Chapters 23-25 Summary
After Sai had told Gyan a little of her family's history, Gyan also opened up about his past. In the 1800s, Gyan's family left Nepal and arrived in India to work on a tea plantation. His family had owned a buffalo that was noted for giving very nourishing milk. A general in the English Army, admiring the build of Gyan's great-grandfather, who had grown strong on the buffalo milk, had offered the muscular man a position. From then on, generation after generation of Gyan's ancestors pledged allegiance to the British forces. This remained true up to Gyan's father, who had chosen education over military service. Like his father, Gyan had also been educated. When Sai pressured Gyan to tell her more, especially of his father, Gyan became silent. Sai understood his reluctance, as she, too, kept secrets.
In America, Biju was still employed at the Gandhi Cafe, owned by Harish-Harry. On Sundays, Harish-Harry's wife, Malini, came to the cafe to do the accounting. It was Malini who had suggested to her husband that the kitchen staff they employed should sleep in the cafe at night. In this way, the kitchen help did not have to pay the high New York City rents. Also in this way, Harish-Harry and his wife did not have to pay their employees the full minimum wage. They would make more profits as well as ensure that the staff would be at the cafe on time when it opened.
Biju moved into the cafe shortly after being hired. He and the other men had their own bedding, which they spread out at night wherever there was room. They washed in the kitchen sink. Similar to other places Biju had lived, the cafe had rats. These were very robust rats, as they found their way into the healthy foods that were served there. When a rat chewed on Biju's hair one night, he was told by one of the other men that the rat must be a pregnant female looking for material with which to build a nest.
While Biju worked, he observed the Indian students who came in to eat. Many of them brought American dates. Biju found it interesting how the Indians talked very American to their dates, but to fellow Indians, they allowed their Indian accents to affect their language. Some of them tried to show off to their American friends, ordering the spiciest versions of the entrees. Sometimes Biju would add extra pepper to the meals and then watch as the Indians' faces turned red.
Biju also noticed Harish-Harry's daughter, who had become very Americanized. Her hair was cut short, and she wore combat boots and camouflaged clothes she must have found in an army surplus store. She was rude to her father, also, telling him that she had not been born to be his slave.