Chapter twelve is mainly about two of Rukmani’s sons, Arjun and Thambi, and their job at the tannery. Although they receive one rupee for each day of their work, Arjun and Thambi, along with other fellow workers are not satisfied with their pay. As a result, both sons take part in a strike, but they end up losing their job. Shortly after, Arjun and Thambi are able to find another job; however, they are required to move far away to work in the tea plantation of Ceylon. Although Rukmani is saddened and reluctant to let her sons travel so far for a job, she ends up accepting their decision as she and her husband give them their blessing and bid them farewell. As Rukmani begins to spend time with her husband, Nathan, she realizes how beautiful and healthy the paddy fields have become since the devastating monsoon.
Rukmani receives from her benefactor, Kenny, news of her third son, who works as a servant, saying that he is doing very well and that she has nothing to worry about. During this time, Rukmani also suddenly asks Kenny if he is truly alone, meaning whether or not he has a family of his own. Kenny tells her that he has no wife or children, and he goes on to explain that he does as he please in terms of traveling to and from Rukmani’s village, because he is impatient with the peoples’ culture and can only handle so much of their way of life. Accepting this, Rukmani tries to understand Kenny in return, but as she watches him leave, she finds that she is unable to fully comprehend him either.