While I'm waiting for the reviews of the books mentioned in the last post to be published so I can post them here, here's a little diversion from this blog's stated theme that appeared in today's Mumbai edition of The Hindustan Times.
An association of people who were not born at midnight today issued a statement deploring the British Queen’s decision to confer a knighthood upon author Salman Rushdie.
“Rushdie has discriminated against all of us,” said the President of the association. “His novel Midnight’s Children is a deliberate and wilful act of provocation that has hurt the feelings of those who were born at other times of the day.”
All copies of Rushdie’s novel, the statement said, ought to be pulped and the remains mixed with glue to create papier-mâché toys for the children of the association’s members. This, said the statement, will help soothe sentiments.
“Rushdie himself was not born at midnight,” said one of the members at a press conference called to announce the protest. “He is full of self-hate and has crossed over to the other side to belittle all of us. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the only reason he wrote the novel was to poke fun at people born during the day”. Cutting a large chocolate cake, he went on, “I myself was born at 4.15 p.m. and as a matter of fact today is my birthday, so all of you can leave your presents in the large box beside the exit”.
The association plans to carry their protest to the streets soon, with a 24-hour sit-in in front of the Rajabai Clock Tower in Mumbai. “After all, what is midnight?” said another member. “We do not work at midnight. The economy does not grow. It is daytime that is more important. By honouring Rushdie, the Queen has insulted the more productive hours of the day.”
It is learnt that the London chapter of the association plans to march to the observatory at Greenwich to carry out a similar protest. There, they will also issue a proclamation calling for the dropping of the letter ‘w’ from the spelling of Greenwich, thus making is easier to pronounce for everyone. “We are nothing if not democratic,” said the leader of the London chapter.
The official astrologer of the association has selected 9.15 a.m. as the most propitious hour to begin the rally. “This is only the first step,” he said, consulting his almanac. “Next, we will call for a total ban upon the midnight hour as well. It should cease to exist. This will also solve the traffic problem, as everyone can get to work an hour earlier.”
There is no official reaction yet from the knighted author or the Queen, although unconfirmed reports suggest that the Lady Rushdie has indefinitely postponed the shooting of her new TV series, Midnight’s Snacks.