Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 14

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 14

My Tenth Birthday

  • What the heck is going on?!
  • Padma is back, there's something about poison, and we're not sure what's happening.
  • Okay, here's how it went down. When Saleem started talking about love, Padma got upset and ran away. But she loves him too much and wanted to come back. There was still the problem of his impotence, though, so she went to a holy man get some drugs, a sort of Indian traditional Viagra.
  • When she gives them to Saleem, he starts foaming at the mouth and goes into a coma. That's some serious love. A little too much love if you ask us.
  • But now everything's okay. Better than okay because he's finally going to tell us about the Midnight's Children.
  • 1001 of them were born, but by the time Saleem knows about them, only 581 are left. They don't know anything about each other, and they all have strange superpowers from being born on India's Independence Day.
  • One girl is so beautiful that anyone who looks at her goes blind, one boy can eat metal, and another can grow or shrink to any size. There are a lot of them, so you should read this part to find out about all of them.
  • All of the kids have powers, but those born closest to midnight have the greatest ones. Parvati-the-witch, who was born 7 seconds after midnight, can perform real magic. Then there are Saleem and Shiva, who get the gifts of mind reading and warfare respectively.
  • At the same time that Saleem is discovering Midnight's Children, his father is changing. He stops reading them bedtime stories, and locks himself in his office all day.
  • What's he doing in there all the time? Financial speculation. He makes good money, but he gets more and more removed from the real world. One day he even tries to kill their dog with the so-called "family curse"! It doesn't work, and he figures out another way to kill her, but still.
  • Ahmed Sinai is not the only one acting weird. Mary is starting to see the ghost of Joseph D'costa. She even falls in love with him again, but Ghost Joseph doesn't love her back and only haunts her.
  • So on Saleem's 10th birthday a lot of stuff is happening, but here's the most important part: he finds the Midnight's Children.