Saikia’s debut reveals a remarkable sense for realist, ethnographic detail in this unusually complex treatment of the cultural tensions between an impoverished village and a modern city. The two daughters of the widowed Putali go to the city as domestic servants in two upper-class households. The elder sister, Charu, is treated like a member of the family and gets used to the urban lifestyle. The younger sister, Taru, has to ward off the amorous advances of her employer’s son. When the sisters are of marriagable age, they return to their village but are unable to adjust to the poor and restricted life in the village. Charu agrees to marry her former employer’s chauffeur even though he is sexually impotent. Her mother and sister join her in the city.