Will you go on a soul-searching trip inspired by Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara, with your mother? Excess Baggage by Richa S. Mukherjee is a story of self-discovery which ensures a fun and hilarious read.
When I stumbled upon this book on Blogchatter’s BookChatter Program, I immediately signed up for a review copy. The book cover drew me in for I have a thing for simple, illustrated covers. Also, the title assured that the book was going to be a joyful ride.
Read on to find out more about the book.
“You cry when you reminisce. I think one’s feelings are stronger than the real memory.”
Excess Baggage features the story of a mother-daughter duo who are constantly at daggers drawn for years due to the baggage of their painful past.
Anviksha is a 30-year-old successful anthropologist. She is a divorcee and is now gearing up to sign off with her second divorce. It is taking a toll on her mental health and her mother isn’t making things easy for her either. With constant nagging and nudging her about the past, Anviksha’s mother Smita Punjabi is quick to be critical and judgemental and our protagonist feels suffocated.
When Anviksha finds her work getting affected by her mood swings, she plans a trip of a lifetime to London, inspired by the Bollywood movie Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara where three friends go on an adventurous road trip in Spain to learn some life lessons.
her mother decides to tag along.
Excess Baggage by Richa S. Mukherjee: Book Review
“They say you fight only when you love or care enough, that’s not true. You also fight when your hearts are empty.”
The first thing that hits you hard upon reading the book is the author’s exceptional sense of humour. There were moments when I laughed out loud- be it the hot-headed Anviksha’s tit-for-tat replies to her colleagues or the desi mother Smitha Punjabi’s antics. Moreover, their back and forth banter, trying to keep a step ahead of each other in witty responses, made the book even more appealing.
And that says how the author did a commendable job in keeping the reader hooked to her story.
Relatability of Relationships
Another thing I loved most about the book is the relatability of relationships. If you’ve read the book I’m sure you’d find similarities in the mother-daughter relationship to ours. The so-called generation gap, the
sometimes most-of-the-times overbearing interferences and opinions, and oh! the drama! We have all been there with our moms.
But I cannot deny how protective they are of us and it can be clearly seen with Smita Punjabi as well. Her character is pure entertainment and though she is a harried parent, she means no harm.
I also liked learning about Anviksha’s relationship with her ex-es– Rudra and Rannvijay, how it progressed through the story, from before and after the London vacay.
Trip of a Lifetime
The story took flight when the mother-daughter duo journeyed to London. This was a journey of self-discovery for both of them and it was heartening to be a part of it as they braved the world together. With newfound experiences (a cultural shock for Smita Punjabi), this London vacation gives them a chance to introspect and understand each other and their choices in life.
Stigma of Divorce
Divorces are riddled with stigma in our country. Many couples considering divorce are hesitant to make the decision due to their fear of the stigma they may face. It is high time we change this and it could be done in small actions like not immediately jumping to “I’m sorry you got divorced” when you find a friend separated. Through this book, the author tries to normalize divorces and that’s a great thing.
She also covers the taboo of live-in relationships and how judgemental society can be when they find a couple living together under the same roof.
Akash has my heart! He was a lifeline for Anviksha when she was going through so much in life. The dogs Mutton and Bhindi were adorable too. Rudra and Rannvijay are polar opposites and their snippets were important in character building.
Richa’s Excess Baggage is vividly comic and emotionally astute as her writing. The narrative is easy to follow without talking down to the reader. The readability and language are remarkable and she doesn’t gussy up words.
My only concern was the predictability of the book for it was easy to draw conclusions on what was bound to happen when two contrasting characters (especially a mother and daughter) take a trip together. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read.
DO I RECOMMEND?
Yes. It is light-hearted book that will delight you. A perfect one-sitting read.
Get the book here.
3.75 on 5.
About the Author:
Richa Mukherjee is an ex-journalist and an old hand in the advertising industry. She’s the author of I Didn’t Expect to be Expecting, a light-hearted take on pregnancy, and Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd, a humorous thriller that has been procured for a screen adaptation. Excess Baggage is her third book.