A season of exodus

A truck ride through J&K in our special series, The Highway Economy

Photographs by Ozzie Hoppe

The sun is high up in the sky and a column of dilapidated trucks trundling past kick up an opaque cloud of dust, enveloping everything in a fine layer of golden brown grime. I discover the muddy imprint of a dust-sweat admixture when I wipe my forehead with a handkerchief. The mercury has easily crossed 40 degrees Celsius here at the Transport Nagar along the NH44 in Jammu — a vast unpaved transitory home for trucks — much to everybody’s discomfort, and the ferocious sun beating down mercilessly is making my head throb. This must be the forewarnings of a sunstroke, I think, and plod to the nearest watermelon stand.