It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.
-A Tale of Two Cities (Damascus and Aleppo)
War is destruction. War is rubble. War is loss. Can hope spring in desolation? How do you hold onto sanity, when you see everything you hold onto as dear, crumbling around?
Yet, somehow you cope, clutching at mere straws. Coping mechanism could be anything. The seemingly nondescript protagonist of Doodler of Dimashq, Ameena, uses doodling, an art form that comes naturally to her, to express her grief and the dance of death around her. As she ages, she develops her brave-beyond-years persona. Ameena, then introduces the same coping mechanism to the worst hit of the senseless Syrian War – the children.
Will she find her destiny? Will she make the journey to safety? Will she finally have it all?
Her journey through life as a child bride, who acquiesces to the trysts of fate and as a stoic young woman bearing the loss, forms the crux of this utterly compelling story.
Kirthi Jayakumar, the author, wears many hats, with equal felicity and dexterity. She coaxes the words to singe you, cringe you and choke you. All the same, these very words make you ponder, smile a bit and thank the lords above, as you count your lucky stars and reach out for your loved ones.
Who says you have to be a victim to have empathy? If you have a heart, you will feel. Kirthi has a big heart.
I have many fave lines – But I leave you dear reader with 2.
- Have you had your personal earthquake?…..Nothing is yours anymore. Except pain. And grief.
- Who knew what one needed when there was a war going on? Who knew what was essential, and what was not, what matters, and what did not?
Take a bow Kirthi Jayakumar! Publisher Dipankar Mukherjee and Editor Indrani Ganguly deserve a huge round of applause for putting their faith in this tale and ably seeing it through.
“Freedom rings bells to remind humanity that the most precious gifts in life––like children and love and time––must never be taken for granted.” ― Aberjhani,