Sunday, February 10, 2013


The society is inflicted with a strange disease - the disease of looking down upon people who are differently abled. Despite a whole lot of awareness than earlier times and an increase in the general sensitivity to the issues of mental and physical disabilities, the differently abled still have a lots of odds facing them. The novel 'Once upon the tracks of Mumbai' gives us a glimpse into the lives of one such person. 

The protagonist is autistic, schizophrenic as well as psychotic. His hallucinations as well as odd behaviour puts him into a whole lot of public glare, humiliation and mirth. We are privy to the tumultuous shades his life goes through resulting from a lack of inclusion from everyone including his own family.  With this disorder is Balwant Srivastav aka Babloo who lives an isolated life and is happy in his own world. His family rarely interacts with him and their indifference stems from the lack of awareness of his infliction.  The only thing that keeps him going is his interactions with Vandana. This lady in turn has her share of inner troubles and wants to break free from the shackles of middle class living and yearns for a soul mate.

Due to this lady, Babloo strives to better himself. The story gets a new boost with the entry of Rail Man, who is portrayed as a super hero and a do gooder. The entry of this character sets the tone of the novel and is practically a turning point. Besides the main characters, the story comes alive with the side characters like the lively taxi driver Manjeet, the parents and relatives involved etc. There is also a villain and a small sub plot that is integrated into the main story. It also talks about how young girls are mislead and taken advantage of.

The books ends nicely with an unexpected twist, though its "All Well that Ends Well".

The review would be incomplete without a special word about the author. Rishi Vohra, the debutante novelist has varied experience and is a certified wine specialist. How cool is that? His style of writing is lucid and the narration is quite engaging. I especially loved the fresh perspective from him on the differently abled. My special thanks to him for sending me the autographed copy for a review. For more information about him, do look in to his website

Now for the yays and nays !

Yay to :-
  • A lot of first person narratives.
  • The real hero of the film is the railway tracks. For it is the tracks that gives a boost to the protagonist and the Rail Man.
  • Refreshing and engaging read.
  • Author's ability to keep the story real and stay clear off becoming judgmental.
  • The story brings a lot of hope and sunshine.
  • It also talks about how neglected children could turn out in real life.
Nay to :-
  • Would have loved it to have a few more sub plots and a bit more racier.
  • The end could have been more realistic. I found it a little cliched and typical Bollywoodish.
Final Word :-

“I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”  ― Jerry Newport

Author    :   Rishi Vohra
ISBN        :  978-81-8495-305-3
Price       :  INR 175/-
Publisher :  Jaico Publishing House
Category : Fiction
Recommendation :  Thumbs Up !


  1. The Best part of book is that it does not bore you and book is much refreshing compared to those in stands....All the best Rishi Vohra