Grandly uninvolved in the bustle of Malgudi, Nagaraj enjoys a purposeless but orderly life of prayer, gossip and a little book-keeping at Coomar's Boeing Sari Centre. Fulfillment, however, eludes him. And even in his desultory determination to write his magnum opus, something always seems to prevent him getting started.
The crisis visits Nagaraj in the person of Tim, his tearaway young nephew, whose escapades not only serve to expose his weaknesses, but also give him a hundred and one excuses for delay . . .