The Lost Child
· The story ‘The Lost Child’ is written by Mulk Raj Anand, a renowned Indo Anglian author.
· The story is set in an Indian village and gives an authentic picture of a village with lively description of a village fair.
· It deals with the peculiar behaviour of children and immaturity on part of youngsters who often misjudge their desires as their needs.
· The theme of the story is ‘all that glitters is not gold’. Every attractive thing may not be important for us.
Summary / Synopsis
§ The little child is very happy and excited as he is going to his village fair along with his parents.
§ On his way many beautiful and attractive things catch his attention such as toys hanging in the shops, flowering mustard fields birds and insects. He wanted to buy toys and take flowers. He also wanted to catch dragonflies and play with doves. But, each time his parents said ‘no’ to him. Often he lagged behind in order to take these things and at his parents’ call he joined them.
§ When the child reached the fair, again he was attracted by all the colourful objects and fascinating sights.
§ First the call of sweet seller caught his attention and he wanted to eat ‘burfi’ which was his favourite sweet but his parents paid no attention. Moving ahead he wanted to buy a garland of gulmohur but he didn’t express his desire as he knew that his parents would refuse it. Seeing colourful balloons and game of snake charmer, too, he suppressed his desire.
§ Then, he reached near a big round about. People were enjoying ride on it. There he could not control his desire and said, I want to go on the roundabout’. He didn’t get any response. When he turned around, he came to know that he was lost. He cried and ran in all the directions but could not find his parents.
§ A kind man in the fair heard his cry and lifted him up in his arms. He tried to pacify the child by asking him if he would take a ride in roundabout but the child requested the stranger to take him to his parents only.
§ Moving ahead the stranger offered the child to enjoy the dance of snake, take balloons, buy a garland and eat sweets. But, each time the child crying bitterly, said, ‘I want my father, I want my mother.’
§ The story is left unended by the writer with a purpose that the children and the youngsters must introspect their casual behaviour and careless attitude towards parents and other valuable things and realise their importance in life before they are lost.
The message of the story is crystal clear that we need to realise the importance of things in our life before they get lost. We pine for other things that we don’t have and in this, we tend to ignore more valuable things that we have. We only realise their value in our life when that are not with us.
The writer warns against immature behaviour of children who crave for attractive things without thinking of their value and significance.
Important Question answers
Q1. In the fair the child wanted many things? What were they? Why did he move ahead without waiting for an answer?
Ans. In the fair the child was attracted towards many things and he wanted to have each one of them. First, he wanted to buy ‘burfi’ which was his favourite sweet. But, when his father got angry, he couldn’t dare ask for a garland of gulmohur, rainbow coloured balloons, music played by snake charmer and other things. Each time he moved ahead without asking and waiting for an answer as he knew that his parents would refuse.
Q2. When does the child realise that he has lost his way? How have his anxiety and desperation been described?
Ans. When the child reached a big roundabout in full swing, he could not resist his temptation to have a ride on it and he expressed his desire to his parents. He didn’t get any answer and turned around to find that his parents were not there. Then he realised that his is lost.
Crying loudly he ran in all the directions but in vain. He got inside a crowd of people near a shrine to look for his parents. His turban got untied and clothes became spoiled. Sweating badly and weeping bitterly he called out ‘mother’ and ‘father’. When he was about to be crushed under the feet of crowd, he was lifted up by a kind man in the crowd.