When we first meet Mini, she is five years old, an energetic, lovable, and garrulous (talkative) little girl. She manages to win the heart of the kabuliwala, Rahmun, who is a fruit-seller from Kabul. Mini overcomes her initial shyness with Rahmun's generous friendship offering of nuts and almonds. The two become great friends, sharing jokes and engaging in what Mini's father terms as fascinating conversation: Rahmun manages to honor Mini's little girl innocence by engaging in entertaining humor both of them can enjoy from either a grown-up or a childish perspective.
Once a year, in the middle of January, Rahmun would return to visit his home country. As the time drew near, he would collect his debts from his customers. Despite his busy schedule, he would invariably make time for his little Mini. However, in the course of Rahmun's debt-collecting mission, he comes to fisticuffs with a customer who denies owing him money for a shawl. Rahmun is imprisoned for some years under a charge of physical assault. In the meantime, Mini grows up and makes new friends. She forgets her old friend until Rahmun shows up on the day of her wedding. He has apparently been released from prison. Mini's father is uneasy about fulfilling Rahmun's request to see his little Mini; after all, she is about to be married and Rahmun is now an ex-felon.
Mini's father finds himself in a socially uncomfortable position; in the end, it is Rahmun's generous spirit which changes his heart. The old kabuliwala has brought a gift of fruit and nuts of the sort he used to bring his little friend years ago. Rahmun rejects payment from Mini's father for the gift: in his heart, Mini will always be his little friend, who reminds him so much of his own little girl in Kabul. When Mini finally appears to greet Rahmun, she is dressed in all her bridal finery. The old jokes Rahmun and Mini used to share fall flat. They no longer have the easy rapport of a little girl and her kabuliwala friend.
Rahmun is saddened to realize that he has also missed a great deal of his own daughter's growing up years in Kabul. This realization of lost time is the catalyst for a touching gift from Mini's father to Rahmun. Mini's father comes to realize that Rahmun has lavished all the love of a father on Mini as if she were his own little girl. For all the joy Rahmun has bestowed upon Mini, Mini's father gifts Rahmun with the money to return to Kabul to reunite with his own daughter again.