Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai by Rishi Vohra - A Review

I closed this book with a hint of smile on my face, which even I was too late to notice. I do, however, know what was caused that smile. This was the smile of having travelled through a rather uncertain, unusual, tumultuous journey, and having arrived at something good.

Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai is a fresh and original book. I have never read anything quite like it, due credit for which should be conferred on author Rishi Vohra. Whether we talk of the background of the book, the plot or the development of the storyline - nothing is your usual run of the mill stuff which you think you can guess your way through. The cover and the title would have you believe it is another of those love stories, which will give you some mushy moments, and then would get buried under the pile of redundant new age love sagas which many an aspiring authors have killed their careers with. Rishi Vohra, however, here is successful in weaving a story, which encompasses many human emotions - not just love - and touches upon those aspects of reality which we seldom stop to ponder upon. The masterstroke is that, Rishi dwells on reality by using the instrument of fantasy.

Balwant Srivastav, or Babloo, is not any ordinary neighbourhood guy. He is special, but misunderstood. With a family which dotes on his younger brother, Raghu, because he is bright and not an oddity like him, Babloo finds himself increasingly confined to the solitary world his schizophrenic mind weaves around him. His life runs parallel to the rail tracks, noise emanating from which is the only reliable constant in his life. He doesn't speak much, is slow to register what others tell him, but if there is one thing which furthers him in the struggle that life is, it is his love for Vandana. Vandana, who is the eye-candy of the entire Railway Colony, where Babloo's and Vandana's family reside, is of course oblivious to Babloo's desire for her, and is reluctantly engaged to his brother Raghu. However, these complications are only the beginning of the grander narrative in which Babloo begins his quest for identity. Upon his birth, an astrologer had predicted that he would one day do great things - and greatness is what Babloo hopes to achieve when he decides to do something out of the ordinary, when he decides to risk himself to become a real life hero!

Easy pace, comfortable language, and good weather. This book did warm up mind-numbing winter days. To be honest, this book did not appeal to me at all in the first few pages, but I persisted, and I am glad for that. This story begins to grow on you slowly, and it is not till the very end that you realize the impact it has left. This perhaps has got something to do with the element of fantastic, which transgresses the schizophrenic mind to embed itself in real world. The writer, however, does a commendable job of getting into the thoughts of a person cut-off from the world because of his perceived disabilities. Not just that, the story also throws light on the sleaze and dirt which accumulates in our society, in the form of characters like Sikander. All in all, if not a great, then a very satisfactory read, this one. I will give it 3 stars on five.

Book Details
Author - Rishi Vohra
Source - Review Request by the author
Publisher - Jaico
Published - 2012
Genre - Romantic fiction
Pages - 266
Rating - 3/5


  1. Thank you for the review Saumya!

    Rishi (Author)

    1. I completely missed this! So sweet of your to have left a comment :)