Seelawathie, a young, village girl is brought to the city to care for Cat, the daughter of a prominent Colombo family. With her parents involved with each other and their active social life, Cat soon comes to regard Seelawathi as her parent and best friend. They build their own happy microcosmic life within the large household, and are relatively content until Seelawathie falls in love. Her forbidden relationship challenges the rigid boundaries of society and leads to a cataclysmic end of innocence. The Lament of the Dhobi Woman explores the issue of class in Colombo society and the fragile intricacies of love and forgiveness.