#19 – Rajat Ubhaykar (Journalist and Author of the book – Truck De India) – Hitchhiking 10000kms with Truckers of India and writing for a living

Rajat Ubhaykar
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In this episode, I’m talking to Rajat Ubhaykar who is a journalist and author. His first book “Truck De India” launched in late 2019 and since then it’s trending in top travel books in India. In this book, he shares his 10000km hitchhiking adventure throughout India with Truckers. He documented the lives of truckers, the highway economy and busted a lot of myths about truckers.

In this conversation, we talked about his book, his writing process, a lot of stories he actually lived through while on this crazy journey, including an insurgent attack in northeast India

It was a great experience talking to Rajat about his own story and his documented journey called “Truck De India”.

So without further adieu, please enjoy this conversation with Rajat Ubhaykar.

Links and references from the episode –

People mentioned –

  • Dharini Bhaskar, Editorial Director, Simon Schuster India
  • Rahul Dravid (Ex-Indian Cricketer) – His role model

Books mentioned –

Films mentioned –

App mentioned –

Interesting references –

  • Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski
  • Sainik School, Satara – where he studied
  • Difficult challenges while hitchhiking with truckers –
    • Irregular eating and routines
    • Brutal Heat in the Truck Cabins
    • The sleeping routine was a mess
    • Pee and Poop routines were restricted to Dhaba’s public toilets and on the way hotels.
  • Chewing tobacco was one of the most common addiction he found in truckers
  • In some parts of Punjab and Rajasthan Truckers have opium as a common addiction
  • Trucks in northeast travel in convoys of 200+ escorted by para-military forces. It’s very common on this Highway – NH39
  • Many times Petrol Pumps are not functioning and women sell diesel and petrol on the roadside in plastic bottles.
  • 2015 he travelled north, east and west India and 2018 in his second leg of the journey he travelled to South India.
  • Few of Rajat’s Published Articles –
  • GST – Goods and Services Tax launched in India on 1 July 2017 in a historic midnight (30 June – 1 July) session of both the houses of parliament convened at the Central Hall of the Parliament in India.
  • GST made it smoother for truckers while crossing state borders.
  • Weird signs on Trucks (he saw in his journey)
    • Malik ki Gaadi Driver ka Paseena, Chalti hai Sadko par Banke Haseena
    • Iraq ka paani (on diesel tanks)

Quotes mentioned –

  • Where there is a will there is away.
  • All kind of physical endurance has to be derived from Mental endurance.
  • For truckers, breakfast is never breakfast, it’s usually brunch.
  • Fortune favours the brave.
  • Writing is torture in general, writing anything. Trying to get stuff out of your head in a coherent manner and then editing it. It is all very unnatural in away. It requires a lot of discipline and will power. When you start off on a book-length project, you don’t see the end, it’s very easy to be overwhelmed by the entire task that is in front of you. I broke down the big tasks in small pieces and make it seem doable. But then the book keeps evolving when you start writing. So it’s a very organic and evolving process. So it’s best to keep your mind open.
  • 80 Per cent of Success Is Showing Up – Woody Allen
  • When I was having a writing block, I used to go and read more.
  • We like to think that we are in control of our lives, but I think a lot of it is not in our hands and it is all serendipity and luck.

The ways you can connect with Rajat Ubhaykar

You can buy his book “Truck De India” (Click book cover below to go on Amazon.in) –

This podcast is brought to you by audible. I love audiobooks and I’ve been using Audible for years. Whenever I’m commuting to work and back. Almost always I’m listening to a book. Because I don’t get as much time to read as I would like to. Audiobooks help me read books in a whole new way.

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Previous episodes along with show-notes available here.

Credits and License:

My awesome intro background – The Real Broadway Musical by Narch and Dan Mace (Thanks guys)
Outro background – Tight Shorts – Andrew Applepie

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