Oh my ardent readers, today yours truly feels like sharing the very first thoughts that came to his mind after having read Salman Rushdie’s Magic Realism masterpiece Midnight’s Children around this time last year. The novel catapulted Rushdie into universal stardom virtually overnight and also earned him the highly coveted Booker Prize in 1981. In Midnight’s Children, Rushdie follows the footsteps of his idol, Gabriel García Márquez taking inspiration from Márquez’ greatest work of fiction, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Part hyptonic and part satirical, Midnight’s Children made Rushdie a household name, elevating him to a position of unqualified envy and ubiquitous acclaim.
I request my ardent readers to kindly bear with me as I try to recapture those lost thoughts.
And here we go!
At last, I feel vindicated; I feel absolved of compunction; I feel liberated from the maw of perpetual awe; I finally feel redeemed after eons of expiation; I feel enlightened by the intellectual gratis unleashed upon my psyche; I feel resurrected by the rejuvenation of my hitherto feeble cognition; I feel being catapulted above and transcended beyond the realm of the ruck. In a nutshell, I feel elevated, humbled and purged by the subtlety, guile, perpetual playfulness and contrived absurdity of a wordsmith named Salman Rushdie, who
is at his absolute best in Midnight’s Children.
As an author, Rushdie’s oeuvre knows no bounds: be it the divine or the diabolical, his penmanship is relentless, revolutionary, and at times nakedly ambitious. Ironically, it is this morbid yet fascinating facet of his writing that has earned him ubiquitous acclaim, millions of diehard fans, and a draconian death sentence from Ayatullah Khomeini. On a personal note, Rushdie as a punster is my absolute favourite, along with the great Vladimir Nabokov.
Reading Midnight’s Children’s was truly an ineffable experience; I was going through a very tough time in an equally tough territory and often found solace in Salim’s company and derived pleasure from his perpetual plight (in actuality it wasn’t as sadistic on my part as it would appear now): it’s actually soothing to know that you are not the only hapless being around. Saleem was a victim of the vicissitudes of his time and his childhood is highly retrospective of the sufferings of the peoples of the partitioned India.
To sum it up, reading Midnight’s Children’s was ought to be the single most challenging task of my life and now that I am done, I can safely testify my initial estimation. It was excruciatingly challenging to start with, but the ultimate experience was nothing short of exhilarating: it made me sweat; it made me laugh; it even disgusted me at times; but above all it transfixed me into a state of perpetual stupor, which promises to keep me immured for the rest of my life.