Study Guide

Nectar in a Sieve Chapter 17

By Kamala Markandaya

Chapter 17

  • Kuti is gone, and in a cruel twist of fate, the harvest is splendid that season. Their bounty is unexpected: it’s the second time the field has been planted that year, and the family anticipated meager returns because the land had had no time to rest.
  • The family spends days preparing the rice. One episode leaves them in tears of laughter: they’re standing amidst all the food that will feed them, with enough left over to sell, and observe each other, emaciated and sallow. Their appearance, and the promise that this starvation is in the past, is enough to break them into cathartic fits of laughter.
  • Ruku and Nathan happily plan for the future, thinking of the crops they’ll sell and vegetables they’ll grow. Rukmani notes that nothing compares to standing before a good, gathered harvest, especially after so much strife. Far from resenting everything that befell them before the harvest came, the family is full of prayers of gratitude.