The 5-hour bus ride from Cochin to Munnar was one of the most terrifying rides of my life. The first hour was city driving, but then we hit the mountains and for the next four hours I was just waiting to die. We were on a narrow two-lane road with skull-and-crossbone signs around every corner warning drivers to go slow. But I was on a bus with the world’s most aggressively maniacal driver who was making it his mission to piss off everyone on the road and scare the shit out of his passengers. Imagine, if you will, every single bad driving habit that exists (speeding, tailgating, illegally passing, driving in the wrong lane, slamming breaks, cutting people off, belligerent honking, yelling out the window, talking on a cell phone, etc). Now, most Indians do most of these things most of the time. But, this guy was doing all of them… all the time. He even yelled out the window at a traffic cop who was scolding him for driving in the oncoming traffic lane, which he did so that he could pass, like, three cars.
It was on this ride that I gave myself a little lesson about India’s honking system.
- One quick beep: This has numerous meanings, such as… “I’m coming around the corner” (frequently used by tuktuk drivers and people on motorbikes); “Please go”; “I’m passing”; “I see you”; “I’m turning”; “Hey, there!”; or just simply, “I’m in a car”
- Multiple quick beeps: “Please get over”; “I’m heading your way and I don’t want to slow down”; “Please speed up”; and also, “I’m coming around the corner”
- A long honk: “Get the F*** out of my way!”; “Hurry the F*** UP!”; “I’m about to hit your a**!”
This bus driver mostly used #3.
In order to keep myself occupied and NOT looking out the front windshield (as I was sitting right up front), I started snapping pictures out the window. They are NOT good, but they give a little glimpse into Indian life. Only check them out if you’re bored.
I may look calm, but there’s poop in my pants ^