Journalist Rajat Ubhaykar’s book describing his journey to the extremes of India via trucks is one of the best books I read this year. Even the thought of attempting such an audacious journey is one that would never cross our minds. The author here spent months doing just that.
When we think of trucks, it is not typically an image that is associated with anything positive. Those hulking machines that annoy us when we drive down highways, or the disreputable nature of the human beings that drive them are the primary associations most people make with trucks.
Rajat’s book does not attempt to sway your mind with too much of his own commentary on the state of these things. The book is above all a driver adjacent account of his entire experience written with honesty and care.
Ecommerce has changed so much about the way we shop in the last decade. Trucks are at the heart of this change and yet we have so little respect for the humans who drive them.
The book let me see so many things in a new light. Truck drivers everyday face innumerable odds in getting from one destination to the next. Dealing with corruption, the threat of robbery and owners who are trying to extract the most value per mile from their trucks are just some of the issues they face. They are cogs in a vast and complex machinery of the road transport system of India.
Adding to their woes are the months they spend away from their families to be able to earn a decent living in this profession. Through the drivers and their journeys across distinctive regions of India it also showed me how deeply, different cultures can affect humans who are in the same profession.
This is a book that does not just relate the lives of the truckers but takes you on a unique cultural journey as experienced through their eyes.