Amazing India: ‘When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Truck’

Dum hai to cross kar, nahi to bardasht kar. (Overtake if you have the guts, if not, tolerate me). Goes the line behind a truck.

Rude, yes. But here goes the line below it.

‘Jio aur jine do’. (Live and let live).

The hint of contradiction between the lines probably escaped the owner. But then that’s India. What’s it without its wonderful contradictions!

A long drive on national highways across the country amid trucks at work can be a fascinating experience. Just read the words on the back of the vehicles and you get a reflection of true India. They can be funny and philosophical, rude and endearing, and contemplative and matter-of-fact, and in some ways what India is.

‘Horn, OK, Please’ used to be on every truck years ago. Internet knowledge tells us it belonged to an era when roads were narrow. There used to be light on top of OK. If the driver in the vehicle behind wanted to overtake, he needed to honk. If the light above the letter OK blinked, it was a sign for him to overtake. With roads wider and the lane driving in place, not many truckers are using that line anymore – the Maharashtra government has banned it because excessive honking led to noise pollution. They are happy with ‘Keep Distance’ these days.

Most would be familiar with Buri nazar wale tera mooh kala. Not creative enough, but it carries the sentiment of the owner. These vehicles are almost home to many truckers given the time they spend on roads, and they are often the only means of livelihood for the owner. They can certainly do without envy or malice – the buri nazar – of others. Wishing the latter a blackened face may not be a bad idea.

Someone thought better for those casting an evil eye. Buri nazar wale tere bache jiye, bade hokar desi sharab piye (May your children live and grow up to drink country liquor). Here goes another: Jal mat pagle, kisti per ai hai (Don’t be jealous, I am paying for it in installments).

Love, loss and longing – you cannot take these away from the Indian male. While Has mat pagli, pyaar ho jaaega (don’t smile girl. I will fall in love with you) is rather routine, you also find messages warning you against the female of the species. What about ‘Take poison but don’t believe in girls’? Surely, someone had loved and lost. Here’s one women married to truckers would not take kindly: Bhoot Pret Aur Masoom Biwi, Man ka Vaham Hai (Ghosts, ghouls and innocent wives are an illusion).

When in India, land of philosophers and spiritual thinkers, expect profound lines on life behind trucks. ‘Life is drama, man is actor’ goes one. No one can contest this. And this one too: Samay se pehle, bhagya se jada kabhi nahi milta (you get nothing before time and nothing more than what fate has ordained for you). Now, here’s a hilarious one, not entirely philosophical though: If hard work pays, show me a rich donkey. True. Cannot argue much on this. This one is borrowed from the internet (courtesy Rajasthan Studios).

Now, you have lines that make you wonder what they are doing on the back of a truck. Ram yug me dudh Mila, Krishna yug mein ghee, is yug mein daru Mila, khub dabakar pi (in Lord Ram’s age you got milk, in Lord Krishna’s you had ghee. In this age you have alcohol. Drink to your heart’s content). This following one makes sense: Dhire chalega to baar baar milenge, tej chalega to Haridwar milenge (If you drive slow we will meet again and again. If you drive fast you will find Haridwar). For those not in the know, in Haridwar in Uttarakhand Hindus immerse the ashes of the dead.

The most confounding graffiti, however, is Main bada ho kar truck banunga (When I grow up, I will become a truck). God knows what the owner was smoking or drinking while thinking of it, but as life’s goals go this one is absurd. Why on earth would someone want to be a truck?

But then, that is India. It never ceases to amaze. From the bizarre to the beautiful, you get everything here.

(By arrangement with Perspective Bytes)

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