Book Review #60: Rail Romance

Name: Rail Romance
Author: Krupa Sagar Sahoo
Translated by:  Priya Bharati
No. of Pages: 238
Genre: Fiction/Railways/Social Narrative
Publisher: Platinum Press (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing)
Price: Rs. 249/- 
Published in: 2018 

How did I get it? From the publisher. 

THE BLURB SAYS:  
This book depicts the Indian Railways, part and parcel of the life of every Indian. The first part is a curious housefly’s account of its journey on the Coromandel Express. Eager to see the world beyond its habitat, the fly sees many different places and people before the train is halted in the face of a super cyclone. What happens to the passengers? How do different people react in the face of disaster? Does anybody come to their aid? Can they resume their journey?

The second part is a collection of fascinating threads interwoven into a beguiling narrative:
 
• Why did the daughter of a Station Master vanish from the colony one fine morning ?
• How a Station Master is tormented by a cobra’s presence in his quarters?
• Why a tea stall contractor invites the wrath of a Commercial Officer?
• What happened to the coolie apprehended during a security drive? 
• Does the rodent elimination drive end in success or disaster? 
• Does the future son-in law of G.M Sahib get special treatment from the Railway staff? 
• How an old lady and a newly married girl display similar emotions when confronted by their spouses. 
• What happened to the family stuck in traffic congestion; do they make their train?

The author, a retired Railway Officer, brings out the joys and woes, victories and failures of both railway main and rail users in a delightfully humorous style. The eventful journey on the Coromandel Express and the other stories about railway life, are bound to keep readers happily engaged to the very last page. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 
MY THOUGHTS: 
Railway journeys in India are always colourful and interesting. With lakhs of people traveling everyday, trains and railway stations are full of traveller stories. The writer having served in the Indian Railways for thirty-four years, has experiences relating to both sides of the coin, travellers as well as the employees.

The book is a collection of one story and ten short stories. The first story, “Journey on the Coromandel Express) carries us in a train journey through the eyes of a housefly. I really enjoyed the following short stories:

  • “The Gypsy Girl” – While trying to help a girl in need, a railway officer’s personal life gets ruined by rumours.
  • “Curse of the Cobra” – Getting a cobra killed, kills the peace of mind of a railway officer.
  • “The Son-in-Law” – The prospective son-in-law of a senior railway official attracts unwanted attention.
The translator, too, has done a commendable job of translating from the original language of composition, Odiya to English. Apart of a couple of visible inconsistencies in reference within the same story, it is a smooth translation. Keeping the author’s style intact in translation is no easy task.
 
I give “Railway Romance” 
 

 

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