Friday, June 5, 2015

Prepaid Honking

It was 2005, I walked out of my hotel in Dubai and stood at the footpath to cross the road. A huge Land Cruiser screech stopped and allowed me to pass. I was so dumbstruck that it took me a while to take a step and move, while the driver not only waited patiently but also gave me a smile. What surprised me even more was the cars that were behind him, also waited and allowed me to cross like as if I was a celebrity.

It is 2015, and I walk into my living room, turn around and walk back into my bedroom and shut the door and windows because I can’t bear the noise of countless cars honking just because the road signal seven floors below - turned green. Drivers in India honk because they want to turn, cut someone, show the driver ahead that he has a horn, or control the pedestrian with his horn because he is convinced that it is a remote control to his feet, or the most important reason which is – Honk for no reason at all.

The two contrasts we live in are so wide apart that it makes me think if there is a common ground at all.


I had attended a TED talk a couple of years back and it was interesting to hear two speakers.
  • ·    Anand Damani spoke about honking and the disastrous effects it has on our health. 

  • ·    Yashraj Khaitan spoke about how they came up with a service that provided villagers prepaid Electricity.

  • ·    I simply put the 2 together and came up with an idea: Prepaid Honking!

  • ·    No, I didn’t speak at TED.

Now Imagine a world with PrePaid Honking:

A taxi driver going to a local store on the street and asking “Bhai zara Dus rupiza ka horn dena” and the shop keeper gives him a scratch card, which he keys into his mobile phone and is ready to honk. Only this time he will honk wisely.

Or a discussion among riskshaw drivers on how honking is become so expensive, and an old timer saying ‘Hamare dino mein yeh to free hoya karta tha! Kya din the. Wah!”
A news headline saying ‘Government increases the cost of honking once again! This budget is not for the common man!!!”

“Biker caught giving bribe to hawaldar for using unlicensed horn.”

Even the kind of honking will change...

From the looong beeeeeepps to just a missed call kind of horn. Just bip.

From hard rock music honking to just sms type honking. P.P.

From air horn to just just a flicker of a headlight.

And then imagine this.

Walking down a road and listening to the man selling flutes who is playing a beautiful melody himself.

The sounds of a child scream “McDonalds!” when he spots one across from his car window.

The pleasant sound of a bopu wala idli, because his horn is not come under the scanner yet.

The conditioned voice of the bhangar wala, in his typical echoing voice.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful world!

There is a quote on the last page of your driving license which says – 
“Driving is a privilege, not your right”.

Well said Sir!

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