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Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai - Book Review

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 18 Comments

 
"Autistic. Schizophrenic. Psychotic…" 
These were the words that they used to describe the protagonist of this story- Balwant Srivastava aka Babloo. He is a "differently able" elder son of middle class railway junior clerk who was constantly reminded of his challenge by society and even his family members. As an Autistic, life was not easy for him and people' narrow minded views had made it far difficult and frustrating.  In spite of all this, he is courageous, super hygienic, loves to watch B grade Bollywood movies and in love with his "american dreams" harboring neighbor, Vandana Gupta, who saw him differently, making all good difference to his average life. 

Once Upon the tracks of Mumbai is a love story of Balwant Srivastava aka Babloo and his not so perfect, jobless, friendless life with his dream girl- Vandana. Other characters in this novel are- Sikandar, a local goon with his own selfish machinations, Raghu- the self centered, younger brother of Babloo and their parents. The Mumbai locals, the lifeline of a hustling and bustling city like Mumbai, also plays a central role in this book. 

The story is set in a typical railway colony like atmosphere, fighting its own demons of life, gossiping mouths, prying eyes and more. The narrative is good for a beginner and description serves well to add to the visuals of the story.

This novel is an alternate mass fiction and written in self narrative style. It may first give you a lazy expression but after few pages, builds your reading interests in self and becomes a page turner for many. The language is simple and the cover looks like a professional "Titanic" like poster of a romantic Bollywood movie. This is the debut novel of the author Rishi Vohra who holds a degree in Green MBA, Masters Diploma in Environmental law and also certified in wine testing. The story telling has quite some Bollywood elements in it, mildly suggesting author's impressions and interest for one of the biggest film industry of the world. Well, he may contemplate converting this story into a full fledged Bollywood Masala movie and we can indeed love to suggest cast and screenplay. Yup, just don't make talk "F" ko 'F". Cheers! :)
Few excerpt from the book-
EACH DAY WAS AS EMPTY AS THE NEXT. NEI­THER DID I have a Sun­day to look for­ward to nor did I have a friend's birth­day to dress up for. The only event­ful part of my day was going to the cin­e­ma, where I was able to over­ride my sense of self and get lost in the larg­er-than-life im­ages on the sil­ver screen. I was able to af­ford a movie now and then from the al­lowance my moth­er gave me for trav­el­ling, which I saved by ei­ther walk­ing or run­ning to my des­ti­na­tion.
I pre­ferred the masala films churned out by Bol­ly­wood, to other forms of en­ter­tain­ment, be­cause they most­ly ended on a note of jus­tice. The bad guys rarely es­caped moral pun­ish­ment and the good guys al­ways got the girl. I wished that this cin­e­mat­ic ide­ol­o­gy of fair­ness would trans­late to my own life. But I was aware that there was a fine line be­tween reel and real life. Out­side the cin­e­ma hall, the so-called bad peo­ple lit­er­al­ly got away with mur­der while good peo­ple lived a life of suf­fer­ing.


Do I recommend reading this book?
The Mumbai spiritThe answer is Yes. The best good part was touching a sensitive subject as autism and bringing it up by weaving a story around a person challenged with the same, his life and his relations and random twist of fate. If you think it is preachy and may end sluggish, do watch out for the climax as it will take you for surprise. Without revealing much about the book, I suggest that if you find it appealing or interesting, go ahead, get a copy and read. 
There is a video on youtube as well, Click this to check. 
So, this was my brief review of the book "Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai" as requested by the author. Thanks Rishi for the book and all the best for your upcoming book(s). 

What Other readers have to say-

Prahlad Kakar -AdFilmmaker, Restaurateur.
"A man who lives in the wild fantasy of his mind. Shy, introverted and ineffectual. Surviving in the unforgiving landscape of Maximum City - Mumbai! Until one day, when fantasy and reality collide, changing his life forever! You'll find bits of yourself in this book.."

Kabir Bedi- International & Bollywood Actor, "Cavaliere" (Knight) of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
"Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai" is a fresh, well-plotted, human story about love against all odds in middle-class Mumbai, with a "hero" for whom you care deeply. It's an entertaining read!"

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Other Book reviews by me-
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Check out my Daily posts for A to Z blogging challenge on Alphabets and Themes for haiku
Today's Letter- O and word- Owl (Haiku)


The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the nice review. If you have given a rating of 4/5, then it is a must read.

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    1. Thanks SG...Pl check the revised rating- I have return to my original rating of 3.5/5 for the book.

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  2. This is the 2nd review of the same book today. On my reading list now.

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    1. Yesh, It came to me long back to rad and review, unfortunately couldn't do cause of time shortage and thought of bringing this for A to Z. My post wasn't ready and I wanted to post before 2 and then i saw Damyanti writing so wrote something else. However, couldn't resist posting this as well just to clear my bucket list of blog posts :)

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  3. The book and the theme sure sound interesting ! :)

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  4. Damyanti recommended this title today. Two in a row makes it a must read I guess :-)

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    1. yeah, i saw that too...try and let us know ur feedback!

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  5. That's the second mention of this book, I've read today. Must look for it.

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    1. Glad that u find it interesting. Do share ur review on the same.

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  6. Hi Ekta, interesting review. I must check out the book. Take care, and happy A to Zing.

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    1. Thanks Cynthia, Happy A to Z-ing to u too :)

      On ur post now!

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  7. Two reviews of the book and both make me want to get a copy :) Well written

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    1. Thanks pallavi..Am gonna visit ur blog now. Sorry for not being able to post earlier.

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  8. Hi ! thanks for sharing a nice reveiw !

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    1. Thanks Angela. I am glad u liked it.

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