Hey dear readers! I’ve participated in the #TBRChallenge with Blogchatter and set a goal of reading 20 books in 2021. (Although I think I can certainly do more!) Glad that #BookChatter, as always, is making sure that I add some good titles to my list. Today I’m reviewing Excess Baggage by Richa S. Mukherjee, a fun travelogue of a mother-daughter duo.
About the book
Excess Baggage introduces us to Anviksha Punjabi, a young girl whose not-so-perfect life is the perfect recipe for a potboiler. She’s twice divorced, rubs her boss and colleagues the wrong way and has no friends or a place to live. Her mother Smita and her home, although providing food, shelter and comfort, are both extremely invasive. There’s a continuous string of Aunties at her place who chomp on a never-ending supply of Sindhi delicacies and heartily exchange gossip. They’re also dedicated customers of Smita’s thriving boutique business. Anviksha couldn’t care less about any of it.
Anviksha watches Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and has an epiphany that a solo trip would give her a brilliant chance to introspect her life and decisions. While her mind is happily enveloped in a cocoon of happy hormones Smita punctures it by announcing that she will join her. Anviksha, after consistently failing to convince her otherwise, finally gives in. Thus starts an eventful journey that takes this mother-daughter jodi to London, a place and its people, both puzzling yet welcoming.
Excess Baggage is an apt title for this book, literally and figuratively. Many of us carry unheeded emotional baggage that digresses and distracts the way we lead our lives. Anviksha’s childhood issues of abandonment and loneliness unjustly cloud her perception of Smita. Smita is a proud Sindhi, gregarious and outgoing, but unable to breach the invisible wall her daughter has created around herself. A headstrong daughter and a helplessly caring mother is a combination we can find in any household around the world.
What sets this story apart is a generous sprinkling of humour and a hands-on trip to touristy London. Richa’s writing creates an imagery that makes you feel a part of it. There’s also a British dog Bhindi who Smita wants to marry off, her sweet cousin Preeti in a hidden live-in relationship and some unexpected crazy fun experiences. Culture shock hits hard but our adventurous girls take it with a pinch of salt.
I’ve read Richa’s Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd and like the way she handles dramatic situations with practiced ease. She has captured the emotions of a harried mother and a stubborn daughter delicately while respecting their individual challenges. Her writing is crisp and has gone up several notches since her last book. Thanks to her, more youngsters would know what an anthropologist is now!
A couple of things didn’t sit right with me though. I wasn’t totally convinced of the burning need to take this trip. They could’ve achieved this new-found bonding back home as well. Nothing was stopping them. Also, I found a couple of printing/editing mistakes which hopefully will be corrected in the next print.
These are tiny matters considering the roller-coaster ride Excess Baggage takes us on! Gift it to your mother or, better still, take her on an exclusive trip and earn some brownie points. She will love you more. 🙂
My rating : **** 4/5 stars
Check out my book review for Excess Baggage on Amazon too.
About the author
Richa S. Mukherjee is a poet, ex-journalist and a known name in advertising. She has published a collection of poems and two books; I didn’t Expect To Be Expecting and Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd. Excess Baggage is her third. She is a blogger, travel writer and regularly contributes to several online platforms. She is a Sheroes Champ and Blogchatter mentor too.
Language : English
Genre : Fiction
Available in : Paperback and Kindle Edition