In the second part of R. K. Narayan's novel The Painter of Signs, Raman and Daisy are on their way back from a remote village. They have spent a night on the road, Raman sleeping under a bullock cart and Daisy sleeping in the bullock cart. Or at least, that's where Raman thought Daisy was sleeping, since it turns out she spent the night in a tree because she had heard a tiger. In reality, she had climbed into the tree when she had heard Raman climb into the cart.
Commenting on the event, she says,
I now realize the meaning of the proverb, "When you are married to the devil, you must be prepared to climb the tamarind tree"—they must have had me in mind.
Raman later thinks to himself,
What did she mean by this proverb? He had often heard his aunt mention it. Did she think of herself as married to him already? Or did she have any clue as to the thoughts crossing his mind?
My question is threefold:
- Is this a real proverb or did Narayan invent it?
- If it is a real proverb, what does it mean outside this specific context?
- What does Daisy mean by it?