Magical realism is a literary movement that originated in South America and combines realistic details with extraordinary, impossible happenings in a tone that presents both blending seamlessly together. One way in which magical realism can be perceived in this novel is through the character of Sampath's mother, Kulfi. She, during her pregnancy, is filled with an insatiable hunger that can never be satisfied, so much so that she is left drawing pictures all over the walls of her house of food during the drought, "in desperation for another landscape." Her pregnancy, as it advances, is clearly not any "normal" pregnancy, as she goes beyond feeling awkward and ponderous. Note how she is described:
She seemed to be claiming all the earth's energy for herself, sapping it dry, leaving it withered, shrivelled and yellow.
The time of her actual birth is definitely described in magical terms that make it a story that becomes famous in the locality:
When there was almost no space left to draw on any more, when the walls, floor and ceiling were full, packed tight to the point of bursting, Sampath was born. And he was born in such remarkable circumstances, they were remembered for ever afterwards by the people of Shahkot.
Sampath's birth just as the long-awaited monsoon magically breaks out is something that clearly cements the character of Kulfi and her actions as being lodged firmly in the realm of magic realism. Everyday details of life are combined with magical, fabulous exaggerations but presented in a matter-of-fact tone as if they were real, the definition of magical realism.