Rukmani has six sons. Arjun is the oldest, followed closely by Thambi. Both boys go to work in the tannery, but are fired when they are involved in the workers' movement. Unable to find other jobs, they travel to the distant island of Ceylon to find employment, and are never heard from again.
Murugan is Rukmani's third son. He takes a job as a servant in the city, and does not keep in touch with his family. When Rukmani and Nathan, homeless and destitute, go to his home out of desperation, they find that he has deserted his wife and children for a life of gambling and women.
Raja is Rukmani's fouth son. He is killed by a watchman at the tannery for trying to steal a pelt.
Rukmani's fifth son Selvam is studious, and is mentored by Kenny, who gets him a job at the hospital. He is protective of his sister Ira, and offers to take in Rukmani and Nathan when they lose their farm.
Rukmani's youngest son is Kiti, who is born much later than her other children. Although his sister Ira does everything she can to keep him alive, even selling herself into prostitution to be able to buy him food, Kiti dies as an infant.