“Something sinister is afoot in Rajasthan. An organized sex syndicate uses cattle hormone to ‘develop’ kidnapped young girls into women and forcing them into flesh trade.”
Such headlines would make any reader shudder. So would Shadows At Dusk, as this novel exposes and bemoans horrendous acts being perpetrated on girls and women. The story unfolds the life of a middle-aged woman, masseur by profession, who relives her anguished trajectory rendering an insightful narrative that showcases not only the pain of an archetypal Indian woman, but also throws spotlight on the plight of well-heeled urban women through her close interaction with them. It becomes poignantly ironic when she deciphers such uncomfortable similarities in the lives of these women despite their privileged social and economic backgrounds.
Neelmani Bhatia has penned this book for every woman who has suffered since Eve walked the planet earth, for her ability to break the conventional shackles, and hail the woman power – the power to make sacrifices, the power to abrogate her own identity, the power to make men feel powerful so that they could achieve greater heights. That is, the power of silent suffering.
Though a work of fiction, it could serve as referral for sociological study! There is no pretension of subverting the cultural myths. All those who want to unravel the mystic India, see the real India and rather delve into the heart and hearth of the Indian women, who have to grapple with elephantine problems ranging from infanticide, honour killing to caste and class discrimination, would be drawn to its absorbing pages.