Book Review Truck De India

Relive Rajat Ubhaykars adventure-bound journey from Punjab in North India to the Southern-most tip in Kanyakumari, as he hitchhikes with trucks on highways
Book Review Truck De India
Book Review Truck De India

&ldquoMaalik ki gaadi, driverka paseena, chalti hai sadko par bankar haseena.&rdquo If one line could encompass this entire book, this would be it. Loosely translated to &ldquothe owner&rsquos car, the driver&rsquos sweat, she struts on the highway like a belle,&rdquo this calligraphy on a truck is probably doing rounds of India&rsquos highways as we speak. Rajat Ubhaykar&rsquos Truck De India is a journey into the gentle giants that rule the country&rsquos highways, fuelling the economy night by night.

Starting in Mumbai, the book travels with Ubhaykar through Rajasthan and Punjab, Haryana and Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland, and finally down to Kanyakumari, with only the vast ocean left to traverse. His stories of hitchhiking with truck drivers&mdashand their khalassis (helpers)&mdashinterweave with the on-ground logistics of the trucking industry, from the law to the norm.

Over a month-and-a-half on the road, we are captivated by the kindness of strangers and the generous lives that exist within the trucks that we let pass us by. Raju&rsquos refreshing&mdashand cringe inducing&mdashnaiveté, Jora&rsquos resilience, and the Simba- Timon-and-Pumba-esque camaraderie between Chhotu, Hari and Ramu are just a few moments that put a smile on our face while the book has many.

Ubhaykar is not a journalist interviewing his sources here, he&rsquos merely a pit-stop on the journey of life that these truckers have embarked upon. Some abandoning him unceremoniously, while others forming a friendship for life.

&ldquoI will wait for the next time I chance to travel with these large-hearted sovereigns of the road,&rdquo he wrote &ldquoI suspect the day isn&rsquot far. It only takes a yearning for adventure, after all, and a thumb, pointed in the right direction.&rdquo

As for me having read this book, the yearning for adventure lies in peering into the cabins of the trucks I see pass me by on the busy Delhi roads. Where has it come from Where is it going What are they carrying Does this ustad have a khalassi Maybe one day I&rsquoll be able to answer these questions too, with a backpack and thumb in tow.

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