Ambikapathy ('Pakoda' Pandian) is an orphan runaway who escapes from his cruel uncle to Chennai and eventually ends up atMarina beach. He earns his livelihood by selling drinking-water packets and later poached chickpeas to people visiting the beach. His calm and mature manners win him the admiration and later the friendship of other boys employed at the beach. Ambikapathy dreams of being educated, so he works in the day to save money for schooling whilst trying to study at night on his own. His desire to be enrolled in a proper school slowly begins to rub off on the other children on the beach.