It is March 2002 and Gujarat has just seen the worst episode of bloodletting in independent India. Hindu fascist groups in the state have gone on a rampage, slaughtering over two thousand Muslims, and brutally marginalizing tens of thousands more. Jayram Krishnan has led a privileged life as an upper-caste Hindu from the south Indian city of Bangalore. He impulsively decides to travel up north to Gujarat, to volunteer in a human rights movement that has emerged to combat the violence. His ego and bravado prevail over his cautious family. But underneath the bluster he realizes that he’s never done anything that has challenged the rationale of his safe existence. Treading unknown territory, he makes his way to Gujarat. In Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat, he encounters a beleaguered human rights movement desperately trying to combat overwhelming odds in an environment of political virulence. He has no idea what he’s supposed to be doing. Apparently, neither do they. His only option is to hit the ground running and ask questions later. As he bungles his way through the initial few steps, he discovers the Sabarmati – a river running through the city, ghettoizing it, acting as more than just a physical divide. Carnage and sterile affluence have but a river separating them.
Two amazing activists on one side and two more on the other, each pair worlds apart, enter his life and rapidly constitute his new family. Jayram starts leading a dual life on both sides of the river. He crosses it every day to work in devastating conditions on one side, and crosses back to make merry on the other. He finds painful love and learning on both sides.
The Sabarmati soon runs through Jayram too, and he discovers more about himself than he might be able to endure. Across the Sabarmati, he slowly starts finding answers that he’s still discovering questions for. In confronting his painful rebirth, he realizes he is er than what he thought he was but seeing a truth he had never seen before. It was the liberation he needed but never sought out.