“Good advice is rarer than rubies” is a short story by renowned author Salman Rushdie. It tells the story of Miss Rehana who comes to the British embassy in an unnamed town in India, to apply for a permit to go to London. At first it seems like she's there out of free will to see her fiancé, but later it is revealed that she actually doesn't want to go, rather that she's forced to go because she has to marry the man waiting for her in England. A man working at the embassy, Muhammad Ali, helps her, thinking of possible ways to get her to London, but when she's rejected she only smiles and leaves.
The conflict in this story is that Muhammad Ali thinks he is doing Miss Rehana a favor by going out of his way to help her immigrate to England, when in reality he's only helping her cover up the fact that she doesn't want to leave.
The story is set in an unnamed city in India (although it's never explicitly said, we assume it's in India as both the author is originally from there, and they mention different Indian foods), probably some years in the past, maybe around the 70's. It is told with a third person point of view, through the eyes of Muhammad Ali, as we read his thought and feelings throughout the story.
There are really only two characters in this short story: Muhammad Ali and Miss Rehana.
Muhammad Ali is a good-hearted trickster who usually tricks young women at the embassy with illegal papers, but when he sees the beautiful Miss Rehana he is serious about letting her get the permit for free, because he's attracted to her. He warns her about the personal questions, and really does his best to make sure she gets what she wants.
Miss Rehana is a beautiful, young woman with eyes that are “large and black and shiny enough to not need the help of antimony”, and who is engaged to a man in England who her parents set her up with and forced her to marry. When she comes to the embassy, not truly wanting to go, she