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The book is narrated by Saleem Sinai who is the main character. Saleem was born on midnight August 15th the year Nineteen fifty Seven, at the exact moment that India gained its independence along with other about one thousand and one children who each have magical powers. Now that he is nearing his thirty first birth day Saleem believes that his body is beginning to crack and fall apart and that he will die as he turns thirty one years. He therefore grows anxious to tell his life story. His wife Padma serves as his patient yet doubtful audience. In the book "Midnights children" disappointed love brings about pain, misery, immoral and destructive behavior.
The very first instance of disappointed love is seen in the case of Salem's grandfather Aadam Aziz who is asked by one old man, Ghani to come and heal his ailing daughter. When Aadam is taken in to see the patient and he finds two women holding a white bed sheet over her like a curtain. In the center of the sheet is a hole, seven inches in diameter. He is told that he can only look at Naseem through the seven-inch hole when curing her. As he continued to heal her the isolated parts of Naseem's body that he could see began haunting him which led to Aadam falling in love with his future wife through a hole in a sheet and not by knowing her behavior and mannerisms better. When he finally sees her face he falls in love with her more and asks her to marry him. Later on in their marriage they discover that they have different interests and as a result their love turns out to be a disappointment and brings pain and destructive behavior as seen in Naseem's actions of refusing to give her husband food to the point that he almost died and also when she refused to talk to him for three years for allowing Nadir Khan to stay in their basement.
Another case is that of Nadir Khan, formally an activist who was hidden in Aadam's basement. Aadam's favorite daughter and the darkest-skinned of all of the children Mumtaz tended to him. Due to this, the two fall in love without ever exchanging a word. Later on Nadir Khan asks Aadam for her hand in marriage and the family arranges for a secret marriage between the two. At first the marriage is seen as a happy one for Mumtaz happily moves to the basement but always returns to the upper floor by day to protect her husband's concealment. But this is not the case later on when one day Mumtaz becomes sick and while giving her a check up Aadam discovers that she is still a virgin after two years of marriage. When this fact gets known Mumtaz's sister Emerald runs out of the house and tells her suitor Major Zulfikar of Nadir Khan's whereabouts leading to Nadir Khan fleeing and leaves a note for Mumtaz that read I divorce you. This case of disappointed love negatively affected the lives of both Nadir Khan and Mumtaz. In the case of Nadir Khan, he felt that he had been betrayed by his sister in law Emerald thereby causing him great pain and anger at losing his true love. On the other hand Mumtaz never got over her first husband which affected her second marriage.
Later on Mumtaz had a conversation with Ahmed Sinai who was courting her older sister Alia and they eventually got married and Mumtaz changes her name to Amina Sinai. Even though she was still in love with her first husband Nadir Khan she trains herself to fall in love with Ahmed Sinai by focusing on one part of his body or personality at a time. This led her to slowly transform her new house into the basement she stayed with Nadir Khan and made Ahmed to resemble Nadir Khan as he gained weight and lost his hair. In the long run Ahmed and Amina's love turned out to be a lie as each one of them tried to change each other's lifestyle and personality to be one that is likeable to him or her without their knowledge. Amina is still obsessed with Nadir Khan and they demonstrate immoral behavior by flirting when they meet later on. Ahmed later on accuses Amina of unfaithfulness when they find out that Saleem is not their biological son which makes him turn to destructive behaviors of alcoholism and immorality by sleeping with his secretaries. Alia who was in love with Ahmed Sinai remains bitter with Amina for taking away Ahmed with whom she was in love with as a results she poisons the food later on when they all stay together. The disappointed love she experienced brings bitterness and destructive behavior.
Another case is that of Mary Pereira who was a mid wife and had a relationship with an older orderly named Joseph D' Costa. Because their love did not work out and yet she still had strong feelings for him, She switched the nametags of the two newborn babies at midnight giving Saleem to Ahmed and Amina and Shiva to Willie Winkie and Vanita. Her actions later destroyed the relationship between Ahmed and Amina when they discovered the child they had raised was not theirs turning Ahmed to be alcoholic. Mary Pereira indirectly participated in her former lover's death when she sees him like a figure floating across the rooftops. When the police are called in a sting operation they shoot and kill the shadowy figure which is later identified as Joseph D Costa. The ghost of her former lover continues to haunt her until she was forced to confess to having switched Saleem and Shiva during their birth.
In a further case, Saleem falls in love with an American girl, Evelyn Lillith Burns who arrived at methwold' Estate on New Years day 1957. However Evelyn has no feelings towards Saleem but loves his best friend Sonny Ibrahim. Sonny on the other hand is in love with Saleem's sister Brass monkey. Saleem describes Evelyn as a tough girl who impresses and conquers the children of methwold estate on her first day by riding her bicycle while doing a headstand. Saleem asks Sonny to speak to Evelyn on his behalf and to impress her he tried to learn how to ride a bike. However on his first attempt, he crashed head first into Sonny hurting both of them in the process. As Saleem continues to impress Evelyn he develops very deep thoughts that Evelyn can feel him there and she pushes him away into a parade to get rid of him. The angry and mocking crowd then confronts him and he recites a rhyme in Gujarati to pacify the crowd. The crowd cools down and moves on while reciting his offensive rhyme until they run in a parade of pro-Gujarati marchers leading to a fight and people were murdered and in the end the state of Bombay was partitioned. This is a clear case where disappointed love led to destructiveness of property and death of many people.
Saleem's parents loved him too much because of what he represented to his country and they put a lot of expectations on him. However after the incident where he lost part of his finger they discover he is not their son and they are disappointed. All the love they had for him is transferred to their young daughter brass monkey even sending Saleem to stay with his uncle and aunt. This incident frustrates Ahmed to the extent that he becomes an alcoholic and mistrusts his wife.
In another instance, Saleem's uncle Hanif and aunt Pia's who were in love started experiencing conflicts due to their childless marriage. When Pia's career as an actress started fading she blamed her husband saying that he only wrote realist film scripts which could never get made in the film industry. The love they shared later fades away and we see Pia launching into a tirade against her husband. The mounting stress between the couple led Hanif to commit suicide leaving Pia a widow. When the love they shared faded away the disappointment it brought led pain, misery and destructive behavior.
Further on Saleem plots revenge against Homi Catrack whom he blames for the death of his uncle Hanif. He uses the illicit affair between Homi Catrack and Lila Sabarmati who is Commander Sabarmati's wife to achieve this. He assembles clip-out letters from newspapers spelling out "Commander Sabarmati why does your wife go to Colaba causeway on Sunday morning?" which he hides in the commander's clothes. Commander Sabarmati hires detectives to follow his wife and when he is notified of the findings he goes in search of Homi Catrack and Lila and shoots them, killing Homi Catrack in the process and seriously injuring his wife. Saleem's love for his uncle led to him taking revenge that caused the death of Homi Catrack and the wounding of Lila who was later forced to relinquish custody of their children. Commander Sabarmati on the other hand became a national hero before his acquittal was overruled by a judge and he was convicted and sentenced. Commander Sabarmati's disappointed love for his wife led to destructive behavior, pain and misery.
Another case of disappointed love is seen in the case of Saleem who falls in love with his sister Jamila singer. He demonstrates his love by bringing her fresh leavened bread that she really liked from a secret Catholic nunnery. His love led to him using a love portion on her which works briefly but later, Jamila becomes frightened and horror stricken. However Saleem realizes that even though they are not related in blood they are still brother and sister and cannot be in love. Jamila on the other hands, masked in purity, remains unable to accept this relationship. She punishes Saleem by sending him to the army where his life will be at risk. a The love that Saleem shows to Jamila destroys the close relationship they once shared and brings misery and pain to both of them as Jamila disappears later on .
Another case is that of Parvati the witch who is in love with Saleem and using her fantastic magical powers she casts a spell to grow his hair back, erases the birthmarks on his face and straighten his bandy leg. However every time they try to sleep together Saleem sees Parvati's face transforming into a grotesque version of his sister's. Parvati gives up and develops a permanent pout on her lips. Picture Singh suggests to Saleem to marry her but he claims to be impotent to avoid marrying her. Later on he actually becomes impotent. The disappointed love between Saleem and Parvati led to Saleem bringing a curse of impotence on himself while Parvati later in desperation tried to use her charms to entice Shiva to love her.
In a further development, Parvati casts a spell on Shiva who comes to the ghetto and takes her with him. However there happiness ends when Parvati informs Shiva she is pregnant. There relationship becomes violent and Shiva begins sleeping with prostitutes siring a line of poor illegimate children matching his earlier line if rich ones. On the other hand Parvati returned to the ghetto she was shunned by the residence until Saleem came to her rescue and married her. The disappointed love she had with Shiva gave her what she desired most which was to get married to Saleem. In Shiva's case he became immoral and developed a destructive behavior.
Lastly, in Saleem's own case with Padma. Saleem agreed to get married to Padma believing that her muscles and streghth will be able to reverse the cracks and looming death he faces. Even though she is a loving and patient companion she is also potrayed as a skeptical audience. Saleem tells us that even though his wife Padma cooks and forces him to eat she is also uneducated and throghout his narration interrupts him and asks him to recount the parts she doesn't understand. Padma is dissatisfied with the fact that her patner is impotent and in an attempt to cure him she puts herbs in his food that leaves him feverish and ill for over a week. There marriage is full of dissapointments as each of their expectations are not fullfilled.
Salman Rushdie manages to show in his book the midnight children that disappointed love can bring about pain misery immorality and destructive behavior to many individuals in normal life. He has clearly demonstrated this in nearly all the characters on the book based on their various relationships and way of life. The extent of destructiveness sometimes has even caused the loss of many lives.