The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide

by

Amitav Ghosh

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Fokir Character Analysis

Fokir is a poor fisherman whom Piya meets while still in the care of the forest guard and Mejda. Fokir rescues Piya after she falls into the water, and Piya feels as though she can trust him because he's with his young son, Tutul. Though Fokir doesn't speak English and Piya doesn't speak Bengali, Fokir manages to communicate through his actions that he views Piya as a full person worthy of care and consideration: he makes accommodations for her privacy, offers her food, and even leaves her valuable shampoo with which to bathe. He also knows a great deal about river dolphins and is happy to help her study them. Fokir's wife, Moyna, is dismissive of his profession as a crab fisherman, as she believes there's no future in that line of work. Instead, she wants Tutul to receive an education, something that Fokir never had the opportunity to do. Fokir's mother, Kusum, told Nirmal on several occasions that Fokir had the river in his blood, which may explain some of the comfort he feels out in the dangerous jungle of the Sundarbans. Fokir wants Kanai to feel the consequences of using his power to put poor people down; to do this, he puts Kanai in a situation where he's in close proximity to a tiger. During the cyclone, Fokir and Piya aren't able to make it back to the Megha in time and so must ride out the cyclone on Garjontola. Fokir ties them to a tree to keep them from blowing away, but after the eye of the storm passes and the wind changes direction, Fokir dies when a flying object hits him. Piya decides to name her project after him, as his data (all the places he saw dolphins) will form the basis of her research project.

Fokir Quotes in The Hungry Tide

The The Hungry Tide quotes below are all either spoken by Fokir or refer to Fokir. 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:
Language Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner Books edition of The Hungry Tide published in 2006.
Part 1: The Boat Quotes

It was not just that he had thought to create a space for her; it was if he had chosen to include her in some simple, practiced family ritual, found a way to let her know that despite the inescapable muteness of their exchanges, she was a person to him and not, as it were, a representative of a species, a faceless, tongueless foreigner.

Related Characters: Piya Roy, Fokir
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Part 1: Words Quotes

How do you lose a word? Does it vanish into your memory like an old toy in a chest, and lie hidden in the cobwebs and dust, waiting to be cleaned out or rediscovered?

Related Characters: Piya Roy, Fokir, Piya's Father
Related Symbols: Gamchhas
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 1: Moyna Quotes

"Why else?" she said. "Because there's a lot of money in prawns and the traders had paid off the politicians. What do they care—or the politicians, for that matter? It's people like us who're going to suffer and it's up to us to think ahead."

Related Characters: Moyna (speaker), Kanai Dutt, Nilima Bose, Fokir, Tutul
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 1: Listening Quotes

The two of them, Fokir and she, could have been boulders or trees for all they knew of each other, and wasn't it better in a way, more honest, that they could not speak? For if you compared it to the ways in which dolphins' echoes mirrored the world, speech was only a bag of tricks that fooled you into believing you could see through the eyes of another being.

Related Characters: Piya Roy, Fokir
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2: Storms Quotes

"My friend, not only could it happen again—it will happen again. A storm will come, the waters will rise, and the bãdh will succumb, in part or in whole. It is only a matter of time."

Related Characters: Nirmal Bose (speaker), Fokir
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2: Transformation Quotes

I realized with a sense of shock that this chimerical line was, to her and to Horen, as real as a barbed-wire fence might be to me.

Related Characters: Nirmal Bose (speaker), Fokir, Kusum, Horen Naskor, Bon Bibi, Dokkhin Rai, Shah Jongoli
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2: Interrogations Quotes

"Because it was people like you," said Kanai, "who made a push to protect the wildlife here, without regard for the human costs. And I'm complicit because people like me […] have chosen to hide these costs, basically in order to curry favor with their Western patrons. It's not hard to ignore the people who're dying—after all, they are the poorest of the poor."

Related Characters: Kanai Dutt (speaker), Piya Roy, Fokir
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 248-49
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2: Signs Quotes

[…] He had become a token for a vision of human beings in which a man like Fokir counted for nothing, a man whose value was less than an animal. In seeing himself in this way, it seemed perfectly comprehensible to Kanai why Fokir should want him dead—but he understood also that this was not how it would be. Fokir had brought him here not because he wanted him to die, but because he wanted him to be judged.

Related Characters: Kanai Dutt, Fokir, Bon Bibi
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Wasn't this why people who lived in close proximity with tigers so often regarded them as being something more than just animals? Because the tiger was the only animal that forgave you for being so ill at ease in your translated world?

Related Characters: Kanai Dutt, Fokir
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Hungry Tide LitChart as a printable PDF.
The hungry tide.pdf.medium

Fokir Character Timeline in The Hungry Tide

The timeline below shows where the character Fokir appears in The Hungry Tide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: The Fall
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...fishing boat is just over a kilometer away. She thinks the fisherman (later revealed as Fokir) looks old and experienced, so she decides to see if Mejda will stop. (full context)
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...the fishing boat, and Piya believes they aren't just going because she asked. She watches Fokir through her binoculars and sees the moment he notices her approach. She notices there's a... (full context)
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Fokir finally tethers his boat to Mejda's, and the forest guard points to Fokir and says,... (full context)
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Looking up, Piya notices that the forest guard has boarded Fokir's boat and is taking money from the child (Tutul). After the guard climbs back to... (full context)
Part 1: Snell's Window
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...someone's mouth meets hers to suck the mud out of her mouth. Piya knows that Fokir saved her. (full context)
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Piya goes still so that Fokir can swim back to his boat. When he tosses her over the edge she starts... (full context)
Part 1: The Trust
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Nilima clicks disapprovingly about Moyna's husband and then tells Kanai that her husband is Fokir, Kusum's son. Nilima sighs as she says that Kusum was killed long ago. She declines... (full context)
Part 1: Fokir
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...his arms around her to warm her as she shivers. When she finally stops shivering, Fokir introduces himself and Tutul to her. Tutul brings Piya her flashcard and squeezes her fingers... (full context)
Part 1: The Letter
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...if the beauty of this place makes up for the horrors Kusum and her son, Fokir, have already lived through. Nirmal quotes a Duino Elegies passage about beauty being only deadly... (full context)
Part 1: The Boat
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Piya notices that Fokir's boat is pieced together out of pieces and bits of various objects and materials. Fokir... (full context)
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When Piya comes out from behind the sari, she notices that Fokir has changed, and the sun is setting. When the boat starts to move, Piya scans... (full context)
Part 1: At Anchor
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...the middle of the river instead of on shore. She can tell that Tutul and Fokir recognize the boats and hopes they won't stop. She's surprised when Fokir steers them past... (full context)
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Fokir lights a lamp and shows Piya how to bathe on the boat, bathing Tutul as... (full context)
Part 1: Words
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After her shower, Piya crawls to the front of the boat and tries to ask Fokir what the checked towel is called. He seems puzzled, while she's perplexed by the fact... (full context)
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Fokir begins to prepare a meal from his catch of crabs. Though she knows he'll offer... (full context)
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After dinner, Fokir unrolls two sleeping mats in the middle of the boat and motions for Piya to... (full context)
Part 1: Stirrings
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...woke her is the sound of the crabs in the boat's hold. She notices that Fokir is up and keeping watch, and it warms her to think that he's looking out... (full context)
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...thick fog. She can barely see, so she stays in bed and dozes. She hears Fokir drop anchor and then jolts upright when she hears a muffled snorting sound. It's the... (full context)
Part 1: Morichjhãpi
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...once, in 1978, Kusum came to Nilima in her office. She introduced her son, five-year-old Fokir, and asked Nilima for medical help on Morichjhãpi. Nilima insisted she couldn't help. It was... (full context)
Part 1: Moyna
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...around the hospital. It took Nilima years to realize that Moyna was the wife of Fokir, Kusum's son. Nilima was thrilled to learn that Fokir survived the massacre. She explains that... (full context)
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As Kanai and Moyna walk, Kanai mentions that he knew Kusum. When Kanai mentions Fokir, Moyna's face falls. Kanai admires the scale of the hospital and thinks that Nilima did... (full context)
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Kanai asks if Moyna has ever brought Fokir to the hospital, and she explains he doesn't like it here. She says that on... (full context)
Part 1: Crabs
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...takes up her place in the front of the boat to watch the water while Fokir and Tutul sit in the back and tend fishing lines. The lines initially worried Piya... (full context)
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...requires taking depth soundings along a grid, and she wonders how to explain this to Fokir. She wakes him from his nap and is able to communicate her desires by drawing... (full context)
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...crabs. As they continue, Piya discovers she was right to suspect an underwater pool, and Fokir's catch grows. Their respective lines of work seem strangely compatible, which Piya finds satisfying. As... (full context)
Part 1: Travels
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...agree to disagree. Nirmal addresses Kanai directly again to explain that he's sitting with young Fokir, while Horen and Kusum are out trying to discover if Morichjhãpi will actually be attacked. (full context)
Part 1: Garjontola
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For the final run of the depth soundings, Fokir's boat enters the shallows near the shore. Piya puts down her binoculars and studies the... (full context)
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Fokir leads Piya out of the mud to the forest, cutting through the brush with a... (full context)
Part 1: A Disturbance
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...though Kanai recognizes he cannot say the word. He recognizes that Moyna looks anxious because Fokir is still out there with the tiger, so he assures her that he knows what... (full context)
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Kanai asks in a teasing tone if Moyna didn't know Fokir before they married. She says she did, but insists that Kanai wouldn't understand why she... (full context)
Part 1: Listening
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Piya wakes from a doze to a loud booming sound. She makes her way to Fokir and asks in mime what the sound was, but he only points vaguely and continues... (full context)
Part 1: Blown Ashore
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...he recognizes her. Nirmal calls Horen inside and they make small talk about her son, Fokir, and about Horen's children. Finally, Nirmal asks Kusum to tell him her story. (full context)
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...Both Kusum and her mother were thrilled, though Kusum's mother died months later. They had Fokir, but three years later, Rajen fell from a train and died. Kusum felt that Bon... (full context)
Part 1: A Hunt
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...the Garjontola pool until midmorning the next day and then vanish. Piya tries to ask Fokir where the dolphins go when they leave, and he eagerly starts to follow them. He... (full context)
Part 1: Pursued
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As Fokir struggles to keep the boat steady in the fast-moving water, Piya decides to check the... (full context)
Part 2: Landfall
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Fokir struggles to row against the current and finally, Piya motions and asks if he has... (full context)
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Piya yells for Fokir and an old woman comes out of the house. Piya hastily introduces herself to the... (full context)
Part 2: Catching Up
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...looks her over before leaving their dinner and walking away. Kanai explains that she's Moyna, Fokir's wife. Piya feels briefly jealous that Moyna gets to go home to Fokir. (full context)
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...thinks Kanai must find her soft and spoiled in comparison. He explains that Moyna and Fokir came from far away so Moyna could learn at the hospital, and mentions that Moyna... (full context)
Part 2: Storms
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...ask for help. Nirmal says it won't do any good and Horen concurs. He leaves Fokir with Nirmal and then leaves. Nirmal takes the wide-eyed Fokir out, points to the mohona,... (full context)
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He tells Fokir that before the bãdh was fully constructed, people lived in fear of the rising tide... (full context)
Part 2: Negotiations
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...and Piya arrive in the morning. Piya asks after Tutul, who is in school, and Fokir, who she finally notices squatting sullenly inside. Piya thinks he looks scared, but decides it... (full context)
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Piya asks Kanai if he could pull Fokir into the conversation. Kanai's attempt doesn't go over well; Piya detects a condescending tone in... (full context)
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Kanai tells Piya that Moyna wants to know why a scientist like her needs Fokir's help. Piya is puzzled at the dismissiveness that this implies, but answers that Fokir's knowledge... (full context)
Part 2: A Sunset
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...sights of Lusibari. Piya comments that their meeting went well that morning. Kanai mentions that Fokir was sullen and is surprised when Piya says he's not like that on the water.... (full context)
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Piya notes that she and Fokir both grew up without mothers. Piya’s mother died of cancer when she was twelve, and... (full context)
Part 2: Destiny
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Suddenly, Nirmal hears the sound like someone blowing their nose. Fokir points to dolphin backs in the water, and Kusum smiles and says she calls them... (full context)
Part 2: The Megha
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...but asks how the Megha will do tracking dolphins through narrow creeks. Horen replies that Fokir's boat will come too. They quickly agree on payment and make preparations to leave. (full context)
Part 2: Memory
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...himself behind—he can't spit, he can't urinate. Nirmal agrees and is shocked to see young Fokir jump out to push the boat to shore. With pride, Kusum says that the river... (full context)
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Nirmal follows Horen, Kusum, and Fokir to the shrine, knowing he'd be the first one dead if a tiger came. They... (full context)
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...a mohona, as it joins many different people and beliefs. Nirmal gives the book to Fokir and asks him to read it aloud so he can copy passages. He's shocked when,... (full context)
Part 2: Besieged
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...try to pull people onto their bhotbhoti, and one man tells Nirmal that Kusum and Fokir weren't on the boat. When the police tell the schoolmasters to leave, they have no... (full context)
Part 2: Words
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...Moyna says she's glad that Kanai is going on the expedition so that Piya and Fokir won't be alone. She asks Kanai to talk to Fokir about Piya, and make sure... (full context)
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Kanai asks who Moyna would choose—him or Fokir—but Moyna just insists that she cannot talk to Fokir herself, even if she is his... (full context)
Part 2: Crimes
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...find Kusum looking malnourished and weak. She explains that she came down with dysentery, though Fokir managed to stay well during the siege. (full context)
Part 2: Leaving Lusibari
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...the driver points to something happening at the bãdh. They go to inspect and find Fokir and Tutul on their boat, reeling in a stingray. They haul it into the boat,... (full context)
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The Megha pulls away a little later, towing Fokir in his boat behind. Kanai sits on deck, watching Piya watch the water despite the... (full context)
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Envious, Kanai notes that Fokir and Piya can't even talk to each other, and he reminds Piya flatly that there's... (full context)
Part 2: Alive
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...her happy and entirely unwilling to leave the island. She agrees to let Horen take Fokir away. Horen decides he'll leave the next night and is shocked when Nirmal announces that... (full context)
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...When Kanai mentions finishing the notebook, Horen matter-of-factly says that he should've left Morichjhãpi with Fokir earlier. He explains that what happened next is just rumors: the gangsters burned dwellings, sank... (full context)
Part 2: A Post Office on Sunday
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...asks about the notebook, inspecting the tiny Bengali writing. Kanai explains that it's partially about Fokir and Kusum, whom he believes Nirmal was in love with—though he'd never admit it. Kanai... (full context)
Part 2: A Killing
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...deck, looking towards shore. They can see what looks like flames. Horen, Kanai, Piya, and Fokir decide to go ashore and see what's going on. The voices sound angrier as they... (full context)
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...tiger is a known killer, but she won't listen. She plunges into the crowd, which Fokir has joined. (full context)
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...man falls silent in shock before starting to yell at Piya. Piya feels hopeful when Fokir takes her arm, but he carries her out of the crowd as people begin to... (full context)
Part 2: Interrogations
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Horen, Fokir, Kanai, and Piya make it back to the Megha by dawn and start off immediately—Horen... (full context)
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...news to get out. He even had to pay off the guards when they recognized Fokir as being associated with Piya. Kanai encourages Piya to turn back, but she insists she... (full context)
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...she recognizes that it's probably a normal part of life for people like Horen and Fokir. She suggests that those two are part of the horror, which makes Kanai sit up.... (full context)
Part 2: Mr. Sloane
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The Megha reaches Garjontola late in the afternoon. Kanai, Piya, and Fokir take Fokir's boat closer. Piya is delighted to see the mother and calf again, but... (full context)
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...Mekong. She's been studying Orcaella ever since. When she finishes, Piya asks Kanai to ask Fokir how he knows the dolphins so well. Kanai translates that he heard about the dolphins... (full context)
Part 2: Kratie
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As the tide rises, the dolphins leave the pool and Fokir rows back to the Megha. Piya showers and then sits by the rail to watch... (full context)
Part 2: Signs
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...the dolphins are leaving the pool. She'll take the upstream entrance on the Megha, while Fokir and Kanai will take the downstream one in Fokir's boat. Kanai agrees. He feels miles... (full context)
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Kanai asks Fokir if he'd ever like to visit a city, noticing only after he says it that... (full context)
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Kanai finds this idea far-fetched, but Fokir says that the tigers tend to like to watch strangers. Kanai is fairly certain that... (full context)
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Fokir leans forward and suggests they go take a closer look. Kanai reluctantly agrees, and Fokir... (full context)
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Fokir offers Kanai a hand, but Kanai insults him and sends him away. Fokir goes to... (full context)
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Slowly, Kanai backs into the mangroves and then crashes back out to the mud. Piya, Fokir, and Horen run to him and haul him into the boat. He babbles about seeing... (full context)
Part 2: Lights
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...Kanai tells her that he's leaving tomorrow to return to New Delhi. He insists that Fokir didn't maliciously leave him on the island. (full context)
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...can't put his thoughts into words, just like Moyna can't truly articulate her feelings about Fokir. He explains that Moyna fears that Fokir will leave her for Piya, which annoys Piya.... (full context)
Part 2: A Search
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...He's busy writing something for Piya, so Piya makes preparations to spend the day with Fokir in his boat tracking the dolphins while Horen takes Kanai to Lusibari on the Megha.... (full context)
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Piya finds the quiet and the familiarity of Fokir's boat comforting. She asks him for another set of oars so she can help row.... (full context)
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...won't arrive until tomorrow, so they have time to go back to Garjontola to find Fokir and Piya. (full context)
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...there during low tide. Horen agrees, but isn't alarmed. Kanai suggests they go look for Fokir's boat and finally, Horen agrees. (full context)
Part 2: Casualties
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...that the dolphins don't want to leave until the water reclaims the body. She and Fokir climb out of the boat and she takes measurements and samples of the calf's body... (full context)
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...snuck back to India. As Horen and Kanai reenter the Garjontola pool, it's clear that Fokir and Piya aren't there. (full context)
Part 2: A Gift
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...about seven miles from Garjontola. She figures that Horen won't be worried, and she and Fokir find a spot to stop for the night. The moon rises not long after, and... (full context)
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Piya and Fokir sit unmoving for a while. Finally, he takes her hand for a moment and then... (full context)
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When Piya finishes reading, Fokir joins her in the middle of the boat. She touches him and asks him to... (full context)
Part 2: Fresh Water and Salt
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...that Horen is also awake, watching the water. Kanai asks if there's enough light for Fokir to navigate by, and Horen says with a smile that Fokir just might not want... (full context)
Part 2: Horizons
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...Piya catches a glimpse of the sky, which has a strange glow, and yells at Fokir that a storm is coming. (full context)
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...island and says there's no shelter and it'll all flood anyway. He assures Kanai that Fokir knows what to do. (full context)
Part 2: Losses
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When Piya and Fokir set off at 5:30 in the morning, the going is easy. The currents are in... (full context)
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...to wade to shore. He asks Kanai to tell Moyna that they'll go back for Fokir as soon as the storm dies, and Kanai asks to go too. (full context)
Part 2: Going Ashore
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Fokir manages to steer his boat into the mangroves, and Piya helps him lodge it between... (full context)
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...shelter. He notices Tutul and asks about Moyna, who suddenly appears. He tells her that Fokir is still at Garjontola and assures her that he'll be fine, and then passes Horen's... (full context)
Part 2: The Wave
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...of her, as it blocks the flying objects from hitting her. She tries to match Fokir's breathing behind her. Hearing a deep noise, Piya glances around the tree and sees a... (full context)
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...the wind seems quieter. Kanai explains that he and Horen had to leave Piya and Fokir outside, and admits that he lost the notebook. (full context)
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As the eye of the storm hits Garjotola, Piya looks around. Fokir stands and appears to be searching for another branch to move to. He crouches and... (full context)
Part 2: The Day After
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...passes, the Megha is most of the way to Garjontola when Kanai and Horen see Fokir's boat in the distance. The boats slowly approach each other and soon, those on the... (full context)
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Fokir's body is cremated that evening. He's one of only a few casualties. Over the next... (full context)
Home: An Epilogue
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...Piya has a name for the project. Piya says she'd like to name it after Fokir, since his data is what will be the foundation of the project—her GPS is all... (full context)
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Nilima quietly ponders this and then declares it will be a fitting memorial to Fokir. She invites Piya to have a cup of tea, and Piya asks about Kanai. Nilima... (full context)