Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya-Online Book Summary |
On the way home, Ruku encounters Kunthi who is dressed seductively and wearing makeup. Kunthi insinuates that Ruku has been seeing Kenny in a romantic way. Ruku responds by angrily striking at her; she accidentally knocks Kunthiís sari down and notices that Kunthi has painted herself like a whore. With last threats to each other, the women part.
Ruku later goes to Iraís husband and asks him to take her back but he cannot as he has already remarried. Ira becomes increasingly withdrawn, expressing interest only in her brother Selvam. Ruku worries that Ira resents her for the baby she carries.
When the baby is born, he is nicknamed Kuti as he is small. Ira takes a great interest in the boy and becomes like a second mother to him. Although Nathan feels Ira has recovered from her melancholy, Ruku still worries about her daughterís future. A visit to Old Granny reminds Ruku further of her daughterís possible fate - to be abandoned without a family and a means to care for herself.
The fact that Ruku has kept secret from her husband her visit to Kenny all those years ago still hangs heavy on the narrative. She still believes her husband will not understand or approve of his wife and daughter being treated by a white man, so Ruku takes Ira to Kenny in secret.
Kenny again expresses his failure to understand Rukuís ways when he scolds her for coming to him in secret. He does not understand why she must keep this from her husband but promises his help anyway. Although it is not mentioned, it seems Ira does go to Kenny for the same treatment her mother once received. What exactly that treatment was is never clarified.
Kunthi has been slinking in the shadows for the whole novel as well. The rumors about her immoral behavior seem well founded as Ruku catches her painted like a ďstrumpetĒ and sneaking around late at night. Whatever grudge Kunthi bears for Ruku causes her to threaten to spread rumors about Rukuís behavior with Kenny, turning an innocent friendship into something immoral. Ruku strikes back at Kunthi with uncharacteristic anger. She feels Kunthi threatens not only her but also her family and so she lashes back. Kunthiís threats make clear this is not over yet.
Iraís husband cannot take her back despite Rukuís efforts. Ruku worries as her daughter slips deeper into depression, especially as she herself is about to give birth. Ira clearly has a strong desire to be a mother as is evident in her behavior towards Selvam and later towards Kuti. Even though Kutiís birth seems to brighten her spirits, Ruku still worries. With no dowry and a failed marriage, Ira will be hard pressed to get a new husband. Without one, she remains dependant on her parents. Ruku wonders if Ira will become like Old Granny, dependent on strangers for her survival.
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Sinclair, Meredith. "TheBestNotes on Nectar in a Sieve".
. 09 May 2017