Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Once upon the Tracks of Mumbai : Book Review

This book narrates the story of Balwant Srivastav, better known as Babloo. His father is an employee of the Indian Railways, and they stay in a railway colony in Mumbai.

Babloo is a bit different from the most of us - he is little slow in grasping things, but has few strong traits as well. He feels, but is  terrible when it comes to emoting. He speaks half sentences, and has little control over his anger. He has shadows of us in him, and you identify with him while he narrates the story.

Needless to say, his poor performance in academics, his weird conduct and likewise have distanced him from everyone - his parents, brother, neighbours; he has no friends, except Vandana, who speaks to him caringly. She stays in the same colony as Babloo, only her father is at a much higher designation than Babloo's.

The story is ideal for a Bollywood film - it is a tale of love, friendship, misuse of simplicity, chain of events going on without the protagonist knowing an inkling about them and the reader is completely involved. As a reader you know who is cheating whom, who is the bad guy and you would almost curse out aloud when Babloo comes on the verge of truth, but floats very far away from it.

Babloo has his heart in the right place - he cannot tolerate something if he deems it wrong. He finds a new identity as Rail Man when he fearlessly helps a channel reporter; and stops another crime after that. He also agrees to take up a lowly job to earn himself respect from Vandana. There's drama and then, slowly things fall into place. And the story ends on a positive note.

It writing style is lucid, and you can read it easily, even while commuting. Babloo will keep you hooked to the book and you would not be able to let go off the book until you have found out what happens next. Rishi Vohra's portrayal of Babloo is amazing - its very difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone with problems, not exactly dyslexic or autistic. The friendless boy seeks refuge in his inner soul - it is something we all do. Rishi has also captured the mindsets of middle class families and all the other characters of the story very well.

To find out more about the book, what others said about it and the author himself, do visit

This book review is special. The author had written to me to find out if I would like to review his first book, making me feel equally special. 
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