‘Ok. Tata. Bye’
The first time I noticed these three words scribbled at the back side of a truck, I asked Papa about their significance.
‘Trucks are mostly on the move and this is a way to say bye-bye to the roads.’
‘And what about ‘Horn Please’, the second most common phrase seen at the rear of the trucks?’, I asked him.
‘You need to blow horn to overtake a vehicle’, he explained.
Having spent my entire life in India and having travelled across the length and breadth of the country, my interest in truck quotes only piqued with time.
In western Uttar Pradesh, I once saw a well adorned truck that had long chains of pom poms dangling on all its four corners and a bunch of plastic flowers hanging below the bonnet.The words written just above the flowers read, ‘Chhore De Thaath’ that meant ‘Young Man’s Status.’ The quote truly and accurately depicted the truck’s status and pride in it’s youth and strength.
Since most of these trucks run all across the country, the phrases mostly remain the same – Hindi words written in English – for easy reading.
Most trucks in Punjab read ‘Sarbaton Da Bhala’ that translates into ‘Goodwill For Everyone.’
Trucks within South India have words such as ‘Lord Venkata’ and ‘Lord Ayyappa’ and ‘Jai Maruti’ – hailing their regional Gods.
All these trucks have some tips for fellow travelers. Like, ‘Use Dipper At Night’ or ‘Do Not Overtake.’
Some also offer philosophical advices such as ‘Kar Bhala Toh Ho Bhala’ and ‘Uske Ghar Andher Nahi’ with the most common quote ‘Satyamev jayate’ i.e. ‘Truth always wins.’
The most interesting have been the one that either cuss you in open or tell things that we do not openly talk about. At a time when Indian government campaigned heavily for family planning, almost all the trucks read, ‘biwi rahe tip-top, do ke baad full stop’ which means ‘wife will be tip-top if you have only two kids.’ Trucks also spit in words such as ‘buri bazar wale, tera muh kala’ meaning ‘blacken your face, you evil eye.’
Over the years, the quotes – along with their fonts, choice of words and meanings – have changed and they have also moved onto other means of road transport viz., autos, cabs and private buses.
Last night while driving, I saw a sticker on an auto that read, ‘Do not honk. Instead fly over me.’ I found it so amusing that I immediately clicked its picture.
My 6 year old instantly asked me, ‘How can a car fly over the auto’ and laughed.
The other day a cab read, ‘Save the girl, control the boy’ – a slogan speaking against girl infanticide and stereotypes that girls ask for it.
Post the gruesome and infamous Delhi gang rape case of 2012, most autos now carry the banner – ‘This auto driver respects women’.
After the recent revolutionary movie starring Amitabh Bachchan was released, many autos and cabs now read ‘No means no.’
While these quotes do make driving on Indian roads amusing, traveling still largely remains a challenge with road congestion and commuters who refuse to follow rules.
This reminds me of another line that can be seen on many trucks, especially in the notorious Uttar Pradesh – ‘main toh aise hi chalungi’ which literally means ‘I will drive like this only.’
Pic Source: here