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(3 min read)
Sunday's Episode: Truck de India

Dear <<First Name>>,

In today's episode, we talk about a book that is an offbeat, unique, heartwarming travelogue: Truck de India!: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Hindustan by Rajat Ubhaykar. One page before the prologue of this journey begins, there is a quote of Steinbeck's that aptly defines both the journey and this book:
"We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."
- John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)

In this quirky journey, Rajat Ubhaykar begins a trip that he describes as one that "evoked eager expressions of interest in polite social meetings, and prompted incredulous snorts in more frank ones". What happens when he decides to write about his experiences of hitchhiking on trucks exploring India through its   highways? Readers get close  to thirteen beautiful pit-stops of some of the most genuine and heartwarming accounts of those men who literally drive the force of Indian economy.

And yet, truck drivers are usually demonized as people continue to view them with a lens of unaccounted fear and a preconceived notion of their "deviant" nature. Starting out, Ubhaykar records the jouney in three phases of when he travelled: Mumbai to Srinagar, Nagaland and Manipur, Mumbai to Kanyakumari. 
From overloading of trucks to the ghosts that haunt the highways, the stories of Karnail, Shekhawat, Jorawar, Raju, and the many others who are kind enough to give him a ride, are never-ending. What I loved the most is how the author has not just narrated the stories, but has added rich context to them through a strong sense of historical references, research, and cultural explanations.

As he hops from one ride to another, speeding on the highways of Hindustan in Express trucks 'ekdum Rajdhani ki tarah', so does our heart, as we understand a little bit more about the parallel lives of those who make sure our commodities reach us on time with every passing chapter.
I think the best thing about the book is how it brings a little empathy inside of us, slows us  down a tad bit more before quick judgement of these men that we see from afar as we pass through the highways, and entertain us with incredibly honest stories ranging the wide breadths and the long lengths of this country. It introduces us to another side of India that we barely know.

I loved small album of beautiful photos that the book comes with, connecting us to this journey that much more. I'll tell you my favourite chapter: 'The Ustads of Sirhind'. However, I am not going to spoil it for you by detailing the chapter. Maybe, if you read it and let me know, we can have a conversation on that!
Next time I go on the highway, I see a truck, or I see a truck driver, it's not going to be through the same lens. And, that is the beautiful effect of this fresh and delightful travelogue.

Do give it a read, I absolutely loved it. And, let me know any other travelogues that you loved reading!

What to look forward to? This pandemic has shown us and forced us to appreciate the unimaginably brave front Doctors put up, but the truth is they always have put up a brave front. So, let us appreciate it a little more and discuss Cuts and Bruises- a collection of soul-stirring stories from surgery school by Dr. Shivam Pandya. This one is short read, but a moving one. Stay tuned!
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