December 13, 2012

"Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai" By Rishi Vohra---Book Review

Title: Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai

Author: Rishi Vohra

Publication House:  JAICO

Genre: Fiction

Price: Rs 175/-

"Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai" is the innocent story of the life of Balwant Srivastav.Being a resident of Mumbai's Railway Colony, his day pretty much starts and ends with the rattling of the trains along the tracks heard from his bedroom window.
The story slowly unfolds with the hardships and struggles of day to day life that Babloo has to face.
Being autistic,he is slow at grasping things and suffers from family neglect as compared to his so-called-able brother Raghoo, the apple of his parents eyes.This causes Babloo to remain more socially withdrawn and befriend the imaginary voices he hears in his head, thus bringing an element of paranoid schizophrenia to his personality as well.

The story picks pace when we are introduced to Vandana, the prettiest girl of the neighbourhood whom Babloo is madly in love with.Vandana's empathic attitude towards him makes him fall deeper in love with her, all the while trying to prove himself worthy of her love.

The plot twists and turns with various other characters and subplots like the sleazy Sikandar who fools babloo into believing that he will help him woo Vandana (while carefully laying a well planned trap for her),  Manjeet singh---the happy sardar who meets Babloo along the way, Vandana's and Babloo's parents who bring forth an alliance which somersaults its way in and out of Vandana's life causing fragile emotions to go awry now and then and hence a lot of misunderstandings to surface.

As one reads on, one cannot feel a tinge of sadness for the blissfully oblivious Babloo who is so busy trying to prove his worth and finding an purpose to life before proposing to his lady love , that he forgets the cardinal rule of love "Say it right then or the moment will pass you by".

Does the career oriented Vandana have a heart?
Does Babloo finally prove himself despite of all his shortcomings?
Does he manage to confess his feelings to her on time?

The book blurs the line between what is considered 'normal' and 'abnormal' by society.It shows Babloo's strength of character.It emphasizes on how a little love (if taken positively and in the right spirit) can go a long way on the path of motivation and make him a superhero.

Rishi Vohra's writing is fresh and crisp.The  story is a little slow to begin with but then it gradually picks pace.One can see glimpses of Bombay life on every page, incidents encountered in everyday life and people met randomly on busy streets and this enables the reader to paint a better picture with words (the attractive cover page would help too).
However there were parts wherein I felt that the author should have researched a little more into the subject of mental illness to get a more accurate representation.But then reality can hardly make up such an entertaining story.

To sum up, a story with the potential in the reel world.
But 'RailMan'?? Yes, he is someone the real world needs.

About the author: After completing a green MBA from San Fransisco State University and a masters diploma in environmental law, Rishi Vohra relocated back to Mumbai.Prior to this he had a successful career in the indian entertainment industry.
Currently writing for delWine, he also holds the title of a certified wine specialist to his credit.

He is also a guest columnist for various newspapers in India. "Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai" is his debutant novel.

Personal Rating:  3 out of 5

(This book review is written on the request of the author, though the views above are entirely mine and are not subject to obligation of any sort)