Hoping to impress his National Bank co-worker Sudha, Shankar recounts his story, right from his birth, as the lowly son of a servant in a once-wealthy Nagpur-based family consisting of Madhu, her brother, Sunder, and her widowed mother, who struggle to make ends meet.
Then she meets Ram Nath, both are attracted to each other and Ram proposes. Madhu conditionally accepts, and moves in with him to live with his parents, and sister, Sharda. They continue to struggle so much so that Madhu aborts her child, while Sharda gets married to wealthy Velaytiram.
Things continue regressing financially and Madhu's family moves in to live with the Naths. Both Sharda and Madhu become pregnant at the same time and give birth to a boy and girl respectively.
After Madhu's mom becomes seriously ill; Ram is unable to repay a loan he had taken to pay for Sharda's marriage; while funds are needed to continue the education of both Sunder and Shankar, misunderstandings crop up, and Ram gives an ultimatum to Madhu - abandon her family and re-locate with him and his parents to Bombay or else he will take their daughter and leave Madhu behind.