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Truck De India

Nominated | Book Awards 2021 |

Truck De India

Full Title: Truck De India: A Hitchiker's Guide to Hindustan

Author: Rajat Ubhaykar
Publisher: 

Award Category: 
About the Book: 

"The share auto I squeeze into next seems unusually vulnerable after a night in the truck - too compact, too low down. Perhaps, these are the usual side effects of prolonged riding with the king of the road, I think to myself. But it is only when I fill in 'truck' as my mode of transportation in the hotel ledger at Udaipur does the utter ludicrousness of my endeavour truly hit home"

Think truck drivers, and movie scenes of them drunkenly crushing inconvenient people to their gravelly deaths come to mind. But what are their lives on the road actually like?

In Truck De India!, journalist Rajat Ubhaykar embarks on a 10,000 km-long, 100% unplanned trip, hitchhiking with truckers all across India. On the way, he makes unexpected friendships; listens to highway ghost stories; discovers the near-fatal consequences of overloading trucks; documents the fascinating tradition of truck art in Punjab; travels alongside nomadic shepherds in Kashmir; encounters endemic corruption repeatedly; survives NH39, the insurgent-ridden highway through Nagaland and Manipur; and is unfailingly greeted by the unconditional kindness of perfect strangers.

Think truck drivers, and movie scenes of them drunkenly crushing inconvenient people to their gravelly deaths come to mind. But what are their lives on the road actually like?

In Truck De India!, journalist Rajat Ubhaykar embarks on a 10,000 km-long, 100% unplanned trip, hitchhiking with truckers all across India. On the way, he makes unexpected friendships; listens to highway ghost stories; discovers the near-fatal consequences of overloading trucks; documents the fascinating tradition of truck art in Punjab; travels alongside nomadic shepherds in Kashmir; encounters endemic corruption repeatedly; survives NH39, the insurgent-ridden highway through Nagaland and Manipur; and is unfailingly greeted by the unconditional kindness of perfect strangers.

Imbued with humour, empathy, and a keen sense of history, Truck De India! is a travelogue like no other you've read. It is the story of India, and Indians, on the road.


About the Author: 

Rajat Ubhaykar trained as an electrical engineer at IIT Kanpur, and went on to study journalism at the Asian College of Journalism after a stint in management consulting. A recipient of the PoleStar Award in 2016 for his reportage, his work has appeared in publications such as Mint, Outlook Business, Roads & Kingdoms, and Madras Courier. He lives in Mumbai, and spends his spare time reviewing books, collecting trivia, and exploring India's archaeological sites. Truck De India is his first book


Excerpt: 

"The share auto I squeeze into next seems unusually vulnerable after a night in the truck - too compact, too low down. Perhaps, these are the usual side effects of prolonged riding with the king of the road, I think to myself. But it is only when I fill in 'truck' as my mode of transportation in the hotel ledger at Udaipur does the utter ludicrousness of my endeavour truly hit home"

Think truck drivers, and movie scenes of them drunkenly crushing inconvenient people to their gravelly deaths come to mind. But what are their lives on the road actually like?

In Truck De India!, journalist Rajat Ubhaykar embarks on a 10,000 km-long, 100% unplanned trip, hitchhiking with truckers all across India. On the way, he makes unexpected friendships; listens to highway ghost stories; discovers the near-fatal consequences of overloading trucks; documents the fascinating tradition of truck art in Punjab; travels alongside nomadic shepherds in Kashmir; encounters endemic corruption repeatedly; survives NH39, the insurgent-ridden highway through Nagaland and Manipur; and is unfailingly greeted by the unconditional kindness of perfect strangers.


Review: 

Rajat Ubhaykar’s Truck De India is fun, refreshing and sweet. Suitably subtitled ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Hindustan’, the author escorts us on random truck rides across the ‘cheek of our nation’ in a spirit of journalistic inquiry but also with a childhood fascination and a sense of adventure. The result is a delicious cocktail that you want to both savour and drink down in a single sitting.

This book is not going to leave you thinking you know much more about India, truck drivers or the highway economy. It is going to leave you with a good feeling of how less you know about your own country. How, no matter how old, well-traveled, well-read you become, it is always going to marvel you should you be willing to keep your eyes and ears open.
(detailed review on goodread


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