek into the lives of children who live in abject poverty in India. The poem brings to light the circumstances that force these children to give up their childhood and do heavy work for a very small amount of money.
The poem first explores the life of a boy named Saheb, who belongs to a poor migrant family from Dhaka & is a rag picker in Seemapuri. He is just like thousands of children who live in the slum of Seemapuri – a place located on the outskirts of Delhi – and spends his days going through the heaps of garbage barefoot in order to earn a livelihood. Forget education, these children don’t even have basic amenities; forced to live in a place where there is no basic sanitation and water supply, these children learn to live the hard way.
Children like Saheb have no choice but to roam about the garbage dumps in search of something that their parents might be able to sell. While for adults garbage is a way to survive, for these children it is all a game where they can wander at will and be happy. To the minds of the children, it is more like a game where you have to find a treasure. Amidst all this poverty and tragedy, at least Saheb was free, but soon he lost freedom too. In order to earn better, he starts working at a tea-stall. He gets Rs 800 per month, but over time loses his care-free nature.
In the poem, Anees Jung also talks about another boy named Mukesh, who also wants to be the master of his own life. This boy works in the glass industry in Firozabad and belongs to a family that as per tradition has been in this type of work for generations. Just like Saheb’s case where he roams the garbage dumps barefoot and is always on the verge of getting an infection, here children work close to the furnaces in really high temperatures, and on top of that they even get exposed to multiple health hazards that include losing their eyesight.
Mukesh lives in a family, like all other families of Firozabad, in abject poverty; families who assume that their children will continue in the same field of work. These families are exploited by the sahukars, politicians, policemen, and middlemen & have totally lost the idea of human rights. He lives with his blind father in a ruin of a house, but he is not like his elders. He is confident and wants to be a motor mechanic.
The story conveyed by the poem talks about how child labor takes away the spirit of the children. Such children not only lose their precious childhood but all beautiful things that come with the childhood that we all cherish over the years – the joy, pleasure, and play – which we revisit to ignite our spirit are also lost.  

The irony of life is that millions of children like Saheb and Mukesh lose their spring, i.e. childhood when they are forced to earn a living at a very early age – the age when they should be spending while learning, playing, and smiling.

Lost Spring - Theme & Setting

The theme of the poem ‘Lost Spring’ revolves around the dire poverty of the rag pickers struggling with their lives in Seemapuri and the bangle makers in Firozabad.
Theme #1: Poverty
The poem explores the themes of abject poverty, the vicious social setup, and traditions that force children to work and lead a life of exploitation. 
Theme #2: Spring & the stolen childhood
Springtime is the time of the year when things grow and bloom. In a person’s life, childhood is the ‘springtime' where a child grows in different spheres of life and emerges as a productive, independent, and resourceful adult. Innocent and still not set in a mold, a child can achieve a lot in terms of knowledge & skills when showered with care, good schooling & guidance.  
Lost Spring gives a deep insight into the life of poor children in India who are forced to give up the best time of their lives just to survive and spend it doing things that will not help provide them a better future. The poem tells the story of two such children Saheb-e-Alam and Mukesh who lose their childhood early on & are forced to lead a life with no support, no education, and no guidance.