I am not sure if you are going to find an exact quotation about time. Part of the reason for this is because time is an exact quality and Saleem, though he might pretend to be otherwise, is not an exact narrator. Consider how he jumps time period between the first book and the second book, even though the very first sentence of the novel is about how he has to go back to the very beginning or "start" in order to tell the story effectively. Saleem cannot be bound by time and this is why I am not sure there is not going to be an exact quote about it. Having said that, I think an interesting notion would be to trace time as represented by the Midnight's Children. It is distinctive that Saleem argues that there were 1,001 born at the stroke of midnight ("tryst with destiny"), and by the time Saleem is nine we learn that only 581 have survived. Time can be measured in the desire to eliminate the Midnight's Children. As long as they exist, political authority, in the form of the Black Widow and Shiva, will not be able to hold full control over the people because of their inability to control the Midnight Children's special abilities. Time can be measured in the political authority's desire to eliminate this connection to the past, and over the course of the novel, as more are killed and castrated, time can be measured in these terms.