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Story of Lost Friends

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anjanavr47
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PostSubject: Story of Lost Friends Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:59 pm

“The Story of Lost Friends” is the poet’s nostalgic tribute to his childhood. Here the narrator vividly recounts special episodes from his childhood days. Bond identifies himself with the little boy in the poem. Some of the incidents have been borrowed from his short stories. We can also see some elements from his autobiography “Scenes from a Writer’s Life”.

Ruskin Bond spent a major part of his life in Shimla, Dehradun and Delhi. After his parents separated, Ruskin Bond stayed with his father around whom his life was centered from then on. His father was his best friend and teacher, almost a second self.. He was an officer in the RAF and took his little son wherever he went. Together father and son journeyed almost the whole of North India which is famous for its hill trains. Perhaps that is why young Ruskin was fascinated with trains.

As we know the boy in the poem was deeply attached to his father just like Ruskin was. This was because his mother had left him at an early age. These lines are from his autobiography, “I witnessed my parents’ quarrel from an early age and these resulted in my mother’s taking off for unknown destinations. I would feel helpless and insecure. My father’s hand was always there and I held it firmly until it was wrenched away by the angel of death. The two years spent with my father were probably the happiest of my childhood. He did his best for me, dear man. He gave me his time, his companionship, his complete attention.”

Regarding Ruskin’s arrival in Dehardun

What really happened was something similar or shall we say, worse. His mother and stepfather came home late at night after their ‘Shikhar’. His stepfather merely glanced at him and went on to get himself a whisky and soda. His mother gave him a peck on his cheek and remarked that she had forgotten he was arriving that day and went to get herself a whisky and soda as well.

SUMMARY

As the poem begins, we see that as a little boy, the poet used to wait at the railway cutting outside the tunnel for the ‘green and gold dragon’ to come out of the ‘grinning dark’. As the days passed, the train would thunder on, carrying hundreds of people to their destinations, ‘a hundred farewells a day’. The boy’s attention was caught by the face of a ‘bright boy’. This boy waved out to him from the window of a passing train. The poet took a great liking to him and for many years, looked for him wherever he went. Throughout his life, the poet experiences such loneliness that he keeps returning to the railway cutting and keeps searching for the face ‘in cities and villages’ and in ‘crowds at distant places’.





The boy’s mother had left the family for another man. This led to a strong bond between father and son. They changed many houses and even lived in a tent near Humayun’s tomb. When the war began the boy was dropped at the boarding school. Father and son spent the holidays together, catching butterflies and planning a trip to England after the war was over. The father died and the boy was dispatched to his mother and stepfather. He calls it ‘a long journey through a dark tunnel’. When the boy arrived at Dehradun, he was met by no one. His mother had assumed the ‘train would be late, as usual’. His arrival had upset ‘everyone’s schedule’.

In his ‘new home’ he found a ‘new baby’ in a ‘new pram’, his younger brother. The repeated use of the word emphasizes the strangeness he experienced. The parents neglected both the children, visiting the night club often. Here. The ‘Tommies’ and ‘Yanks’ fought ‘private wars’ for the favours of ‘stale women’. He reads and re-reads books as well as his father’s letters. He also writes to him once but does not post it, “For fear it might come back, “Return to sender..””

The poet now describes the boy who had “blackberry eyes”. They raided guava trees and ran away when the gardener came. They wandered over fields and gardens and one day made a promise by a pool side to meet again once they were men. The boys went for a film together and the poet decided to spend the night in his friend’s house. The poet was too excited and happy to sleep. The next morning, his parents came, made a scene and took him home. This incident put an end to this friendship.

The old banyan tree beside the “broken wall” is the poet’s next friend. He was an “intruder” in the “pillared den”. The spirit of the tree became his friend and he learnt the “value of stillness”. Bansi, the tonga driver, used to take the poet on rides though he lost a fare. Through this friendship, the poet learnt that “a man who fails well is better than a man who succeeds badly”. The poet says that he remembers the “rag-time raga” of these rides. He says, “Nostalgia comes swiftly when one is 40”. Looking back on boyhood years even unhappiness acquires a certain glow.”

The poet goes on to describe the cemetery where he uses to wander. There were interesting tombs with inscriptions on them including a “tiny Taj”. A missionary who had been murdered by his servant had this ironical epitaph on his tomb, “Well done, though good and faithful servant”. The gardener complained of having to dig graves all throughout the winter. There was a leper colony across the railway line. The poet befriended the lepers, “without fingers or toes”. He finds their children no different from other children and plays marbles with them. His parents discover this and throw away his clothes. The boy’s hatred for his step-father is seen in his act of putting the contaminated marbles in his father’s cupboard hoping he would catch leprosy from them.

Next the boy talks about another of his lost friends – Manohar – a “slim, dark” young boy of 15. Manohar is deeply attached to his mother and his home in the hills. He has come to Dehradun to earn his living in a hotel. Manohar presents a charming picture of his village where the river “ran, blue and white and wonderful”. The poet who feels neglected by his parents decides to sell his cycle for 30 rs and run away with Manohar to his village. The journey is not easy. They cross, “the rushing waters of Ganga”, spend a cold night at a wayside inn and listen to interesting stories of a soldier. At night, Manohar slept, bravely. The poet kept awake, “wishing upon a star”, “already knowing that wishes had no power”.

The boy comes to Manohar’s village. The head of the village sits on his string cot speaking words of wisdom. He says that death is not an abrupt end, “but a summing up of life”. He contrasts the poverty of the village with the splendor of Himalayan sunsets. The poet remembers his simple life in the village, catching fish and eating wild berries. In spite of the hardships the boy does not long for home. At times the poet wonders whether he would have grown up a village boy, “grazing sheeps and cattle” while his books gathered dust at home. His step-father sends his office manager into the mountains to bring him home. There is a mixture of relief and sadness here, relief because he’s taken home and sadness to leave Manohar.

The poem takes an emotional turn in the last stanza. The boy very sadly waves to
Manohar from the “bend in the road”. He calls Manohar, “the bright boy on the mountainside”. He loves Manohar and looks for him in cities, villages and in crowds. Manohar and the boy in the train window seem to merge and symbolize his lost friends. He has met many friends and lost them.

In this autobiographical poem, Ruskin Bond takes us through the joys and sorrows of a growing boy. He tells us about the friends he made and lost during his childhood. Many of these events must have distressed him as a child but in the poem he uses understatement. An example is the line where he tells us about the marbles in the cupboard. He tells the boy with “blackberry eyes” that he doesn’t go home because his mother is there. The deep sadness that the boy felt is conveyed through minimal words. The boy’s father was his best friend and death took him away. From then, he is always on the search for friends. The cyclical nature of this search is seen in the poem. He starts and ends the poem with the same lines. All his lost friends are fused into one, the bright boy whom the poet is looking for everywhere he goes. The poet uses a simple narrative style. There is a lot of description of people and places. The language is informal and sometimes sounds like prose. Infact, the poem almost reads like one of the short stories that Ruskin Bond is famous for.


There is a chance-its never come!!
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Abishek
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:02 pm

you ppl should be writing the guides for us!!! Smile
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G-7
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:06 pm

yup..!! where do these girls get all these incredible notes from..? this one is good ma'am...!!
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Abishek
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:10 pm

i second that!!! Very Happy
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aarthi
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:01 pm

Amazing notes anjana. Thanks a lot! Smile
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WinRrule
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:28 am

Thanks a lot for the notes, anjana..!
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Midhun Sarath
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:29 pm

i jus noticed.. u guyz r following a diff text .. jeeez
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:53 pm

which skl d0 u study kid..?
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saif
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:38 pm

All about Midhun Sarath




Gender:



Posts:
190


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Birthday:
1993-03-27


Joined date:
2009-02-11


Age:
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Location:
Kerala , Trivandrum


Job/hobbies:
playing cricket
Job/hobbies: playing cricket[/td][/tr]
Midhun Sarath
Birthday:
1993-03-27
Age:
16
"He is a junior"
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G-7
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PostSubject: Re: Story of Lost Friends Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:13 pm

thats my place too man...! i kn0w a kid of the same name and class.... i juz wanna know if hes this one... Laughing
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