“Traffic”

It’s not like New York City.

Honking, in Delhi and Agra and Jaipur, is more akin to birds. Their casual talk is more like people yelling at each other to move. Instead of turn signals, people use horns. Two beeps means I’m coming on your left, three beeps means I’m coming on your right. It is a language of its own. Sometimes people just honk because it will sound pretty. Whether or not that is true is debatable. Nevertheless, it is a language.

Take, for example, a dialogue between an auto rickshaw, colloquially called tuck tucks, and a taxi. The tuck tucks shrill “beep beep” reverberates with a force that would not, at first, be attributed such a tiny, three-wheeled vehicle. It is a noise you’d liken to harpies, but the “beep beep” does its job. The taxi ahead of the tuck tuck understands language and with a long “hooooooooonk” followed by a hand wave, tuck tuck slides by and the auto rickshaw is well on its way.

And with many buses and trucks and cars and motorcycles and tuck tucks and pedaled rickshaws the language can be daunting to the untrained eye. Although it may seem chaotic, lanes disrespected and bicycles swerving every which way, understanding the language of the “honk and beep” everything becomes clear.

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