The film is a coming-of-age story of a young boy named Apu, and life in his small Indian village in the early years of the 20th century. Apu is born to a poor Brahmin family in Bengal. His father Harihar is a priest who dreams of becoming a successful poet and a playwright; he does not earn enough, but the mother Sarbajaya keeps the family going. Because of their limited resources, Sarbajaya resents having to share her home with Harihar's elderly cousin: the old and helpless cripple Indir. Apu's sister Durga is always getting into trouble for stealing guavas from the neighbour's orchards for Indir. She cares for Apu like a good older sister but loves to affectionately tease him. Together, they make do with what they have and enjoy the simple joys of life.