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Disclaimer: I was a firm believer of this story in my childhood. In those simpler times, these stuff and their implications were as real for me as pastrami omelet was delicious.

 

My aunt has a pet djinn.

He is not actually a pet but more like a familiar or an unearthly consultant, an unnatural peer. (Let's call the thing a "He", because I don't want this to spiral into a discussion on genders of non-human sentient entities)

For those unfamiliar with the Islamo-Arabo-Turkic supernaturalities and folklore, I must explain: the djinns are sentient beings who are very close to humans in mind. Islamic scripture heavily suggests that the djinns, as a race, were created and given dominion over the earth, ages before the creation of man (so, humans are a bit like a third take; first one being the angels). They grow prideful, rebelled to god and other usual clichés. It is said that they are created from fire (while humans are created from mud), that they experience time differently, much faster than humans do. In a rough approximation, a human day is the equivalent of a djinn generation. In Islamic texts, humans are "shielded" from djinns for unknown reasons but in unique circumstances, they can interact and in very rare cases, procreate. It is also noted that they exhibit human morality and emotions (love hate etc.). Moreover, they can have different religions. Some of the more devout Muslim djinns can aid human agents who have benign purposes and they are named as "hadîm" or the helpers. Some attuned people can call upon and bind them or bargain with them for favors, hexes and information. This practice is shunned in the mainstream teachings but when a supernatural emergency such as binding of one's kismet, forcing someone's heart away from his/her suitors, general insanity cases, phobias, anxiety. In short, if anything giving an "unnatural" vibe comes up, Turkish people are quick to consult with the practitioners of this kind. I am not privy to the particulars but "black hats" either bind the neutral ones or bargain with the more malevolently natured. Which brings us full circle to my aunt.

She is a white hat in this profession but her skills are a family secret. Her origin story goes like this: Some years ago, my mother and some of her friends were trying a simple summoning ritual they found in an old, nearly indecipherable book (to this year I could not find that book or a book with that name). Being the normal ESP-free folk they were disappointed (and slightly relieved) of any visible result. During this time my hapless aunt was arriving at home and she was surprised by an elderly man sitting in the couch near the table which was occupied by three young high schoolers fervently banging an apple stick on a red bowl filled with water without acknowledging the stranger relaxing on the sofa. She grew afraid but the old man spoke and identified himself as one of the helpers. He then added that as a helper he could only assist devout Muslims and cannot (or will not) interact with those who are summoning him. However, he continued, my aunt's mother is sufficiently devout and that my aunt can claim the right to receive aid by invoking kinship. He then implored that my grams should continue her devotion to Allah by reciting the Quran and praying Salah periodically or the deal was off.

Thus, she started this long-winded interaction with a jinni. Whenever a spell, hex or ill will is directed at our family, she consulted with the entity and informed us of how to find the fetish or curse focus, how to ward ourselves and protect our homes. From what I understand, it was a pro bono work on the behalf of the djinn because the jinni too have a judgment day, followed by an afterlife. Pro bono worker, righteous and "strived to achieve Allah’s approval without requesting material gains" are the stuff you want writing on your portfolio in that regard. A divine mercenary, if you please.

Recently I am hearing about him in family settings only rarely. I do not want to inquire my aunt about him for the same reason you cannot question a friend about a newly minted ex without sounding really crass. It is possible that they had a falling out. On the other hand, he could have told her not to mention her dealing with him to me for I am sailing further away from a "model Muslim" and that I cannot be trusted with this information.

It is true that I grew weary from tales of spells, hexes, evil-eyes, general superstition, sin, moral decline and "those damn leftists"(referring to the conservative, extremely nationalistic and secular Turkish state policies which for years forcefully prosecuted dissenters: Muslims, different ethnic groups and yes actual left wingers). The thing is, when the facts are tallied, my aunt is clinically insane, ailing from delusional disorder that other family members share through religious, societal and folkloric enabling. Nevertheless, she functions normally and being the supernatural authority in the family gives her a sense of importance, which was denied from her because this is Turkey, because her family comes from a rural background and because she is a widow. Taking this minute power and control that she has over her life would be incredibly cruel, devastating and just plain wrong.

So, just listening to her when she talks about her imaginary friend and nodding at the right places won't hurt, I suppose.

 

P.s. While I was writing the story bit I couldn’t help but glance at the corner of the room for any visual discrepancies because you know that those childhood fears won't entirely go away