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This story appears in the December 2018 issue of School LIVE.
Torn between the now and the past, Pashmina talks about the life of a young Priyanka, who is trying to solve the puzzle by putting together the missing pieces of her mother's past.

image source: Twitter


Nidhi Chanani’s first book Pashmina dives into the world of Priyanka (Pri) and her mother, Nidhi as they maneuver through their complicated relationship. This graphic novel explores the angst of the Indian-American teenager who is conflicted about her mother’s past and the land which she comes from.  


Chanani brings to the front the bittersweet relationship that Priyanka shares with her paranoid and over-caring mother — her mother wants to keep her grounded to her roots in India, and at the same time, not completely realizing the huge gap that this is creating in Pri’s life. Since the time Pri can remember, California has been her home. A home that she wants to call her own but she is unable to do so.


There is one striking resemblance that Pri and Nidhi share in common. Pri is very talented and has a knack for drawing creatives. Her only solace amidst all the confusion of her past and present is in the drawings that she makes to escape into a different world. Though she has all the material comforts, Priyanka has this one big question which she never seems to find the answer to. She wants to know who her father is, and why her mother who is so in love with India has sworn never to go back to the country, which she left many years ago.


The person closest to being a father figure for Pri is her uncle Jatin, who teaches her how to drive and talks to her about almost anything and everything that bothers her. The dynamics of their relationship change when Uncle Jatin has a baby of his own. Confused and feeling all the more left out, Pri stumbles upon a Pashmina Shawl tucked away in a bag. This simple shawl becomes her source of happiness, because everytime she wraps the shawl around her, she gets transported to the India of her dreams.


Everytime she is about to unravel some truth about her mother’s secretive past, the shawl slips and she finds herself back to her California home. She finds friends on these journeys to India and wants to stay in the India of this imagination, than the image she had conjured after watching countless Bollywood movies.


Will Priyanka finally find out the truth from her mother, or will she have to rely on her pashmina shawl? That’s for you to find out! For us, Chanani’s first book is a graphic delight that puts colours into the most ironic moments of Priyanka’s life.


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