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Posts Tagged ‘loss of hearing’

So there are all these little experiences that I had quickly forgotten about after returning to the states. and they are quickly creeping (or blitzing) back into my consciousness.  One of these is the incessant honking here in India (and what appears to be just about everywhere in the developing world from what I can tell).  the streets here in patna are madness.  the city is not a “planned city,” or thats at least what a local told me, so its all just one big cluster f.  at any every given time, there are hundreds of bikes, motorbikes, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, cars, SUVs, tractors, and huge multi-colored steel death trap trucks all trying to share something I would probably call a “back country road.”  the whole ‘rules of the road’ thing has been overlooked, so driving is basically this darwinian auto brawl where only the most aggressive survive.

and the patna motorist’s primary tool of aggression is the horn.  invented by the germans, this awful device is used sparingly in the states, and when it is, chances are you will strongly offend someone or elicit a middle finger.  here, the opposite.  its actually unsafe if you dont use your horn because, as the logic goes, “people wont know you’re there.”  it never ceases to amaze me how indians can just tune them out.  i’m nearly certain that i will lose my hearing at least 5 years earlier than i otherwise would have, and i’ve only been here 2 weeks. i’m even contemplating wearing those earphones that are usually reserved for people who hang out on airport tarmacs.

patna gridlock

patna gridlock

in fact, i think it would make more sense and just be easier on everyone if steering wheels just had a button that stops the horn from making a loud and blaring noise when you press it.  this would definitely save some effort for the driver.

and dont even get me started on those big colorful steel-clad truck horns.  whoever was the engineer that designed those things should be sentenced to an eternal life of vuvuzelas.  they let out this shrill jingle that is supposed to sound musical i guess, but mostly resembles a 20-ton steel pterodactyl swooping down to eat you, only he’s using a megaphone.  and they are EVERYWHERE.  i still jump everytime one starts blaring behind me.

the primary offenders

the primary offenders

but despite my horn sensitivities, i am pretty sure i have a million-dollar idea.  write this down:  i think it would be a really good idea to create a new breed of horns for indian drivers.  i would call it a for-realsies horn, and it would be used how a horn is used back in the states.  but for it to work, it will need to be powered by a jet engine and operate at unprecedented sonic frequencies.  like the type of stuff that gets invented in switzerland 300 feet below the ground in concrete tunnels.  anyway, the for-realsies horn will probably make things worse and create a nation of 1 billion deaf people, but by that time i’ll be gone. and rich.

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