Study Guide

Homeless Bird Chapter 10

By Gloria Whelan

Chapter 10

  • Koly waits for Mrs. Devi to take her to the sari maker the next morning, and is relieved when she shows up.
  • They ride together in a car; it's the first time Koly's ever been in one. Mrs. Devi tells her the cool air is called air conditioning.
  • As they ride through the streets, Mrs. Devi explains to Koly that her family, too, was from a village. Her dad was told his mom had died, but she'd actually been abandoned at Vrindavan because she was a widow.
  • After he'd struck it rich inventing and selling a special drill for wells, he left some money in his will for a widows' house to help out people like his mom. Aw.
  • At the shop, Mrs. Devi introduces Koly to Mr. Das. He figures there's no time like the present, so he takes Koly for the day to see what she can do with thread.
  • He tells her to embroider something, and at first she just copies the girl next to her. Then he explains to Koly that he wants her to be original—design something different.
  • She thinks about her walk with Raji and makes a heron similar to the one she saw there.
  • Mr. Das is impressed, and tells her what he'll pay her if she works for him. Cha-ching. It's three times the amount she's been making at the flower shop.
  • Koly loves her new job. She can't believe how much she's getting paid to do something she loves.
  • In fact, her whole life is enjoyable now. The only thing that makes her sad is missing Raji.
  • Mr. Das is a nice guy to work for. He's very fair and even keeled, and the only time Koly sees him remotely upset is when a bridal veil is stolen from the shop.
  • A woman named the Shrew had been embroidering it with gold, so it's expensive. When it's stolen, Mr. Das even hires a security guard to watch the store at night.
  • Koly befriends one of her coworkers, Mala, who is only a year older than her at nineteen (which means we now know that Koly is eighteen).
  • One day Mala invites Koly to hang out, but Maa Kamala says she can't go. She's heard gossip about Mala doing some stuff she doesn't want to see Koly mixed up in.
  • Koly is livid. Why should Maa Kamala tell her what to do?
  • So Koly comes up with a plan. She tells Maa Kamala that she and Tanu are going to the movies, but sneaks off to hang out with Mala instead.
  • At Mala's place, Koly notices the fancy bridal veil that was stolen from Mr. Das's shop and realizes that Maa Kamala was right—Mala is bad news.
  • She turns to leave, but a guy offers her a drink. It's hot outside, so she gulps it up, but before she knows it, she's woozy.
  • Another guy helps her outside and explains to her that the drink was spiked with drugs. Luckily, he then ushers her back to Tanu at the movies.
  • When they get home, Tanu covers for Koly with Maa Kamala, saying the snacks at the movies made her sick.
  • After Koly goes back to work, Mala whispers to her that if she mentions anything about the veil she will rat her out with Maa Kamala.
  • The girls stop whispering because they can tell the Shrew is watching them a little too closely. Koly feels dumb for trusting Mala in the first place.

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