Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai by Rishi Vohra – Book Review

Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai starts with the protagonist Babloo giving an honest opinion about what doctors have told about him -“Autistic. psychotic. Schizophrenic.” that is a bit of a change from all those successful and handsome hunks walking around. And those three words bring a world of difference to this book.

Babloo has the freedom to roam around the railway tracks of Mumbai the whole day. Owing to his special character traits, his parents are scared to ask him to get productive. His only other job is to think about Vandana, a cute girl who lives in the same railway colony. But Babloo has certain good traits. He thinks very logical though not always successful in communicating it to others. Also he cannot understand why people avoid him, which includes his own family. I believe all of us tend to do that to one or other person in our lives. Ignore them when we cannot understand them in the first attempt.

Vandana has a special place in Babloo’s heart though he doesn’t realize that this feeling is called love by common people. Moreover Babloo respect Vandana for the care and respect she shows him.

Babloo’s life change dramatically when his casual strawl through Mumbai streets turns out to be an adventurous action to save the life of another girl; though it was no ordinary girl that he saved. Babloo is declared as a hero and he becomes the ‘Rail Man’ more like a superhero that we often see in movies.

My Thoughts

I should surely say that this book has a certain Bollywood touch. May be the writer’s exposure to Bollywood makes this Bollywood influence inevitable. Or it could be that he wrote the entire story with a movie adaptation in mind

The best thing about the book is the character Babloo. Though at a certain point, I thought the author went slightly overboard in making a hero out of him, but he has managed to make it more believable. Babloo’s character is unpredictable..But then he is different owing to his mental state.

My initial impression of the book was not much favorable especially there were long and detailed descriptions about Mumbai, his railway colony, the railway stations etc. Things picked up pace after the ‘Rail Man’ avatar of Babloo evolves and then the story picks up quite a bit of pace. I pretty much liked the second half of the book and the ending looked very sensible, though the Bollywood style “all is well” climax  was quite far fetched.

Rishi Vohra’s writing is amateurish as expected in a debut novel, but I do foresee a lot of good writing from him. Please visit his website http://rishivohra.com/ for more information about the author and the book.

What could have been better?

I am compelled to write this section. This book needed a better title  nd a better cover art. These two things might work against the book being picked up from book store shelves. After all who needs another romance story from yet another Indian author…Do you agree? What was your initial impressions about the book based on the title and cover art? Personally I have picked up a lot of books just for the title and the cover art.


This is a good story about a Mumbai youth and don’t judge the book by the cover. It is not “yet another college love story”…

PS: Thanks to the author Rishi Vohra for sending me a copy for review. The review is solely based on my opinion and there are no monetary benefits attached to the same.

This post was originally published on www.thebookishreviews.com. All Rights Reserved.

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