Honking Instinctively

Manhattan municipality is finding it difficult to control honking in the city. Reason: majority of the cab-drivers are from Indian sub-continent.

Yes, it’s a fact that the drivers in this part of the world are obsessive honkers who press horn as a matter of habit. Far away in an alien land where honking is a taboo, checking their honking instinct is a challenge but back home drivers have all the freedom. They must blow horn, whether it’s required or not. A horn must be used to the fullest- the sharper and shriller sound it makes, the better it is. They can manage without the indicators but can’t possibly do without horn. Years ago during my university days I remember travelling by a state transport bus. All through the journey the driver kept blowing the horn mindlessly and menacingly as he drove recklessly from Jalandhar to Amritsar. I cannot forget how terrified the passengers were as the speeding driver kept blowing the shrieking horn while overtaking from the left and the right.

These are not just the professional drivers who start pressing horn the moment they hit the road but most of us, too, are guilty of honking unsparingly. Instinctively, we tend to press the horn at every opportunity, even at a traffic signal. Even before the lights turn green, the drivers from behind start honking mindlessly without having patience to wait for the vehicles in the front to move. For many of us the best way to steer through an unruly maze of traffic is to keep blowing horn. Get caught in a traffic jam, press down the horn of the  vehicle and keep it pressed till the time the jam clears, this is  the mentality that  many have. Perhaps, the mindset of our netas is even worse who tend to behave like the maharajas of yesteryears. The speeding pilot gypsy fitted with siren keeps making non-stop noise as their cavalcade moves on roads. To hell with the public, roads must be cleared off the traffic for the smooth movement of ministers.

Indiscriminate honking makes our roads noisy but the use of all kinds of eardrum-piercing, shrieking horns make them noisier. Adding to the problem of noise pollution are the boisterous youngsters who get woofers fitted on their SUVs. Pulsating sound is created as they play loud music while driving recklessly on the streets. Then there are rowdy teenagers proudly riding their bikes without the silencer to generate deafening sound as they speed past on the roads.

Are we immune to high decibel noise? I wonder if noise pollution really bothers us.


(Published in ht Chandigarh on 23 June 2014)

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