This vast, erotic, irreverent magnum opus on the city of Delhi starts with the narrator just returning from England after ‘having his fill of whoring in foreign lands’, a bawdy, aging reprobate who loves the city of Delhi, as much as he loves the ugly but energetic hermaphrodite whore Bhagmati, whom he literally picks up from a deserted road on a hot Delhi summer noon. Having no place to go after completing her jail sentence, she begs to be taken under his wing. The kind sardar obliges, and thus begins a wonderful relationship of ups and downs in the narrator’s life. Bhagmati, neither male nor female but possessive of great exotic sex appeal, vitalizes his life amidst the majestic remains of Delhi in its heyday, and even saves the narrator's life from the mad mobs of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Mr. Khushwant Singh claims it took him almost twenty-five years to complete this novel. 'History provided me a skeleton', he jokes, 'I covered it with flesh and injected blood and a lot of seminal fluid into it'.