Homeless Bird is the story of Koly and Hari. They are two youth in India, who are to be married. She is 13, and he is portrayed as 16.
When the two finally meet, we learn that he is only 13, also. To further complicate matters, he is seriously ill. Koly's parents consider calling off the marriage, but that would be considered very bad luck in their culture.
After the wedding, Koly learns that Hari has tuberculosis. His parents wanted Koly's dowry to buy Hari's passage to Varnasi.
Varnasi is one of the oldest cities in the world. A spiritual, and holy city, it sits on the shore of the Ganges. Many people believe that bathing in the waters near this holy city will cleanse oneself and cure ailments.
By taking Hari to Varnasi, they hope to cure him of his tuberculosis.