A Devoted Son Questions and Answers
by Anita Desai

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As "A Devoted Son" begins, what makes Varma proud of his son?

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As the story begins, Varma is informed by his son, Rakesh, that he has excelled in his school examinations; in fact, Rakesh has come in first in the country.

Varma is proud of Rakesh because the young man has fulfilled all his expectations and made all his sacrifices well worth the effort. Also, Rakesh's fine academic performance has raised Varma in his neighbors' estimation. We also get the sense that Varma is most proud of Rakesh's filial loyalty. After reading the results of the examinations in the morning paper, Rakesh's first act is to come and touch his father's feet in the traditional Indian gesture of respect.

Varma is also proud of Rakesh for winning a scholarship to finish his medical studies in the United States. After college, Rakesh returns to India to dutifully marry a local girl of his mother's choosing. Despite being the best and richest doctor in town, Rakesh remains the ever devoted son, always observing the traditions so cherished by the older generation. So, at the beginning of the story, we can see that Varma is proud of his son for his accomplishments and for his filial devotion to his parents.

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