“He knows now the guilt that his parents carried inside, at being able to do nothing when their parents had died in India, of arriving weeks, sometimes months later, when there was nothing left to do” (179).
Gogol/Nikhil’s sudden ability to relate to the previous actions of his parents seems so strange because how different his character was before Ashoke’s death. The fact that his death is what was needed for Gogol/Nikhil to finally realize and appreciate everything that his parent’s had to go through is sad, yet gives a sense of, for lack of better terms, “about time”.
“He remembers, back then, being bored by it, annoyed at having to observe a ritual no one else he knew followed, in honor of people he has seen only a few times in his life. He remember his father sitting unshaven on a chair, staring through them, speaking to no one. He remembers those meals eaten in complete silence, the television turned off. Now, sitting together at the kitchen table at six-thirty every evening, the hour feeling more like midnight through the window, his father’s chair empty, this meatless meal is the only thing that seems to make sense.” (180)
Gogol finally seems to be growing up.