Review: Once upon the tracks of Mumbai by Rishi Vohra

Title: Once upon the tracks of Mumbai 
Author: Rishi Vohra
Pages:  272
Publisher: Jaico Books
Genre: Fiction
Release: 2012
Author's website:
Buy the Book at: Flipkart

 "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.
~~NO Spoiler~~


To begin with the Cover:
It indeed looks like a typical Bollywood Movie poster (though the story is far from typical Bollywood-ish) but when you compare it with the usual Indian Author's book cover, who usually go for animated or silhouettes, this one stands out. Since The story and the Title revolves around the Bandra railway tracks of Mumbai, This cover is quite apt. I happen to like this cover, It gave characters the faces, and as a reader, I like it when I know how my characters looks like instead of being faceless in my Mental Movie. :) , If the Rail Man was also there on the cover with his black smeared face and acid-holed shirt. A hazy picture of Rail man would have added feathers to the cover.

This story will make your heart hurt, will make you smile, will take you to the edge of your chair, make you angry enough to punch someone or something (Or the society), will make you giddy. Now, aren’t these the signs of a Good read?
For a Debut Author, Rishi Vohra has crafted this book Finely and is worth turning the pages and diving in until the end. Narrative tone is smooth, fresh, and easy. I deem it necessary to mention that the book is perfectly paced.

This is the story of middle class families, their lives, their dreams but with a TWIST. Now that's what I like, The TWIST. Book Starts as Balwant Srivastav aka Babloo opens his eyes for a new day, but there is nothing new about his day or nothing happy. He is the protagonist and most of the story is from his eyes and mind.
"I never Communicated with any of the residents who only cast scoffing glares in my direction, And they never made any effort to chat with me."
  Babloo is an elder son of a middle class railway junior clerk, He is different & his family and the society is always their to remind him that. Life for Babloo isn't easy, for being an Autistic, people don't get him and it frustrates him. To me he seems like a sea. Calm from outside but there is so much going on inside, his mind is a different place altogether, His thought process is very detailed, once a strong wave comes, it's difficult to calm him dawn, he observes and remembers even better from normal humans, but has a problem expressing it so he usually have a conversation in his head.
"I know what it was like to have inconsiderate parents. Had I been there, I would have helped her."
He is courageous, super-hygienic, someone who can't see wrong happening, likes to watch B-grade films (but is still innocent at heart) and is absolutely in love with Vandana.
Vandava Gupta, a confident girl with big dreams in her eyes and compassion in her heart. She is a modern yet traditional smart girl, caring, a good friend, open minded, lives in the Bandra railway colony where Babloo lives as well And is the only person who understand Babloo and is the only connecting thread between Babloo and the real World. For Vandana, Babloo wants to be worthy enough.

The Rail Man, a name given by the society, a super hero according to 'them' but for himself, just a person who can't stand wrong, courageous enough to stand for it, strong enough to fight the evil encircling the railway tracks of Mumbai, smart enough to save the victims and human enough to do all this for humanity but not to take the credits. He is just the person Babloo wants to be. Babloo who has suppressed anger for the evil doers and yearns to change it. Will this Rail Man break or make Babloo??

Through Babloo, Author has high-lighten the darker corners of the society where society probably sympathizes but never truly understands and is eager enough to pass judgements. Through Vandana and a side character Sonal, Author emphasized how some naive girls are taken advantage of by debased men , and how they should be put in place. How depraved boss tries to take advantage of their employs. I liked how Vandana closed that chapter on the right note (you'll know when you read it :) )

The side characters:
Raghu, younger self-centered silly brother of Babloo, who never tries to connect with Babloo, is coward. Sikander, a typical Mumbai Lofar who woos girls with his false demeanor for his benefit. Babloo's & Vandana's Parents, with typical Indian mentality where marriage and well paid jobs are priority, but have redeeming qualities.
 I appreciated author's more realistic approach rather then exaggeration. Climax is a bit unpredictable, exciting and have power to invoke emotions And the Ending is very good. Couldn't have been better.
I would personally love to see this story in motion for it was NOT the typical sleazy, creepy romantic book but a refreshing new approach. 
4 strong coffee cups!! Enjoy
Signed Copy, Yayy!!!
 All in All I enjoyed thoroughly reading it. My heartiest regards To the Author for sending me the autographed copy.

About the Author
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. 
Find the Author
Twitter | Website | Facebook
Visit for more information.


  1. Dear Ankita,

    Thank you for the review. Really appreciate it. Glad you liked the book!


    Rishi (Author)

    1. Hello Rishi

      It was an absolute pleasure reading it. It was refreshing.
      Thank you for stopping by. :)


  2. Heard so much about this book from fellow bloggers, I will buy it when I'll visit India. Will read it with a strong cuppa coffee...:)

    1. Hey Saru.... thank you for stopping by :)
      Please do buy it. You won't be disappointed. with both, the book and the coffee...


  3. Enjoyable and appealing review...:)

  4. I completely agree with you on the cover! It does look like a movie poster, and compared to other Indian book covers, it's different. I like it too. I'm so glad to know that you liked the book. It sounds great. And you have a signed copy, thats simply gorgeous!

    Lovely review, Ankita! :)

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  5. Hey Sarika,
    Yup A signed copy is indeed gorgeous!!! I somehow knew readers like you that includes me will like it... :)
    Thank you dear for a sweet comment... :)

  6. @manjulika I like your take on the book as well.. glad you liked mine :)



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