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Deepa Anappara Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Deepa Anappara
Deepa Anappara is a mystery writer and an accomplished journalist. She was born and spent her childhood in southern India. Deepa also took up a journalist role in several Indian cities, including Delhi and Mumbai. Her reporting was majorly on the impacts of religious violence and poverty on children’s education. A part of Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Anappara’s debut novel also earned her several awards, including Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line features three friends who go on tour to three of the most dangerous parts of an Indian city. These kids are on a mission to solve one of the biggest mysteries of their lives. First, there is Jai, a Hindu nine-year-old boy who lives with his mother in one of the poorest neighborhoods. There is also Pari and Faiz, two of Jai’s friends. Young Jai spends his time drooling outside market lanes or watching reality police shows. He considers himself brighter than Pari and Faiz. This is despite the fact that Pari gets better grades than him and Faiz holds an actual job. One of Jai’s classmates goes missing, and the nine-year-old decides to use the skills he had picked in crime shows to find him. He goes ahead to ask for Pari and Faiz’s help. The trio embarks on a journey in search of the lost boy.

The market lanes are crammed with dogs, `people, and rickshaws. Tin-roofed homes litter the horizon as seen from the busy market lanes. Jai lives with his family in one of these houses. From his home, Jai can trace the city’s high-rises. His young mind thinks that the fancy buildings are miles away, even though this is where his mother works as a maid. Pari and Faiz also live in the slums. For these kids, life is mostly a struggle. Talk about forced labor, limited resources for the families, and the unseen danger lurking in the shadows.

While this adventure starts as a joke, things change when other children begin to disappear. The parents in Jai’s neighborhood are terrified, the police show no concern, and there are rumors that a soul-snatching djinn is responsible for the disappearances. Where do these children disappear to? Why is it that such a sad thing continues right under the watch of law enforcement officers? How many children will be taken away before the police can take action?
This adventure takes the three amateur detectives to dangerous parts of the city, including the filthy dump within the slum, the busy marketplace, and the train station. These brave children interview everyone from the families to friends of those kids who have been reported missing. Every time they launch a search, they come back home empty-handed. At some point, Jai and Faiz begin to think that an evil jinni took Bahadur and all the other lost kids. The more thoughtful Pari is quick to discredit this sort of thinking.

As the investigations are happening, more children continue to disappear, and their parents cannot help but get concerned about their safety. First, it was Bahadur. Omyir, Bahadur’s friend, also goes missing. Sixteen-year-old Aanchal is next in line. In Omyir’s s case, the police insist that the boy ran away and there is no need to go searching for him. For Aachal, the police document her as a brothel worker who chose to run away with an older lover. Obviously, the law enforcement agents do not care that the young girl was employed and making an honest living as a beautician. The disappearance of yet another child, this time a four-year-old girl, sends the neighborhood into a frenzy.

The steak of bad luck will continue until Jai loses his older sister. How does Jai react now that the devastating has knocked on his family’s doorstep? Will these young kids manage to nub the notorious children thief? What happens to this neighborhood and the families that lose their loved ones? How about the children who are taken from their families? Get answers to these and more questions in this intriguing book.

There are many issues explored in this story. One of them is the prejudice by the Hindus to the Muslims. There is a common belief among the Hindus that the Muslims are responsible for the lost children. Even though some Muslim children are also taken, the Hindu still blame them for these crimes. The issue of police corruption is well covered here as well as the role of women in society. It is heartbreaking that these children never get to enjoy their childhood. Jai’s friend Faiz has to work for his parents, which translates to many days out of school. Gender roles are taught at a young age, and men automatically take up leadership roles. For example, Pari is given a subordinate role because she is a girl. This is even though Jai and Faiz know that she is the smartest among them.

This is a heartbreaking read. The author draws the reader’s attention to the realities of most children in the Indian slums. An enormous number of children go missing, and the indifference in society is unbelievable. The stark difference between the rich and poor is evident, as well as the corruption, exploitation, and religious divisions present in these societies. It is not all gloom as the author also highlights the vibrancy of slum life. Despite the numerous challenges, the people here are hardworking folks who go about their business just like their wealthy neighbors. The author also includes a good dose of the superstitions and folklore that are rife in these communities.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a perfect read if you are looking to learn more about India. The book offers an up-close picture of India’s crime, poverty, and corruption through a nine-year-old boy’s eye. One of the book’s strengths is the vivid setting in the Indian slum. The author uses a light-hearted tone to draw the reader to the fact that close to two hundred children disappear from the Indian slums every day.

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