Shades of Pink by Ketan Modha is a riveting romance novel featuring Maya as a protagonist. The novel is poignant in bringing forward the conflict of interests and other grim societal layers that do no good to an individual. From love and society’s point of view, the novel holds a special place in the Indian literature arena.
The title ‘Shades of Pink’ subtly signifies the placement and plight of women from one generation to next. Here, the story is almost two-generational. First is Maya, and the next is her daughter Ria. Though Maya runs like banter throughout the backdrop; however, the first part is totally engrossed with her.
Maya lives in a middle-class family in Ahmedabad with her professor father Vishnu and mother. Maya was keen to have admission in a medical college, but fate has something different in store for her. Upon her father’s insistence, she chooses Microbiology. She is not happy with this choice, but feels tied. For Maya, college life is typical until she stumbles Mira, who becomes her confident later.
Maya’s life takes a turn when the English Cricket Team tours India in 1984–85. The author has presented a fine commentary of cricket subtly as a kind of back story. For sure, cricket enthusiasts will find this book full of insights, especially the gossiping around the advent of the Limited Overs cricket and India’s win in 1983.
Maya and Mira have been chosen to volunteer the English Cricket Team that has to play a match in Ahmedabad. During the match, Maya gets acquainted with Paul Cook, a young cricketer visiting India first time. They meet again. Their love was silent initially. But when Paul returns from the UK after some months only to confess his love, things picked up once again. But for Maya it’s like pushing a mountain. Paul is a handsome Englishman, but Maya’s father is totally obsessed with the Indian society’s customs and culture. Is the love story feasible? Maybe!
Anyway things moved on from there, the second part of the novel is about Ria. She goes to England for studies. She is quite open and frank as compared to her mother Maya. Will Ria be able to help Maya in a true sense…will she try to find the lost love for Maya…if so, then how and why? Is it still needed after thirty long years of separation?
You may be excited to know about the destinations of Maya, Ria, Paul and a few other characters. The author has connected their destinies with India’s much talked events like Cricket World Cup of 1983, assassination of Indira Gandhi, 1985 Gujarat agitation, Harshad Mehta stock market debacle and so on. All these events are not just for page filling; they all somehow affect and influence the destinies of all major characters in the novel.
Today love is a boisterous topic, people talk about it, care to show off. Well, in those days of 1980s, it was more about feelings and caring and silently sacrificing. You will get to know that side of love when you come face-to-face with Maya and Paul’s love affair. It was not as famous as it should have been, but high on intensity and tragedy.
Maya is a powerful character – though silent, yet unforgettable! The length and pace of the novel is just optimum, no burden, no boredom! Even if you close the book, the story of Maya will not leave your memories so easily. Ketan has delivered a fantastic romance novel, that too, from the female point of views. Amazing work! Language usage is lucid and vivid with imagination. Highly recommended for romance lovers!