Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai - the Book Review

It took me exactly one-third of a 36 hours train journey to ski across the entire length of “Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai”, the debut novel of the certified wine specialist Rishi Vohra, who have of late shifted back to Mumbai after pursuing Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law. One fine afternoon I got a review request from Rishi and now I would like to sincerely thank him for his courteous offer and introducing me with his praiseworthy craftsmanship with words! “Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai” is one of the most simple, yet touchy and riveting tales I’ve read from any debutant Indian writer recently.

The protagonist is Babloo, a young resident of rail colony in a corner of Mumbai who grew up with family and social neglect, simply because he was thought to be "Autistic. psychotic. Schizophrenic...." Though Babloo is taken as a retarded-irresponsible brat by the sane heads in his society, we the readers can quite easily perceive his virtue of sincerity as he slowly but steadily finishes his college education despite his learning difficulties. Although Babloo can’t catch the fast spoken silly words of the bad-guy Sikander or, fails to judge it inappropriate to ogle at a raunchy car sex, but his sensitive element comes up when he discards an ordered dish thrice in a restaurant just because the hygiene-ignorant waiter had dipped his fingers into the food! Babloo has no friend, no family (you have to read the book to understand this lack of family thing) and no job. He has a firm belief that his life is meant for a bigger purpose… he’s yet to explore it out. He falls in love with a neighbourhood working-girl Vandana who seemed to be the only person in this nasty world to recognise Babloo as he is. But it’s never easy to express your feelings before an able love interest when you’re suffering from severe existence crisis… you can at most shuttle invisibly between Carter Road and Churchgate station, while taking lessons of life from ‘Masala movies’ in C-grade talkies earnestly at regular intervals! This leads to a sequence of events, finally giving birth to the ‘realistic superhero without superpowers’ Rail Man. Off course the story of the rise of our superhero is not so simple… there has been ample formation and devastation of castles of emotions on the way, starting from the treachery of Babloo’s chameleon friend to the grey side of the apparently bright looking Babloo’s own brother. I’m never a supporter of spoiler in a review, so if this initial impression in a nutshell excites you, better give it a try and find out: whether Babloo finds out his real meaning of existence… whether Vandana reciprocates back the much needed love which our honest hero truly needs to live… who is Rail Main? Etc etc…
I was charmed by the details in the characters and ambience portrayed by the author. Characterisations and events were well clocked. Somehow, I found it redundant to elaborate ‘too many’ adult movie scenes and real life undergarment adventures, though there’ll be too many readers to cherish them. I wonder how Babloo could wait for so long and accomplish various feats before feeling the urge to contact Vandana for her reaction… Perhaps, it was the urge of the script! After reading the novel you may grumble against surreal fight sequences or the readers’ all time famous complain “there was too little in the story” but the enthralling narration in “Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai” that will keep you glued to your bookworm mood surely deserves an appreciation! I’ll certainly look forward for Rishi’s upcoming works.
My rating for this Book: - 6.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank You for Reading, Reflecting and Reverting back!