These storms are ravaging Delhi, and they can't be stopped

tuk tuk honking in delhi india

Honking storms, that is. 


Honking builds up among Delhi traffic like an electric storm builds up among tangled power lines. It can suddenly burst and crackle violently throughout the thick mass of cars, trucks, scooters, and tuk tuks, and make you want to run howling to the nearest overpass to hide under it until the tornado of noise passes. Even a slightest ringing of a rickshaw's bell can set it off with explosive and deadly results. Everyone's horn involuntarily spasms and screams as the wave ripples through them, bleating every variety of shrill siren, and then slowly, it dies back down.


Sometimes however, honking storms ignite other honking storms. If traffic at an adjacent light has been silent too long, they’re itching for a din, and have virtually dried out like gasoline-soaked tinder. With a simple spark it can detonate in a deadly chain reaction, lighting off yet more storms elsewhere. The whole city is aflame with the apocalyptic roar of this traffic.


At first, it's all very novel. Then it's drab. Finally, you start to exhibit the jittery symptoms of a shell-shocked GI. You become conditioned to cringe as scooters speed toward you and even though they have plenty of room to maneuver around, you still tense up. "Don't-you-honk" you command them telepathically, squinting, bleary eyed. And just as they pass, they'll squeeze the deadly trigger and let out a roadrunner "MEEP!" and you'll jump and curse.


After denial, bargaining, and a brief period of depression, you eventually arrive at honking acceptance. You take on the remarkable ability to tune out the cacophony with a zen-like grin and just let it be, and it all starts to blur into the vibrant, sparkling, fluid mosaic that is India.