Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 12

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 12

All India Radio

  • Padma still hasn't come back yet and Saleem is starting to freak out. Is she a missing person? He can't even smell right. He notices that he hasn't been the most accurate in his autobiography, but shrugs it off.
  • Even though he's still worried, Saleem goes on with his story. Little Saleem is still recovering. He realizes that angels are not talking to him.
  • It's telepathy. The kid is hearing voices from all over India. But Saleem is no idiot, he doesn't tell his family anything and soon enough they forget about it. Never happened.
  • Thoughts are pouring into his head. His dad's sexual fantasies, his uncle Hanif's sadness, his mom's thoughts of Nadir Khan, and Mary's secrets.
  • He's nine years old. Nine-year-old kids should be eating popsicles and watching cartoons or something like that.
  • As time goes on Saleem gets better at using his powers. He goes into the clock tower where Joseph D'Costa was shot to read people's minds in privacy.
  • If you haven't noticed yet, Saleem has a huge ego. This whole telepathy thing only makes it worse. He feels like he's the cause of everything.
  • While Saleem is busy reading minds, his father has lost all interest in sex. He shares his secret with his friend Dr. Narlikar. The child-hating doctor is so excited that he shares his dream of covering the coast of India with tetrapods.
  • The thing is, the tetrapods looks just like the symbol for fertility, so women start worshiping it. Dr. Narlikar tries to stop them in a kind of irrational rage, and he ends up getting killed by protesters who see him pushing the women.
  • Dr. Narlikar's death is the first one at the Methwold Estate, and it makes everyone act strange.
  • It also brings the Narlikar women, who come from everywhere and mourn the doctor for a week. When they leave, they take the tetrapods business with them, cutting out Ahmed Sinai.
  • The failure of the tetrapod deal makes Ahmed Sinai go completely white. Apparently, though, he's not the only oneā€”Indians across the country are turning white.
  • Saleem ends the chapter with a quick mention that Wee Willie Winkie, his "real" father, has died.