He loses contact with his loved ones in a village fair. Day of the Fair It is the spring festival and the main attraction is the village fair. A massive crowd has gathered to partake in the festivities. There are people from different walks of life. They have colorful and diverse appearances; some are brightly dressed while some are ordinarily clad.

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From the wintry shades of narrow lanes and alleys emerged a gaily clad humanity. Some walked, some rode on horses, others sat, being carried in bamboo and bullock carts. He hurried towards his parents, his feet obedient to their call, his eyes still lingering on the receding toys.

As he came to where they had stopped to wait for him, he could not suppress the desire of his heart, even though he well knew the old, cold stare of refusal in their eyes.

A group of dragon-flies were bustling about on their gaudy purple wings, intercepting the flight of a lone black bee or butterfly in search of sweetness from the flowers. The child followed them in the air with his gaze, till one of them would still its wings and rest, and he would try to catch it. But it would go fluttering, flapping, up into the air, when he had almost caught it in his hands. He ran towards them.

A shower of young flowers fell upon the child as he entered the grove, and, forgetting his parents, he began to gather the raining petals in his hands.

But lo! The dove! As they neared the village the child could see many other footpaths full of throngs, converging to the whirlpool of the fair, and felt at once repelled and fascinated by the confusion of the world he was entering.

The child stared open-eyed and his mouth watered for the burfi that was his favourite sweet. But he half knew as he begged that his plea would not be heeded because his parents would say he was greedy.

So without waiting for an answer he moved on. So, without waiting for an answer, he moved on. A man stood holding a pole with yellow, red, green and purple balloons flying from it.

The child was simply carried away by the rainbow glory of their silken colours and he was filled with an overwhelming desire to possess them all. But he well knew his parents would never buy him the balloons because they would say he was too old to play with such toys.

So he walked on farther. A snake-charmer stood playing a flute to a snake which coiled itself in a basket, its head raised in a graceful bend like the neck of a swan, while the music stole into its invisible ears like the gentle rippling of an invisible waterfall.

The child went towards the snake-charmer. But, knowing his parents had forbidden him to hear such coarse music as the snake- charmer played, he proceeded farther. There was a roundabout in full swing. Men, women and children, carried away in a whirling motion, shrieked and cried with dizzy laughter. He turned to look at his parents. They were not there, ahead of him. He turned to look on either side.

They were not there. He looked behind. There was no sign of them. Panic- stricken, he ran to one side first, then to the other, hither and thither in all directions, knowing not where to go. His yellow turban came untied and his clothes became muddy. Having run to and fro in a rage of running for a while, he stood defeated, his cries suppressed into sobs. At little distances on the green grass he could see, through his filmy eyes, men and women talking.

He tried to look intently among the patches of bright yellow clothes, but there was no sign of his father and mother among these people, who seemed to laugh and talk just for the sake of laughing and talking. He ran quickly again, this time to a shrine to which people seemed to be crowding. Whose baby are you? Can you smell those nice flowers, child!

Would you like a garland to put round your neck?


The Lost Child Summary by Mulk Raj Anand

The young unnamed boy as he is walking with his parents asks his parents for many things. None of which his parents will buy for him. As to why this may be is uncertain though it may be a case that neither parent wishes to spoil their son. Though some critics might also suggest that both parents are being frugal or mean. However it might be important to remember that the boy himself does not necessarily consider his parents mean.


The Lost Child by Mulk Raj Anand




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