Balli Kaur Jaswal
Nikki is a modern young Punjabi woman, who has spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from her community and living an independent (read: western) life. But after the death of her father leaves her family in financial straits, she takes a job as a creative writing teacher for a group of ageing widows at her temple and discovers that the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just a few greying hairs.
These are women who have lived in the shadows of fathers, brother and husbands their whole lives, being dutiful, raising children and going to temple. They may not have a great grasp of English but what they do have is a wealth of stories and fantasies that they are no longer afraid to share with the other women in the group.
As Nikki realises that she must keep the illicit nature of the class secret from the Brothers – a group of highly conservative young men who have started policing the morals of the temple and the wider community – she starts to help these women voice their desires, and also begins to uncover the truth about the sudden recent death of a young Sikh woman…