September 1, 2006

Hitchhiker – reveals the shameful state of Indian Society

Filed under: Book reviews — Celia Rexselin @ 2:21 pm

I thought it was just another novel, where poor boy meets rich girl, falls in love, gets thrashed by girl’s bad daddy and finally manages to marry his sweetheart.

Hitchhiker starts on a similar note telling about Ebenezer, the poor boy. To make the situation more complicated, he is a poor dalit Christian boy. He lives with his father (a christian school’s watchman), mother and little sister. Being of lower caste, his father Peterraj had converted to Christianity hoping that he can somehow get rid of his untouchable status.

As the story unfolds, one gets to know the inside-picture of a Church, its management and how caste plays a major role. Here, I should really applaud Vinod (the author) for having been realistic in his approach. He has given each and every character a humane touch. Even the hero (if I could take Ebenezer as hero) is not a do-gooder, fights evil kind. As I kept reading, I got a feeling that this character is for real.

Ebenezer and his group of friends (super six) are in XII standard and are studying for their public examination. Each one comes from a different caste and has a dream of his own. While Ebenezer is hopeful of getting into an engineering college but wonders where he would get the money from, Leela Krishnan being a forward caste worries whether he can get admission in engineering colleges thanks to the reservation system. Though the story is gross, here and there the author presents some laughs by telling about Teachers Johnson-Angela’s romance, how Leela Krishnan gets teased with classmate Chitra and how Ebenezer’s friend concentrates on eating ladoos more than studies.

During a holiday, Ebe goes to his hometown Thenpatti to visit his grandparents and get his mother and sister back home. A communal clash happens there and his mother and sister get killed. Ebe receives fatal injuries and because of this, he misses his public exam. Then he manages to get a diploma and meets a hindu politician’s daughter and falls in love. Whether their love succeeds or not, what happened to Ebenezer’s beliefs forms the rest of the story.

At one point, I thought that the author was really dragging the story by telling about too any characters. But as the story moved, and characters were etched, I could really empathasize with each character. The story is not a thriller or romance or even family drama kind and would certainly disappoint a reader who is not interested in social issues. But the story has its own drawbacks as well. The english is indianised and one can see that the author has taken pains to describe each and every incident. However, I feel that a little bit of editing would have made the book more crisp.

But overall, if you are someone who would like to know about middle class in India, our caste system, what is happening here in the Christian society, THIS IS THE BOOK TO READ. PERIOD.

[Update: As many of my friends are asking me this information, I thought I might as well put it on the blog. Hitchhiker is sold in various book stores in India – Crossword, Oxford Book Stores, Gangarams, Landmark etc. It is also available on the following e-stores:



  1. Period! Im reading it as soon as you ship it to me

    Comment by SQ — September 1, 2006 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  2. As far the your concern about Indianizing, or Indianised reading, I think thats what makes the Indian authors differ, But Im not sure what kind of language is being used, If I even get a hold of it I’ll write a critic’s books review just for your sake.

    And Im glad that they have many chracters these days, because as far as I knew, Indian Authors always liked to have few authors, and that my friend had to change, and I’m glad it did atleast in this book!

    ~ hopin to read it ~


    Comment by SQ — September 1, 2006 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  3. few *characters* typo..

    Comment by SQ — September 1, 2006 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  4. Great! Thanks for the sharing the info. Let me see if any of my friends can get that for me from India. BTW, is it available online!?

    Comment by Prasanna — September 2, 2006 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  5. @SQ – Dey, I have one copy da. Do you want me to ship it to you?

    @Prasanna – I am not sure whether it is available online. I got a publisher’s copy and thats how I got to read it. Will check here and let you know.

    Comment by Bindu — September 2, 2006 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  6. wokay ship it!

    Comment by SQ — September 3, 2006 @ 5:16 am | Reply

  7. //But overall, if you are someone who would like to know about middle class in India, our caste system//

    itha padichu thaan namma therijukanuma 🙂

    Comment by Syam — September 4, 2006 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  8. I agree with Syam(the internet-Cho, hopefully not in hairstyle too :D)

    Comment by thetalkativeman — September 4, 2006 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  9. hmm any pointers on the author, is it an Indian guy, then must read ?

    Comment by Venks — September 5, 2006 @ 5:03 am | Reply

  10. @SQ – Hey, I have posted the links here.

    @Syam – Illa. You should definitely try this book.

    @thetalkativeman – Syam, internet chovaaa? Enna idhu? sollave illa?

    @Venks – Yes, he is an indian guy. Try it out.

    Comment by Bindu — September 5, 2006 @ 6:08 am | Reply

  11. Bindhu

    AS I was browsing the web and looking at websites I came across a blog which was speaking about CASTES in India

    Here it is

    Note: I\’m not associated with that blog, just wanted to point you there

    Just a Passer by

    Comment by passingby — September 5, 2006 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  12. TTMAN, internet-cho enakum puriyala 🙂

    Comment by Syam — September 6, 2006 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

  13. listen, i emailed the address
    send it. 😀

    And thank you.. >:D

    Comment by Nanyaar? — September 7, 2006 @ 2:51 am | Reply

  14. ada paavigala enna thaan internet cho nu solreengala…ippo thaan teep lite erinjuthu 🙂

    Comment by Syam — September 7, 2006 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  15. Well…read NAMESAKE by Jhumpa Lahiri if you like reading abt Characters 🙂

    Comment by harish — September 7, 2006 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  16. dont worry, this will soon reach the Indian schools by becoming a non-detail text in English

    Comment by Usha — September 9, 2006 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  17. lol @ USHA

    Comment by Nanyaar? — September 10, 2006 @ 5:09 am | Reply

  18. Hi all!

    You can also purchase this book titled “Hitchhiker” (by Vinod George Joseph) now online. This book is available at the cheapest price on the net i.e. $13.5 only. Its original list price is $15. Now you save your $1.5 money.

    To buy this book online you can visit Indian Books and Indian products store at:

    Hope this will help those buddy who wants to read this interesting book.

    Comment by Vineet — July 5, 2007 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  19. Hi Nice thing, It is good because of you are expressed your feeling here, it is the matter of boldness otherwise no body have courage like it ………..

    Comment by ricky morlie — November 6, 2007 @ 9:13 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: