This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.
The title ‘Billionaire Cabbie’ is by a first time author Balbir Singh Sethi. Balbir, is an ex-student of REC/NIT Srinagar. He has had his long innings as an Engineer, that later turned him, into an Exporter. Since then he has retired and given the reigns to his son. In a span of 74 years, he has gone through many ups and downs. The book is an outcome of an episode that he witnessed during his travel to Jaipur, where he chanced to see a lady, necking a taxi driver. The taxi was ahead of his car and that was the spark for writing his first book, says the author.
The beginning of the book has a customary caution note that the book is a fiction and has no bearing with any person dead or alive. But to me, it appears as someone’s long fairy-tale of success, written as fiction.
‘The main protagonist Bobby loses his father in the final year of his school. His dreams are big and he accomplishes his dreams with sheer determination, hard work, and honesty. He meets Ruksana in his journey and she becomes his wife in real life. Bobby amasses wealth but loses his ladylove in between. This makes him amass more wealth until he realizes one day that he has had enough of it. He then decides to see life from ground zero, and starts driving a cab incognito.’ The back cover of the book stops here, and so will I, as I don’t want to be a spoiler since the book has been published only recently. The publisher is Notion Press. The price of the book is Rs 150, and is available, in all online stores.
There is no preface to the book which I feel is a must as you do get an overview of the plot with a preface. You also get the main reasons for the author to write the book, the central theme the underlined message that the book carries till the end, that ultimately impacts the reader. And the author is best suited to write his own preface which he hasn’t done here. The preface makes the reading of the book even more interesting as you’re modestly aware of the turf that you’re treading and what to look for, in the book. Preface is something like a movie’s trailer or a preview.
I found the book to be quite a Bhanumati-ka-pitara, a mixed bag. It has tragedy, a determined struggle, towering success, necking and sex in abundance that could have been refined or toned down, in fact, in certain pages, one gets to feel as if, too much sex is eating into the plot, and you’re in for a surprise, considering, the age of the author which is 74 in lighter vein. Then it has that sleazy link between politicians and businessmen, the highs and lows of the stock market, death, crime, kidnapping, and chief protagonist Bobby’s attempt to see the world as a cabby. It is a yester-year story written in the backdrop of Bombay now Mumbai. The story after the initial tragedy appears too good to be true till half the spine, and only brings about, the vicissitudes of life, thereafter. The book takes off only after the first hundred pages. The build-up of Bobby’s character wanes in the second half of the book.
The author has delved deep into minute details, at times irrelevant, and has used lucid English, and largely, short sentences, being his debut novel. The author could have avoided using the same words in quick succession to keep the freshness of the flow of language. As an inveterate reader one does get the feel as if, it’s the author’s own veiled account. His description of Srinagar is excellent having done his engineering from there. Hopefully the author will bring in refinement of tone and tenor in his second book.
The book is not very meaty and delivers in a little over two hundred pages. Well if you’re a college student or just into your career you’ll enjoy reading about the young lad Bobby who without any Ivy-league qualification goes up the ladder in his career starting with grunt work.
Since it’s a debut book written by a seventy four year old author, I admire his spirits, and would give the book seven out of ten as a college student. Best of luck for his second title.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh. Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).
ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY
(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)
AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES
(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)
REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD
(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)
TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN
(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
RHYTHM … in poems
(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)
Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; Indica, 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; Happy Days, November 15, 2020; The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15,2020; Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021;
(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)