In "Nectar in a Sieve", one of the major conflicts in the story is the theme of survival, both mentally and physically. For your question, I will speak about the mental challenges Rukmani must face. Rukmani and her husband are poor. They live off the land. Her husband is a farmer who not only makes a living growing food, but also feeds his family. When the monsoons come, it creates complete devastation. The problem with the climate in India is that it is either very dry or the monsoons bring so much rain, the crops wash away. Either scenario is bad for the crops, thereby affecting what the families have to eat. It becomes so bad at one point that Rukmani loses her son because of it. Hunger is an important theme in this story because it shows to what degrees people will go when desperately hungry and how long the body can go without food before it shuts down.