- Title – Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai
- Author – Rishi Vohra
- Publisher – Jaico Books
- Genre – Fiction
- Pages – 257
- ISBN – 978-81-8495-305-3
- Price – 175 INR
Blurb on the book : “Autistic. Schizophrenic. Psychotic…”
“They” use these words to describe Babloo – the doctors, his family, his teachers everyone… except Vandana. She treats him the way he wants the world to see him.
Mumbai… the city that defines his ultimate desires. Will it allow him the love and normalcy he so craves?
Vandana… yearns for a soul mate to rescue her from the confines of the Railway Colony they all live in. Is she looking in the right place?
Rail Man… a fearless, real-life hero who succeeds in doing all that Babloo secretly wishes to do… is Babloo his inspiration or… is it the other way around?
A random twist of fate on Mumbai’s endless, serpent-like, jangling local train tracks ties all these characters together in a complex weave of love, heartbreak, and courage.
Babloo draws the reader into his fascinating, heart-rending journey through the twisted, choked lanes of Mumbai, into an open space where he can finally exhale, be born again.
Review : The book cover has a very romantic, ‘filmy’ feel and so does the title. The book is surely has a bearing of both of these. From the very start the book is a story of a down to earth boy. The protagonist doesn’t have a larger than life persona yet there is an essence of honesty in his thoughts and love for Vandana that lingered in my thoughts much after I finished the book.
The well written prologue helps the reader delve into Babloo’s world and thought process with a feel as if I were his childhood friend. Babloo’s autism, social reactions to his condition, slow thinking process and his perspective of the world have been sensitively presented making the book a pleasant read.
The book probes the psyche of middle class Indian families chasing average dreams, while trying to keep pace with life’s adversaries. The plot has many sharp twists and turns that kept me glued to this book.
Language is simple, succinct and well-balanced. The book is divided into many small chapters and the plot gets interesting with every page. The story has a lot to share about the food, lifestyle, local trains, people and environment of Mumbai. At points Mumbai gives the feel of being a leading character rather than a mere backdrop city.
The author has successfully brought out the dreams, grit and ruthlessness of the people of Mumbai making me enjoy the feel of being one with the city of dreams, Mumbai, as the story advances. Babloo’s friend Sikander and his gang of boys reminded me of the road side Romeos often seen in movies of the 70s and 80s who unlike today’s rowdy casanovas would enjoy waiting for the girls in neighborhood to step in the balcony to dry their clothes, for a chance to steal a glance.
The book is an entertaining read that I highly recommend to everyone who enjoy indulging in romance, emotions and complicated dreams in a well written book. Babloo draws the reader into his fascinating, heart-rending journey through the twisted, choked lanes of Mumbai, into an open space where he can finally exhale, be born again.
The book sure made a difference by showing me the many known, yet unrealized in daily life aspects of autism.
About the Author: Rishi Vohra lives in Mumbai , has recently returned from USA after completing a Green MBA and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he has had a successful career in the entertainment industry. He has been a guest columnist at various leading newspapers and currently writes for delWine and is a certified specialist of Wine. This is his debut novel.
Rating : 4/5
* Sincere apologies to Rishi Vohra for the delay in posting this review.