1. What is the first memory Rahel has after she arrives at her childhood home?
Rahel's first memory is the day of the funeral of her eight-year-old cousin, Sophie Mol. Rahel, Estha, and their mother Ammu stand alone and ignored in the church. The rest of the family gathers close together in the family pew. Chacko, their uncle, is grieving deeply over his daughter's death. Mammachi, his mother, grieves because her son is grieving. Margaret Kochamma stands in mourning next to Chacko. Baby Kochamma, their grandaunt, is solemnly singing hymns.
2. Why did Rahel and Estha not see each other for twenty-three years?
Two weeks after the funeral, Estha is sent to live with his father in Calcutta, where he is put into a boy's school. Estha has always been a quiet child, but slowly he becomes more and more withdrawn until he never speaks at all to anyone. He silently helps with the household chores. He silently shops at the market. He walks alone for miles on end. He returns to his childhood house when his father goes to work abroad. It is in this silent state that Rahel finds him, twenty-three years after the tragedy.
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