‘Pashmina’ by Nidhi Chanani is a graphic novel about discovering one’s roots. The story starts off in America, where we meet the protagonist Priyanka Das, who has been raised in the U.S by her mother. Priyanka doesn’t know anything about her father and the topic is off limits for Das senior.
The illustrations are simple, adorable and some readers might love the way there’s a sudden burst of colours in some panels, because the artwork is monochromatic for most part. As far as the story is concerned, it’s almost Bollywood-like, except for the magical shawl that Priyanka discovers in her mother’s suitcase one day. When she wraps the pashmina shawl around her, it transports her to historical places in India and two talking animals show her around. Thrilled by this wonderful new find, she decides to take a trip to India to find out the truth behind her mystical shawl.
The author merges themes of religion, magic, feminism and family into a book that ends up being a bit of a mixed bag. While the cartoon-like simple artwork suggests it meant for little kids, ‘Pashmina’ dwells into more complex themes like alienation and suppression on women. While I wasn’t a fan of the sentimental religious themes in the book, it makes for a breezy read.
It’s a 3/5 from me.
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