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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai by Rishi Vohra

Title:Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai 
Author:  Rishi Vohra
Date:  2012
Publisher:   Jaico Publishing House
 Number of Pages: 272
Price: Rs. 175

This is the story of Babloo, a character that we like to call special to sound good, however do not treat such people in anyway special. Like most children in Indian homes diagnosed with autism, he too is dealt with patiently only up to a certain age. His inability to learn and respond fast to classroom teaching or people in general makes him fall behind in life and after a few years his father looses hope with him, and his mother though sympathetic gives most of the attention to his younger brother who out performs him.

The book begins with a very effective prologue after which it is truly unputdownable. At the beginning of the story the author has made a good effort for the reader to get accustomed to the character by not just depicting his characteristics but portraying them with his life incidents. One thus entirely understands and can predict the character as the story flows.

Babloo however slow is smart and persistent in his efforts to achieve what he wants. He passes college though after failing three times. He tries getting a job, appear for railway exams (as his father works in the railways) and everything he can to please his parents. Unfortunately being slow or unsuccessful at times his efforts are not appreciated. He is not even considered as a part of family, their discussion or his opinion isnt asked for in important matters. His soul of course is hurt.

The only person who treats him well and speaks to him properly is a girl in his society Vandana. She is friendly and whenever finds him asks him to and fro from the colony to the railway station, as she commutes to her job. He therefore likes her a lot and considers her above any girl he has known and ultimately falls in love with her. His love is confined within his heart and he could never get himself to tell her. One day one of the road side loafers of his colony, Sikander who was his one time classmate, treats him well only to get close to Vandana. Sikander is a guy who uses and throws girls every few days. Babloo being simple minded comes into the web of his words and believes that if Sikander befriends Vandana, he would tell her about him. Vandana is an indepent girl who wants to life life on her terms and explore the world, however her parents are opposite. They fix her alliance with Rahul, Babloos younger brother. However Babloo being too busy into his own world that he dreams of with Vandana and not considered important by family never gets a whiff of the same. He continues his efforts to propose her. On the other hand Rahul is a complete looser and Vandana hates him. Not only does he irritate her by not being a gentleman and poor choice of places to date a girl, but also is dominating person, completely opposite to her taste. Sikander comes to advantage as he shows himself to be the person she wants after having all the information Babloo. Vandana does start going out with him.

On the other hand Babloo cannot find a job, so all he does is watch a movie at a cheap theatre, stroll around etc. However the second him within him always encourages him to be the wa he is as he is special, he has a purpose in life unlike most people who don't. This keeps him going. He also wants to be someone remarkable to prove his worth to his parents and most importantly the only person who is nice to him, his sweetheart Vandana. Often at nights when he needs to clear his head he takes walks on railway tracks. On one such night after holi, he saves a woman who was about be thrown acid upon by a group of guy. She turns out to be a media person. His face is blackened by holi colours and this makes him famous as the Rail man. He saves a couple of others but this also makes enemies for him. People however are on the lookout for him but cannot find him.

Is being "RailMan" the ultimate purpose of Babloos life? Will he ever be identified? Will his rivals get him before that? Will Vandana fall in love with Sikander and become her victim? Will Babloo ever be able to voice his feelings? To know more read the book.

The story wont disappoint you for sure.

The Verdict!!!
The Negatives: The font could have been better, it looks too much on one page. The story is a little filmy though not larger than life. However in my opinion a good story is a story that makes a reader smile when he finally closes the book, in that respect this one is a good story.

The Positives: Good language, well written and flow is perfect. 

Summing it up: Surely a good read. The Readers Cosmos Rating is 3 stars.

About the Author
Rishi Vohra recently relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he had a successful career in the Indian entertainment industry.

Having been a guest columnist for various newspapers in India, he currently writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. This is his first novel.

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