Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya-Online Book Summary |
Her joy from the market is short lived. Nathan has grown ill again. The coming of the monsoon makes matters worse. Despite his wifeís concerns, Nathan insists on working. He knows his end is near and wishes to die at home in his village than in the city beside cold strangers.
It is a cruel twist that Ruku is having thoughts of a happy homecoming with Nathanís long foreshadowed collapse comes. When well-intentioned strangers ask if she has sons, her grief grows as she is reminded that here they are among strangers and not among kin. Once again, fate deals Ruku a heavy blow.
Nathan is carried back to the temple. Ruku remembers the night in a daze. Strangers brought her a lamp and water so she could clean the mud from her dying husband. For most of the night, Nathan talked in a fever, calling for his sons and muttering incoherently. Ruku cradles his head in her lap.
Towards morning, Nathan regains his senses and touches Rukuís face. He tells her she must not mourn his passing as he will live on through their children. He asks her if they were happy together; she says yes. Ruku holds him until he breathes no more.
It is important to remember that Ruku is telling this story as a memory of her life. This most recent event is hardest to relate as she feels it happened in a dream. The final tender moments between husband and wife show their true affection and tenderness they shared. Even at his death, Nathanís wish was for his wifeís happiness; he comforts her by the reminder that their children will carry his memory on.
Ruku is at last able to return to the village and lures Puli with her with the promise she can fix his health. She is greeted by Selvam and Ira and introduces Puli as the son she and Nathan adopted. Of Nathanís death she says only the passing was gentle and she will speak of it later.
The bookís final chapter brings Rukuís story full circle. From the beginning of her story, we know that she was indeed able to provide medical treatment (via Kenny) for Puli. His fingers will not grow back but the disease will take no more of his flesh. We also know that Rukuís final days will be happy ones - she expresses no regrets in her old age. She has faced much hardship, including the death of her beloved husband, and yet she expressed no bitterness or anger. She truly has learned to gather nectar in a sieve.
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Sinclair, Meredith. "TheBestNotes on Nectar in a Sieve".
. 09 May 2017