Without much detail, Rukmani tells us how she strove to pull together the pieces of her life, but Nathan’s absence continues to loom.
For comfort from loneliness, she turns to Puli. She makes promises about his health, saying his condition would improve if he returned to her village with her. Puli eases her pain gradually, and eventually he decides to come home with her.
Rukmani glosses over the bullock cart ride home, and she tells us seeing the land is life to her starving spirit. She weeps from happiness, and the hard past begins to drop away from her.
Selvam and Ira both run out to greet her. Puli stands to the side, clutching his pull-cart with the drum. She calls to him, and shows him to Selvam and Ira, announcing that he too is her son, as she and Nathan adopted him.
Ira immediately takes Puli’s arm, and tells him to come with her. She says he looks hungry, and tells him he should rest while she prepares some rice.
Ira and Puli walk ahead, while Ruku stays back with Selvam, struggling to say the unutterable. Selvam assures her they’ll manage, and sensing her difficulty, he tells his mother she doesn’t need to talk about what happened.
Ruku tells her son Nathan’s passing was gentle, and that she’ll tell him about it later.