The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide Part 1: Garjontola Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 shore. She notices bits of brick and points to them. Fokir answers "Garjontola." Finally, he steers the boat to shore and jumps into the mud. He lifts Tutul out and motions for Piya to follow, pointing into the forest. She agrees to follow and promptly starts to fall upon hitting the mud, as it's deeper than she expected. Fokir catches her and Piya feels embarrassed by their closeness, but feels better seeing Tutul laugh at her.
Though Piya's fall is humorous for Tutul and relatively benign in the grand scheme of things, it also reinforces the power of the natural world to triumph over its human inhabitants. This also sets the precedent that the natural world and the mud in particular can force a person to let go of some of their own self-importance; essentially, it acts as an equalizer among people.
Themes
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Fokir leads Piya out of the mud to the forest, cutting through the brush with a machete. He and Tutul approach a small alter with unfamiliar figures on it, though she notices a tiger. She watches Fokir perform a ceremony and notices a word that sounds like "Allah," which perplexes her. She has no idea what she's seen, but follows Fokir and Tutul back to the boat. She approaches Fokir when he waves her over to point to a paw print in the mud. Piya knows it's from a tiger, but thinks that Fokir wouldn't be so nonchalant if there were a tiger around. Piya's reverie is broken when she hears the Orcaella return with the tide.
Fokir's nonchalance will be explained later, but it's important to recognize that finding tracks in the mud makes it undeniably clear that people in the Sundarbans live in very close proximity to very dangerous predators. The tiger then acts as a reminder that the natural world is always somewhat sinister and can pounce at a moment's notice, while the Orcaella represent a calmer and more nonthreatening aspect of the natural world.
Themes
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