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As Saleem and Shaheed return to Dacca, they once again witness the Pakistani army’s atrocities. Saleem enters a deserted house that once belonged to a notary, while Shaheed stands outside watching the soldiers. Shaheed looks up just in time to see a grenade heading toward him. It explodes at his midsection, splitting him in half. Shaheed points to a nearby mosque and asks Saleem to bring him to the top of it. Once there, a trail of ants follows Shaheed’s blood and begins to devour him. The mosque’s loudspeaker picks up his screams, echoing them throughout the city.
As the Indian army advances into the defeated city, a troop of magicians precedes them. A snake charmer by the name of Picture Singh travels with the troops, along with Parvati-the-witch, one of the former midnight’s children. Parvati sees Saleem and shouts out his name, restoring his lost identity to him and reuniting him with an old, lost friend. At the same time, Sam and Tiger reminisce about their old days in the British Army, and Tiger denies rumors of war crimes. Parvati offers to help Saleem escape from Pakistan by magically transporting him in her basket. Saleem disappears into the basket, and while inside he discovers a rage within him, an anger at all he has seen and had done to him, everything that he has “blindly accepted.”
Saleem says that the Widow has now drained the anger out of him, but at that time, his anger was responsible for restoring his ability to feel.
Twenty-six pickle-jars sit on a shelf, corresponding to the twenty-six chapters of the novel thus far. Padma suggests, hopefully, taking a Kashmiri vacation with Saleem.
By the time Saleem arrives in India and stumbles out of the basket, Indira Gandhi’s New Congress Party holds a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. Saleem becomes determined to save the country. At the magician’s ghetto, which lies in the shadow of a mosque, an old woman named Resham Bibi tells Saleem to leave before he destroys everything. However, Picture Singh, as the head of the magician’s ghetto, declares Saleem his personal guest.
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