Horn Ok Please

Monday, a new start to the week. Monday blues are for real, don’t believe the ones who say otherwise. Its 7:45 AM and time for another long drive to work. And even at this early hour, the traffic moves at a snail’s pace, thanks to the never-ending road work which was intended to speed up the traffic in the first place. The massive oil tanker in front of me resembled an elephant who refused to budge with mahout hurling abuses at someone in front. HORN OK PLEASE was painted in bold letters at the back. I always wondered why would anyone paint such a sign on their vehicles in India. It is like handing a knife to someone and asking them to stab you. We don’t need an invitation, we will honk!

Just I was thinking about this, I was rudely woken from my reverie by the shrill honking of a bus behind me. Back in the day we called it a dog horn which was probably why I felt like abusing the driver with abuses related to the dog family. I didn’t. But he continued. I can neither move forward nor allow him to overtake because of the traffic but somehow I think he was too stupid to understand that. He continued banging the hooter. I decided to give him the dog abuses after all. What a start to the morning, what a start to the week!

These days everyone seems to be in a hurry but nobody seems to be going anywhere. Speeding is not that big an issue in India unlike abroad because the roads and the traffic here make it impossible to achieve any kind of speed. There is no question of going from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds because we never cross the speed of 40 kmph most of the time! But the constant honking definitely is an ear sore. Nobody can explain that incredible satisfaction we Indians get by constantly honking at the vehicle in front of us. It doesn’t matter if there is an elderly person with you, it doesn’t matter if there are kids, it doesn’t matter if there’s a “BABY ON BOARD” sign stuck on your vehicle, it doesn’t matter if you have an L board displayed, it doesn’t even matter if you are an elderly pedestrian trying to cross the road-  people will honk till you move out of the way even if it means walking or driving your vehicle into a gorge by the side of the road. Nobody is bothered if you are near a school or a hospital or places of worship. Our kids can go deaf, the ones in a hospital are anyways probably deaf and God is always deaf to all our problems. So honk away!

If you are one of those fortunate souls to have a house in a locality by the side of the road, you realize that you are not so blessed after all. Consider this. You are stressed and so you decide to take your car out for a spin to relieve the stress. Or you decide to take your kids out for a drive. While backing your car from the driveway onto the road, your fellow drivers will pound on the noise makers and make it impossible for you to move out. They might be 200 metres away but they will speed up just as they see you backing out so that they can cross you before you come out. And once you somehow do manage to move your car out, your drive will probably last 5 minutes before you are stuck in traffic amidst blaring horns all around you. The stress you wanted to relieve would only double and now you can’t even go back home because your car can’t move an inch in the bumper to bumper traffic!

I’ve heard people say that if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere in the world. Truth is that if you can drive in India, it makes it much harder for you to drive in any country which actually has some rules. It is rightly said that in India if you try to keep a safe distance from the car in front you, the vehicle behind you will overtake and occupy that safe distance. But not before it honks the hell out of you. By then you would feel that you were much better walking than driving. It is easy to criticize the authorities for the bad roads, it is even easier to abuse the traffic policemen for not doing their jobs well but when it comes to unnecessary honking, the fault is only ours. Bursting crackers is a cause for noise pollution during Diwali. That is once a year. If it affects you so much, then you should help others by not using that horn in your vehicle for the rest of the year.

Note: On April 30, 2015, the Government of Maharashtra banned the use of “HORN OK PLEASE” on the rear of commercial vehicles on the grounds that it encourages motorists to honk unnecessarily and leads to noise pollution.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

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This is my contribution to #MondayMusings.

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12 Comments

  1. Megan

    Haha! Nice article and very true!

    Reply
    1. Ryan Fernandes (Post author)

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sunita Saldhana

    Doctor ji your blood pressure has risen! But jokes aside, it is really irritating. The signal is red. I cannot move forward. yet the a##ho##s will honk!

    Reply
    1. Ryan Fernandes (Post author)

      I’ll become a hypertensive if I continue driving haha. Thank you for dropping by

      Reply
  3. Akshata Ram

    This is one the biggest reasons I dont drive here- I do have a fear of course but I also think when relaxing in the backset of the cab- there is already so much stress, who wants to get more stressed driving in this maddening traffic? Its really crazy in India, I see how well disciplined people in Switzerland are- will we ever get anywhere closer there? I doubt it

    Reply
    1. Ryan Fernandes (Post author)

      Trust me, I hate driving here too! Given a chance I would walk wherever possible!

      Reply
  4. Meha Sharma

    Great one Ryan. It am usually at my wit’s end with this honking business. People are in such a hurry that they start honking even during red light. It is preposterous at times. The last bit of information was a revelation. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Ryan Fernandes (Post author)

      Thank you Meha

      Reply
  5. vinodinii

    It’s only in India that honking is considered perfectly okay. In most countries it is considered rude to honk and people will actually stop and glare at you if you honk. I have mastered the art of ignoring unreasonably incessant honks when I drive. You’re right, if you can drive in India you cannot drive in any other country! Loved the way you could ingest humour while describing such an irritating situation.

    Reply
    1. Ryan Fernandes (Post author)

      Thank you very much. And I ignore the honking by turning up the music system of my car

      Reply
  6. Shinjini (Modern Gypsy)

    Oh, don’t get me started on people who lean on the horn! The worst are the ones who honk at you when the traffic light is red! I feel like getting off the car, walking up to them, and tearing up their driving license!

    Reply
    1. Ryan Fernandes (Post author)

      Yes so frustrating…. And worse that it’s not going to be solved anytime soon;

      Reply

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