June, 2022 - Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line - Deepa Anaparra

Book Group 1 had a zoom meeting to discuss the author’s debut and widely praised book on June 30th 2022.


Deepa Anaparra has worked in Mumbai and Delhi as a journalist and has mainly covered the poor neighbourhoods where people live in constant fear of bulldozers destroying their tin roofed shacks and corrupt police officers and the fact that approximately 180 children go missing each day.


The story is told by a 9-year-old boy named Jai who lives in a big city Indian slum (basti). One day his classmate Bahadur goes missing and once he realises that the police have no interest at all to investigate, Jai decides to take the knowledge from his favourite detective tv series to search for the boy together with his friends Pari and Faiz.

The three kids go around the dangerous bazar and other dark parts of town to interview possible suspects and Jai even goes so far as taking some hard-earned money from his mother’s savings to buy tickets for the purple train line as rumour had it that Bahadur wanted to get out of the smoggy town.


During these trips Jai and his friends encounter homeless children who live on the streets or at rubbish dumps and listen to djinn stories as the disappearance of kids could also be the fault of ill-tempered djinns.



As the book is written from a 9-year-old’s perspective it gives the reader a unique and almost innocent view of the basti and its residents. Due to the often hopeless situation they have to cope with, few desperately try to escape, like Jai’s sister Runu Didi who wants to use her athletic skills to get out. The enormous hardship is very well felt during the read.


The book is gripping and many of us found it an interesting albeit sad subject and would absolutely recommend it.


Pamela de Lange Storck