Two things that you notice when you return to India from a foreign trip are the filth on our roads and the noise, particularly the constant and incessant honking of vehicles. Our honourable Prime Minister has already initiated a “clean India” program and it is for us, the citizens to start the “Calm India” program simultaneously.

Honking reflects our culture and behaviour. Like the caption of the book written by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Indians are argumentative. And what we see on the roads are arguments either verbally or through honking. When you honk, you are telling the other driver to get the hell out of my way, and if honking continues, it means you are also abusing him. In western countries honking is rare and when you hear one, rest assured the driver of the other vehicle has done some serious violations!

Our roads are bad and the traffic is high, but what makes everything worse is our lack of patience. Instead of following lane driving, at signals or railway crossings most drivers block both the sides and keep honking when the flow starts. End result is that you lose time, peace of mind and at times costly scratches to your precious vehicle. Have you seen stray dogs barking at each other or at passers-by for no explainable reasons? If you have even been to a fish market or taken a morning walk at 5 AM in Bangalore you will know what I am saying. May be for a fish head or for fun, which is what I see on our roads. If you stand in a junction and watch the fun you will realize vehicles are honking for no reason, at times expecting the vehicle in front to move forward and give way even when there is no way or when a poor pedestrian is trying to cross the road after waiting for a very long time.

Therefore let us all pledge to make our roads noise free and calm. Let us pledge not to honk unnecessarily and maintain discipline and decorum on the roads.

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