The novel recreates a modern India through the eyes of a young low middle-class man who works as an assistant in a saris shop, in the city of Amritsar (north of the country, in the state of Punjab). His life is monotonous, all his childhood hopes have vanished. There is a chasm between his existence and that of the rich women who come to buy saris.
Although the novel is written from a man's perspective, the book focuses on the condition of women in Indian society and their most ordinary concerns: the time of marriage and its preparations; her place in society; her decisive contribution to the home and family; the violence that they suffer frequently; and the fact of being considered inferiors. If someone rebels against poverty or injustice, they are usually ignored, misunderstood or punished for their disagreement with the status quo.
The book treats everyone with respect and tries to explain the circumstances and motivations of different social classes. The novel shows that human dignity, justice and even hope are often absent in modern India. In addition, the Sikh gods are dangerous, without love or care for men.