Bhimais living at the bottom of the Indian caste system: she lives in the slums of Bombay and works as a servant to Sera, a Farsi widow. Her husband has left her, taking her son with him, and she has never seen either of them again. She has lost her daughter and son-in-law to AIDS and is caring for their now 17 year old daughter, Maya. Bhima believes it would be worth this whole life of misery if she would succeed in making a better life for Maya by sending her to school - but then Maya gets pregnant.
One factor has helped Bhima through a number of times in her life: Sera, the Farsi woman she works for. That they are from different castes is never in doubt. Bhima is not allowed to sit on the family's furniture, has to bring her own mug because she isn't allowed to drink from the family's glasses... But still somehow, Sera and Bhima have managed to build a strong bond across these boundaries, and that is quite exceptional within the strong hierarchy of Indian society. Sera is also the one who is paying for Maya's education.
Maya has an abortion, and with that, all problems should be over. But then, it becomes clear that it is Sera's family that has caused the problems in the first place (Maya is not the girl of low morality she is first made out to be, but has been molested by Sera's son-in-law).
The review of this Book prepared by L. Peeters