Saleem Sinai’s large, bulbous nose is a symbol of his power as the leader of the Midnight Children’s Conference, which is comprised of all children born on the moment of India’s independence from British rule. His nose makes his power of telepathy possible, and this is how he communicates with the other children of midnight (who all have varied powers of their own). Saleem inherits his rather large, and perpetually congested, nose from his grandfather, Aadam Aziz, who also uses his nose to sniff out trouble. Saleem’s nasal powers begin after an accident in his mother’s washing-chest, in which he sniffs a rogue pajama string up his nose, resulting in a deafening sneeze and the instant arrival of the voices in his head. Saleem’s power of telepathy remains until a sinus surgery clears out his nose “goo.” After his surgery, Saleem is unable to further commune with the other children. Ironically, after Saleem’s nasal congestion is gone, he gains the ability to smell emotions, and he spends much time categorizing all the smells he frequently encounters.
Noses Quotes in Midnight’s Children
One Kashmiri morning in the early spring of 1915, my grandfather Aadam Aziz hit his nose against a frost-hardened tussock of earth while attempting to pray. Three drops of blood plopped out of his left nostril, hardened instantly in the brittle air and lay before his eyes on the prayer-mat, transformed into rubies. Lurching back until he knelt with his head once more upright, he found that the tears which had sprung to his eyes has solidified, too; and at that moment, as he brushed diamonds contemptuously from his lashes, he resolved never again to kiss earth for any god or man.
And when she was alone—two babies in her hands—two lives in her power—she did it for Joseph, her own private revolutionary act, thinking He will certainly love me for this, as she changed name-tags on the two huge infants, giving the poor baby a life of privilege and condemning the rich-born child to accordions and poverty…“Love me, Joseph!” was in Mary Pereira’s mind, and then it was done. On the ankle of a ten-chip whopper with eyes as blue as Kashmiri sky—which were also as blue as Methwold’s—and a nose as dramatic as a Kashmiri grandfather’s—which was also the nose of grandmother from France—she placed this name: Sinai.