Friday, May 22, 2009

Horn please if you are Indian

I think I have had enough veggie to last me a lifetime.

But I think I can still live on curry for many years yet; whatever Indian blood that I have in me would not have allowed me to abandon any fondness that I may have for curry. That's ok with me I guess – I can never had enough of it, and I really enjoy them.

(This meal cost me RM7 in an aircond restaurant in Mumbai, which included 4 veggie dishes and pulao(rice))

So four days of curries and chapatis could only whet my appetites.

I think I would like to get back to civilization in as far as driving and traffic are concerned. Nevermind if the civilization that I am going back to is not really civilized in the manner Westerners would have defined it.

Afterall, there is nothing civilized about the traffic in Kuala Lumpur either.

If there is anything that I would like to import from India, it would not necessarily be Bollywood movies or Bollywood actresses. It would be a car horn. I sincerely believe that Indian horn – well actually whatever that was attached to a car in India, are perhaps the most resilient and sturdy as anything one can get anywhere in this world.

Imagine this; every 5 seconds, the driver of a car would honk at everybody and nobody at the street, if you know what I mean. If they are not sturdy and resilient, then it would not have lasted like all Indian cars, TATA especially.

Unlike in Malaysia, Indian car drivers would honk without any malice or ill-intent. It is perhaps in their genes that the thumbs would need to press on the horn while the rest of the fingers were steering the car.

It is an auto reflect I guess, and there is nothing one can do about it.

If one were to stand at a street junction in Mumbai, one could perhaps write a music based on the honking that were done by the thousand of car plying through Mumbai street. They would honk at you, at the car on the left trying to squeeze in, or car on the right that was also trying to squeeze in, or at the car they are trying to squeeze out, or at you while you were trying to cross the street even if you are 1 km apart from their vehicles. It is just music to their ears, or may be they were trying to keep themselve awake and occupied.

Heck, they would even honk at the empty space in front of the them. Honk they would as if their lives depended on it.

Here in India no one gets beaten because of honking; no one even bat an eyelid if you were honked at. There is no such thing as road rage in India. In Malaysia, unfortunately, you may lose your life just because you honk at someone, or that someone would show you their finger to tell you how they feel about you honking them even if they are at fault.

Especially if they are at fault, if I may re-phrase it that way!

Funny thing in India, each truck and bus would ask you to honk at them. They would have these stamped at the back of their truck. “Horn OK Please” or "Horn Please" would be a norm here.

I asked my cab driver why that was the case. He said well, you want to ensure that your honk would work in the first place, Secondly they knew that there are blind spot and they would need a reminder of their surrounding by the honking.

In Malaysia, in the 60s at least, we did have something similar. No, we didn't ask all and sundry to to honk at ourselves. But during those economic blackdays – when we (Malays) have practically nothing, we would pour out our discontent through song titles that were reflective of the time.

“Jangan Tinggal Daku”, “Oh Fatimah” or “Selamat Tinggal Bungaku” were the norms at the back of the truck back then. In India, they have no time for sentimentalities. I guess they are very realistic people.

A funny thing this horn thing. The thing attached to your steering is called a horn, but you don't 'horn' it to let everybody know that you exist on the road; you have to 'honk' it.

You would only horn if you are horn*!

Oh, no wonder there are 1 billion of Indians in the subcontinent. That was their trade secret and I guess I have unlocked the puzzle. want to start horning? I mean honking. ;-)

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