Salman Rushdie is always in the centre of controversies. This novel started off enchantingly enough, taking the reader into the town alleys of Akbar’s Sikri, down twisting and turning by-lanes of night-time passions, jewels, and a very Arabian Nights night. The ‘traveller’ who arrives here, claiming to be Akbar’s lost Uncle, from a family tree whose branches have been severed, was enchanting too.
But somewhere, the Enchantress did not hold on to my imagination for long. And I admit, I’d guessed the ending, it wasn’t difficult at all! So, when I reached that somewhere, I completely lost the desire to read further… I had to drag myself through the rest of the book. Maybe, I had expected another raging controversy. Maybe I can’t do Indian authors. Or just perhaps, the east-meets-west is not a fetching topic any more. But the Sikri bit of the novel had tremendous potential. And Jodha, well, I don’t believe she was as enigmatic as made out to be.
Quote: “I’m a man with a secret, that’s what — a secret which only the emperor’s ears may hear.” The driver felt reassured: the fellow was a fool after all. There was no need to treat him with respect. “Keep your secret,” he said. “Secrets are for children, and spies.” The stranger got down from the cart outside the caravanserai, where all journeys ended and began. He was surprisingly tall and carried a carpetbag. “And for sorcerers,” he told the driver of the bullock-cart. “And for lovers too. And kings.”