CONCEPT: 3.5/5

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”
~ Ibn Batuta

My Musings

What most of my readers don’t know is that I have a travel channel on YouTube. I started That Nerdy Traveller on a whim.

The real reason, however, was different. For as long as I can remember, I have been a travel enthusiast.

Since I am a reader too, I always try to amalgamate my two passions and read as many books about travel as I can.

Mehman” by Anuj Tikku is yet another of my recent picks in the travel writing genre, and I have loads and tons of information to share with you.

Read on to know more about this book and about my experience of reading it. 

What to expect?

Expect a book that takes you to many foreign lands and corners of the Indian subcontinent. Expect a book that awakens the wanderer in you and that makes you want to pack your bags and travel.

Expect a book that combines travel tips and suggestions with anecdotal experiences and personal encounters. 

Who can read?

Even though the writing varies from author to author, the contributors have taken great care to make use of a simple and flowy language.

This makes the book an easy read for any type of reader, especially beginners.

What is the book all about?

“Mehman” is a 4-in-1 travel memoir collection that brings to us the travel journey and experiences of 4 different travellers.

These include 3 contributors from across India who contribute to author Anuj Tikku’s blog Tikku’sTravelthon. It also includes travel writings from the author’s pen.

Who are the contributors and what do they write about?

The four contributors to this book include Kavita Kumble, Mandakini Kwatra, Captain Suraj Singh Thakur, and Anuj Tikku

Kavita is a corporate banker who loves to explore new places and travel to lesser-known destinations.

Her insightful memoirs about her travel to Seville and Granada in Spain, Kenya in Africa, and Wadi Rum and Petra in Jordan are a treat to read.

Her scary but thrilling experience of skydiving in Spain will be an inspirational read for anyone willing to get out of her comfort zone. Her writings about the Mumbai locals are not just relatable but strangely nostalgic too. 

Mandakini Kwatra is the second contributor who writes about meditation, spirituality, happiness and overcoming depression.

Her writing is lucid and appealing, and her soothing words bring a sense of calm to the reader.

Captain Suraj Thakur is the daring Indian army personnel who undertakes a highly thrilling but dangerous journey from Kashmir to Kanyakumari on his Harley Davidson bike.

The total journey that spans 11 states and 17 days covers more than 13,000 km. The Captain shares his joys and struggles, tips and tricks, and dos and don’ts of the journey.

He suggests the best places to stay and eat, gives important tips about the fueling stations while also vividly describing the beauty of various towns that he passes through.

In the last segment, Anuj Tikku shares memories of his UK Nostalgia tour which included cities of London and Manchester. It is aptly named the UK Nostalgia tour as it is in these cities that he spent seven years of his life.

He takes us through the memories of his boarding school and engineering college while also narrating experiences of seeing the best gaming action at the Wimbledon court and the Lord’s stadium.

What did I like?

The varied experiences of many travel bloggers offer new perspectives into traveling and travel writing, making “Mehman” an unusual but good read.

What did I not like?

The book is a compilation of various blog entries from the author’s blog. But these entries are arranged randomly and not in any planned or chronological way.

What could have been better?

The editing and proofreading are also a bit off. This makes an otherwise engaging read quite a difficult one for the reader.

I cannot stress the importance of good editing and proofreading. It takes very little time but does wonders for the reading comfort and ease. Not to mention, it drastically improves the quality of the content. 

Is the book interesting to read?

The book is interesting because the many adventures that it showcases are one-of-a-kind.

From the Alhambra of Granada to the Plazas of Seville, from the dusty dunes of Wadi Rum to the salty waters of the Dead Sea, from the vast seas of Kanyakumari to the treacherous passes of Baralacha La, from the party scenes of Manchester to the crowded streets of London.

This book has a treasure trove of experiences packed in less than two hundred pages.

In the end 

In the end, “Mehman” is an eclectic mix of some short some detailed travel experiences of many travel bloggers. They share their rare and daring travel adventures with much panache and gusto.

It is a book that will rekindle the wandering spirit in you. And make you want to pack your bags and set out to travel as soon as the pandemic is over.

The final verdict

It can be read!

Pick the book if

  • You love reading travel memoirs and other types of travel writings.
  • You want to read travel memoirs that feature Kenya, Jordan, Spain, Ladakh, Kashmir, London, and Manchester.
  • You are looking for a short read with a mix of international and local travel experiences.

Skip the book if

  • You don’t like travel writing.
  • You don’t enjoy travel memoirs.
  • You generally stay away from non-fiction.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of “Mehman” using the link below.