The film begins with a train accident whose significance the audience will learn further on. A young Bengali girl called Ashima (Tabu) trained in classical singing has her marriage arranged to a Bengali man called Ashoke Ganguli (Irrfan Khan) who has settled in New York. After moving to the US and leaving behind her family and the life that she knows, the two of them try to adjust to the way of life in New York and to assimilate the cultural differences. The food, the cold weather, a crammed flat in the middle of a big city where Ashima can’t meet her neighbours, the language… everything is difficult for her. Ashoke is studying and working many hours, and that’s difficult as well, for Ashima feels lonely many times. He has got intellectual ambitions, and settles down better than her. In time, the couple grow to love one another though it is hard for them to express their feelings, having been brought up to hide emotions between a man and woman. In time, Ashima gives birth to a baby boy, and the father who is studying for a PhD, names the boy Gogol in honor of the Russian author by the same name with whom he has a special affinity. But according to Bengali custom the child is given the “good name” of Nikil which is soon shortened to Nicky by his American acquaintances. In time another child is born, a girl named Sonia. Later, the audience will know the significance for Ashoke of that name. Sonia (Shahira Nair as a teenager) will become a rebellious teenager herself. The traditions of her culture doesn’t offer her much place for fulfillment or professional ambitions. She feels like a fish out of water during family reunions especially with her grandparents, (Ruma Guha Thakurta, Tanushree Shankar, Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Tamal Ray Chowdhury) who disregard her and ask her when she is going to settle down, marry and have children. She doesn’t feel the need to do none, .