Nectar in a Sieve


Kamala Markandaya

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Janaki Character Analysis

Janaki is Rukmani’s neighbor in the village, Janaki is a tired and careworn from numerous pregnancies and the stress of providing for her family on slim resources. Janaki’s husband runs one of the village’s few stores, but eventually the tannery brings new merchants and competition to the town, forcing Janaki and her family to give up their business and leave the town.

Janaki Quotes in Nectar in a Sieve

The Nectar in a Sieve quotes below are all either spoken by Janaki or refer to Janaki. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Suffering Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of Nectar in a Sieve published in 2010.
Chapter 4 Quotes

So they were reconciled and threw the past away with both hands that they might be the readier to grasp the present, while I stood by in pain, envying such easy reconciliation and clutching in my own two hands the memory of the past, and accounting it a treasure.

Related Characters: Rukmani (speaker), Kali, Janaki
Related Symbols: The Tannery
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

Nobody asked, “Where do you go from here?” They did not say, “What is to become of us?” We waited and one day they came to bid us farewell […] then they were gone, and the shopkeepers were glad that there was less competition […] and we remembered them for a while and then took up our lives again.

Related Characters: Rukmani (speaker), Janaki
Related Symbols: The Tannery
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
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Janaki Character Timeline in Nectar in a Sieve

The timeline below shows where the character Janaki appears in Nectar in a Sieve. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...long, Rukmani comes to know all three. Kali is plump and talkative, always making jokes; Janaki, the shopkeeper’s wife, is tired and careworn from many pregnancies; Kunthi, the youngest, is beautiful... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
...along especially well with Old Granny, a poor woman who sells fruit on the road. Janaki and Kali often drop by to give Rukmani advice, but Kunthi keeps her distance; she’s... (full context)
Chapter 2
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Agriculture vs. Education Theme Icon
...her mother always remarked that reading and writing are useless to married women. Kali and Janaki are surprised that Rukmani is educated, but not particularly impressed. (full context)
Chapter 3
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...She’s very interested in the baby and happy to have a companion, since Kali and Janaki’s children are much older, and Kunthi remains distant. Overjoyed, Nathan invites everyone in the village... (full context)
Chapter 4
Suffering Theme Icon a village girl with no understanding for the ways of the world. Kali and Janaki are also bewildered, but Janaki is happy that the tannery can employ some of her... (full context)
Chapter 8
Suffering Theme Icon
Soon, Janaki’s husband’s store fails because of competition with new shopkeepers. Without bewailing their fate, the family... (full context)
Chapter 10
Suffering Theme Icon
As Rukmani approaches the bonfire in the center of the town, she remembers Janaki, who had celebrated with her last year. Her absence now reminds Rukmani that she has... (full context)