Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 19

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 19


  • The first few pages tell us the myth of Lord Khusro, a.k.a. Cyrus the great. After his dad died choking on some pips, Cyrus's mom took over. She molded him into a child's guru and he was so popular and rich that he had his own plane.
  • Saleem was jealous of him. At least until he drowned.
  • After the scandal, Saleem learns that his uncle Hanif committed suicide, since Homi Catrack was his only source of income. So the family gathers to mourn him for fourty days.
  • At the same time, the Narlikar women are demolishing the houses around them, so everything is covered in dust. As if that wasn't enough, Reverend Mother is about to explode on Pia because she isn't mourning elaborately enough.
  • Eventually she tells Saleem that she was trying to honor Hanif's hatred of melodrama. But no sooner does she say that than she starts crying like a big baby.
  • That's pretty normal, but the house is still being covered in dust and it's making people act weird. For example, Aadam Aziz sees God.
  • He's old. Like, can't-even-eat-carrots-without-getting-spit-all-over-himself old. And he's starting to crack, just like Saleem.
  • Then one day he calls a family meeting to announce that he saw God. It wasn't God, but we get why he thought it was, since Joseph D'Costa is such an old ghost that he's falling apart.
  • Eventually Aadam decides that God stole Hanif, and he wants revenge. So he doesn't go to Pakistan with the Reverend Mother and instead takes a trip back to Kashmir where, after stealing a relic, he dies at the top of a mountain.
  • The President of India dies the same day. Coincidence? Saleem thinks not.
  • There is one more public announcement to go.
  • This time it's Mary's turn. Joseph is visible and wandering around the halls. Mary is worried that he will tell her secrets soon, so she decides to jump the gun. Right after she tells everyone that she switched Shiva and Saleem, she runs out of the room.
  • Then Musa the old servant comes back to ask for forgiveness, and he gets it. It feels like one billion things are happening at once at this point in the book.
  • Mary never comes back. She runs away to her mother and wanders the streets asking for forgiveness.