Delhi, 1946 Ma and Bappu are liberal intellectuals teaching at the local university. Their fourteen year-old daughter - precocious, headstrong Alma - is soon to be married: Alma is mostly interested in the wedding shoes and in spinning wild stories for her beloved younger sister Roop, a restless child obsessed with death. Times are bad for girls in India.
The long-awaited independence from British rule is heralding a new era of hope, but also of anger and distrust. Political unrest is brewing, threatening to unravel the rich tapestry of Delhi - a city where different cultures, religions and traditions have co-existed for centuries. When Partition happens and the British Raj is fractured overnight, this wonderful family is violently torn apart, and its members are forced to find increasingly desperate ways to survive.
But the resilience of the human spirit is an extraordinary thing.