Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children

by

Salman Rushdie

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Aadam Aziz and Reverend Mother’s daughter, Nadir Khan and Ahmed Sinai’s wife, and Saleem Sinai’s mother. Mumtaz, an Indian of a darker complexion, is described as “a blackie,” whose skin tone makes it difficult for her mother to love her. She meets and falls in love with Nadir Khan, an impotent poet, whom she is forced to divorce in the name of motherhood. Mumtaz then marries Ahmed Sinai, her sister Alia’s supposed suitor, who forces Mumtaz to change her name to Amina. Amina and Ahmed go on to have two children, the Brass Monkey and Saleem, but she is never able to love Ahmed in the same way that she loves Nadir. As Ahmed’s wife, Amina continues to secretly see Nadir until Homi Catrack is murdered by a jealous husband for having an affair with his wife. Effectively warned of the potential consequences of infidelity, Amina refuses to see Nadir again, growing “prematurely old” before she is later killed in an air-raid during the Indo-Pakistani War.

Mumtaz Aziz / Amina Sinai Quotes in Midnight’s Children

The Midnight’s Children quotes below are all either spoken by Mumtaz Aziz / Amina Sinai or refer to Mumtaz Aziz / Amina Sinai. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Midnight’s Children published in 1980.
Book 1: Under the Carpet Quotes

“Change your name,” Ahmed Sinai said. “Time for a fresh start. Throw Mumtaz and her Nadir Khan out of the window, I’ll choose you a new name. Amina. Amina Sinai: you’d like that?”

Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 2: How Saleem Achieved Purity Quotes

What my aunt Alia took pleasure in: cooking. What she had, during the lonely madness of the years, raised to the level of an art-form: the impregnation of food with emotions. To whom she remained second in her achievements in this field: my old ayah, Mary Pereira. By whom, today, both old cooks have been outdone: Saleem Sinai, pickler-in-chief at the Braganza pickle works…nevertheless, while we lived in her Guru Mandir mansion, she fed us the birianis of dissension and the nargisi koftas of discord; and little by little, even the harmonies of my parents’ autumnal love went out of tune.

Related Symbols: Pickles
Page Number: 378
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 3: A Wedding Quotes

Parvati’s formal conversion to Islam (which irritated Picture Singh, but on which I found myself insisting, in another throwback to an earlier life) was performed by a red-bearded Haji who looked ill-at-ease in the presence of so many teasing, provocative members of the ungodly; under the shifting gaze of this fellow who resembled a large and bearded onion she intoned her belief there was no God but God and that Muhammed was his prophet; she took a name which I chose for her out of the repository of my dreams, becoming Laylah, so that she too was caught up in the repetitive cycles of my history, becoming an echo of all the other people who have been obliged to change their names…like my own mother Amina Sinai, Parvati-the-witch became a new person to have a child.

Page Number: 477
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mumtaz Aziz / Amina Sinai Character Timeline in Midnight’s Children

The timeline below shows where the character Mumtaz Aziz / Amina Sinai appears in Midnight’s Children. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: Under the Carpet
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...Mother immediately objects to Nadir’s presence in their home. Thinking of their three daughters, Alia, Mumtaz, and Emerald—collectively known in town as the “three bright lights”—she forbids Aadam to hide Nadir... (full context)
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Mumtaz, Aadam’s favorite daughter, takes to silently caring for Nadir in the basement, and while they... (full context)
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...and sacred law) provided by Rani arrive in Aadam’s living room. In a secret ceremony, Mumtaz and Nadir are married. The basement is converted into a comfortable living space—a makeshift palace... (full context)
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Mumtaz begins a “double life.” She continues to attend university during the day, pretending to be... (full context)
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...died, turning so pale and white that she could not be seen in her sheets. Mumtaz too falls ill, and Nadir fears that she may have pneumonia. Worried, Aadam gives Mumtaz... (full context)
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As Mumtaz defends Nadir, insisting that a good marriage does not depend on sex, Reverend Mother unleashes... (full context)
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...finds the basement empty, and the only trace of Nadir is a letter left for Mumtaz, which reads, “Talaaq! Talaaq! Talaaq!”—translation: I divorce thee. I divorce thee. I divorce thee. Zulfikar... (full context)
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...Emerald are married, and at the wedding, Ahmed falls in love with a very depressed Mumtaz, much to Alia’s dismay. Ahmed and Mumtaz are married by June, and Ahmed changes Mumtaz’s... (full context)
Book 1: A Public Announcement
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Saleem continues his story with Amina, who having moved to Delhi with Ahmed, wakes for the first time in a new... (full context)
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Amina diligently tends to her new home, decorating and settling in, but she fails to love... (full context)
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As Amina silently picks him apart, Ahmed slowly begins to resemble Nadir—he gains weight and his hair... (full context)
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Later, Amina is irritated as she cooks for Ahmed. His distant cousin Zohar is visiting, and Amina,... (full context)
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...fanatical anti-Muslim movement, is active in Delhi, which is home to a large Muslim population—including Amina and Ahmed. They hang signs near mosques demanding, “NO PARTITION OR ELSE PERDITION! MUSLIMS ARE... (full context)
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 Outside Amina’s home, Lafifa Das, a young Hindu boy, pushes his peepshow cart through the Muslim neighborhood,... (full context)
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Amina chases off the mob, yelling out that she is pregnant and if they wish to... (full context)
Book 1: Many-headed Monsters
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...days following the burning of the Muslim bicycle warehouse, Ahmed uncharacteristically stays at home, and Amina is unable to take Lafifa Das up on his fortune-telling offer, which she wishes to... (full context)
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Unbeknownst to each other, both Ahmed and Amina take separate taxis to Old Fort—an ancient part of the city of Delhi which is... (full context)
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...at the very top corner of a tenement building with his cousins, and he leads Amina to the top of a dark stairwell to meet Shri Ramram Seth, a Hindu palmist.... (full context)
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Amina returns home from Old Fort and decides to keep her son’s fortune a secret from... (full context)
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Amina is unhappy at the prospect of moving to Bombay, but Ahmed collects his insurance money... (full context)
Book 1: Methwold
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Despite Amina’s objections, Ahmed decides to purchase one of Methwold’s mansions (Versailles Villa and Sans Souci have... (full context)
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Ahmed and Amina move into Buckingham Villa (Escorial Villa has been turned into flats). The future owners of... (full context)
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Amina reads an article in the Times of India which announces a prize to any Bombay... (full context)
Book 1: Tick, Tock
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Amina, terribly pregnant and miserable, takes a fitful nap. As she dreams, Ahmed visits with Methwold... (full context)
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...and Mahatma Gandhi takes a “long pacifying walk.” With twelve hours to go before independence, Amina wakes from a nightmare, and at eight hours, William Methwold arrives at his estate for... (full context)
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...he has “come to await the coming of the One,” and at that exact moment, Amina yells out in pain. (full context)
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Ahmed rushes Amina to Dr. Narlikar’s hospital, where Vanita continues to strain with the assistance of Mary Pereira.... (full context)
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At twenty-nine minutes to midnight, Amina’s labor picks up and Vanita’s drags on. Meanwhile, the Bombay police are hunting through crowds... (full context)
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...the two midnight babies, Vanita having finally given birth at the exact same time as Amina. Heartbroken and thinking about Joseph, in “her own private revolutionary act,” Mary swaps the nametags... (full context)
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...atone for her sinful secret, Mary quits Dr. Narlikar’s hospital and offers her services to Amina as an ayah, which Amina accepts. The Times of India interviews Amina and takes photographs... (full context)
Book 2: The Fisherman’s Pointing Finger
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Amina and Ahmed bring baby Saleem home from the hospital, including his umbilical cord in an... (full context)
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Amina and Mary fuss over baby Saleem and love him fiercely. They are secretly competitive of... (full context)
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...“self-important man,” never forgives Saleem for breaking his toe, and he resents the attention that Amina gives the baby (she no longer sweet talks him for money, and the napkin in... (full context)
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...flirting with them until they are forced to quit. Unable to pronounce their Western names, Amina refers to Ahmed’s secretaries as “Coca-Cola girls,” and considers them “cheap type females.” (full context)
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...“shoved his balls in an ice-bucket,” and soon after he conceives his second child with Amina, he is struck impotent, his “little cubes of ice too frigid to hold.” (full context)
Book 2: Snakes and Ladders
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...floor of Buckingham Villa. Ahmed’s frozen assets make living difficult, and to help ends meet, Amina allows him to move into the house. (full context)
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With Ahmed sinking further into alcoholism and depression, Amina writes her parents for advice and three days later, Aadam and Reverend Mother arrive in... (full context)
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Reverend Mother takes over Amina’s kitchen and begins cooking all the meals. Ahmed makes slight improvements eating Reverend Mother’s cooking... (full context)
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...despite waiving his own fee, still requires money to fight Ahmed’s case in court, and Amina, now pregnant with her second child, secretly frequents a local horse-racing track to earn money.... (full context)
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...good against evil.” This metaphor, he claims, is present in his mother’s own story. Despite Amina’s victory at the racetrack, snakes are still waiting to strike. (full context)
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Not all of Amina’s siblings immigrate to Pakistan, and her brother, Hanif, soon moves to Bombay with dreams of... (full context)
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As Ahmed and Amina accompany Hanif and Pia to the theater to see The Lovers of Kashmir, the theater... (full context)
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...proven not to be a Muslim and it is again safe to leave the house, Amina secretly returns to the racetrack. She continues to gamble until her pregnant belly no longer... (full context)
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...about to cost him his job, and he didn’t want to be put out empty-handed. Amina refuses to press charges, but old Musa leaves Buckingham Villa anyway, and as he goes,... (full context)
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...a strange figure running around the broken clock tower near Methwold’s Estate. Frightened, Mary and Amina call the police. An inspector arrives and shoots at the dark figure, who ends up... (full context)
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About the time Amina goes into labor for the second time, Saleem falls ill with typhoid. Aadam treats his... (full context)
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In the commotion of Saleem’s illness, Amina gives birth to a daughter, who comes to be known as the Brass Monkey on... (full context)
Book 2: Accident in a Washing-chest
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Amina, who refuses to hit her unruly child, sentences her to days of silence—a form of... (full context)
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Amina begins to grow prematurely old, Saleem notes, “like all the women in our family,” and... (full context)
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During that same summer, the Sinais’ telephone rings most days in the afternoon. Amina, with aching feet, limps to the phone, and each time, after a silence that is... (full context)
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One day, when Amina is out visiting Nussie, the phone rings and Monkey races to answer. On the other... (full context)
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...in the dirty laundry, the phone begins to ring. After the usual “sorry, wrong number,” Amina enters the bathroom. Frozen in the washing-chest and fearing discovery, a rogue pajama-cord begins to... (full context)
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Amina begins to cry and, repeating the name “Nadir” over and over again, starts to sensually... (full context)
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Amina punishes Saleem with a day of silence and, alone in his room, he is bombarded... (full context)
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Later that night, alone with her thoughts, Amina thinks of Ramram Seth and his prophesy. “Washing will hide him…voices will guide him.” In... (full context)
Book 2: All-India Radio
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...and he quickly becomes the favorite child again. The Brass Monkey soon sets fire to Amina’s slippers, and all is right again in the Sinais’ home. No one mentions the voices... (full context)
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...presents, and through entering Ahmed’s thoughts, he sees the latest Coca-Cola girl naked. He enters Amina’s thoughts, filled with household tasks and pieces of her husband, and she keeps repeating the... (full context)
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Unable to return to the solitude of Amina’s washing-chest and looking to escape the thoughts of his family, Saleem begins hiding in the... (full context)
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...iceberg, like the one they found in Russia in ’56.” Having married him for children, Amina feels her womb begin to rot, and she takes to cooking her own disappointment into... (full context)
Book 2: My Tenth Birthday
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...and selling long and short, and “in a streak of good fortune comparable only to Amina’s success on the horses,” he manages to turn things around. (full context)
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...increasingly upset when the dog fails to drop dead or break into boils. He orders Amina to drive him and the entire family (including Sherri) to Hornby Vellard, the causeway connecting... (full context)
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On the day of Saleem’s tenth birthday, Amina throws him a party; however, none of the children of Methwold’s Estate show up—except for... (full context)
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...the party by loudly yelling, “Elections coming! Watch out for the communists!” Saleem notices that Amina blushes after Hanif’s comment, and she has been mysteriously disappearing lately, supposedly going on “shopping... (full context)
Book 2: At the Pioneer Café
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Meanwhile, Saleem continues to suspect Amina of keeping secrets and makes a plan to stow away in the trunk of her... (full context)
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It is not long before Amina must go on another shopping trip (which, Saleem notes, always occur after a wrong number... (full context)
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Amina sits down at a table across from her first husband, Nadir Khan. Nadir has since... (full context)
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...trunk and vows never to stow away in his mother’s trunk again. Instead, he follows Amina by entering her thoughts. There, he witnesses additional meetings with Qasim in which his mother,... (full context)
Book 2: Alpha and Omega
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Amina and Ahmed learn that Saleem’s blood does not match their own. Type A and O... (full context)
Book 2: The Kolynos Kid
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Amina soon arrives to bring Saleem back to Buckingham Villa, and she offers no explanation as... (full context)
Book 2: Commander Sabarmati’s Baton
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Meanwhile, Saleem finds that he is no longer his parents’ favorite child. Both Ahmed and Amina plainly favor the Brass Monkey, and she, unsuccessfully, “does her best to fall from grace,”... (full context)
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...after Commander Sabarmati’s trial, the Sinai’s telephone began, as usual, to ring in the afternoon. Amina, limping her way to the phone, answers it and responds, “No, nobody by that name... (full context)
Book 2: Revelations
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...Estate, and a massive cloud of dust settles over Buckingham Villa. Pia calls and informs Amina that Hanif, distraught over losing his income with Homi Catrack’s death, has committed suicide by... (full context)
Book 2: Movements Performed by Pepperpots
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...Mary, or even Saleem, for the midnight switch. Instead, he focuses his considerable rage onto Amina, berating and abusing her until Reverend Mother intervenes. Telling her daughter that there is “no... (full context)
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Later that same day, Amina, Saleem, and the Brass Monkey begin to travel back to Pakistan with Emerald and Zulfikar.... (full context)
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Amina tries to rebuild her relationship with her son (who really isn’t her son), but her... (full context)
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Amina stays in Pakistan for four years with Saleem and the Brass Monkey, who begins to... (full context)
Book 2: Drainage and the Desert
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...Minister decides to use all necessary force against the Chinese army on the Himalayan frontier, Amina Sinai receives a telegram from Alice Pereira. She tells Amina to return to Bombay at... (full context)
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Back in Bombay, Amina takes to nursing Ahmed back to health. She pours all of her energy into his... (full context)
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...and India builds, and Indians of Chinese descent endure racism and government internment, Ahmed and Amina finally enjoy a decent marriage. Ahmed has also begun to show Saleem affection again, and... (full context)
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...declares a ceasefire, content with gaining control of the Himalayas. The next day, Ahmed and Amina pack a picnic and head toward the beach with Saleem and Jamila Singer; however, they... (full context)
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When Saleem wakes from his surgery, his sinuses are clear but his telepathy is gone. Amina finally convinces Ahmed to move to Pakistan, and after finally selling Buckingham Villa to Narlikar’s... (full context)
Book 2: Jamila Singer
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...smells Alia’s hypocrisy and jealousy, despite her outward pleasantness. Alia has never forgiven Ahmed or Amina for their deception, and she is unable to hide her true feelings from Saleem, who... (full context)
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Ahmed and Amina continue to finally enjoy a good marriage. Ahmed’s loins have begun to thaw, and the... (full context)
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...and during his regular visits, he encourages Saleem to marry one of his seven daughters. Amina is quick to change the subject and is not fond of the idea of her... (full context)
Book 2: How Saleem Achieved Purity
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Soon, Alia begins to work her revenge on Ahmed and Amina. She begins, like Mary Pereira and Reverend Mother, to stir her emotions into her cooking,... (full context)
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In January of 1965, Amina discovers that she is again pregnant, and she begins to rapidly age. As she worries... (full context)
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...seven daughters. Another bomb falls on the home Alia, killing Saleem’s entire family, including Ahmed, Amina, and their unborn child. The final bomb in Karachi falls on and destroys Ahmed’s newly... (full context)
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As Saleem runs around the blast-zone chaos, knocked back by the power of the explosion, Amina’s old spittoon, her wedding gift from Rani, comes flying out of the fiery debris, striking... (full context)