August, 1968: Babo Patel arrives in London from Madras, with curly hair, jhill mill teeth and dreams of becoming a success. When he meets the beautiful, auburn-haired Siân Jones, he falls in love instantly. She, like him, is in search of something bigger than what the home she left behind can offer.
But when Babo's parents learn of his intention to marry 'some girl from God knows where' he is given an ultimatum: he can only marry Siân if they agree to live in Madras for two years before returning to London. As the years pass by, the calamities, quirks and heartaches of first love, lost innocence, and old age unfold across cultures and generations of this mixed-up family in a topsy-turvy world.