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Peggy Lee on the Radio

The NH5 is a trucker’s highway; it runs from Chennai to very nearly Calcutta, bypassing most of the cities it comes across, choosing, instead, to traverse miles of marshland and baked earth: not one of your charming Bombay-to-Goa hauls, this one; there isn’t anything as friendly as a Coffee Day in sight, and you’ll have to content yourself with unlit shacks by the roadside if you want a bite to eat. There aren’t even many of those. As you drive, you pass hundreds of lorries, unseeing and unaware of you in your matchbox car, trudging methodically, repetitively ever onward under the pitiless Andhra sun, like giant, rolling alien-ants: after a while you start to wonder if they’re not really the same lorry over and over and over yet again that you’re passing, hour upon hour in the empty land that separates the corners of this never-ending country.

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