WOW! Women On Writing Tour of “But First, Rumi”

Book Summary

When Chitra discovered a stray cat in need of help, she never thought they’d wind up saving each other. Struggling to come to terms with an unexpected diagnosis, Chitra returned home to Oman seeking a sense of familiarity. What she discovered instead was a very special cat who changed her life. But First, Rumi is the story of how, day by day, Rumi and Chitra got to know one another, and as she learned to love the little stray, she began to see greater life lessons about herself, her family, her home country and her place in the world. 

What unfolds when girl and cat meet? What happens when you follow your heart? What if the world is not as it seems? Is it worth taking a chance? 

Print Length: 158 Pages

Genre: Memoir

But First, Rumi is available to purchase now on

Book Review

Because I am a cat lover and also because I have suffered a mystery illness in the past, I was curious about this memoir.

The story is slow to start, but once it picked up in chapter 3, I found myself looking forward to reading the next chapter of the book, wondering what was going to happen to stray cat Rumi. Although Ramaswami mentioned her mysterious illness a few times, there is little focus on this part of her life. Instead she concentrated on her relationship with the cat, Rumi. I found this approach to be refreshing.

I love travelling and learning about other cultures, especially ones I have little knowledge of, and this includes the author’s home country of Oman. I found myself learning a lot, whether Ramaswami describes the environment—“The world around me looked a light shade of orange owing to tiny sand particles that were always suspended in a desert. Growing up I had happily assumed that daytimes appeared the same everywhere…”—or the very different to me (and I am sure to many North Americans) views on cats and pet ownership in Oman.

The memoir is peppered throughout with gentle words of wisdom, such as “There is a fine line between being prepared to act quickly if the worst were to happen and to continually expect the worst to happen and allow that feeling to weigh you down.” Each chapter also begins with a quote by the poet Rumi. I enjoyed learning along with the author her discoveries about life. I even learned something more about cat behaviour! Not being a lover of olives, I never knew the attraction cats had to them.

The book ends with a thoughtful discussion about the state of the cats in Oman and what action could be taken to improve their living conditions.

I highly recommend this eye opening memoir.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About the Author, Chitra Ramaswami

Chitra Ramaswami was born and raised in the Middle East by Indian parents, and her childhood was spent reading every book she could lay her hands on or writing stories and lines of poetry. As a result of traveling the world extensively and being a natural linguist, she is an amalgamation of many cultures and tastes and is constantly looking for the next experience she can immerse herself in. When she isn’t writing, Chitra rides horses, climbs mountains and is a passionate advocate for the Omani Mau/ street cat. She currently lives in New York with her husband and a very spoiled cat and hamster duo. 

Find her online at:

Author’s website: 

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

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