Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya-Online Book Summary |
Ruku briefly mentions Sivaji, their landlordís agent - a reminder that she and Nathan ultimately are at the mercy of those who own their land and can not make decisions about the land on their own. They are fortunate and have a landlord who does not extract every penny as some do.
While we may find it unpleasant to think of gathering cow dung, families like Rukuís knew the dung had valuable uses - it provided fuel, patched cracks in their mud walls against rain and insects and could be sold. Kennyís questioning of Rukuís decision to take the dung instead of allowing it to fertilize the fields, shows a misunderstanding between them. He thought like someone who could afford the luxury of fertilizer; Ruku understood that, although it wasnít best for the land, her family needed to put the dung to other uses. The poor often must make choices that will hurt them in the long run - this is only one of several Rukuís family will make.
Even though they have a budding friendship, Ruku still shows deference to Kenny - she calls him ďbenefactorĒ and refrains from asking questions about his mysterious personal life. The precious rice and salt Ruku offers Kenny when he visits, demonstrate Rukuís pride - she wants to do her best for guests - and generousness - she shares even what she cannot afford to share. There is also a comfortable banter between the two as Kenny teases Ruku about her ďexcessesĒ in having five sons.
Kenny seems to adopt Rukuís family as he brings her family necessities - such as milk for the youngest - as well as treats for the older children. Presumably, Kenny spends his time working among the poor of various villages. Ruku knows only that he disappears for long periods of time, perhaps to work elsewhere or to return to his home. Ruku senses that home life is unhappy for Kenny, as he seems withdrawn when he returns from his trips.
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Sinclair, Meredith. "TheBestNotes on Nectar in a Sieve".
. 09 May 2017