Finally, it’s Delhi’s turn to take the honking monsters by their horns. Following Mumbai’s footsteps (a good 9 months later though) Delhi is celebrating, No Honking Day, on January 1, 2009.
A lone NGO, The Earth Saviours Foundation (TESF) is spearheading the campaign against unforgiving drivers, who sound the horn mercilessly. But Delhiites, come up with their own reasons why can’t they give up on honking.
According to a survey conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates on behalf of the Urban Development Ministry, Delhi is the second worst city when it comes to peak-hour traffic (which crawls at a speed of 15 kms per hour). Since so much time is spent stuck in jams many recoil themselves into a ‘frustration venting out’ mode. “I imagine my patronising boss, insensitive partner, inquisitive landlord, and my nagging kaamwali bai and hit the horn with a vengence to let out the steam,” says IT professional Jasmine Brar.
Also, some argue being part of the cacophonic orchestra and joining the honkers provides them a strange sense of connectivity. “I spend all day at the work site in islolation, when driving back home, apeing the crazy guy in front of me blaring his horn like hell, provides me with a vicarious sense of belonginess to this city,” says engineer Solomon Mathews. While, there are some who simply believe Delhi can’t give up tooting because the city suffers from an acute sense of showmanship.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) findings show there has been a 132 per cent increase in the number of cars in the past 10 years, which means we have nearly 50 lakh vehicles on the roads today, with 1000 cars being added every day. Many of them are simply on the roads to satisfy our craving to flaunt. “Even politicians can’t refrain themselves from using pressure horns when their cavalcade moves, every one of us in Delhi wants to be noticed and gives a performance when in public space,” says theatre artist Vijay Kumar.
So, with every individual coming up with his own sweet excuses, will Delhi remain comfortably numb on January 1? Maybe not, all of us might not behave on D-day but we are also a city, which learns from examples. “When my neighbour has reached that level of civility and starts endorsing, I too will follow, even if only out of jealousy,” says housewife Anusha Rana. And yet, if the green monster misses its mark, the dread of the danda will do the needful. “Mumbai didn’t respond to its honking campaign with enthusiasm but the police’s challan books were the motivating factor,” says college student Deepak Joshi.
Yes, as the New year starts, with a bunch of enthusiast for change and little ‘stimulus’ from Delhi police at least, a few will go easy on the horn too.