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Truck de India!: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Hindustan

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4.44  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  24 reviews
"...a travelogue rich in feeling and insight." Mint

"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
...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Simon & Schuster India
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Seemita
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who wish to meet India on her roads.
When I was young, I used to look forward to my summer vacations and the trip to my hometown – this trip was such a big deal not just because it would take me to my grandma (aaie) and allow me to binge and smother my face with freshly plucked home-grown mangoes but also because it would take me through the highways and the little known roads of Orissa, bringing its teeming vein to delightful, eclectic life.

A wanderer’s elixir. A vagabond’s shelter. The road.

And it is a towering member of this
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Rakhi Dalal
“Gaddi jaandi ae chhalanga mardi
Mainu yaad aaye mere yaar di”


(The truck goes hopping
And I miss my beloved)

The one image that I have always associated with the thought of truck/ goodscarrier on Indian roads is a boisterous Punjabi driver driving the truck in abandon while singing this song in full throttle. Part of the reason lies in my spending my early childhood years in Punjab and part in being enamoured by the bitter sweet song which is as much about love as it is about lamenting the
...more
Veeral

Before I write what might pass for a review, there are a few things I want to confess:

The author, Rajat Ubhaykar, has been a Goodreads friend of mine for years now. But in no way this review is influenced by this fact. I was neither provided a copy to review (who would in their right mind?), nor was I asked for a review by the author or the publisher.

So how come I came across this book? Well, I remember Rajat mentioning a few days (months?) back on a general post by him here that his first book
...more
Anushree Rastogi
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Before I write a review of this book - let me make a few things clear. I have known Rajat for the better part of the last decade. However, books are my first love and I take each one very seriously. Hence, this review is my personal and hopefully, objective belief.

When Rajat told me he is planning to travel with truck drivers across India and write a book about it - I was concerned and sceptical. Concerned for his safety, comfort and sceptical because what if the book is not good enough - no
...more
Rakesh
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
To see India from the perspective of a truck driver is a fascinating journey.
Vivek Kulanthaivelpandian
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, india, travelogue
Truckers are like the nutrition carrying blood in the veins (Highways) of any nation. They keep that nation healthy and alive . Their stories are worth telling.

But Indian trucker’s stories MUST be told and I will tell you why.

I have been working in the US based Diesel Engine manufacturing company for the past 15 years and I have a little bit of insight on the trucking world here.Also I have a strong love for trucking and lot of respect for truckers. Unlike Indian Road transportation department,
...more
Mohit Parikh
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Highly recommended.

***

How much did I know about Hindustan? Every now and then I paused while reading the
...more
Suman Joshi
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books-read
Most stories of the marginalised sections make it at best to academic papers or the one off movie . Here is a humanised account of one of the most reviled set of people - the truck drivers . The author does this not by sifting through documents or hearsay but by actually hitchhiking across the length and breadth ( almost) with many of them . What’s more - in the process of his journey he also chronicles the history, society, food and economy of the place . It is also interspersed with witty one ...more
Parth
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am glad to have had the opportunity to read Rajat’s Truck de India recently. It’ll go down in history as a very important document on the transport business of this era, which in itself would be an esoteric document had it not also been an analysis of our corruption and the ways in which the informal economy offers employment to our countrymen today. Truly, for the working class, nothing has changed, though the roads have gotten better (in some places) from post-independence India.
I was
...more
Anton Wuis
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found Rajat Ubhaykar’s book in a small bookstore cum cafe in Delhi and almost instantaneously reaches for it. It turned out to be one of the best spontaneous decisions I have made.

As a stranger traversing India’s endless yet enthralling highways, you are oft to wonder about the lives lived along the arteries of this unending country, especially during the long darks of night. Rajat not only brings these individuals to live, but also elaborates upon the economic and social-economic intricacies
...more
Aman Bapna
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book filled with facts/knowledge spread over a unique and exciting experience.
Ashish Kharloya
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Disclaimer: I have been a friend of the author since I first met him in 2008.

Truck De India is a colorful travelogue, peppered with interesting titbits of history and info about the trucking business, and seasoned with a range of memorable personalities. It is the story of one man exploring the massive landmass of India while hitchhiking with generous truck drivers. On this journey, the author and we readers learn about the nitty-gritties of the truck driving business, meet a variety of players
...more
Mudit
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A refreshingly honest account of a city-bred Indian's tryst with the unfairly ill-reputed community of truckers, Rajat's simple yet rich language virtually takes you to a highly perched cabin of a truck cruising through the highways. His conversations with the truckers give one a glimpse into the extremely harsh times that truckers go through on a daily basis and the bits and pieces of romance that they hang on to survive such a life. The book does a great service to the truckers' community by ...more
Michelle D’costa
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Original. Loved it. I don't usually read non-fic but this was a delight. Accessible. Ubhaykar as the narrator manages to be the spectator throughout and brings his characters alive in the book. There's no condescension, no solipsism. Must read for all.
Jahanwi
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well-researched account of a much less documented aspect of the economy, interlaced with a rare mix of chuckleworthy anecdotes, as also profound reflections. ...more
Sadiq Kazi
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just my kind of travelogue. A narrative filled with empathy coupled with hard facts and economics of the micro-economy of India of early 21st century, this book will make you take a new look at truck drivers...and ensure that you will never swear at them if you happen to be overtaken by them on the highways. :-)
niraj
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Right from the driver's cabin

Wonderful and fresh perspective on the Indian Highways; keeping the art of travelogues alive.
Great work Rajat Bhai.
Thanks a ton!!
Sagar Yerunkar
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truck de India gives a great insight into the backbone of the goods economy of India. It addresses stereotypes most of us have of truck drivers in our minds and hits them out of the field.. sorry.. out of the stadium.

Rajat's experiences narrate the lives, trials, bigheartedness, addictions and personalities of the stereotypes we have made of truck drivers. Not only truck drivers, reading the book changes the way you look at trucks - figuratively and literally. Just today, I caught myself today
...more
Sayantani Dasgupta
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful. Thought-provoking. Filled with keen observations of the road, historical research and colorful characters. Exactly the kind of book one needs at the start of the year.
Roopak
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Truck De India is a refreshingly honest account of Indian truck drivers, who are the wheels on which India's economy runs and at the same time, are a much maligned lot.

The author's hitch hiking trip takes him across the length and breadth of the country where he experiences first hand, the daily lives, travails and perspectives of these outcasts of the India story. Local history/folklore and excerpts from writings of medieval travellers have been beatifully woven into the narrative.

The
...more
Pranav Nagarkatti
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Superb work!! An eye opening piece of literature about truck drivers and the trucking industry.Definitely worth all the time!! Excellent first book, waiting for many more.
Roopak
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truck De India is a refreshingly honest account of Indian truck drivers, who are the wheels on which India's economy runs and at the same time, are a much maligned lot.

The author's hitch hiking trip takes him across the length and breadth of the country where he experiences first hand, the daily lives, travails and perspectives of these outcasts of the India story. Local history/folklore and excerpts from writings of medieval travellers have been beatifully woven into the narrative.

The
...more
Kevin Desai
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic travel experience. Wish I could just get out and travel more of India. In a truck nonetheless. While the experience was a unique one, the story felt disjoint and not cohesive in parts. The language felt like the author tried a little too hard. But I'm ignoring those things just for the amazing stories about trucks, truckers, Indian roads, transport and Indian people essentially. Great one!
Isable Lightwood
Excellent read and great insight

I loved the journey undertaken by the author, made me feel part of the trip. The only grouse I have ( if I am allowed to) is the flow, it does not hold on to my curiosity all the time. The book felt sketchy at many places.

Overall though it was an amazing ride. Thanks
Shivam Kimothi
rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2019
Anushree Rastogi
rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2019
MarinaCastro
rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2020
Rohit Srinivasan
rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2020
Ganga Madappa
rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2020
Robin Bansal
rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2020
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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 ...more