Midnight’s Children

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31 years ago, MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN was published.

I remember my friend & next door neighbor Mona giving me a copy of the book to read. Mona, was older than me studying inorganic, or was it organic chemistry at IIT.. She was very very clever & read a lot. She & her mom, Mrs Saxena used to be voracious readers . In fact they introduced me to various authors like Neville Shute (his REQUIEM FOR A WREN remains one of my favorite books till date),A J Cronin,Erma Bombeck & many others.I remember Saxena Aunty making me join the British Council library so I could borrow books from there . .they kind of fueled my love for reading . . Something which I had inherited from my Dad anyways.

After struggling through a few chapters of Midnight’s Children, I had declared that I couldn’t read it & gave up ! I must have been barely 13 or 14 years old at that time & the book was obviously too complex for me at that point of time. But giving up on a book was not something I did. Once I started a book I would plod through it,no matter what because to give up was some sort of a defeat in my mind. Although now,I don’t think it’s the smartest thing to do.If a book doesn’t interest me,I’d rather leave it unfinished & go onto something more exciting . Anyway, coming back to Midnight’s Children,I remember a lot of people saying yeah, it’s a tough book to read etc, etc and therefore I didn’t feel so bad then.

But obviously it did stay on in my mind & it always niggled me … So the other day when I found a copy staring me in the face at my brother in laws house (an autographed one at that), I decided the time had come for me to attempt reading MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN again ! Ronit,my brother in law has acted in it ,therefore the signed copy. Now I’m quite the groupie when it ones to autographed books & all .. I’m in AWE of writers ! To me they are bigger than movie stars or rockstars or anybody in showbiz … Except maybe Oprah ! So I borrowed the book,the same book which had always made me feel like a literary loser ! Coincidentally the next mornings TOI’s Crest edition carried a big article on Salman Rushdie & the book.I decided this was definitely a sign … My time had come to read the book ! The older, mature me was now ready to tackle it. I opened the book & read Mr Rushdie’s introduction to the 25th anniversary edition.And then I started reading all those little review blurbs at the beginning,which in my opinion are rather intimidating,instead of making you want to read the book,sometimes they do the reverse … They scare you off the book.

For example : We have an epic in our hands. The obvious comparisons are to Gunter Grass in The Tin Drum & Gabriel Garcia Marquez in One hundred Years of Solitude (haven’t read the Tin Drum, have read Marquez though). Then another critic says : Nostalgic realism with mythic overtones .

And suddenly my 13 year old self rears her head & asks me … Gosh will we be able to go through it this time ? ? ?

I assuage her fears with a resounding Yes & I fully intend to finish reading it this time & telling you’ll how I enjoyed it πŸ™‚

18 comments

  1. I am not quite the 13 year old that you mentioned, but more like the 22 year old version of the same thing who feels the same way about this epic piece of writing. Hope I can read it soon as well.. and yes, hope you finish reading it before the release of the movie in India and enjoy it to the core.

    Happy reading! πŸ˜€
    If possible, please put up the photograph of the autographed book.. when you finish reading that is πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Sukhada,
      I’m in the process of reading the book right now , will definitely put up a picture of the autograph when I finish it πŸ™‚

  2. Although I do not read books or novels (reading Scares me), but will love to read this one for 3 reasons. First of Anupam Kher Sir , Second Ronit Roy Sir & Final ‘coz this movie was screened in Toronto Film Fest.
    Again would like to say G@@D G@OING.. πŸ™‚

    1. Don’t let reading scare you πŸ™‚ its one of the best things to do ! And definitely go see the movie , its directed by Deepa Mehta who has made some beautiful films in the past & also has a great cast of actors .

  3. Dearest manasi…you are an amazing writer. I am so proud of you. I need to read Midnight’s Children again. I don’t remember much of it now after all these years. We will have to compare notes. after our re-reading and our now more mature states. Very well done on your blog. I love it. I miss you and hope to see you very soon.

    1. Mona, thank you so much for fueling my love for reading πŸ™‚ and for being such a good friend during my teenage years πŸ™‚
      We shall definitely discuss the book as soon as I finish reading it !

  4. oh gosh- deja-vu. i was so disgusted with myself when i could not go beyond few pages and had to return it back UNREAD to the library which is like a punishment for me. i also bought 100 years of solitude by marquez which i read till page 30 and again gave up. ive not yet lost the battle though -lol will try to read them again after a gap when time comes.

    1. Do read Midnight’s Children ! I’m definitely enjoying reading it now & 100 Years of Solitude is also a must read πŸ™‚

  5. Manasi do read it, it’s a book I haven’t reread in a while because it lives with you for quite a while after. And then read shame also. Although must say I prefer love n the time of cholera over 100 years….

    Happy reading.

  6. Manasi I so identify with this… I picked up Midnight’s Children at 14, and like you, found it terribly intimidating. I battled through it though, and somehow with superhuman determination I managed to finish it. Obviously much of it went over my head! I would love to read it again, now that you have brought it up… definitely before seeing the movie! Ans yes, I loved Neville Shute back then too. On another note, congratulations on starting the blog! I’m sure you’ll find it one of the most satisfying things you have done! xx

    1. Intimidating is actually the perfect word to describe how the book had made me feel when I was 13 ! But this time around its been less intimidating πŸ™‚ And yes I find blogging very satisfying … Thank you πŸ™‚

  7. Wow Manasi! you really have a flair for writing and I like your simple conversational style of writing…You must consider taking it up seriously.
    I have a vague memory of Midnight’s Children that I read quite some time back. Will be re-reading it before watching the movie. We can then do a book review when we meet up after that followed by the film review…..Will look forward to reading a lot of this that and the other!
    Till then Happy Reading!

  8. Dear Manasi,
    I recently made my way through Anna Karenina with the same apprehensions, I bet you’re going to sail through the midnight πŸ™‚
    All the best for the book and hurrah on the blog.
    Love, kausar.

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