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

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  442 ratings  ·  114 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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Start your review of Truck de India!: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Hindustan
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 ver
...more
Em Lost In Books
My first travelogue and what a way start reading books from this category. In a country where food, culture, and language changes every hundred kilometre, who knew it better than people who drives night and day to keep this billion people country work. Their work remains unappreciative at most of the times and they are looked down upon because of the misconceptions we have about them and this line of work. So this book was an eye opener on many levels in terms of these drivers' lives, what makes ...more
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 distan
...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 on
...more
Gorab
Aug 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"It only takes a yearning for adventure, after all, and a thumb, pointed in the right direction."

One of the best travelogues!!!
Wish the author indulges in more such adventurous ventures and shares more delight :)

Has all the elements.... non fiction... facts... trivia... food... emotions.... bribery and other underbelly... hospitality... background stories...different parts scattered across India.... and what not!

Highly recommended!
...more
Vivek Kulanthaivelpandian
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india, 2019, 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
Girish
Aug 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
"Travelling is as much about unlearning as it is about learning, when long-held prejudices wither away in the face of empirical evidence"

Loved the concept and execution of one of the most novel travelogues written in recent times. Rajat decides to cover the country from Mumbai to Kashmir to Kohima to Kanyakumari hitchhiking in the most important and sterotyped transportation - Trucks.

I enjoyed the author's command over the language and the witty observations. Sample this
"Genuinely authentic fo
...more
Sairam Krishnan
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly original travelogue. I enjoyed it immensely, and loved the way it does what only the really good travel narratives do - tell you so much more than what you dipped into them for. It deals with heavy subjects but does so with a light, human touch, not masking things and not sentimentalising them either.

The people we meet are a wondrous, resolute bunch, for whom life is an endless journey. The strength, resolve, and instinct for fun they possess are heartwarming, true, but in their tough w
...more
Vartika
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travel is always fascinating, doubly so when you've been trapped indoors for over a month — when all the comforts of home take the shape of exasperating confines. What makes Truck De India! the perfect read to dispel the quarantine blues is its bracing exploration of an uncharted and much maligned territory — the lives of India's truck drivers.

Equipped with journalistic curiosity and candour, author Rajat Ubhaykar sets out to travel the length and breadth of India by ingeniously hitchhiking w
...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.
Deepika
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been following Rajat’s reviews here on Goodreads for many years now, and they have always been compelling and more often than not I’ve found my pockets lighter after reading his reviews. This is therefore one book that I picked up with utmost confidence – who doesn’t want to read about a somewhat lost boy on a journey to discover India with truckers?

What I loved the most were the character sketches of the truckers he meets – warm, lively and vivid – it really brings alive the person in fr
...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
Pooja Bhoi
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In times of quarantine, how about a virtual long truck drive? Being on the roads again, breathing, feeling free and just traveling endlessly. The book and its content, at some level feels dreamy now. I already miss the parts of India I haven't even been to. This country has so much to offer and the book showed a glimpse of it, and it was enough for one to feel nostalgic. ...more
Tanuj Solanki
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21-century, 2019, india
It seems that Ubhaykar is the perfect mix of foolhardy and erudite -- foolhardy enough to undertake the adventure that is the wellspring of this travelogue, and erudite enough to lend weight to whichever observation he selects to include here. Recommended to all Indians on my list.

(More later)
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
Tarun Karamshetty
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
The book starts off really well but loses steam in the middle and the end.
All in all, a good book about a less talked about profession in the country, a profession I was always fascinated about.
Em*bedded-in-books*
One of the best books ever this year, a wonderful travelogue, an excellent exploration of the various facets of our wonderful country .
I had this in my TBR for long , but opportunity arose only when this was one among a set number of books I was to read for a 2 month old team challenge with close biblio friends.
Bought it online and started the day i got it in my hands.
Was hooked from page 1.
This book totally changed my view of truck drivers ...who till now, especially in medical profession ar
...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 fasci
...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 g ...more
Shyam Kodavarthi
May 31, 2021 rated it did not like it
It's a book about travelling through India by truck. The author comes across child sexual abuse by truck drivers. The author then proceeds to justify and normalise the behaviour. I found it disgusting. I quote a savage statement from the book - 'Infant mortality was common, so parents learnt not to get too emotionally attached to their children.'

The author should have called the police. If he was not in a position to call the police, then he should have walked out. That's what I did in Madagasc
...more
Aditya As
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: side-deck
Book did disappoint me. It lacks a sense of adventure as we always feel the writer is protected and out of danger in good hands. And almost all the stories and accounts are from the past of Truck drivers, so we mostly disconnected from the story happening.
Nilanjana Haldar
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Gosh, this writing is sooooo beautiful!!!So beautiful! Every choice of word and phrase are galatically accurate, the best one can decide on a moment-to-moment basis for a written piece. One more thing---> In my opinion whenever a review is made, I believe it must baseline itself from the starting point of what the author intended for the novel and then assess if the author fulfilled that. This in my opinion is the most understanding review ever, where one's judgements isn't exactly personal but ...more
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
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
Indrani Sen
Jul 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india
I LOVED this book so much
Aman Bapna
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book filled with facts/knowledge spread over a unique and exciting experience.
Revanth Ukkalam
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
This is the sort of book that I had always wanted to read. Something that lay outside the circuit of tourist brochures and guides. Something personal and one that adds perspective. The book is obviously personal on so many planes: it retains the individual of the author and charts conversations with individuals. It reminds us that a nation is made up of people and places are its people. The key to understanding the world in this book's way is to imagine communities, persons, and an entire countr ...more
Aditya
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Loved it, even though the second half of the book is forgettable. The writing style is beautiful and at times I felt like I was myself in those trucks. I think the author fell out of love for hitchhiking and trucks by the end which is why the book became slightly tedious in the latter half. I look forward to reading more of Rajat.
Priyanka Soni
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Good read if you want to know how the truck drivers live their day to day lives
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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, Hindustan Times, Scroll.in, Outlook Business, Roads & Kingdoms, and Madras Courier. He lives in Mumbai, and spends h ...more

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