Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 30

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 30


  • Even though he promised not to lie, Saleem fibs. He made up Shiva's death. He has no idea what happened to him.
  • Anyway, Padma has proposed to him. He accepts, but he doesn't think he'll live to see their marriage.
  • We're almost done now. Saleem's son had been nursed by a washerwoman named Durga. She is big and muscly like Padma, but Saleem hates her because she has no connection to the past.
  • Picture Singh loves her and they decide to get married. He only mentions her because she predicts his death.
  • Saleem wants to change the subject. His son weaned himself right before they decided to go to Bombay. He describes his son like a dictator, expecting people to follow his every whim, but he just sounds like a regular baby to us.
  • Picture Singh is getting old, and he's worried that his powers are fading. So when he hears about another snake charmer who calls himself The Most Charming Man in the World, Picture Singh has to prove himself. So, back to Bombay everyone goes.
  • Even though he was angry at first, Picture Singh just gets more and more depressed on the train. Then, finally they arrive back in Bombay.
  • Saleem is so excited that he acts like a little kid again, but as they look around he realizes that this is not his childhood home anymore.
  • The challenger performs in a place called The Midnight Confidential Club. So we've never read a description of a snake charmer face-off before, but we're pretty sure this is the best one. You have got to read this.
  • Picture Singh wins, but he collapses immediately afterwards. While he's recovering, they eat some food and Saleem recognizes the chutney. Since Saleem wants to go look for this chutney factory, he leaves Picture Singh behind.
  • Saleem arrives at the pickle factory, and guess who meets him there? Padma! This is when they meet for the first time. He asks to see the manager, and she runs down to meet Saleem. Why? Because she's Mary, his old nanny. Mary and Alice run the pickle factory under new names: Ms. Braganza and Ms. Fernandes.
  • Oh! Saleem's son is saying his first words: abracadabra.
  • Saleem finally explains that the pickles are a way to preserve memories and time. It's not perfect, but it'll do. He knows that there are some weird parts, and he'd like to revise them but he doesn't have the time.
  • There's one jar left.
  • So this is how it ends. Saleem and Padma get married. She changes her name to Naseem. They go south in a taxi and there are crowds because it's Independence Day.
  • They attempt to go on foot, but they get separated. Saleem looks into the crowd, and everyone is there, even the dead people. But then he gets crushed into dust, just like his son will, and all the future Midnight's Children.