Horn OK Please – 13 honks you’ll hear in India

As a person living in India, you will know how much noise there is on the streets. Even if you’re not in India, you’re likely to have heard a lot about how loud the country is, about how the country is polluted with noises you’ve never heard before. I commute to work by a two-wheeler. An hour to and an hour fro. And I have discovered a pattern in all the honks bouncing off of all surfaces. Here are a few kinds of honks I have noticed.

1. The Watch-out-I’m-coming honk: This is the most normal of them all. If you have to overtake someone, you honk. This is basically to say, “don’t change your lane, I’m about to be beside you for a second and you don’t know on which side.” This is mostly because there is no lane discipline and I don’t think having lane discipline is quite possible in India. You’d have still vehicles lined up on all roads and there won’t be anywhere to go. This honk goes the standard beep beep. 

2. The aggressive honk: This is most common in the evening when everyone is tired and irritable after work. This kind of honking is occasionally justified when there is a douche answering a call while riding in the middle lane or when a bone head stops at a junction, unable to decide which turn he needs to take. This honk is a blaring beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppp!! 

3. The impatient honk: At every signal is an idiot who starts honking fifteen seconds before the green light. He also honks mindlessly when an auto has broken down in front of him and the old man driving the auto is helpless. The idiot is inevitably subjected to rude stares by me. This honk doesn’t stop until the purpose is served or is hushed by the rude stare. It goes beeep beeep beeep beeep beeep…

4. The Signal-is-green honk: Also at every signal is a person starting intently at his phone screen. Or at airplanes. Or at pretty girls. He/she needs a signal apart from the green signal to step on it and move. This is usually just a single beep. 

5. The apologetic honk: This is the honk I have been subjected to the most. See, I believe I ride fairly well. I haven’t been in any accident (except when I crashed into a little girl and she fell. No harm done. She got up crying and ran to her father who had stupidly let her run free and from behind parked card onto the main road) or I haven’t been given the finger by anyone so far. But I ride a Scooty Pep+. It has the combined horse power of a baby horse and a tortoise. So I get the occasional apologetic honk, which just means to say “hey I’m sorry, but can you move a little? Just a little? Okthanksbye.” It goes beep bip, with the second beep almost inaudible.

6. The Get-out-of-my-way honk: There is always this idiot on the road who rides like his wife is about to deliver a baby in precisely thirty seconds. While the “Watch-out-I’m-coming” is a gentlemanly way of handling traffic on the road, there is this guy who just carelessly honks and barges into your lane without slowing down. This kind of honk is generally in a pattern like beep beepbeepbeep beep beep beepbeepbeep beep.

7. The asshole honk: This is the honk I hate the most. The guy sounding this honk rides with absolutely no concern for people’s ears. He isn’t fast, but he wants to get ahead. And all he does is honk. It annoys me so bad. It goes beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!! 

8. The give-it-back-to-the-asshole honk: When assholes sound honks like the one above, I let them pass and ride behind them sounding my honk exactly like that. Hope the deaf goofballs learn a lesson.

Artwork at the rear end of a truck

9. The I’m-Home! honk: I have heard this honk ever since I was a little girl. My dad always has had his signature way of announcing his arrival. It’s two beeps on the Kinetic Honda or a slightly long beep if it’s the Bullet. It is very convenient for me and my friends when we’re up to no good at home. So it’s one of my favourite honks.

10. The scary honk: Ever experienced this before? – You’re riding and there’s a bus behind you. You turn around for a second, give the gigantic four-wheeler an apprehensive look and carry on riding. And the driver gets cheap thrills out of sounding the madly loud honk and scaring the living hell out of you? The honks of buses and big SUVs make my ears bleed. They go BEEEEEEPPP!! 

11. Tune honk: If you’re riding in India, you’d have heard Truck and Lorry honks. Those ones that have an up-and-down tune. It’s so annoying, it’s almost like the driver is honking just to show off his obnoxious tune. It goes err.. NAnoNAnoNAno. 

12. The move-it-there-is-an-ambulance-behind-us honk: This is probably the honk that causes most unity on the road. It’s the best excuse to break and skip signals. It’s basically a lot of beeps going off together.

13. The ignored-honk: Of course, there is always the honk that goes unnoticed. I’m talking about the streets’ best friends – cows. No matter how much you honk, they won’t budge. All they care about is standing in the middle of the road, chewing cud, lifting their fat tails and peeing. Sigh.

Now imagine listening to ALL of them at once.

No matter what kind of a person you are, there is always a honk you can sound.


7 thoughts on “Horn OK Please – 13 honks you’ll hear in India

  1. You missed out the all important boyfriend come-out-of-the-house signal to girlfiend .. sounds like — bipbip bipbipbeeep.. bipbip bipbipbeeep.. and girlfriend runs out to the balcony!


  2. Funny as hell. Let me add one more. The “i am going shake my head to Seventies rock and roll on my headphones out of some vague premonition that the girl of my dreams, who also happens to dig Led Zeppelin, might see it and instantaneously would want to bear my babies”


      1. i swears yo. there’s also the “hip hop nod and crisscrossing fingers like they might broken, thereby threatening everyone within 100 meters” nod, but i’d like to think these are one-off cases!


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