Selvam is Rukmani’s fifth son. Like his older brothers, Selvam elects not to join Nathan on the farm; instead, he becomes Kenny’s apprentice and trains to work in the large hospital that Kenny is building. While his older siblings contribute to the family’s disintegration, Selvam actually helps preserve it; he cares for Irawaddy and Irawaddy’s son, and by the end of the novel he provides for Rukmani as well. Selvam’s example shows how ordinary peasants can move away from traditional poverty without becoming displaced or sacrificing precious family networks.
Selvam Character Timeline in Nectar in a Sieve
The timeline below shows where the character Selvam appears in Nectar in a Sieve. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...and Arjun are fed well during their childhood, but the succeeding sons—Thambi, Murugan, Raja, and Selvam—grow up on small portions. Luckily, Irawaddy is very capable with children and helps Rukmani manage... (full context)
...always patient with her children and brings sweets when he comes, and even milk for Selvam, which Rukmani normally can’t afford. Rukmani doesn’t understand much about Kenny’s work; she knows that... (full context)
...to be visible, and her own children are setting off the fireworks they’ve purchased. Only Selvam, the youngest, is wary, telling Rukmani that that he’s afraid. Selvam refuses to come into... (full context)
...abnormal. Kali tactlessly points out his pink eyes and strange appearance. Seeing Irawaddy’s troubled face, Selvam says stoutly that “it is only a question of getting used to” his appearance, and... (full context)
...can’t tend to the land alone. Kenny understands that things would have been easier if Selvam remained on the farm, and apologizes for taking him away, but Rukmani says that “Selvam... (full context)
...hitch a ride with a bullock cart traveling towards the city. After saying goodbye to Selvam and Irawaddy, they depart the village, watching the familiar fields recede. Rukmani leans on Nathan... (full context)