If my memory serves me right, I first saw Salman Rushdie standing next to his ex-wife Padma Lakshmi in a photo that was published in a magazine. Padma Lakshmi looked otherworldly beautiful in a knee-length dress and along with her was a middle-aged man with a rotund belly and a receding hairline. He had his hand comfortably gripping the dainty waistline of this model with a sheepish smile on his face. My reaction to the photograph was that of any teenager: how on earth?
Many years later while studying in England, I found his book Midnight’s Children, a powerful saga of postcolonial India through the eyes of a boy, Saleem, who is born at the time of India’s independence. Rushdie’s language and the use of incredibly imaginative prose lay the development of the generational shift that took place in independent India for the large audience outside of it. In a sense, Midnight’s Children is a story of a young, modern country that is licking its wounds while it wades ahead into a future of possibilities (though not bereft of violence).