Midnight’s Children

Salman Rushdie weaves this allegorical fantasy of the life of the children born around the hour of Indian freedom, who are somehow endowed with special powers to sense the events around them. Narrated through Salim, the one born exactly at the midnight hour and hence has the maximum power, it traces the history of India and Pakistan and their forever troubled relations over Kashmir. He believes that he represents every individual of India and whatever happens affects him and also the things happen because of him and the other midnight children. For example, the India Pakistan war of 1965 was fought indirectly only to eliminate his family because of his special power disturbs Indira Gandhi.

This book became a Booker winning classic and a perennial top seller not only for the story but mainly for the way it is told. The events of Indian history since independence are told not factually but as it makes sense and coherence in the life of the midnight children. It’s a story to be devoured by connoisseurs of exotic story telling for its unparalleled style and narrative mystery.

The Enchantress Of Florence

Salman’ s most researched book, which took years and years of reading, is his best for those who do not consider Midnight’s Children for the top honour. This book unravels a mystery of mysteries or a mystery inside a mystery inside a mystery. A young European man wants to meet Akbar and claims to be his own uncle. Piqued by shock, surprise and curiosity, the entire court suspects him to be an assassin or a spy and puts him on the watch. Now comes the saga of perfume saloons where they apply eight layers of perfume for someone to meet the emperor, one for impressing the public on the way, one for the security, one for the minister, one for the emperor himself and so on.

Imagine the height of perfume technology five centuries ago when today’s world is not even aware of the power of perfumes to persuade and impress, from the ordinary public to the emperor. While tracing the mystery behind the youth, the story weaves back and forth between continents breathtakingly unraveling even more minor and major mysteries.

History does exist up to the point that Babur indeed had a sister who likely had eloped with a military chief from Florence and lost touch with Babur. Beyond that it dreams around in a magical world with incredibility as the hallmark. The ancient concept of using a person’s body as a memory storage, like our USB stick, is described in captivating and implementable detail. This is Salman’s easy to read masterpiece, even if you have to pick just one from his formidable bouquet on offer.