Monday, December 31, 2007

The secret language of Horns

Over the years the traffic in my beloved Vadodara City has become extremely congested. And I don’t think the problem is the aabaadi. Clearly, the problem is the aabaadi of cars. Most of the roads I care to traverse just aren’t built to accommodate cars. And each car displaces about five two-wheelers. The consequent unfavorable people-to-vehicle ratio results in some nasty gridlocks during rush hour.

For the most part this doesn’t affect me because I refuse to use my parents’ car (or its obdurate driver). Instead I scoot around on the Honda Activa that Pappaa has kept around for my visits over the years. Seated on a two-wheeler, you get to insert yourself in impossible spaces between cars and get ahead one foot at a time in even the tightest of traffic gridlocks. Its amazing how much distance you can cover a foot at a time.

This annoys the car drivers no end –I’ll often get a gaali, a tongue cluck or a glare from someone behind a glass window. The best way to react to this is to lift the hood up from your helmet and smile very widely. Then continue to see if you can bend your scooter into the “L” shaped space left between the ricksha and the truck.

And with all of this comes the honking. Initially it was an ego thing with me to not use the horn and thus join the swarming masses. Later I realized I was missing out on some tremendous social interaction via horn. Thus as I started closely observing honking patterns I came to realize the potential of its rich vocabulary.

Here are some of the many honking words I encounter (and emit) on a daily basis.

Beep: Hello
Beep-Beep: Good Morning
BEEP: Out of my way!
BEEP-Beep: I’m still waiting for you to move!
BEEP-BEEP: Move, Balad! (Reserved for Buffalos or particularly slow pedestrians)
Bipbip: Aunty, is Chandu home?
Bipbipbipbip: Crap, I’m out of control, run!
BEEEP: Yawn. I’m bored.
BEEP-BEEP-BEEP: Stop glaring. YOU are the one WALKING on the ROAD!



Anonymous said...

HAHHAHA! Omigod, I speak that language! Gonna put it on my resume!

Happy new year, Aspi and Drifters!

Saritha said...

Happy New Year to Aspi and all the Drifters.Hope you all have a great year:)

Anonymous said...

LMAO!!!!Excellent one Aspi!!
Sounds not much different from Dubai...except for rickshaws n scooters...its more like de high class thing here....war between de poor class [pick ups, trucks and trailors], middle class [japanese n korean cars], and high class [german n american cars].
esp dese issues r wid the attention-seeking locals here....wid deir fancy cars..who think no end of demselves.....My version of the same in Dubai goes:

Beep: Look at me

Beep-Beep: i sed, look at me


BEEP-Beep: I’m still waiting for you to LUK AT ME!


Bipbip:F*** U

Bipbipbipbip: IM GONNA KILL U!



BEEP-BEEP-BEEP: UHUH....the cops r here...SCRAM!!

Anonymous said...

hahaha, SKD, u are so right....

i was in dubai about a month ago, loved the city. but tell me something, why is it that the people stare so much?

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to Aspi and all drifters.
In lieu of Aspi's topic, I was in kerala and we reached the chow rasta commonly called junction there. There were like three cars ahead of us. Everybody had their left indicator or right indicator on. Our driver turned the emergency signal on. I asked "what is wrong with the car". He said "nothing". I said "then why did you turn the emergency lights on" . Apparently he had no clue what I was talking about. I then poined to the emergency switch.He explained to me that for left there is switch ,for right there is switch but if you want to go straight you have to use this switch. :)

Anonymous said...

Bella, it depnds where u r frankly!
and different categories of ppl stare at u for different reasons. The labor class do so cuz dey cant belive their luck that dey get to see pretty women from a close middle class ppl wanna show u that dey r superior middle class...and de rich ppl want u to stare at dem...simple!there r more reasons for this stare game....but frankly ppl here dont have manners:(

Anonymous said...

On a separate topic, I finally saw the new Umrao Jaan starring Aishwarya and Abhishek.

I had mixed feeling while watching the movie. To begin with I thought I would hate it with everything bad that has been written about it.

It was'nt that bad however the character of Umrao Jaan Ada was not very well etched out. Umrao was bred to be a courtesan and used her looks and sexuality when she could to get what she wanted. However Ash's Umrao is such a seedhi-sadhi women and her personality does'nt develop as the movie progresses. Ash's acting is fairly good and subtle. Abhishek on the other hand did not look like a nawab from any angle.

The hilite of the movie was watching Shabana Azmi as Khanum Jaan (a role played by her mother in the original). Her character infact had the grey shades needed to be a brothel owner and Shabana carried the role with great elan.

Anonymous said...

Horn Please OK Ta Ta.

Happy 2008!