Gyan leaves as he hears Sai beginning to sob. He slams the gate behind him. He wonders at himself, knowing that Christmas had never bothered him before. He realizes that Sai is defining his hatred in her attempts to be Westernized.
Gyan’s realization emphasizes a point that the judge’s story introduced in the previous chapter: in each of these circumstances, the men come to see the women as defining what they are reacting against—in the judge’s case, it is Indian culture, and in Gyan’s case, it is British culture.
Some time later, Gyan returns to Cho Oyu and apologizes to Sai. After some coaxing, she accepts his apology. He tells her that he can’t resist her. She kisses him, but his apologies quickly turn from sincere to insincere. In his mind, Gyan becomes angry at himself for giving in, thinking that he will have to sacrifice silly kisses for his adulthood.
Not only does Gyan continually connect Sai with Western culture, but he also connects her with adolescence and childishness. By positing femininity against his own coming of age, he tries to grow up by being more and more masculine.
Sai also finds her anger returning. If Gyan argued against Christmas, he would have to argue against speaking English as well, which would be unthinkable. Later that evening, the cook asks where Gyan went. Sai doesn’t respond but says that the cook had been right: Nepalis aren’t very intelligent.
As Gyan uses Sai to define his hatred, so too does Sai use Gyan to define her own beliefs. Even though she may not have a political cause to rally around, it is difficult for her to conceive of setting aside the way she was raised, because her values constitute her sense of belonging in the world.
Gyan tells his college friends about how he is forced to tutor to earn money. He mocks Sai and the judge. His tongue, loosened by alcohol, reveals a description of their house, the guns on the wall, and the certificate from Cambridge they don’t know to be ashamed of.
The things Gyan points out about Cho Oyu once again reveal that the source of many of these political issues was colonization. Gyan’s belief that the judge should be ashamed of his time in England and the ICS demonstrates how the judge had been on the wrong side of history after India gained its independence.
Gyan questions why he shouldn’t betray Sai. She only speaks English and pidgin Hindi. She can’t eat with her hands, has never waited for a bus, has never been to a temple to pray, has never put oil in her hair, and prefers European foods. He recalls their discomfort eating together with such different manners.
Gyan’s issues with Sai, unlike the judge, come not from actions she took but from a way that her entire life has been privileged. Rather than believing her lifestyle superior, however, Gyan comes to view it as a weakness, as she has never endured any hardship.
Gyan is sure, however, that Sai is proud of her lack of Indian-ness, so he tells his friends about the guns, the liquor and the lack of a phone to call for help at Cho Oyu. The next morning, Gyan realizes his mistake and feels extremely guilty. He realizes how fluid love is, and how much it had begun to frighten him.
Gyan’s hatred comes to be more pointed in this masculine atmosphere, which he holds in direct contrast to the feminine ignorance he associates with Sai. Thinking that revealing the information about Cho Oyu constitutes a brave contribution to the cause, his actions truly amount to a betrayal of individuals rather than the dismantling of a system.