Saturday Coffee Interview with Rishi Vohra


Over this SATURDAY COFFEE I have Invited The Author Rishi Vohra for an Interview. His Book 'Once upon the tracks of Mumbai' has hit the market in late 2012. It was a refreshingly fun and smooth read. Packed with Train whistles, family drama, romance, Love, scandals, super hero, fiction and action. It is the story I would like to see in motion.  (Check out the review HERE)

Source :

: Hello Rishi, it's a pleasure to have you over Saturday Coffee, How would you like your Coffee?
Rishi : Thank you for inviting me here, Ankita!  I'm excited about chatting with you on Saturday Coffee!  My coffee - strong and sweet, with a splash of milk!

1. Me : Would you like to tell us about your journey of being an author?

Rishi : Ankita, I had never planned to be an author.  I sat down to write a book while I was working in Berkeley, California (before starting my MBA) and enjoyed the process so much that I finished it one go, over several months.  On the insistence of people who had read it, I started pushing it for publication in the U.S. while I was doing my MBA.  After a year or so of rejection letters, I rewrote the entire book and then turned towards the Indian Market.  At the time I was unaware of the popularity that mass fiction had garnered back home.  Several Indian publishers came forward and before I knew it, I was an author!

2. Me : What was your first piece of writing? Published and non-published.

Rishi : Published – a guest column that I wrote for a Times of India supplement or the press release of ‘Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kya’ - I don’t remember which came first.  Unpublished – school essays!

3. Me : Every Mumbaikar must feel well connected to the story because of the proximity of the railway tracks. How are you connected to it, the railway tracks of Mumbai.

Rishi : I have grown up in Mumbai and used trains throughout junior college, from Bandra to Churchgate, even till the present day.  One train ride gives us so many observations, and with each station we notice a change in the city’s urban landscape and lifestyle.  I have spent a lot of time in and around Bandra Station, local trains, and the tracks, and therefore have a connect with all three.

4. Me : What was your inspiration for an Autistic protagonist Babloo. His character and thought process is well detailed in the book, for that you must have done extensive research. Please share that as well.  

Rishi : Well Ankita, I have an older friend who has disabilities similar to those of Babloo.  We spent a lot of time together and talking to him gave me the idea for Babloo’s character.  On the other end, I had created a character Rail Man – an unusual hero.  Then I had to find a way to connect these two.

San Francisco State University (where I completed my MBA) had a renowned Psychology dept.  I met with the faculty who, at my request, put me in touch with students with disabilities.  These interactions over several months, along with extensive academic research, helped me shape Babloo’s character.

5. ME : What is your favorite place for thinking? why?

Rishi : I like thinking in a silence space, the place is immaterial.  I found that ideal space in Berkeley.  In Mumbai, I find myself struggling for it.  Silence is a luxury in this city.

6. ME : What was the hardest part & the fun part to write in the book? and the most memorable part?

Rishi : The hardest part was to write in the first person, from Babloo’s point of view.  I had to do this really carefully keeping in mind his mannerisms, body language, and frame of mind.  The fun part was the drama!  The most memorable part was when Babloo kisses Vandana.  By the time I reached that part, Babloo had become a real person to me and it was really touching to see him finally achieve a milestone that people usually reach very early on in their lives.

7. Me : Any advice for the aspiring authors?

Rishi : Keep reading.  Keep writing.  You need to believe in your story, before you can get publishers and others to.  In addition, write only when you have a story to tell. Otherwise you will find yourself getting lost in the process.  And lastly, keep observing around you and keep the learning process ongoing - it will reflect positively in your writing.

8. ME : Would you like to enlighten us on your upcoming book.

Rishi : It’s set in the Hindi Film Industry and features real characters that I have met during my time in the reel world.
9. ME : Tell us the authors you would like to chat with over Coffee (living or dead).

: William Shakespeare, JD Salinger, Salman Rushdie, S. Hassan Zaidi, Robin Sharma, Charles Bukowski, Leo Tolstoy, Munshi Premchand.
10. ME : I am going to give you a name & you have to describe them in One word/few words.

Rishi :  Sure

(a)Vandana – vivacious, beautiful, passionate.
(b)Babloo – unique, different, innocent.
(c)Sikandar – slimy, sneaky, stylish.
(d)Sonal – na├»ve, pretty, attractive.
(e)Autisim – Intelligent & perceptive.
(f)Mumbai railway tracks – endless, dependable.
(g)Piracy – unfair, criminal.
(h)Rail Man – A person who exists in every Indian.


Me : Thank you Rishi for stopping over Saturday Coffee for my blog. Once upon the tracks of Mumbai is an amazing book and can’t wait to read your next work but before leaving, give us your favorite quote from your book.
Rishi : Thank you Ankita!  It was great chatting with you!
My(Rishi's) favourite quote 
“No one understood the dual existence of ‘him’ and me that made me the person I am. Only the railway tracks that ran along outside my bedroom window knew the both of us individually. The endless, idle wooden planks connected by durable steel had formed a fine segregation between my fantasy and reality.”
Please Visit to know more about Rishi Vohra, His book 'Once upon the tracks of Mumbai', book characters, Videos and Contact Info.

Hope you Enjoyed it as much as I did. Keep looking up to Saturday Coffee for more fun Chats. 

PS-- This interview in conducted over an Email.


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