As foreigners living in India, we constantly see things around us that leave us scratching our heads. There’s simply not enough time to chase them all down and figure out what they mean, so often we just accept them and move on, and eventually stop noticing.
But every now and then, we figure one out. And just for a moment, we feel like we’re finally starting to fit in, and maybe just for a few minutes we don’t feel like the lost foreigners we are in this strange land of a billion people….
Painted on the back of nearly every truck – er, lorry (because we fit in now), are various combinations of the words above. They all say “sound horn” and “stop” – pretty much as viewed above – or sometimes it will say “horn OK please”. And very often, somewhere it also says “we two ours one”.
So here’s the story, or at least as I’ve been told. Apparently, the Indian government created a slogan to encourage people to think about family planning – in Hindi, it’s something like “hum do, hamare do”. And the meaning is probably much more obvious in Hindi, but in English, it’s “we two, ours two.” As in two kids. And I’m also told that when lorry drivers went to register at the local transport registration office, they were encouraged to paint this slogan on their trucks to help promote awareness. No word yet on whether they got a tax break or whether it was mandatory.
And after awhile, in this land of 1.2 billion people, the slogan was “upgraded” to “we two, ours one.” Which apparently doesn’t make that much sense to the general public. This Indian blogger talks more about it, as well as sharing what he thinks about population density overall.
So now we can rest a little bit easier, because we know a little bit more.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t decoded the purpose behind “sound horn,” “horn OK please,” or the ubiquitous “stop.” But it’s good to leave some mysteries unsolved for the time being.