Book title – Excess baggage
Publisher – Black Ink Author – Richa S Mukherjee
Genre – Drama, humour Pages – 328 pages Language – English
Available on – Amazon.in
Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.in/Excess-Baggage-Richa-S-Mukherjee/dp/9353579732/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1T8BO33IHYIKT&keywords=excess+baggage&qid=1665057578&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjYwIiwicXNhIjoiMC41MSIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=excess+bagga%2Caps%2C357&sr=8-1
Excess Baggage is a book that is consummately Indian in its flavour. I daresay that there is not an Indian who would pick up this book and not identify with it. And, for someone who is not well acquainted with India, the book is like a potpourri of Indian flavours that make up the comportment of our nation.
There is family drama -a little too much of it – but hey, isn’t that how we Indians are? We love our drama, our petty family squabbles, our food and festivities and in general anything that is frankly a little OTT (over the top). That’s just the kind of people we are!! Or, perhaps I should say that that’s just the kind of people that North Indians are. I identify as one so I found the book chock-full of every North Indian flavour that I remember from my childhood.
The book explores the dynamic of a mother and daughter relationship in a fun and light-hearted manner. The stereotypes, the societal taboos, the faux-pas, the customs, the preconception of notions, the judgmental attitudes of the near and dear ones, in fact the things that lend flavour to the cultural identity of our people; are all explored in this book. Richa takes us through a myriad of emotions as her protagonist navigates life after her second divorce. This is a book about realizations in the wake of – well, frankly speaking – in the wake of life as it happens!!
I found the first-half of the book to be quiet fast-paced with incidents unfolding in rapid succession. The second half, in comparison, is slower because it focuses more on the emotional aspect of the mother-daughter relationship. But, both halves carry equal entertainment value. What I found particularly cute was the fact that Richa introduces us to two pooches in the book – the first half is ruled by Mutton and the second half is Bhindi’s stronghold. Whacky names, wouldn’t you say? These two supporting characters in sterling cast of stalwarts; brought the book home for me.
Excess Baggage is a layered offering. You have to flip through the pages, absorbing the interplay of emotions and connections between the different characters because they each have a part to play. Each character, however insignificant they may seem in the beginning, has a role to play. Each person that Anviksha crosses paths with brings out a facet of her life or nature that is the crux of the book.
This is a book about the layers that we hide our emotions under. It is a book about peeling back those layers, dusting off the cobwebs of a microcosmic attitude and unravelling relationships in their true and raw representative format. This book is about delving inside of oneself to introspect, understand and then adapt to life’s flow.
What I liked about the book –
- The characters – are etched with vivid clarity right down to the physical appearance and their mannerisms and nature. I found that very refreshing because as a reader I could visualize them. Richa has even taken the pain to acquaint a reader to the idiosyncrasies of her characters so you have tully masi (yes, that’s the name and the word ‘tully’ will definitely be relatable to a North Indian), Preeti (the sweet dutiful daughter), Peter (the devoted paramour), Akash (whose friendship grows on Anviksha), etc…
- The language – is straightforward and the analogies are totally whacky and had me in splits at times. As an avid reader of humour, I could not have asked for more. These analogies apart from the pooches are my favourite part of the book.
- The details – are what make a book a book! Richa has taken pains to etch out those especially in the parts when the mother-daughter traipses through Europe.
All in all, I heartily enjoyed reading this book and I cannot wait to watch the movie now. Yes, that’s right! There is a screen adaptation of this in the offing. How exciting!!