Read: The Rumi Prescription and Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
In The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life, author and activist Melody Moezzi writes about how studying Rumi’s poetry with her father helped her forge a path towards love, gratitude and self-acceptance. Reading this, I realized 1) we could all use a little (or a lot) of Rumi in our everyday lives and 2) if we all had fathers like Melody’s, what a wonderful world this would be. It’s worth a read just to get to know him (his predictive commentary about the arrogance of humans and the power of a simple virus gave me shivers).
Deepa Anappara’s novel Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, a page-turning mystery set in a New Delhi slum, is largely told through the eyes of lively and precocious 9 year old Jai, who, along with his friends, decides to investigate why children are disappearing from the slum. In my fiction workshop last semester, I talked to my students about the challenges and potential of child narrators. To quote Laura van den Berg, “Children, and thus our young fictional narrators, can be at once oblivious to the precise complexities of adult life and hyper-aware, capable of viewing the world with both the deep wonder and extreme vigilance typical of people who are still feeling around for the rules of the spaces in which they find themselves…”
To this end, young Jai is one of the most engaging and endearing narrators I’ve read in a long time, and Anappara’s ability to capture both his voice and those of other children with such verve and authenticity is a testament to both her empathy as a writer and the time she spent reporting on disadvantaged children as a journalist. Jai’s courage, clever wit and heartbreaking insights into the astonishing wonders and myriad oppressions of his world stay with you long after the mystery is solved.