If unnecessary incessant honking is a turn off for you, signing up for this student campaign ought to be your next move. Five students from RD National College, Bandra — Mahima Malhotra, Manas Keer, Rasika Ramchandran, Leepika Walia, Bhavik Ranka and Neha Sukumar — have launched the Smile Ok Please movement that hopes to curb the habit of unnecessary honking on Mumbai roads. It started with multiple ground-level activities and now has a Facebook page, which has already received 200 likes.
“It started off as a media planning project for our college, but we decided to make it effective by taking it outside. Drivers normally honk when they are frustrated. We are encouraging them to smile and calm down and look at other options to vent their frustration,” says Walia, one of the students that launched the campaign on August 22.
As part of the movement, the students have conducted activities like handing out bright yellow balloons with a handwritten message, ‘Smile OK Please’, to 50 randomly selected rickshaws, buses and taxis and getting them to promise against unnecessary honking. They’ve also given away free stress balls at Bandra Junction and distributed 100 pamphlets in Hindi and English that describe their cause. On August 26, they organised a human chain involving 100 school students who silently protested with boards against honking in a silence zone.
Next up, they plan to create a video that documents the perils of unnecessary honking and put it up on YouTube. They will also make a film with footage from their past activities. Leepika says, “In the coming days, we will also be giving out puzzles like ‘Spot the Difference’ and a list of activities one can do in the car while one is stuck in the jam, to drivers at heavy traffic junctions.”