Last day I gave my car for service and got its horn repaired. It must have been almost two months since the horn stopped working and I have been driving for the last two months without a horn. Can you believe this? I mean I never thought I would survive a day without horn driving on Indian roads. But I did and I am no meek driver.
When I came back from the US after having been there for 5 years the biggest change in my driving style was to get back to my honking habits which I lost during my life in the US. In US most people follow general driving rules that you seldom need to honk, (exceptions would be cities like New York, Los Angeles etc), and honking is akin to swearing there.
In India honking takes on a totally new meaning. It is the standard way of communication between drivers on the roads to let each know what they are going to do. This is because almost everything is unpredictable while driving. You wouldn't know when the car in front of you is going to stop, turn right, turn left, change lanes, overtake the car in front, take a U-turn etc. It is also used to communicate to pedestrians crossing the roads all over the place and to other 'lower' forms of vehicles like autorickshaws and cycles which follow a totally different and undocumented set of traffic rules.
In spite of all this, I survived 2 months driving in Trivandrum without using the horn not even once. Not even once because the horn was not working at all. I have become slightly more patient because of this experience as I have learned to wait and predict actions of vehicles (all orders - low, high) and pedestrians in front of me rather than honk and barge my way in as I usually do. It was an interesting eye opener because I have proved that it is possible to drive in India without blaring the horn even once for a full two months.