‘Babu Sahib! You must have heard of a phoolsunghi—the flower-pecker—yes? It can never be held captive in a cage. It sucks nectar from a flower and then flies on to the next.’
When Dhelabai, the most popular tawaif of Muzaffarpur, slights Babu Haliwant Sahay, a powerful zamindar from Chappra, he resolves to build a cage that would trap her forever. Thus, the elusive phoolsunghi is trapped within the four walls of the Red Mansion.