In the chapter, we are introduced to Phatik Chakravorti, a village boy who is the ringleader among his peers. He instigates a mischief to move a log, which leads to an altercation with his younger brother, Makhan. This incident further establishes the strained relationship between Phatik and Makhan, as well as their mother's apparent bias towards Makhan.
Following these events, their uncle Bishamber, who had been away in Bombay, arrives in the village. He offers to take Phatik to Calcutta to educate him alongside his own children, and the mother agrees. In Calcutta, Phatik faces a challenging environment where he struggles to adapt to his new life. His aunt dislikes his presence, and he misses his village, friends, and even his mother. He longs for affection and recognition but finds himself constantly scolded and belittled.
At school, Phatik performs poorly and loses his lesson book, leading to continuous punishment from his teacher. His cousins, ashamed of his academic performance, join others in mocking him. Phatik's situation becomes even more miserable, and he asks his uncle when he can go back to his village. His uncle tells him he must wait for the holidays.
One day, Phatik falls seriously ill with a fever and goes missing, prompting a search that involves the police. He is eventually found in a terrible state and brought back to his uncle's house. Phatik's condition worsens, and his uncle sends for his mother. Upon hearing her voice, Phatik momentarily regains consciousness and expresses his longing to return home, believing the holidays have finally come. The chapter poignantly captures the emotional turmoil and hardships faced by a young boy seeking love and belonging in an unfamiliar and unwelcoming environment.