As sensitive as the touch-me-not plant after which she is named, the beautiful and brilliant Lajuklata seems to have a promising future before her. But Lajuklata is also an ‘Untouchable’ in a deeply casteist society and her path to success is fraught with difficulties. Laju’s fortunes are followed by the narrator, Gitika, as she recounts their childhood, adolescence and college days together with their inseparable friend, Manju. In the process of growing up the girls explore and discover for themselves the meanings of friendship and love, ideas and ideals. The author evokes small-town East Bengal stirring with uneasy portents of a world about to fall apart in political and communal upheaval.