Asian Writers

June is dedicated to authors with ASIAN of books in this category will be posted all month....

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bollywood-ish Masala

** The review of this book was done at the request of the author and will therefore not have any ratings**

Book: Once upon the tracks in Mumbai
Author: Rishi Vohra
Number of pages: 266
Price: Rs. 175
Publisher: Jaico 

The Story

The protagonist of this story is Babloo an autistic twenty something man living in a railway colony, a society that mirrors the typical mindset of the middle class population in the country.  We get a glimpse into the complex maze of Babloo’s thought processes right from the word go, that clearly sets him apart from the other characters.  There is Raghu, Babloo’s younger brother, the cynosure of his parents while Babloo remains virtually non-existent for them because of the perceived differences. Babloo finds a sympathizer in Vandana with whom he falls in love with. Ironically, a marriage alliance is established between Vandana and Raghu by their respective parents.
Oblivious to this, Babloo reaches out to Sikander (the bad guy) to win over Vandana. Sikander on the other hand misuses this trust and hatches his own scheme of things. Frustrated and looking to find a meaning in his life, Babloo becomes Rail Man – a pseudo hero – who saves innocent victims from the clutches of the bad guys.
There is lot of drama and the story is replete with lots of twists and turns to keep one engaged. If you have to know what happens to Babloo, grab a copy of the book from the nearest book store or order online.

The Review

First look at the book cover and I had no illusions on the theme of the book. Unlike the regular books, the cover of this one looked like a Bollywood poster and it indeed has all the ingredients of the making of a hindi movie. There is the hero, the heroine, the villain, fights. Only the songs are missing which is made up by the descriptive writing used by the author.
I was skeptical when I started reading this book, given the below mediocre standards of the recent Indian authored books to hit the book stand. However, first few pages and I knew that at least I won’t have to bang my head over poor editorial and grammatical mistakes.
The story begins at a relaxed pace and then picks up pace as the chapters proceed. The author does a brilliant job in portraying the middle class in our country and our prejudices and social customs.  Vandana’s reactions at being forced into an arranged marriage to Raghu was spot on.  Babloo’s helplessness and his subsequent actions found me empathizing with him.
I didn’t like the ending and found it forced and unnatural – as if there was an urgency to wrap up a lot of things in one chapter which was in sharp contrast to the earlier style that was adopted by the author. For eg. He spends a good two pages to describe the room in the first chapter, but wraps up a year of Babloo’s life in less than 3-4 pages.  
Also the switch from first person to third person narrative was quite abrupt and a little unpleasing as a reader for it disrupted my flow.
If you are looking for a light read, in which you won’t need to tax your grey cells, then you can add this to  your list. If you’re the literary types, this one is not for you.

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