After more than thirty years in London, recently widowed Thomas Imbalil returns to India. He spends his first months in uncluttered isolation in his house overlooking the Arabian Sea, in a small village in Kerala. But when he agrees to look after his friend's optical store, he meets and befriends Rani, the young assistant. Before long he discovers that Rani is using the store to run an intriguing side-business. He agrees to turn a blind eye, but the discovery has made him restless, and reminds him of the lonliness he is feeling and which lies ahead of him. Rani also reveals herself as a much more complex individual than he had first imagined, and while he had envisaged a quiet reacquaintance with his homeland, Thomas finds himself becoming more and more entangled with the lives of those around him.