Two centuries ago when the Nawabs were driving around in their horse drawn buggies they would give way of right to the horse drawn buggy of the fellow Nawab, both on their way to Hazratganj for shopping. This was perfectly normal in the true spirit of Pehle Aap (after you) culture of Lucknow. After all, that was the era of leisure, languidness and laid back, aptly depicted in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Shatranj ke Khiladi’.
Times have definitely changed now. Goons – elected or otherwise – sitting in their Endeavours, with number plates emblazoned with their self-christened designations, pressure horns on full blast, bulldoze their way through the crowded streets. Of course the number plates do not carry registration numbers and the horn has to sound the loudest. Few moments caught in this decibelly deafening din will bring in the worst headache and probably convulsions. Guantanamo Bay authorities could play this cacophonic recording and the Al-Qaeda inmates would start singing like canaries instead of paying royalties to music companies for playing their metal rock.
You are startled and jump off the street when you hear a truck horn, only to see a motorcycle whizz past you. In Punjab, your vehicle needs to be shod with the flashiest alloys. In Lucknow, people get turned on by going sadistic on your ears. It is auditory mayhem on the roads.