Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Review: Once upon the tracks of Mumbai

"Once upon the tracks of Mumbai" is a Mumbai based story written by debutant author Rishi Vohra. It depicts the life of a certain strong yet autistic Babloo and the incidents that happen to him. They say a first impression means a lot to attract the audience and that's what Rishi Vohra has done with the cover page. You see a couple which makes it obvious that it's a love story. You see the title written as if it's a Mumbai station. And then there's a train. No points for guessing the different elements involved in this novel. Adequate information, I must admit.

Target Audience:
1. Mumbaikars.
2. Readers in awe of Mumbai local trains (Imagine reading this book inside Mumbai's lifeline!).
3. Readers who seek freshness in the novel, which you are assured to get from a debut author.

Plot: The story is about an Autistic person named 'Babloo', his life and his daily struggles (or the lack of it, in some cases). Though the central character is Babloo, there are other parallel tracks too involving other characters like a career driven Vandana, a negative character in Sikander and Babloo's brother Raghu. Our protagonist is slow in understanding what others are talking about and the situations that happen around him. People, including his own family, ignore him. Vandana seems to be the only person interested to talk to Babloo. And logically, Babloo is attracted towards her. Enter Sikander in one story and Raghu in a parallel story. There's love, there's betrayal, there's family ignorance, family pressure et al in this beautiful city of Mumbai as depicted in the book. Babloo is constantly searching for his purpose in life. Enter RAIL MAN. How, why, what happens next forms the crux of the story. Revealing anything more will be spoiling the suspense.

Writing: One must give credit to Rishi Vohra for making a mark with his debut novel. He is surely one of the authors to watch out for in the near future - assuming he continues writing books. The first few chapters set the tone and describes Babloo's character and the area of Bandra in greater detail. For some, it may be a let-down. Some will wonder and appreciate the amount of research carried out by the author. The language used is simple and will be understood by most readers. The story is written in such a way that you feel you are actually visualizing it in front of you. In other words, there is a possibility of this book to be converted into a Bollywood movie. And based on the current trend, I am sure I am not far from the truth!

Relevance in today's times: The book has lot of stuff that explains the way people react and think when surrounded by a situation. It looks at autistic personalities. It looks at how the world around you perceives you despite what you actually are. A lot of incidents and characters resembles real life popular characters and the author has smartly ensured real names are not included. There's a certain Bollywood superstar, certain political factions, a real life stone pelting incident injuring a girl in the train. People in Mumbai and to an extent, all Indians will be able to identify the real people behind the reel name! 

Overall, "Once upon the tracks of Mumbai" gave me a refreshing new novel and to an extent, made me realize (once again) that Mumbai is a lot more than Bollywood and city of dreams!

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

To know more about the author and the book, you can visit the author's website.


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  5. It is always interesting to get an insight of a city through the words of a writer because the writer's point of view juxtaposed with realistic stories make for a real refreshing read which is what I think is the case with this book also. Interesting book, one that interests me from the cover page itself.

    1. The book is a refreshing one. You will like it Arti. Mumbaikars will love it!

  6. Something bizarre happened to the comments on some of my posts. My apologies.


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