Rishi Vohra's 'Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai' simple yet deep: Book Review
The similarity of the name of the book, 'Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,' to that of a famous Bollywood movie, is not the only mirror effect between these two worlds. The author, Rishi Vohra in his debut novel, has married the literary and the celluloid world in a well packaged love story. From the book cover, title, to the story, everything is filmy. This, however cannot be taken as a negative aspect of the book, as it makes for a fun read about two characters, who have desires, passion and are lost in the real world- much like most of us.
Rishi Vohra sketches the protagonist, Babloo, as a social neglect- one who is not important and thought of as an "Autistic. psychotic. Schizophrenic....." In spite of these so called lacks in his personality, the readers start loving Babloo. The fact that Babloo loves fully and burns with a passion to do something big with his life, is easily identifiable.
More importantly, this character, which does not understand the hurriedly spoken words, makes the readers question, 'are we losing out at all, if we do not understand the myriads of words thrown at us each day of our life?' Vandana, Babloo's love interest is another character, who challenges the norms of the society. She is not rebellious, yet she has this wild streak, which is so admirable.
The layers of the characters and the story do not make the book heavy or pseudo intellectual. On the contrary, the language is simple and it flows after the first few pages. The introduction of a superhero (spoiler alert) keeps the narrative interesting and poses many more questions. Initially, one would breeze through the narrative, but after the book ends, it lingers in our minds.
The book has a slow beginning and takes time to gather steam, which can be said to be the only negative thing in the entire narrative. It is a good pick for a flight or a train journey.