Benjamuna's Blog

Stories…. with a touch of India….

Rushdie & me… April 21, 2010

Filed under: Indian literature — benjamuna @ 6:39 pm
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Time to read Salman Rushdie. After three years with various known and unknown Indian authors, I somehow thought it was high time to read Rushdie. Or was it maybe because I was moving my Indian book collection to one designated shelf, and came across Midnight’s Children. The book tells the story about a boy who was born quote Nehru: “At the stroke of midninght hour, when the world sleeps, India will come to life and freedom.”In other words, 14 August 1947 – at midnight. I guess it was this historic touch that made me┬ákeep the book out of the book shelf, because stories centered around the Partition are always triggers my curiosity! And moreover, when it comes to India I believe in faith. I didn’t find the book, the book found me! As happened before…. (Geethia remembered…)

But – disaster struck….. I read approximately 50 pages and I didn’t understand anything. Vocabulary…. syntax….. story…. No. I read almost all books in the English language, but this was quite a nutcracker.
My bookshelves are deep though, and by chance I found a Norwegian edition. Must have been bought long time ago, a 1989 edition and the price tag says 45 kroner. Some bargain.
Again. The book came to me!

After a few pages I realised why I wasn’t able to decode the English edition. The language is not average even in Norwegian, nothing is average in this book. You have to think hard as you go. And being familiar with Indian history isn’t exactly a drawback!
Who’s voice is it now…. where are we…. what happens really now? Two stories simultaneously. It’s crazy. Witty. We are in Kashmir. Agra. Delhi (even in Chandni Chowk!!), and then Mumbai where Saleem is born. We’re in “Muslim-India”.

So far it’s a slow read. I’m not half way yet, but this might be one of those books who could last for ever!