Part 1 – four years earlier
Manny, a 13 years-old Punjabi boy who is living in Leicester. His older brother, Ranjit, was married to a Punjabi girl called Jas, who is also living in the same house. His other brother, Harry is also going to be married soon, with another Punjabi girl who he never met before. He also had two sisters, yet both of them were married under their father’s order. Manny dislike the ideas of this Punjabi tradition, the arranged marriage. Manny assums that his mother never went to school since she is does not care about his school work and his father, just becomes angry easily and start shouting and hitting people. Due to the complex environment and the noise level these people created, Manny sometimes cannot concentrate on his school work. He likes to spend a lot of time with his friend Ady, who is a “Black-Jamaican“, however, Manny’s father is a racist and refuse to let Manny hang out with Ady.
Due to the tradition that the wife will live with husband after marriage, Manny needs to move out the room as Harry will soon be married. Manny has many cousins, and Ekbal is one of them. From Ekbal, Manny knows that his Uncle, Ekbal’s father, was more “liberal” compare to his own father. Therefore, Ekbal could study and do activities that he likes. On the other side, Manny’s fathers totally believes in the traditional way of teaching and the thing about arranged marriage and he was told that there will be an arranged marriage for him when he reaches seventeen.
Manny start to play the “cheat” and going wild. He goes to meet Ady almost every afternoon during the summer. Manny likes to walk in town, to feel the multicultural environment that Leicester had. As they move in the town, Ady told Manny the story between him and the girl, Sarah, who wants to go out with him. Later, they meet Sarah and Lisa for the first time on the street. Manny has a crush on Lisa.
Manny is thinking about Lisa more, which makes him be able to put away his family and arranged marriage at the back of his mind. Besides that, he starts to shoplifting, which Ady also start to do with Manny in town. And they meet Sarah and Lisa again.
Schools began and Ady starts to go out with Sarah. Manny finally knows that Lisa is called “Lisa” and actually, Lisa goes to his school and she is Sarah’s cousin. Manny hope the Ady could help him arrange meeting with Lisa since he was too nervous and afraid that Lisa will reject. On the other hand, Manny’s family believes that going with white girls is against their tradition and he will be “dead meat’. He also start to dream that he was adopted and he will be meeting his real parents soon. One lunchtime Manny and Ady went to visit Sarah and Manny overheard Ady and Sarah talking about him and Lisa. At home, Harry destroy one of the tapes that Ady lend to Manny and he had a fight with Harry.
Manny finally had his first “official” conversation with Lisa. The first conversation between was all about a book that both of them read. Now Manny is nervous and he said that he could never bring Lisa to his home, due to his father’s traditional beliefs. However, Lisa told him that her parents wouldn’t mind if he comes over. As the conversation keep going, Manny reveals all his thoughts towards his family towards Lisa, while she holds his hand. Manny starts to feel a change in his life, after Lisa appeared in his life. Later, his cousin, Ekbal told him that he overhear that Manny is going to have an arranged marriage, which makes Manny feel bad because his parents’s thinking that makes him thinking that he might lose Lisa. He also start to plan the first stage of his cheat: being a bad son-in-law.
Part 2 – a year later
Manny steals an empty CD case from a shop and he was caught by the store detectives. His brother, Ranjit, picks him up from the police. Although it is an empty CD case and police just warns Manny, Harry shouts at Manny and Ranjit stops Harry and orders Manny to go upstairs. An hour later, Ranjit goes to Manny’s room. Although Ranjit also question Manny, he hugs Manny when he start to cry, which is something that Manny’s parents never did. A minute later, Manny feels embarrassed and he pushes Ranjit aside and told him that he will not agree with the whole thing about arranged marriage.
Manny’s father has a strange tradition: not drinking or eating on Sundays, pretending to be a Sikh. According to Manny, he was not even a Sikh. His father views his ethnicity before religion. Once his father is back from India, he knows about the shoplifting and he start to shouting to everyone in the house. On this Sunday, while Manny is watching television about the football match, when his father talks with him about the arranged marriage. Manny recalled his memory when it is Harry’s turn. His father saw Manny’s unwillingness on his face and his reaction and start to talk about honors and family names. Manny’s mother, instead of scold him, she starts to cry and calling help from God, which makes Manny feels bad and he starts to cry.
Manny sitting in a classroom, waiting for his head of year, Mr Sandhu, whom is also the deputy heads. He is trying to know why there is a huge drop on Manny’s grade in all subjects. However, according to Manny, it is not because of bullying or the difficult of the work. At this point, Sandhu asks what is his parents’ point of views of the relationship between him and Lisa.
Lisa is shocked that Mr Sandhu knowing what is going on between Manny and her. Manny tells Lisa that he revealed a bit of the situation in his family to Mr Sandhu as well. However, Manny said that Mr Sandhu also married to a white woman and he understands the differences in culture that Manny is facing now. Before last lesson of the day starts, Lisa told Manny to wait for her and her mom after school. Before Lisa’s mother comes and pick them up, Lisa is trying to cheer up Manny by saying he should told his parents that he does not want to live the current life. Then Lisa’s mother, Amanda, comes over and pick them up. On the way home, Lisa asks can Manny come for dinner but he rejected. Manny starts to feel bad because he need to sneak around in order to see Lisa.
In Year 11, Manny did not pay attention to the work, the teacher, or to Mr Sandhu. He could not take school serious enough. He feels that all he need is a place for him to go, to go out of his family. Manny stays with Lisa as much as possible over the summer and spending time with Lisa’s parents rather than his parents. He also begin to skive lessons so he could meet with Ady and have a coffee in town. He also starts to take money from Ranjit’s wallet to afford the lunch or afford CDs. Later, Manny needs to go into the principal’s office and put on attendance register, which means that he needs to sign with one of the senior teachers in the morning, at lunchtime, and ant home-time. He is also kicked out from the footie team. However, Lisa is not happy about all these actions and he starts to turn up everyday. On the night just before his birthday, he goes out with Ady into a bar and get drunk. Luckily his father is not waiting for him in his room by the time he comes home.
After that night with Ady, Manny decides to become a bad boy, which makes him not get into school until after eleven. After school, he spends whole night writing short stories on one of his A4 pads. On his birthday, his father decides to take him to the pub for celebration. Later Manny tells Harry that he will go home, which brings on the tease. Harry laughed at Manny in front of all his mates. Manny “fight back”, making Harry madder and madder and grabs Manny’s neck and Ranjit comes to separate them. Manny leaves the pub and going to Lisa’s house. On his way, he decides that he will break through, regardless of the cost.
Manny stays until three in Lisa’s house, but luckily, Harry and his father does not discover that. Lisa comforts Manny as before when he talks to her about the problem in his family. Lisa also invites Manny to come over to her house on Saturday night because her parents want to talk to him. Manny asks Ady to pretend as a coach and speak to Ranjit so he could visit Lisa. On the Friday, when Sarah, Ady, Manny, and Lisa are walking together, Ady tells Manny that Sarah is pregnant. On Saturday, Manny visits Lisa’s house and Amanda talks to him about sex. Manny explains his opinion towards sex and Amanda gives him a hug and a kiss since she is glad that Lisa has this sensitive boy friend.
Manny finds out how important Lisa is in his life. On that night, they stay up all night and talk. Every time when Manny is with Lisa, he is happy since all the problems just disappear. After Christmas in Year 11, Manny is skiving all the time and spending time with Ady. Manny hasn’t really done any work for his exam. Teachers start to give up on Manny. He also hasn’t really talk to his family since Christmas day. One day, Ady comes up to school and slaps Manny and tells him to go out, because it is Ady’s birthday. When they are out drinking, Ady tells Manny that he will find a job so he could be a good father to the baby. Time flies when they are together, and Manny needs to go back to class, Ady goes with him. Inside the classroom, the teacher knows that Ady is not a student from the school and he calls Mr Sandhu. Manny tells Ady to run and passes out due to sickness. Manny is expelled from the school after than incident.
Harry tells Manny that he will go to India with the family. He is being locked up in his room, like a prisoner, which makes him feels sad because he does not see Ady or Lisa for a long time. Ranjit’s wife, Jas comes over and tries to persuade Manny to come along. Manny receives a letter from Lisa, saying she will move to Australia, and she is afraid that they cannot be together anymore, which upsets Manny. After crying, Manny tells Jas that he will go to India.
Part 3 – India
Manny and his family arrived at India. Manny is shocked by the heat and the poverty that he sees on Indian streets, which is opposite to what his father used to tell him about India. After the flight, Manny’s father hired a coach to drive them to the main city of their village. On the way, Manny sees the chaotic situation on the road, and he is told by Ranjit that this will take around six to eight hours before they arrive at their destination. By the time they arrived at the place, Manny is unable to bear the heat. Luckily, the taxi comes to them about half an hour later and they are on their way to the village.
The taxi drives them to their house, and on the way, Manny saw a big, beautiful house. He also learns about that his father wants to rebuild the house, to make it bigger and prettier. Now Manny arrives the village and relax in the house for the entire afternoon. He meets Uncle Piara, also Inderjit and Jasbir. Both of them are about the same age as Manny. However, when Manny thinks of Lisa, he is depressed.
Manny slowly knows other family members in the following couples of weeks. He also knows Inderjit better in the following weeks. Manny starts to be familiar towards the yards, the rooms, and their living styles. One day, he found Inderjit smoking some local cigarettes. Manny switch his cigarettes with Inderjit and he found that the local cigarettes too harsh. He also found out that Jasbir also smokes. They walked into the town since Manny request to buy some proper cigarettes. On this trip, he found out more lies that his father told him before he comes, lies about how good the Punjabians are compare to those blacks and whites. Manny starts to miss home again, since Lisa is no longer his girlfriend and he misses Ady’s voice
Ranjit, Jas, and their baby is going to go back to England, since Ranjit needs to go back to work. Manny spends time hanging out with Inderjit and Jasbir, especially when they want to smoke. During the ninth week of his “holiday”, Manny’s father told him that their passports are being stolen, therefore his father and mother needs to go to sort the tickets out. And he refuses Manny to come along with them. Manny is depress again. Then Inderjit sees the teasing between Manny and Harry, and shows Manny the scar that was left by his brother using a hand scythe. He also shared the story of revenge to Manny, which makes Manny start laughing
Manny’s whole family left India on the next day, which makes him and Inderjit happy because they could do what they want to do. Manny tells Inderjit about the life he lives back in England. Later, Uncle Gurvinder asks Manny to go for a trip with them. So Manny goes with Uncle Gurvinder, Inderjit, and Jasbir. Manny enjoys the view because he sees a lot of beautiful views of the place.
Manny knows that his whole family is now back in England, except him. He is really angry towards his father’s decision. He starts to recall all the details that happened before, which hints towards this result. Manny did not really speak to anyone in the following few days. He stops caring about his family. Manny founds a disused yard around at the back of the farmhouse and starts to spend most of his days in that yard. He also meets Mohan, the father in the family that works for his uncle, the lower caste servant. He starts to talk to Mohan and that cheers him up. Later he receives a letter from Jas,apologizing to Manny and telling him that Ady and Lisa tries to find him, makes him feel bad again. He falls asleep on the hammock. Then he meet his Uncle Jag for the first time.
Manny tries to know more about Uncle Jag’s information from other family members, however, all of them give Manny a negative feedback, but Manny does not believe in them. On the morning when Uncle Jag is back from his visits, Manny is sleeping on the hammock, trying to think how to tell Ady about his situation and this makes him feels depress. Then he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he feels sick and when he tries to get down from the hammock, he falls on the floor and cuts his knees, so he walks slowly back to the house. At the door, he overhears the arguments between Uncle Jag and Uncle Piara about his marriage and he falls sideway against the bare stone wall. When he wakes up again, he sees Uncle Jag sitting besides him and he tells Manny to rest.
Manny starts to talk with Uncle Jag and know more about his career and his life. Manny feels that Uncle Jag is not as bad as what other people said, especially Uncle Jag is an open-minded person. Uncle Jag tells Manny that he will help him to go back to England, which makes Manny feels really happy and excited.
Inderjit helps Manny finds the location of his passport and Uncle Jag sneaks the passport out. Manny meets with Mohan again in the disused yard and at that place, Mohan asks for the photos that Manny took about his family. Knowing about all these, makes Manny feels bad, but Mohan comforts him. Uncle Jag tell everyone that Manny will prepare paratha for the family one morning. When everyone sleeps, Uncle Jag tells Manny to pack up and pick up something for him, from Mohan. This makes Manny happy, it means he is going to leave India soon.
Manny sits in the yard waiting for Mohan next afternoon. Manny successfully finish the task: pack up without letting anyone sees it. He collects a package from Mohan and then gives the camera to Mohan, as a gift. This makes Mohan surprised but also, he is very happy and he keeps telling Uncle Jag about the camera. Manny gives the package to Uncle Jag, in return, Uncle Jag gives Manny a bag to disguise his backpack. When he finishes hiding his backpack, Inderjit comes over and helps him to move the bags to the disused yard. When Manny is back, Uncle Jag tells him to be ready to go in the next morning, when he wakes Manny up.
Uncle Jag wakes Manny really early in the morning and together, they prepare and serve the breakfast to the family. After that, Uncle Jag tells Manny to get his stuffs ready. Manny says goodbye to Mohan and goes on to Bahadur, Mohan’s nephew’s car. He is free from the family now.
Manny knows that Uncle Jag use weeds to make the rest of family sleeps for few more hours so they could escape. They arrived in Delhi in the afternoon. However, there are some delay so they cannot leave immediately. However, Uncle Jag said they are going to live in his favourite hotel in Delhi.
Uncle Jag continue talks with Manny, telling him that he should live a life for himself, not for his family. Manny brought some gift for Ady and Lisa. He asks about Uncle Jag’s family and sees the photo of his girlfriend and daughter. At the airport, everything goes smoothly and Manny says goodbye to Uncle Jag. Later, he arrived back at English, in front of his home. But what he receives are punches from his father.
Part 4 – the wedding
Manny meets with Ady, and they start to work in a supermarket together. Manny now decides that he will go to live his life, not his parent’s. The job makes his family thinks that he is sorting himself out, to be a good Punjabi. For that week, Manny works in the supermarket in nights to avoid his family. On Friday, Ranjit tells Manny that they are going to sort out the wedding. On the Saturday in the same week, Ady tells Sarah to invite Lisa to the bar so Manny could meet her. When Manny sees Lisa, he is too excite and before saying anything, he hugs her on the street.
Manny spends the night with Lisa’s parents. They are still talking about the arranged the marriage, but Manny has his way to (un)arrange this marriage. Two weeks before the wedding, the girls family comes over, Manny feels like he is the outsider of the chats between those people. His father gives him money to buy the suits, thinking he is now becoming a good Punjabi. Manny takes the money and decides to use it for the cheat. He tells Ady about the plan and Ady agrees to help out.
Manny says he is going to tidy up his room, however, he is moving things out of the house, getting ready for the cheat. Instead of being excited towards the wedding, like his family expects, he is excited towards his new future. On that evening, Manny go through one of the ceremonies of the wedding. After the ceremony, he takes a walk up to Ady’s place to finalize the plan for the cheat.
Next day, when Manny wakes up, he thinks about his nephew, Ranjit’s son’s future. By the midday, Manny is sitting in the front room drinking tea. This time, his father gives him more money and tells him to save the money for future. Manny did it, but not for his own future, the new future. Later in the party, which is only male participants, Manny argues with Ranjit’s mate, who just calls Ady monkey. After the argument, Manny goes outside for air and meets Ekbal, who is worried about Manny’s agreement with the family. On the way back, Manny decides to type in the code for the cheat to start.
Now is the wedding day, his brother Ranjit drives him to the Sikh temple. However, Manny tells Ranjit that he needs to go to washroom, which end’s up as they are being late. At eleven o’ clock, Manny tells his father that he needs to go to washroom again. In the washroom, he walks to the fire exit and kicks the door open. After that, he finds Ady in a car and together, they drive off.
Two years later, Manny lives at Lisa’s parents’ house, but he is not with Lisa anymore. Manny still works for the same supermarket in the evenings while waiting to retake his GCSEs. He is provisionally accepted for college, but he cannot start college until next September. However, Manny thinks it is a good time to work and to save money for himself. From time to time, Manny sees Harry or Ranjit and Jas on street, but they pretend they did not see Manny. Ekbal tells him the story after he ran away the wedding: his family moved to Oadby, Ranjit and Jas now has a girl, and the family never talks about Manny, as he never exist. Ady becomes a good father and Sarah is studying to become a nurse. Manny now is Zac, Ady’s son’s godfather. Now, Manny is dreaming about travelling and writing. Although Manny is living a “tough” life, which he needs to earn money with his hard work. Many now has a new girlfriend, who works part-time on the reception desk at the supermarket. He is happy, because he is living his life, a life is in his control.