Monday, January 21, 2013

Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai: by Rishi Vohra

Finished reading Rishi Vohra's debut novel "Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai" by Jaico Books. Initially, I was not sure about reading this book but then I read some really nice Reviews and so chose to read this book.

The protagonist of the story Babloo (Balwant Srivastav (Once his family has been addressed as Yadavs)) is an autistic, though he reasonably understands everything, lives in railway colony of Mumbai and wanders here and there all day.  He is mentally slow thus no one cares for him except Vandana whom he secretly loves. Vandana is a decent girl who works as a receptionist and dreams of going to America one day. There's a bad guy Sikander, who just tends to exploit innocent girls, including Vandana.

The story revolves around Babloo, Vandana, their families in railway colony, Sikander and The Rail Man, a kind of super hero who protects people in trouble.

To know more about this 'multifaceted' story, about Babloo, his love interest and The Rail Man, you'll have to read this book.

Actually, I had a lot of expectations with this book but sometimes I found this book a bit distracting. Few initial pages are too descriptive. I did not like 'too much detailing' of 'Sikander' episode as I found it a bit lengthy and sometimes insignificant. The Rail Man portion reminded me of Shaktimaan.

The most disturbing thing, for me, was the point of view of the story. I did not understand the idea of writing this novel in first person when the narration covers the point of view of almost every character.  I think it takes away the essence of the story. Some portions are of course engrossing but through multiple point of views we get to know everything before it is supposed to be revealed.

But as a first time author, Rishi Vohra has done a nice job. The lives of middle class railway colony has been described really well. Settings are well described and the characters are sketched skillfully.

Overall, this novel is very filmy as it has every masala a typical bollywood film should have. Drama, love story, action, abuses, sexual exploitation, effect of law & order and so on. If you like a distinctive Mumbai style story, you'll like this book. For me it was an average read.

Thanks to Rishi Vohra as I received this book from the author for an honest review.


  1. I have read a lot about this book and I was in double minds whether I should read it or not but your review makes me feel I should read it!

  2. I have read many reviews on this book. Almost everybody thinks it is a good book, very filmy though. Some say that the detailing of Mumbai is too good.

  3. @ Me: Go ahead. I would like to know your views:)

    @ Saru: Yes, I've also read some really nice reviews. It is very filmy and the detailing of Mumbai or as I said lives of middle class railway colony is well described:)