63 pages • 2 hours readDeepti Kapoor
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When Ajay reaches the impoverished colony in which his mother lives, he receives a lukewarm welcome. Ajay learns his mother Rupa has converted to Christianity, and now goes by the name “Mary.” Ajay has a 13-year-old sister, Sarah, born after he left home. To Ajay’s shock, Mary rebuffs him. Mary blames Ajay for the family’s misfortune, since it was Ajay who had failed to tightly tether their goat, enabling it to break free. Mary also accuses Ajay of hiding like a coward when the moneylender’s men came to assault Hema. Hema has since left the colony for Benares, her exact whereabouts unknown.
Mary never received money from Ajay’s employers. Mary also reveals the terrible fact that she sold Ajay for cash, and not, as Ajay had thought, to pay back the debt owed to Rajdeep Singh. What’s more, Mary thinks Ajay is working for the Singhs—the landlord and moneylender brothers who brutalized their family. Ajay is stunned at the cruelty and injustice of Mary’s accusations. He tells Mary he works for the Wadias, not the Singh brothers. Mary asks him the rhetorical question: “And who do you think they work for?” (102).
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A grieving Ajay checks into the Palace Grande, the biggest hotel in town, owned by the Singh brothers.