The book explores how gender plays out in public and private institutions like family, educational institutions, work and public spaces. It illustrates the multiplicity of ways in which people live gender and testifies that even if there are gender laws, in a just world there can be no gender outlaw.
If the turban-tying ceremony represents the official rite of passage from Punjabi/Sikh boyhood into Punjabi/Sikh manhood, the practice of cutting unshorn hair upon arriving in Chandigarh signifies yet another (albeit unofficial) rite of passage from Punjabi/Sikh manhood into migrant manhood.
Talking about migration would be talking about what happens with the crossing of boundaries. Boundaries of culture and climate, and boundaries of visibility, where a change in semantics can come to render what was invisible visible (an accent, perhaps a way of dressing, one’s values and ideas, the experience of being surveilled as an alien), while also allowing the migrant certain new freedoms to be invisible (anonymity where ‘nobody knows your name’, and certain kinds of agency one may not have enjoyed back home).