"Once Upon the tracks of Mumbai" by Rishi Vohra - eNidhi India Travel Blog

"Once Upon the tracks of Mumbai" by Rishi Vohra

I received this book- "Once Upon the tracks of Mumbai" from its author on Friday afternoon and  it made a perfect weekend reading. The novel is written by Rishi Vohra. By Sunday evening, I was done with the reading. Below is a quick review.

Once upon the tracks of Mumbai is about an individual, Babloo, who is physically strong, has strong sensors but has some mental disorders- he can’t process information at normal phase and is very slow in reading/understanding/ speaking. Because of this, he is neglected by his peers and family. The novel goes in first person to explain how his days went, how his thoughts ran and how he handled various situations. Eventually he appears winner. Besides the main track of Babloo, book revolves around an ambitious & sensible but family bounded girl Vandana, villain character Sikandar, middle class and upper middle class families of Railway staff and the life around railway tracks in general.

The good side: 
The story revolves around the railway tracks of Mumbai. Author’s expertise about Mumbai’s railway network, particularly around South Mumbai is evident in the book. Characterization is good, adult content is well under control. Out of curiosity I tried to confirm if road from Prabhadevi to Bandra passes through Mahim. It did.

Plot is fairly unique. It is not the everyday love story, no big hero-villain fights. Because of uniqueness, it is very difficult to predict what happens next, since you wouldn't have read similar stories in any other novel.

If you have anyone around you who is not mentally normal, reading this book helps understand life from their perspective. Even if they're not like everyone, they'll certainly have some strengths. They also need some consideration & attention.

Book also tells you it is not easy to be a superhero. A real life superhero can't practically be everywhere all the time and he'll have his limitations in terms of timings, transportation etc. So becoming a superman or Shaktimaan is not easy in real life.

A downside:
I felt first half of the novel bit slow. The book did go through in detail to set the context and detailing is good, but for me it happened at the cost of being clueless as to what is all this about. It took me 30 pages to get a general sense about the characters. The key word, RAIL MAN, on which entire novel focuses on, appears only by middle of it. I don’t intend to complain, but I feel it helps to set the context in first few pages (or in back of the book). In “Once upon the tracks of Mumbai”, I learnt that it had something to do with railway tracks of Mumbai (due to title and cover), but too me long time to grasp the theme of the novel. Editing off some 10-15% from first half of the book could have helped. I could continue reading without losing interest (since context setting around Babloo's character was good), but someone who doesn't have patience might stop reading, if first few pages doesn't generate any interest or give an idea what it is all about. This is my personal opinion. On the contrary the climax was too fast, everything falling into place within few pages. 

There was no mention what happened to the file Babloo took home from Railway police office- did he return it after being reprimanded?

Once upon the tracks of Mumbai is published by Jaico Books and is priced at Rs 175. Do read for a different experience. Book is 266 pages long and can be read over a weekend in couple of sittings. I feel it also makes a good plot for Madhur Bandarkar movie. RIshi Vohra has done a good job in his maiden novel and I wish him luck for subsequent novels. Mumbai now has a monorail- may be author can focus his next novel around it. You can learn more about the author at http://rishivohra.com/ 

Image taken from Author's website. I'm now reading "Arranged Love" by Parul Mittal.


  1. Nice review..... Will try to read this one.....


  2. I am reading the book and soon will be out with my review. I enjoyed your review non the less :)

  3. Yes, the novel was a bit slow-paced and it could turn off some people..
    but it was a delightful read. especially the research put in by the author was commendable.
    also, good english sans any grammatical errors wins more brownie points for a debutante. :)

    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/

  4. Thanks Debopam, Ghazala Hossain and Jigar Doshi


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