In his splendidly original and lyrical novel of Magical Realism, "Red Earth and Pouring Rain", Vikram Chandra leads the willing reader on a journey to places usually discovered only in dreams. Good dreams.
When asked the following important questions, Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, answers wisely:
Q: Why are there hypocrites in the world?
A: Because it is hard to bear the happiness of others.
Q: When are we happy?
A: When we desire nothing and realize that possession is only momentary...
Q: What is regret?
A: To realize that one has spent one's life worrying about the future.
Q: What is sorrow?
A: To long for the past.
Q: What is the highest pleasure?
A: To hear a good story.
In Chandra's sweeping novel one hears many a good story.