Showing posts with label Honk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honk. Show all posts

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sound OK Horn [42/365]

It took me a few months to understand why every public transport in India had 'Sound OK Horn' painted on the back of their vehicles. Why are we asking if the sound is okay with the horn?!
Gradually as India began to sink into me, I discovered the Indian obsession with horns and anything that produced sound.

In the 15 years that I've used a vehicle on Indian roads, it is impossible to miss road rage.
I've mentioned in an earlier post of how musically blessed our drivers are, but every time I get on to the road I feel like I am in a battlezone.

As if proving me right, a recent report of how road rage got out of hand got me thinking. When am I going to be the victim? Not that I've been safe from the brush of death but its just that I've been really lucky.

Our drivers use their horns as an extension of their alter egos. Safe within the cocoons of their vehicles, they toot their horns impatiently and inconsiderately. From the moment they get out of their garages up until they return, an average driver would have honked atleast a dozen times. Statistics apart, I think what makes us arrogant drivers is the fact that we are not ready to wait. We can't wait for the traffic to clear and we reach for the horn almost automatically. I've had drivers become extremely impatient and honk even when they can see that the traffic is piled up for miles ahead of them. I've seen drivers honk when they are in a tearing hurry to zip past, even when you are stuck and can't. I've had drivers so pissed that they've tried running me off the road, only because I could not let them overtake me. I've seen Indians swear and show the finger and generally so angry and irritated. While I can understand how the state of our city roads are anything but desirable, I fail to see how we cannot be little less noisy, lot more patient and tolerant. And this is possible when we don't honk as much as we do.

So I thought what better way to prove my theory but by trying it myself. I took it as a project for the last one week where I decided to not use my horn at all. While it was difficult to resist, I found that I didn't hurry while on my way to work, slowed down when I had to, drove defensively and didn't get as stressed as I would normally be.
I swore much less when that driver cut lanes and within a day or two I could even start smiling again at fellow drivers.  This was incredible transformation!

While I won't advocate a 'No Horn' day simply because such a day is impossible to effectively implement it, I think the transformation will begin when we shed our obsession with sounding horns, one honk at a time.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Traffic Nonsense

Traffic Sense. This is a misnomer in India.
Ofcourse there are towns and cities in India where there is some semblance of order, but it is mostly chaos all over.

I often wonder why we even bother painting lanes on most of the roads since nearly no one knows why they are there. But if I may add, the single most annoying and sometimes terrifying aspect of driving in India is the Horn.

It appears that most drivers use the horn as an extension of themselves. As an appendage that can emphasize their urgency and annoyance. Almost like a spokesperson of indignation. 'You are wasting my time.'

At the traffic lights, it is difficult to imagine how Indians are ever used to waiting or getting late. One Westerner that I met at a traffic stop, was appalled at the amount of noise that we make on the roads. "Its like Indians are not used to getting late!"
'Contrary to what you think, Mr Caucasian. We always come late.' I said to myself

We don't need a Earth Day in India. We need a No Horn day one day every week. That would make a lot more sense.

Not that I hate all of the honkers. Many are plain arrogant and impatient, while some of them are just plain stupid.
I have started classifying the 'types' we meet on road.

The 'Devout Christians'
We have a bumper sticker that says 'Honk if you love Jesus'. And Boy! there are a lot of devout Christians who follow us. Honk! Honk!

The 'I'm Late For My Mom's First Delivery' Folks
We love the ones who weave through traffic with such dexterity and technique, its hard to imagine why we don't have a winning team at the F1. They race. They honk. They weave through traffic and scowl at you for slowing them down for that crucial 1/10th of a second. Only to stop at the traffic lights.

The 'Get out of my way' Folks
And then we have those glorious drivers who drive with a mission. Mission to Kill anyone who is unfortunate to be slow or just plain unfortunate. Its almost like one of those Atari video games that I used to play growing up, where we need to help a rabbit cross a busy street without getting it killed. I almost never made it! 

The 'Grammy Winners'
And then there are the musical ones. No, they dont have the musical horns but its just the way they honk. 
Pee Pe Peee Pee Pe Peee Pe Pee Pe Peee Pee Pe. 
I love this kind the most. Not just because they are musical but also because they are so plain cute and stupid at the same time. And if you observe them, you'll notice that they have the blond look. No expression. No IQ. (Apologies to all the intelligent blonds out there) (No Pun intended)

Two things that money can't buy. Common Sense and World Peace. Its a tragic truth that good traffic sense evades most Indian drivers. 
We've conquered space and technology, but we're unable to stick to a lane.
We're the only civilization that has never invaded another nation but we simply refuse to drive defensively. 
We've fought for our freedom and set an example in history but we still treat other drivers with contempt and disrespect.

What is it about Indians that make us lousy road users?
Horn OK Please

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