Perspectives: An interview with Author Rishi Vohra

Rishi AirportABOUT THE BOOK

“AUTISTIC. PSYCHOTIC. SCHIZOPHRENIC….”

For the twenty four years of his life, these are some of the words “they” have used to describe Babloo. He knows his family agrees with “them” and he senses that he is different. He doesn’t hate people; he just cannot find the right way to connect with anyone, be it his parents, his arrogant upwardly-mobile younger brother or the bad boys from the Railway Colony who use him purely for entertainment value. Vandana is the only exception. She is the connecting thread to the kind of world he wants to live in. But how can he find a place for himself in her world? ‘

Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai’ is a work of alternative fiction that follows Babloo’s fascinating, heart-rending journey that begins in the twisted, choked lanes of Mumbai and leads him into an open space where he can finally exhale, be born again!

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. After featuring as a guest columnist for various newspapers in India, he currently writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai’ is his first novel.

1. What made you write a novel?

I felt I had a powerful and entertaining story to tell.

2. What do you consider to be your greatest success? 

Bringing a wonderful child into this world – my daughter.

 3. What have you learnt from the U.S.A considering you spent a large part of your life there?

That everyone is equal.  It’s your character and personality that defines you, not your financial background, class, caste, religion, or gender. 

4. Describe your book ‘Once upon the tracks of Mumbai’ in 5 words.

Powerful, entertaining, and a good read!

5. Do you think the western audience can relate to your book?

‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai’ is a human story.  So anyone can relate to it since, as adman Prahlad Kakar’s comment appears on the cover, – “You’ll find bits of yourself in this book.”

6. Did your education help in making this book a reality?

My education gave me the confidence to put this book out in the world.

7. How far have you gone (what is the most you have risked) to help a cause?

I picked up a bleeding accident victim at one am on the streets of Mumbai, while people just drove past him.  I took him to the hospital.  He died at 5 am in front of me.

8. What is your idea of a perfect world?

A world where everyone is educated, employed, and housed.  So essentially, a world where everyone feels somewhat on an equal footing.  And of course, no wars or corruption in any nation.

 9. If there was one thing you could change about Babloo (the protagonist), what would that be?

I would want him to have a family and environment that was sensitive to his problems.  In India, there is hardly any education on how to deal with such disabilities.

10. Are you doing something to save the environment given that you have a Master’s degree in Environment?

Of course!  And I think everyone should!  We need more awareness on this to be communicated to people.

You can find more about this book and the author on his Website Rishi Vohra

Forgive & Forget

Being in possession of a forgiving nature is a true gift. Few have it and fewer value it. Forgiving is the most difficult thing for most of the people including me. It takes a lot of courage and understanding of the inner self. Brave (read noble) people always preach about keeping a forgiving nature. It is easy for them because their “senses” are in their control. We sadly lack the power to control our meager 5 senses that God has given us.

Ego prevents us from making the right decisions in life. Very often the heat of the moment ruins everything. We act on our anger and ego’s behalf. To forgive is to show that you are strong. People will not like it. They will still imply that you have some hidden motive behind it, let it be. You are not here to prove yourself as a person. We are living each day to learn. With forgiving comes happiness because right now there are innumerable people you still haven’t forgiven for years. That box is locked up in your mind and is rattling whenever things go too quite inside. Break that box and throw it out of your mind. You are only accumulating negative energy there. Not a good thing, is it?

We say that we forgive, but in reality we don’t. So the next step after you forgive a person is to forget about it completely. If you are able to recall that you have forgiven someone then trust me you haven’t. Engage your mind in more productive things in life rather than keeping an old useless grudge. It will give you nothing in return except for a bad mood. Keep control over your emotions. Don’t let someone else affect you in a negative way. Understand that it is only You who can make changes in your emotions and life. No one else can drive the car of your life. You are the driver and trust me you rock at it. Obliterate something which is not worth remembering. Leave behind only footprints of forgiveness in the sands of time which the water can wash away easily because that is the attribute of a truly noble person.

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.
-Bernard Meltze