Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 22

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 22

Jamila Singer

  • Saleem is loving his new nose. He can smell all kinds of things with it, like his aunt Alia's jealousy. He gives us a description of his new home that is none too pretty. Pakistan is full of poor, submissive, fanatical people.
  • After moving to Pakistan, Saleem's parents tell him and Jamila that they must make new lives, but Saleem's head is stuck in Bombay. He just can't fit in.
  • Saleem's parents, however, are doing great in their new home. His father has taken up the towel business, and named it after his wife. Amina towels.
  • Jamila is also about to start her new life, courtesy of Uncle Puffs. He's a retired major who's gone into show business, and he wants to be Jamila's agent.
  • There's just one condition: Since she's a good Muslim girl, she can't reveal her face.
  • Never fear! Uncle Puffs has a perfect solution. You might recognize it. It's a sheet with a hole cut in it. Perforated, you might say.
  • Behind her sheet, the whole of Pakistan falls in love with her. She becomes the voice of Pakistan, using her songs for patriotism. Pakistan isn't the only one who has fallen in love with her. So has Saleem. Yes, that Saleem. Her brother.
  • Everyone else is occupied with Jamila Singer, and Saleem is turning into a pimply, moody teenager. But not just any teenager of course, because he has the power of smell. He spends most of his days riding around, exploring the smells of the city.
  • That's fun at first, but let's not forget that he is a boy in the middle of puberty. So he looks for prostitutes.
  • Not just any prostitutes, though. Saleem looks for Tai Bibi, the oldest prostitute in the world. You might think that's nasty, but it gets nastier. He chooses her because she can mimic any smell in the world.
  • By accident she mimics his mom's smell and from there they start mimicking his aunts and other people until finally they get to his sister. Basically he gets an erection and runs away.
  • And now for something less gross. Saleem tells us the story of a prince who loved his Rolls-Royce so much that he forced the people of his princedom to stop using the streets as a gathering place and let him drive around instead.
  • Nice guy. His son, Mutasim, has fallen in love with Jamila.
  • The Prince also had a daughter, and she's getting engaged to Zapahar (Aunt Emerald's son) so they are having a party. Lots of political and military people are at the party, so they are all worried about the election that'll be happening tomorrow.
  • During the party Mutasim tells Saleem that he loves Jamila, and asks for his help using a love charm. Saleem accepts, but we're pretty sure he wants to use that charm himself.
  • Insert awesome party here.
  • After the party Mutasim sneaks into the women's rooms because he wants to see Jamila's face. But he doesn't know that Saleem has already snuck into the room in order to use the love charm. He threatens to shoot Mutasim, so he leaves.
  • Later he asks for Jamila's hand in marriage, but she turns him down. He ends up dying in a war. But that's not what's important. What's important is that Saleem is telling Jamila he loves her.
  • It doesn't go super well.
  • Meanwhile, Zaphar's fiancĂ©e, the Princess, has a nightmare about his bedwetting and decides never to marry him.