Special Report - November 16, 2000
Signs of India
[Thus far, the reports have been by location and chronological. Allen is going to do a few reports based on subject matter instead, and this is the first of these:]
Here are some pictures of signs we have seen along the way. Some are funny due to misspellings or (from an American English point of view) strange usage. Others illustrate some facet of Indian life or culture.
Click on the thumbnails below for a larger view, then use your browser's Back button
I got a kick out of the name of this Udaipur
art gallery and the "original works" claim
above a Mona Lisa.
Our toilet in Udaipur was "Sanitarized". This no-pain claim was made by a
small jewelry store in Udaipur.
Seen on a Rajkot police substation. There are at least two "Honest" tailors
in Rajkot, but this one is jolly as well.
What is a medium range pant?
Knee length perhaps? (I have since
learned that this means medium price.)
This wording tickled me. I found this sign in front of a run-down building
in a Mumbai suburb. I'm told that people are
often reluctant to rent their unused property because,
once a tenant (or squatter) gets possession,
it can be very difficult to remove them and
the process may take years.
Rita was delighted to find this sign, and to find
that it was generally obeyed, in the Mumbai VT
train station (now called ST). People seem to be
spitting everywhere in India, and if they have been
chewing "Pan Masala" (a mixture of tobacco and
spices) the result is a red stain.
This sign means exactly what it says;
the gas station displaying it was being
refilled from a gasoline tank truck.
Anyone need a starater or perhaps
a betery charge?
This sign lists the parking fee for various
vehicles at a parking lot in Jaipur.
It appears that they accept mobile outhouses.
Added on November 26, 2000:
|This sign is in a pedestrian underpass leading from
Mumbai's Churchgate Terminal. The reflection from
the flash makes it hard to read; it says, "Persons who
dirty public places, are social criminals. Culprits can
be fined and arrested". The underpass was very clean,
cleaner than the one in Palo Alto, California, for example.
|This is the name of an apartment building.
I think that "Indian Summer" is an American
expression, and I wonder if the name is
intentional or a coincidence.
|This is on the side of a passenger car on
the Konkan railway. I guess 'ply' is a
perfectly correct English verb, but not one
that I am used to using.
|I guess this is the original use of the expression
'rogues gallery'. This is outside a railroad police
office and comprises pictures of baggage thieves,
con men, robbers, and others who committed
crimes against railroad passengers.
|A railroad union for backward classes?|
|There are many opportunities to fall into uncovered
or contact live electrical wires, or get hurt in many other ways
for which Americans would tend to sue somebody, both on
and off railroad property. I'm not sure why the railroad chose
this particular hazard to warn against.
|This warning is seen all over the Bangalore train
I don't know what is meant by 'chain snatching' or by 'bombs'.
|This sign is near the Sri Chamundeswari Temple on
Chamundi Hill. It does not seem to have had much
of an effect on the visitors and vendors.
Added on December 23, 2000:
This quotation from Ghandhi is
on the wall of a train station.
Ahimsa is the practice of non-violence.
The owner tells me that useless wali
refers to him, and not to his merchandise.
This company name on a gate is not particularly
noteworthy, except that the gate is in Kodai,
about as far away from the sea as you can get
in southern India. I assume that located behind
the gate is a company rest house or conference center.
Plucking of flowers is not allowed in this park in Kodai. No, this isn't a fire sale on land. Land is
measured in units of 1/100 of an acre; cents.
My family place? Does the Downs family
have a branch in India?
Trash gets thrown almost everywhere in India and,
if it is not biodegradeable, it can hang around a
long time. In Kodai, the vendors used paper bags,
some of which were made from magazine pages.
This sign is located near Pillar Rocks.
Added on January 25, 2001:
Rita says that this is an ad for a jewelry store. The text is in Malayalam and the sign is in Quilon. This Bangalore ad seems pretty wild for India. This is a very conservative country; I havent seen a single Playboy centerfold type of picture anywhere. [And heaven knows he's tried.] If anyone needs a dead doctor, I think Ive found his office in Hyderabad. So a Horologist has something to do with watches? Dikshit is a fairly common Indian name that does not pronounce well in English. This street in Delhi is named for Uma Shanker Dikshit. I guess that Phat Phat Sewa is the name of a taxi company; there were a whole fleet of cars in Delhi with this name on the rear. So Im supposed to call this number in Darjeeling and ask for Uranus? ...sure I will... This sign is on a main street in Darjeeling. This speed warning sign is located on Hill Cart Road, the winding mountain road from Siliguri to Darjeeling. The toy train tracks follow Hill Cart Road. This speed warning sign is also located on Hill Cart Road. This poster is from Darjeeling, but there are computer schools advertised everywhere Ive seen in India. This sign is on an office attached to the toy train locomotive shed in Kurseong.
Added on February 27, 2001:
This sign in Ahmedabad deals with a major problem in India. Kerosene is subsidized and diesel is expensive, so diesel fuel is often adulterated with kerosene to save money. The result is an increase in pollution. Doctors Without Borders is working in Kutch. This sign is on their tent in a Kutch village. This is from a receipt from a store where I made a purchase in Rajkot. And this stationary store is located in Rajkot.
- A couple of our readers have corresponded indicating their skepticism that Jikaka and Benifaiva Bhatt actually referred to their car as the Bhattmobile, so click here to view a photo of said vehicle taken just before embarking on a Bhattmission. [Hey, with a name like Pratt, I can get away with scams like this...]