Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 15

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 15

At the Pioneer Café

  • Saleem has another fever and this time it brings him a nightmare. Everything is green and black and someone called The Widow is hurting the Midnight's Children. Apparently he's been out for two days.
  • Padma and someone (Saleem won't tell us who yet) want him to go outside and get some fresh air. At least that's what they tell him. They really just want to take him to the doctor. But Saleem's not going anywhere.
  • So Saleem is 10 years old now. In the same month, Puru the guru dies. Every night at midnight, Saleem talks to the Midnight's Children. But there is something in his mother's thoughts that he has to see with his own two eyes.
  • He gets Sonny to let him into the trunk of his mom's car and stows away on one of her trips. They make it to the Pioneer Café, which is famous for being a Communist Party hangout.
  • When Saleem sees who she's meeting there he wishes that he'd never come. His mom and Nadir Khan are making out.
  • Now we get to learn about Shiva. As he's meeting the Midnight's Children, Saleem starts projecting a friendly image of himself so they don't freak out like Evie did. Everybody has one of these—it's like a mental caricature.
  • So when he meets Shiva, Saleem is a little scared because his mental caricature is pretty freaky looking. Shiva is clearly one tough kid. He's been running gangs since he was eight years old, he killed his father, and now he wants to run the Midnight's Children.