Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya-Online Book Summary |
Although they are years apart in age, Ira and Selvam have a close brother sister relationship. Ruku feels she does not fully understand her children and wonders if it is because they have become more educated and knowledgeable about the world than she is.
Even though his mother and his uncle Selvam accept him and treat him as a normal child, Scarabani cannot have a normal childhood. Ostracized for his appearance and limited by his weak skin and eyes he cannot fully participate in childhood activities.
One day, Sacrabani comes to Ira with a question she has dreaded: “What is a bastard?” Ira responds it is a child whose parents did not wish for his birth. Ruku notes the pain in Ira’s voice at the question and remembers Ira’s attempts to abort her pregnancy.
Days later, Sacrabani asks his mother about his father. She lies and tells him his father is away and that he will understand when he is older. Ruku suggests Ira should have told the boy his father was dead. Ira is clearly upset; she was not prepared for her young son to ask such difficult questions. Ira leaves; Nathan later goes to comfort her and Ruku hears her daughter crying.
Sacrabani is doubly cursed - he cannot led a normal life as being an albino forces him out of the sun and he must deal with fact he is a bastard child in a society that is not accepting of children born out of wedlock. Ira tries to protect her son and lies to do so but it is clear that one lie leads to another and that one day, the painful truth must be told.
We also see further that Ira has struggled with the consequences of her prostitution and in fact tried to abort her baby. Outwardly to her child she is strong, but relies heavily on the support of her family to deal with the difficultly of being a single mother to an albino child.
Ira is fortunate to have a family who chose to support her instead of turning their backs on her as many would have done. Her brother Selvam increasingly acts as her protector and confidant and a surrogate father to her son. Her parents too are supportive, even her father who clearly disapproved of her prostitution, comforts her in her time of sorrow.
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Sinclair, Meredith. "TheBestNotes on Nectar in a Sieve".
. 09 May 2017