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Saturday, December 08, 2012

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


The author wrote to me with a request to review his book and I agreed for a very simple reason. It has been some time since I have read anything emotional so I was thinking of picking up something along those lines. When the review request for this one came up and I read the cover blurb, it was a quick one to decide.
I enjoyed reading the book as it gave a perspective of the protagonist who is suffering from autism and hence ignored by most or taken advantage off, if not being made into a clown for their personal entertainment.

He leads a life wherein he is completely ignored by his family and gradually he learns to keep himself out of their sight to avoid trouble. He then chances upon an event which changes his life and gives meaning to his otherwise non-existent life.

He is noticed and talked about … but is this really happening. Are people really talking about him or someone else?
There is a nice set of regular predictable day-to-day characters which are believable and provide the various curves in the story.
The autistic protagonist has a family with parents who have given up on him and a younger brother who gets the attention and love and respect since he is the worthy son and earning member.

A neighbourhood girl who always talks sweetly to our guy and our guy obviously loves her but doesn't tell. A neighbourhood cable wala youngster who is a womanizer and has his eyes on the sweet girl … and other girls with whom he gets hanky panky. The girl's parents of course and a host of other characters who play their role in moving the story forward.
And yes, besides all these, there is Rail-Man (yes … he is a super-man, spider-man kind of '-man') who saves people in distress near railway line (hence the name) who attracts a lot of media attention and has an influence on the key characters of our story including the protagonist and his sweet girl. As any good Samaritan is treated; he is also 'wanted' by the police for making them look stupid by doing their work of protecting people from the elements. They would like to arrest him and put him behind bars to teach him a lesson for taking the law in his own hands (even if that was to protect people).
The book was a good read overall. A simple story with some interesting events, mostly predictable, some unpredictable. Made for a good light reading and yes, it doesgive some food for thought for those who would indulge in it. One thing which disappointed me (and I don't think it is the author's fault) is that I expected an emotional story which this novel isn't. The story does not move you emotionally nor will it bring a tear to your eyes. I had begun reading this with that assumption and hence the disappointment. 
Of course, alls well that ends well. The story ends on a happy note with things falling in place and the protagonist living life happily ever after… which was not very easy to digest. I would have preferred a more realistic ending. But I guess, the Bollywood effect on the author worked him into writing a 'happy ending'.
Disclaimer: The copy of the book was provided by the Author for review … but then, that hasn't influenced the review in any way. You can know more about the book and its author on the website www.RishiVohra.com

1 comment:

  1. Exactly.. the effect of hindi film industry can be seen through-out the novel.


    My review of the novel, Once upon the tracks of Mumbai, by Rishi Vohra - http://jigar-doshi.com/2012/12/once-upon-the-tracks-of-mumbai-novel-review/

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