After his previous caretakers, a university student and an older woman Ms. Linden, were unable to continue looking after him, 11-year-old Eliot started spending his afternoons at Mrs. Sen's apartment.
Mrs. Sen, an immigrant from India, and her husband, a university professor, provided a warm and clean place for Eliot to spend his time while his single mother was at work.
Mrs. Sen's cooking, especially her chopping of vegetables with a blade brought from India, fascinated Eliot. Mrs. Sen taught him about her homeland India by sharing stories and Indian music.
Mrs. Sen desired fresh whole fish which she couldn’t find in regular supermarkets. So, she often called a seaside fish store and if they had available fresh fish, Mr. Sen would pick it up for her. However, after Mr. Sen was unable to fetch fish due to his work obligations, Mrs. Sen and Eliot took a bus to the seaside fish market. Later, Mrs. Sen decided to drive on her own to pick up the fish but ended up in a minor accident as she didn't have a proper driving license.
"I hate it. I hate driving. I won't go on."
Following the incident, Mr. Sen refunded Eliot's mom for their services and Eliot was no longer taken care by Mrs. Sen. Instead, Eliot was given a key to his home and was left alone after school.