The poem ‘The story of Lost Friends’ is a mirror of Ruskin Bond’s growing up years. It is an evocative memoir about cuts and bruises received in childhood. Some wounds heal, some take a long time and some don’t heal at all Bond had his share of each. The bonds of friendship that were forged left an incredible mark on the poet. Thus, His childhood can be aptly summed up as a journey through climbing trees, little escapades and friend.
After his father’s death, Bond was ‘despatched’ to his Mother’s house in Denra. After an initial phase of loneliness, Bond finds his first friend of childhood whom he describes as a boy with ‘blackberry eyes’ whose ‘mother was Burmese’ and father ‘An English soldier killed in the War’ Their friendship started with a small scuffle as they ‘ rolled and fought but not for long’. The arrival of the gardenor made them running. They shared some extremely enjoyable moments such that ‘Jime was suspended for a time’. The fields yellow with mustard, parrots wheeling in the sunshine and morning must on the foothills had a new meaning for them.
There relationship was a touch of passion for they pledged to meetd again and sealed their pledge with their own blood.
However, they joy was short lived. They had gone to see ‘gone with the wind’ but just like the cinema was a ‘crashing bore for boys’ it bought a crashing end to their friendship. The extremely warm feeling of sleeping with his partner at night gave way to a disgraceful morning. Bond stayed a night at his friend’s house much to the displeasure of his parents. There was a huge scene in the morning which left his ‘friend unhappy’ and his ‘pride wounded’ such short phrases depict pain and frustration in Bond’s heart. This incident caused a wedge between them and his friend was soon sent to an ‘orphanage in kalimpong’.
The pledge was never fulfilled and the boy was left yearning for love and security However, on the brighter side, Bond learned the Value of companionship from this friend.
Contrast of Manohar and Bansi
Manohar was a fifteen year old boy bond describes him as ‘A slim dark youth with quiet’ Eyes and a gently quzzical smile/ Manohar’ the single word sentence ‘Manohar says it all.
Manohar worked in a restaurant and talked about his home ‘at the bottom of the river where the water ran blue and white’. Bond was drawn towards him and two of them decided to go to Manohar;s native village in the Mountains Since they had no money, Bond sold his ‘bicycle for thirty rupees’ and left dehra, leaving a note for his parents , saying them he would return to them when he had grown up.
It was a difficult trek to Manohar’s village in the mountains. They ‘crossed the rushing waters of the Ganga’ and ‘Then took the pilgrim road’. They had to spend a night at the wayside inn in bitter cold. They drank country liquor brewed there and listened to an old soldier’s exploits with women in Rome during World War I. They reached Manohar’s village late next evening.
The young poet was comforted to hear old village headman’s words of wisdom as he set in a spot of sunshine on a string cob, ‘Not death but a summing up of life’. The people of the village were extremely poor. The poet and his friend often went hungry but he ‘did not long for home’
They ate wild berries, milked other’s goat and caught small fish in the river. At last, bond’s stepfather sent his office manager to bring him back to Dehra. This marked the end of the beautiful relationship that Bond shared with Manohar and the starting of the everlasting quest of Bond in search of Manohar.
Though Bansi and Manohar has a contrasting nature, both of them enriched his life. Bansi was an individual full of life and vibrancy on the other hand, Manohar represents the serene side of life.
Bansi is potrayed as a grown up with the traits of a child, being fun-loving and lively.
Manohar through still a child has a serenading effect on bond, teaching Bond about the serious aspect of life.
Furthermore, Bond learned he value of keeping a promise from Bansi. From Manohar, the learnt qualities of sharing, loving and caring.
Lastly, it is important to note the conclusions Bond derieves from two. Bansi teaches him the fact that it is ‘Natural for a man to strive to excel/At something’ and that ‘A man who fails well is better than who succeeds badly’ whereas, Manohar became a metaphor for true friend.