Ramchand, a tired shop assistant in Sevak Sari House in Amritsar, spends his days patiently showing yards of fabric to the women of "status families" and to the giggling girls who dream of dressing up in silk but can only afford cotton. When Ramchand is sent to show his wares to a wealthy family preparing for their daughter's wedding, he is jolted out of the rhythm of his narrow daily life. His glimpse into a different world gives him an urgent sense of possibility. And so he attempts to recapture the hope that his childhood had promised, arming himself with two battered English grammar books, a fresh pair of socks, and a bar of Lifebuoy soap. But soon these efforts turn his life upside down, bringing him face to face with the cruelties on which his very existence depends. Reading group guide included.