Feb 6, 2015


Few years back, one of my friends from abroad asked me, why some Indian vehicles have ‘Horn Ok Pease’ written on the back. My beautiful mind being as it is, wandered to the incorrect grammar of this line - Horn ok please; rather than providing a reply to the question in front.

Today while driving, suddenly the sounds of different horns blowing surrounded me. It made me think, our roads don’t just belong to motor vehicles. It belongs to the people - walking /jaywalking (many of us don’t know what this word means), bicycles, animals like cows and horses, hawkers (way too many), religious affairs, tea & food stalls and in the future maybe aliens with running saucers (excuse my sense of humor).  We all share this common ground called ROADS. Hence it is inevitable to have a medium of communication to navigate on our roads.

The horns blowing on the roads are a line of communication unique to Indian roads. Here horns are honked in different styles to convey different messages. Mostly people don’t take offence when someone honks; they listen to the sound and provide appropriate reactions. Here are few different sounds of horns and their meaning.  

Just one or a couple of baby beep sounds like bip or bip-bip means, please give me way and let me overtake. It’s a nice gesture nothing to get offended about. Next is a long press beeep, used to convey urgency while overtaking. If a car beeep’s but does not overtake, one can safely assume either the car is new or the drive is or it’s a lady driver. Being a lady driver myself, I prefer not feed fodder to that last thoughtJ. Similarly there are many other beep sounds and different meanings associated to those sounds.

The next time you are on Indian roads and you hear horns blowing; don’t take offence or judge. Instead listen and try to keep up with this unique language.

Coming back to the original question; why do we write – ‘horn okay please’, on the back of some vehicles? Last time I heard that question, I blurted out some random reply that came to my mind. However, truth be told, I do not know the answer. There is a wiki page explaining the significance and origin of the line - ‘HORN OK PLEASE’. Please go check it out if you are keen to know. Here is the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horn_OK_Please