A few days back, I received a signed copy of the book – Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai, for review. The title itself was very intriguing!
It all happened when the author mailed me to see if I could review his debut novel.He also sent me a press release and going through it really increased my eagerness to read the novel.
About the author…
The author,Rishi Vohra,has been a columnist for various newspapers in India and being a Certified Specialist of wines , currently writes for delWines.
Rishi recently relocated to Mumbai after a Green MBA from San Fransisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law.
Now, coming to the book, it talks about the life and love of an autistic person who is the ‘hero’ of this book, fondly called Babloo.
Autism, which is a disorder of neural development ,is characterised by impaired social interaction and communication and repetition of behaviour. It is a very sensitive topic and has been dealt in a very beautiful way.
Babloo is seen by all differently ,except for Vandhana who lives in the same colony and Babloo has a secret crush on her,He walks her to the station and waits for her return from office.But is unable to express his love.
On a Holi day, Babloo saves a women from harassment and the lady terms him ‘Rail Man’. From then on Babloo walks around the tracks, looking out to help people in distress.
Meanwhile, a local Romeo,Sikandhar, tries to seduce Vandhana .He promises Babloo to convey his[Babloo’s] love to her but his intentions are not that though. Vandhana is engaged to Babloo’s younger brother but Babloo is totally unaware of it!
Who gets married to whom,what becomes of Babloo and the Rail Man,is the climax,….
Here is what I like about this book..
- Actually,taking a look at the cover for the first time,even before reading the book,I imagined it to be a romantic novel,more of a Bollywood style love story.But Thank God, it is not so!
- I like the way the character Babloo is charted. The neighbors and all those who come in contact with him, know that he is different but no where has the author actually written scenes where abuses are showered on the character.He has shown the nature of the character in a very nice way and handled the sensitive issues in a graceful manner.
- Most of the pages are in first person . It gives a feel that Baloo is talking to you!The debate that goes on in his mind is captured well.
- There is a bit of truth in the characters.His family members don’t consult him or even convey to him the decisions taken.Even his father thinks he is incapable of understanding the regular ‘family stuffs’. It is really heart wrenching to read how Babloo feels about all this negligence.
- The story looks like its happening next door. The characters, the gossips, the events in the colony is almost like you are one amongst them when the story is moving on.
- I love novels with a happy ending and this one is no exception.But the ending could have been a bit more elaborate to make the climax all the more interesting.
- The book is written in a very simple language.
This book is not a thriller but it has a beautiful love story inter woven by the thoughts and daily routine of an Autistic person and how he wishes to lead a normal life. The other characters in the book add the necessary dimensions to make this a great read.
I will happily give a 4/5 for this book.
If the author is planning to release a second book,I will definitely be keeping an eye open to grab it….
At a Glance….
Author -Rishi Vohra
Publisher – JAICO Publishing House
No. of Pages – 266
Price – INR 175
Get in touch with the author @ his Website – Rishi Vohra
Note : This is not a paid review.