Back in Kalimpong, the cook reads a letter from Biju explaining that he has gotten a new job in a bakery. The cook recalls that when he and the judge had first arrived in Kalimpong, he had bragged to everyone he met that his son was the manager of a restaurant business in New York.
Just as he does in speaking about the judge, the cook exaggerates Biju’s wealth and social standing in order to bolster the sense of pride he feels and to make others jealous. In a way, this also perpetuates the myth of American success and superiority: that anyone there can rise up very quickly.
The cook walks into town, passing the Travel Agency and wondering when he might be able to visit Biju. He tells Mrs. Sen about Biju’s new job. She has a child in America as well, and agrees that it is the best country in the world—better even than England. The cook then delivers his news to Lola and the rest of the judge’s neighbors.
In a way, the baton that has been passed from England to America as a desired country demonstrates the passage of colonialism into globalization. Each one perpetuates racism and poverty, but America does so under the guise of being free and meritocratic, and a global hub.
The cook goes to buy potatoes from an attractive girl. He wonders if Biju would like her, thinking about how her father is making money, but also that money isn’t everything. There is a simple happiness of looking after someone and having someone look after you, he thinks.
The cook’s thoughts, while sweetly caring for his son and nostalgic for his own wife, also reflect the sexism of society. The cook remarks on the girl first for her looks, then for the wealth of her father, and finally, for her ability to look after a husband.