Nectar in a Sieve
How we cite our quotes:
My spirit ached with pity for her, I longed to be able to comfort her, to convince her that in a few months’ time her new home would be the most significant part of her life, the rest only a preparation… (6.9)
On the one hand, Rukmani is giving away her first-born child, but on the other, she went through this same process of being given away. It’s bittersweet that a mother must think on her own abandonment by her mother as she gives away her daughter. When a daughter does set up her new home, she will focus more on her new family than her old. We can’t tell if Rukmani accepts this reality about "losing" the love and attention of her daughter because that’s the way it is, or whether she’s sad even though she knows Ira must go.
"I do not blame him," Nathan said. "He is justified, for a man needs children. He has been patient."
"Not patient enough," I said. "Not patient like you, beloved." (9.10)
Nathan shows himself to be a wonderful lover to Ruku. His observation here shows that he knows his "rights" as a man, or at least what he can deservedly expect out of a wife (namely children). But even as he admits that, it’s still clear that he has sacrificed for Ruku, and to him it’s been worth the wait. Ruku, too, acknowledges that she appreciates Nathan’s patience and understanding. Their relationship is one of equal maturity, respect, and even adoration. Only this kind of loving devotion could sustain them in hard times.
Words died away, the listening air was very still, the black night waited. In the straining darkness I felt his body moving with desire, his hands on me were trembling, and I felt my senses opening like a flower to his urgency. I closed my eyes and waited, waited in the darkness while my being filled with a wild, ecstatic fluttering, waited for him to come to me. (10.21)
The passion that’s in Ruku and Nathan’s relationship is quite beautiful – they are more than economic and financial support for each other, they’re real lovers.