Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hone your honk!

Honking in India is all pervasive... People honk when they turn left, right, while passing a lone sidestreet, when the stretch of road ahead is empty, when they're at a red, or just simply to show that theyhave a good horn on your vehicle. The loudness, tones, and duration all vary. Irrespective of the kind of vehicle, everyone honks... right from the autowallas to the 'national permit' lorries. It seems to be a kind of a way of asserting themselves on the road, which is sad.

There are adverse effects to excessive horning on the health of our citizens which honkers don't seem to realise. I've felt it myself, and I bet you have too - when someone honks right behind you, you get tensed and annoyed for a brief period - few of the many health hazards of noise pollution. Roadway noise is a major source of noise pollution; I could go on about its ill-effects (of course after some online research), but I'm not a health expert.

There's plenty of scope for self-regulating honking - when I've been the pillion, I've noticed numerous instances where honking is simply unnecessary. If we follow some simple road rules (moderate speed on city roads, maintaining lane discipline, being more observant & patient, and signalling using light where possible during the night) we'd soon realize that honking is unnecessary.

Compare our road behavior vis-a-vis honking with that of the U.S., where honking is considered a stern reproach to the guy who's ahead of you. You hardly hear a honk on the roads!

Alas, excessive honking has already defeated the purpose of the horn - most people here, myself included, ignore horns, because there are so many of them at one instant and simply because listening to and addressing every honk would be impractical. For instance, in a crowded street, how would you know whether the horn is directed at you, let alone take corrective action? :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ramblings after a long hiatus

Two and a half years into work and there's already a feeling of mental inactivity. The work-home-work rhythm that appears to have set in gives little time for more intellectual involvement. Back in college, I used to read magazines, novels and full length newspaper articles, and develop opinions on almost everything under the sun. My bro and I would argue endlessly on politics and social issues. Reading used to be one of my chief passtimes; alas, that's no longer the case now.

My reading stats are pretty abysmal for the past two years - No novels for the past year; magazines only when I go home once a month; The newspaper doesn't help either - I glance through the headlines once a couple of days on average. The absence of thought-provoking stuff only makes it worse. Work seems to have consumed all my time - the flute though is a welcome distraction, though learning on my own requires a LOT of motivation from within. Fortunately I have a background in carnatic music that really helps.

The big challenge now is to revive interest in reading; I've observed that I haven't lost it, fortunately - it's just the absence of time or interest to 'go after' books. I'm looking to purchase a couple of good books and start right away.. hope this plan materializes!

As part of this 'plan', I've decided to revive blogging as well. Blogging your ideas and opinions also is a good stimulus, apart from improving (or at the least, maintaining, depending on how much effort you're ready to spare ;) ) your vocab. I only hope this doesn't die down in a week's time (much like the 'resolve' to go to the gym regularly :) ).