Sunday, 30 March 2014

Once upon the Tracks of Mumbai

From the book blurb
"Autistic. Schizophrenic. Psychotic…"

“They" use these words to describe Babloo - the doctors, his family, his teachers everyone... except Vandana. She treats him the way he wants the world to see him. 

Mumbai... the city that defines his ultimate desires. Will it allow him the love and normalcy he so craves? 

Vandana... yearns for a soul mate to rescue her from the confines of the Railway Colony they all live in. Is she looking in the right place? 

Rail Man... a fearless, real-life hero who succeeds in doing all that Babloo secretly wishes to do... is Babloo his inspiration or... is it the other way around? 

A random twist of fate on Mumbai’s endless, serpent-like, jangling local train tracks ties all these characters together in a complex weave of love, heartbreak, and courage. 

Babloo draws the reader into his fascinating, heart-rending journey through the twisted, choked lanes of Mumbai, into an open space where he can finally exhale, be born again.

Rishi Vohra recently relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he had a successful career in the Indian entertainment industry.

Having been a guest columnist for various newspapers in India, he currently writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. This is his first novel.

Babloo is a good-looking, fitness conscious young man who craves for attention from his parents, who is fanatically in love with Vandana, a neighbor and who is also referred to as Autistic. Schizophrenic. Psychotic by the psychiatrists. He tries hard to fit into Mumbai crowd and lead normal life.

Vandana is beautiful, bold and smart. She dreams of a life in America and hopes that someday she makes big in the world of advertising. She is rebellious, progressive-thinking, yet knows her limits.

Rail Man is selfless, fearless and everything a common man is not. He is a Superhero!

Sikander is a playboy. He objectifies women and takes life carelessly. Raghu is mama’s boy. Sonal believes that life is like a fairytale and refuses to face reality; like any other teenager who is fascinated by romantic Bollywood movies and the heroes it portrays. Aman and Sudha as Babloo’s and Raghu’s parents fail as parents. Sekhar and Madhu as Vandana’s parents trusts their daughter and goes out of the way to prove that.

What I think
To begin with, the title of the book is perfect. Then, the book blurb is elaborate and gives an idea of what can be expected.

Something I liked a lot in this book is that the writer has extensively described about Mumbai. I am someone who has never been to Mumbai, yet feel as if I know the place very well. Thanks to all the Bollywood movies I have watched. He has elaborated so beautifully that I almost felt like I am in Mumbai. I feel that Mumbai is author’s first love.

Then, the characterization of each one of them Especially Babloo’s and Vandana’s. In fact, the author has woven a world for Babloo. Often I felt like the Babloo is no one but our mind, our fears buried deep inside and our desire to raise against all the odds. He is our urge to never give-up or accept failure.

Also, the author has wonderfully captured the relationships between Babloo and his parents, Vandana and his parents, Sikander and Sonal, Vandana with Raghu, Babloo and Sikander.

The cover-page is misleading. I wish that the image of that boy and girl could have been avoided.

The story begins as a first person narrative from Babloo’s part. Suddenly. It takes the tone of third person while describing about others and to narrate what is happening in their life. Initially, it confuses the reader and then you get used to it. I wish that the author used the same narrative style. At least, he could have used a different font or used italics to differentiate between the both.

The climax is too clichéd, with a Bollywood style ending.

Should you read it?
Go for it…
Experience Mumbai…
And the narrative flows with ease. You will feel like you are watching a movie.
A perfect way to kill time on a weekend and relax.


Thank you
Jaico Publications for giving away this book for review.

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