Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya-Online Book Summary |
The chapter begins with Ruku’s remembrance of previous changes she has experienced - her father’s decline in importance in their village and the aging and deaths of her parents. Those changes were gradual ones, she says, that allowed her so much time to adjust she didn’t feel affected. The abrupt arrival of the tannery is different; Ruku describes it as “blasting” into the village forever changing their lives.
For a small rural village, the arrival of the tannery meant big changes. The influx of strange workers brought higher prices and drove out some local businessmen. Because many of the workers were young, single men, the social fabric of the village is disrupted. Ruku recalls the loud noises and smells of alcohol from the workers’ camp, all disruptions to her previously innocent and safe life.
At first, Ruku stubbornly clings to the past, waiting for the day when the workers will leave and the village will once again be sleepy and quiet. Nathan advises Ruku to adapt: “Bend like the grass, that you do not break.” He understands there is no going back and they must learn to live with the changes or else will not be able to live at all.
The cobbler Kannan’s remarks about the tannery builders pushing the villagers out of their own maidan symbolizes the way in which the tannery takes over the village and molds the people there to suit its needs. Ruku’s fears about the tannery will be realized as it drastically alters the future of her family.
Not everyone is angry at the tannery’s arrival. The usually aloof Kunthi expresses excitement over the changes it will bring. This once again highlights the differences between Ruku and Kunthi and sets up future events between them. Kunthi is the type who always demands more and is never satisfied; Ruku is simple and easy to please.
Kali’s warnings concerning Ira foreshadow the tannery’s impact on Ira and her family. As Ruku laments, their carefree days ended with the tannery’s arrival. Obedient Ira accepts her parents’ new rules without complainant. Ruku, too, must find a way to adjust to the changes she faces.
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Sinclair, Meredith. "TheBestNotes on Nectar in a Sieve".
. 09 May 2017