Horns gives real “horns” to cars in today’s traffic. Honking is slowly developing into a “cultivated” science. It is definitely not an art,  going by the way honking has developed over the years. When you go to buy a vehicle, the first question you ought to be asked is, “How good are you at honking?” –Honking is, basically, the vehicle shouting for space where is little or no space at all.

Consequently, the car drivers these days in Chennai (or in any other city) can be classified as the compulsive Honker, the madly compulsive Honker, the terribly compulsive Honker, and the non honker, who doesn’t exist at all. I am looking for a car manufacturer who will give me a car with the horn facility in my car’s rear. For, many a time, I am honked at by my unfriendly neighbour in the car behind, honking endlessly. As if his horn would create space in front of me, for me to go forward. But if I had a rear horn, I would honk back at the heartless honker.

Similarly, these days, many foreign and Indian cars do not have tail lights. They have powerful headlights at the back. That’s right. They have powerful headlights at the back of their cars, covered by a thin Red glass, so that it would classify as a Tail Light. So, if I am following any of these foreign cars, I would go “red” in the face many times – thanks to their powerful red tail lights.

Besides honking, there is a new genre of car drivers called “flashers” – for those of you who are only acquainted with the nude flashers at a cricket ground somewhere in England or Australia, these Indian
flashers are a new breed of car drivers and two wheeler riders spawning the present road conditions. They flash their headlights needlessly during their day, demonstrating their importance. The vehicles ahead, are supposed to take note of these “flashers” and give way obediently.

But my favourite fantasy is this: I am at a traffic signal, and a vrooming bike over takes me and several other cars, the rider mocking at us by “weaving” through the traffic and endangering N number of
people’s lives. After the bike has disappeared round the corner, there is a loud crashing sound. And in a few minutes, I pass the scene : The bike rider, who, so recklessly endangered so many people’s lives, who so thoughtlessly created panic in pedestrians, and who so rashly proved a point with his bike, is, thoughtfully lying down in a huge heap of dung. In his lightening speed, he had not seen the dung heap.
Finally, the reckless rascal has reached the destination where he belongs. In a dung heap.*

(* After losing my elder brother in a bike accident who merely happened to ride his moped around the same time two unknown rascals raced with each other and tripped my brother, I feel a dung heap is
where these kind of reckless rascals belong).


26 responses »

  1. Dear Sir,
    Namastheji. Always I could find time to go thro your mail.The messages are thought provoking ,needed for one’s life to be disciplined.I have noticed many times while I travel every day in OMR..
    Nearly 62 yrs are over since Independence . Will the people change in the years to come. I only wish for the betterment and have some civic sense.Some times back in Hindu I have read how the peop[le move on Roads ( A picture is given).

    Freedom is not FREE one should understand.
    Let me stop here now.
    With regards.

  2. Durga Prasad says:

    A few months back, I was driving along with my friend in Delhi. We were on the Safdarjung fly over in the evening rush. A motorcyclist weaved past us and through dozens of vehicles at breakneck speed . I told my friend ‘Venu, I am not sure where this guy will end up, at his home or at the morgue’. just in a few seconds, we heard loud crash, screeching of breaks and could see the ‘weaver’ flying across the road like a canon ball. He hit the sidewall of the flyover and fell in a heap on the flyover. Had he ‘flown’ a few inches higher, he would gone over the sidewall and fallen on the road below. Surprisingly he got up and started searching for his bike. The lucky chap had just a few bruises on his hands and knees. But there were three cars, which collided with each other and badly damaged while trying to avoid the weaver.

    • Dear Sir,
      So you nearly experienced my fantasy! – Actually, most of these weavers and flashers do it as a macho thing and only when something very serious happens, they realise. By then, it is almost always too late…

  3. Dear Om,

    Honking is something we live with everyday. Nobody bothers about the noise pollution either, just honking away to glory whether needed or not.

    Incidents, accidents like these give a lot of pain. When will these people understand, when they lose one of their own?

    Hoping for realization.

  4. deepika says:

    Nice description of Honking abilities of ours. But its really sad that you lost your brother. These ruthless honkers really get on your nerves.

  5. Geetashree Chatterjee says:


    Superb “honkology”!

    In the capital honking at traffic signals is an offence and the police can paste a challaan on the driver. However, since Delhi is ruled by the simple dictum of might is right, notwithstanding the penalty, honking is blithely resorted to. Most of the times it is maddening as you have rightly said. What does the honker feel? Blaring noise can create space where the population is soaring to crores and the status symbol of families with “decent incomes” is known by the number of cars they possess! When we were young, one car in a family was sufficient. Today every member of the family has to have one car at least. Result, increasing on-road traffic!

    When metro happened to Delhi, we breathed sighs of relief, thinking now the congestion on road will be less. Dreams! Now the metro is choc-o-bloc anytime of the day with equal number of vehicles if not more on road.

    But the biggest nuisance on road are the bikers and two wheelers. In a city where ace-driving signifies zipping through the narrowest available crevice on the bumper-to-bumper congested roads, the bikers and the two wheelers are the formula one racers. Sadly, the number of accidents with them is the largest.

    Amidst this mad frenzy I have tried many a times to drive but failed miserably as in the NCR only jungle rule prevails on the roads.

    It is unfortunate that while we try to create space by honking for ourselves on these busy roads , the frantic signals of an ambulance and fire brigade go unheard.

    Ironically, the mad rush comes to a sudden peaceful halt, that too during peak office hours, when the convoy of the PM or other VIP entourage glide through the city making the office goers wait for aeons!

    That is the “roadscape” of the capital of the biggest sub-continent!

    • Thank you, Geetashreeji,

      Your comment actually supplements my write up, and it looks almost a continuation! 🙂 Thanks!

      I would only like to add that in most of our cities, no provision is there for two wheelers – in fact, in many places in Chennai city, they have DONE AWAY with footpaths in the name of expansion of roads! (as if people in those areas will never walk) Today, if people want to embrace Chinese ways and take to cycling, they just CANNOT do it on Indian roads! – because they will be seen only as a nuisance by all. But proliferation of cars takes place without any limits because cars are seen as “symbol of modernisation” whereas cyclists are seen as “symbol of backwardness” in the peculiar Indian mindset. Besides, in the mad melee of cars and motor bikes, cyclists can get lost, literally.

  6. D.selvaraj says:

    dear sir,
    Your anger at the rascals is absolutely correct.Touching blog. Learnt a lot.

  7. A.Hari says:

    Dear Om, Really sad to know that you last your brother due to a road accident. I know several such very cruel accidents where innocents died due to such rash driving. My neighbour who was waiting in signal met with a serious attack (i cannot call it an accident) by a rash driver who came from opposite direction. He was hospitalised for several months and he had no money for hospital or household. But somehow he survived.

    In another case my colleague’s wife & sister were both killed by a lorry when they were travelling in a two wheeler.

    None of these people have claimed any compensation, despite my repeated suggestions and offers for help. Drivers may have escaped punishment also…

    Another lady in our office lost her husband when a advertisement board fell on him while he was waiting for bus, several years ago. No one was punished, No compensation given…

    We simply tend to curse our fate and move on….


    In besant nagar beach, I see motor cycle racing competitions being conducted on busy roads during week ends, No one seems to bother.

    • Dear Hari,
      I cannot agree with you more when you say, “We simply tend to curse our fate and move on…” – In the other cases you have mentioned, as long as we KNOW the identity of the vehicle or the driver (such as vehicle number) it is easy to complain – but what can we do when that is not the case? In my brother’s case, some eyewitnesses saw two bikes zoom on both sides of my poor brother, who was riding his bajaj sunny moped. There were many eyewitness versions, like one, he did not fall down immediately, but the shock of being nearly hit, took its toll, two, he fell down just after the bikes passed – three, that one of the bikers tripped him – but we are not sure. But none of the eyewitnesses could give the bike numbers, because it happened so fast.

  8. Devjyoti Barooah says:

    Hi Om,

    I think dung heap is still being kind :-).


    • Yes, DJ, I know. In my own mental anguish, I don’t want to be very harsh by the norms of civil society – which is why the dung heap qualifies as the worst, I guess.

      Thanks for dropping in. 🙂

  9. vimala ramu says:

    One thing that struck me about in US was that Horns are hardly used. The cars keep zooming at a great speed and traffic signals are observed . The only time the horn is used, I was told, was when you want to inform the driver in front something about his being in a wrong lane etc. Here in India it irritates me to see honking behind us when the green light has just come on. So long as people take it as a macho thing, these road stunts will continue to take innocent lives.

    • Vimala Madam,
      How nice it would be in India if here too people use horns only occasionally! – Your observation about the horn being used in the US only when they have to inform the driver in front, sparked a thought in me – many a time, I have thought, how nice it would be to have a backside display system in the car (some car manufacturer might actually do it, or perhaps it is already there) where I can type something so that the car behind can read, something like, ” Don’t think only you have horns, buster! the cars behind you also have horns!” – or something like that! – especially when they honk at me from behind!

  10. Sonal Shree says:

    Its really sad that your brother lost his life for no fault of his but that of the speeding bikers.
    Honking is a major problem in India even near hospitals and schools. Its absolute mess to be caught in a traffic jam with horns blaring continuously.
    Civic sense is severely lacking
    Well pointed out.

  11. Shernaz says:

    Good lord, Om! I could have written that blog (but for the last paragraph), except that it wouldn’t have been so well expressed.

    • Shernaz,

      Thanks for the encouraging compliment. The fact that I lost my eldest brother to a stupid, meaningless biker who sped away (eyewitness later told) makes me feel so angry at these speeding bikers, and it equally makes me feel sad.

  12. beyniaz says:

    Good blog, Om. The same chaps who horn with abandon in India, would not dream of doing so abroad, where they are heavily fined. No wonder so many are turning deaf prematurely! Shameless flashers and weavers through heavy traffic should get their come uppance in the trash like the guy in your blog. I have no sympathy for those who don’t have civic sense. You can educate a new generation but you can’t inculcate them with common sense which seems to be very uncommon!

    • Thanks, Beyniaz Madam.
      Every day, I find dozens of bikers doing this “weaving” thing which is so dangerous for others on the road. I feel so angry at these people who take others’ life for granted. As you rightly said, you can educate a new generation but you can’t inculcate them with common sense.

  13. Mira Pawar says:

    You are absolutely right….dung is where they should land if they cannot adhere to traffic rules! Good share….

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