Afascinating story in the graphic novel format about an unusual situation—the story spans two nations and two generations. Priyanka, a comics-obsessed teenager living with her single mother in South California is puzzled and disturbed. Why is her Mom silent about her past, why does she not answer questions that any girl would ask? Why does she not have a father? What is his name and what happened that made her mother leave India and travel to the USA to live and work there alone?
Then, one day, Priyanka finds a beautiful shawl in an old suitcase. She lifts it out and wraps it around her. The shawl is magical and she finds herself transported to exotic India. She makes friends there with an elephant and a peacock. They guide her to some beautiful places in Rajasthan. A strange shadow also greets her, adding to the mystery.
The magic turns into reality when she is invited to visit India by her mother’s sister, Meena. Excited, she travels to Kolkata and is able to see the real India. This is where the mysteries are finally solved and her mother’s past revealed.
Magic and drama, mystery and excitement are all beautifully presented through graphic illustrations in the book. The black and white pictures show real life, while the coloured ones illustrate the magical moments experienced by the one who wears the Pashmina shawl. It is an interesting idea and author-illustrator Nidhi Chanani has used it to present an intriguing story to readers.
Nilima Sinha is a writer of books for children.