Whatever is not given is lost. (Indian proverb) Few places in the world swarm like Calcutta, with its three thousand shanty towns, its fifty thousand rickshaw pullers, its hundreds of bazaars, its eleven million inhabitants. A peasant named Hasari Pal, forced to abandon his drought-parched plot of land, drifts one day into this mirage of a city. At that very moment, on the other side of the planet, a little girl's heart stops beating on an operation table in a Houston hospital. The young surgeon, Max Lowe, is so traumatized by the tragedy that he dicides to abadon his career. He leaves for India, hoping to reconcile himself to his fate and find a meaning to life. His wanderings take him by chance to the teeming streets of Calcutta. One evening he is involved in a fight, and is left for dead on a disreputable road near the sidewalk where Hasari and his family have set up home. On hearing his cries, Hasari runs to help the wounded man. Max and Hasari soon find themselves in a little clinic set up in the center of an overpopulated shanty town, paradoxically named the "City of Joy"...
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