Apparently, horns are used in India for all sorts of purposes but mostly to let other drivers know where you are. This is a good thing because in spite of occasional white lane lines on the roads, the concept of a lane is a foreign one here. If a road is wide enough for 5 vehicles to drive abreast then that is what happens . . . Except when seven or eight try to occupy the same space . . . Coming from all directions. At one point very early on in this trip, I commented on the motorcycles and scooters zipping between cars that were already incredibly close together. Then I realized that cars do the same things. I decided that a motto for driving here might be: Lane splitting: It’s not just for motorcycles anymore.
As we were driving to and from Agra, I noticed that almost all of the big trucks and many smaller ones had “Blow Horn” painted on their back sides. The one pictured above was a rare deviation from the norm with its “Horn Please” notice. There were also some trucks, a much smaller number, that said “Slow Horn.” Who knows what that means but Joan offered as a possibility that it might be a failed word play: Perhaps it was supposed to read “Shoe Horn,” which would certainly make more sense in light of the way people drive.
Some cars proclaim “No Horn PLease,” which is a complete puzzlement.
Today, Monday, February 27, we went to a cooking class (read following blog). We were picked up at our hotel and the traffic right outside the hotel was basically gridlocked. After quite a while we did begin to creep ahead and, as we did, we saw one man with a helmet running towards us with another man in hot pursuit. The second man caught up to helmet man and began punching him. We moved on before we could tell how serious an altercation it might be but, as we did, we passed a car the windshield of which had a HUGE impact spiderweb of cracks right on the driver’s side. Who knows what happened. Did car guy run into helmet guy and helmet guy’s head/body smashed the windshield? Did helmet guy get pissed off at car guy and smash the windshield in rage? It was kind of frightening. I’m just happy that we slowly moved on.
Photo below was taken at a toll booth on the Yamuna Expressway between Delhi and Agra. I think the “Fast Track” sticker in this car was just wishful thinking. There really doesn’t seem to be a fast track or lane anywhere and certainly not at the toll booths. Our driver, Rajesh, would pick a line, based on what I do not know, and then we would just sit there, and sit there and sit there. Nothing would be moving. Then, a car would pull out of the line and try to shoe horn its way into another line. Or a car or truck or tractor pulling a heaping trailer of potatoes would pull up next to us in no lane and would try to shoe horn in front of us. Rajesh was very good at winning these little challenges. IT IS TOTALLY CRAZY and I am so glad that Michael wasn’t here to experience these thrill rides.