The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide Part 1: At Anchor Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Piya notices a cluster of six fishing boats tied together in the middle of a waterway. She watches the men there smoke and cook, and wonders why they're in 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 the other boats, and after sunset, he drops anchor in a sheltered creek. Fokir seems disappointed; Piya wonders if he'd wanted to go further.
When Piya can recognize Fokir's disappointment, it shows that emotional forms of communication are also more readily accessible than language. In this case, it's less important to both of them that Piya understands exactly what Fokir is disappointed about; it's more important that she can read his emotions in the first place.
Themes
Language Theme Icon
Fokir lights a lamp and shows Piya how to bathe on the boat, bathing Tutul as an example. He rubs Tutul down with a small checked cloth that looks vaguely familiar, and then Tutul bathes Fokir. After, Fokir uses the sari to create a screen again. Piya discovers that Fokir left her shampoo, which seems decadent. She uses it only so she won't offend him. She then dries herself with another checked cloth, which she's certain is what Fokir was wearing when he dove in after her. Finally she remembers why the cloth (later revealed as a gamchha) looks familiar: Piya’s father had one, and it was the only thing from India he really held onto. She can't remember what it's called.
The cloth, called a gamchha, begins to connect Piya more closely with Fokir, as well as connect her to her father and to India as a whole. Again, this shows that clothing and textiles can be major connecting forces in the world, given that Piya's father held onto his gamchha and nothing else. Though Piya is embarrassed by the shampoo, leaving it is a way for Fokir to tell Piya that he recognizes she's different and probably has different standards of cleanliness.
Themes
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The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon