Truckload of Wisdom!

Last Sunday I ran my hand through my hair and realised that a hair-cut would be advisable.

The barber welcomed me with a huge smile. I made myself comfortable in the chair and closed my eyes. The barber put on the radio, and began cutting my hair.

It was some comedy program, and the radio jockey was telling a joke: Sharmaji ki car ke peeche likha tha "sawan ko aane do". Peechese truck ne thok diya. Uspar likha tha "Aaya sawan jhoom ke". Loosely translated into English it would go as follows: The rear window sticker of Mr Sharma's car read: Let the rains come. A truck hit the car from behind. The truck had this message painted on it: Here come the rains with a bang! The RJ cackled at his own joke, but it made me cry.

The joke made me sad because it brought back nostalgic memories. The memories pertained to the days when I spent considerable amount of time observing rears - the rear of trucks!

This is how I developed the hobby. One fine day a memo from the head-office informed me I had been transferred to Mumbai, and must report for duty on such-and-such date.

I packed my bags and moved. I managed to find myself a matchbox apartment around 15 kilometres from my new office.

With no vehicle of my own, the public transport system was the only means available to commute between my place of residence and place of work. I had heard a lot about the famed Mumbai local trains, and gave them the first shot. However, after a week it dawned upon me that Mumbai local trains and I could never be good friends. The reason: During the one week of travelling in local trains I never once was able to get off at the right station - it is not that I cannot read the names of the stations but every time I made an attempt to get off, there would be a tremendous rush of passengers trying to get in so that I would be pushed back. And before I could make a fresh attempt for the door the train would have started again.

So, I bid adieu to Mumbai local trains and began travelling by bus. Theoretically speaking, a bus should be able to cover a distance of 15 kilometres in 15 minutes. But, owing to traffic snarls and numerous bus stops along the way, it took me anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour to reach my destination. And to keep me entertained during this time I took to observing the rear of trucks.

Truck rears are great educators. From the puny tempo to the giant lorry, all carry words of wisdom, patriotic messages, slogans, or even poetic efforts, painted on the rear so that it is easy on the readers.

My observation of the truck rears led me to conclude that truckers are very patriotic. Every third truck that I encountered carried messages like, "Mera Bharat Mahan", "I Love India" or "India Is Great". Few truckers are revengeful because their trucks carry the message, "Boori Nazar Wale Tera Mooh Kala (Hey you who look upon me with an evil eye, may your face be blackened)". But most of them are of a forgiving nature. These benevolent truckers wish good to their ill-wishers, and even offer them sweets. "Boori Nazar Wale Tera Ho Bhala (Hey you who look upon me with an evil eye, may you be blessed)" or "Boori Nazar Wale Tu Mithai Khale (Hey you who cast an evil eye on me, go and eat sweets)" are the messages which the trucks of these benevolent truckers carry.

There were a few poetic truckers who enjoyed rhyming words: "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom Sharabi, Baapse Badhkar Beta Harami (Swing tippler swing, the son is a greater oaf than the father)", and "Ek Phool Do Mali, Aaj Bhari Kal Khali (One flower two gardeners, today I go full and tomorrow I might go empty". Then there were short and sweet messages like: "Satya Hi Eeshwar Hai (Truth is God)", and "Dekho Magar Pyar Se (Look, but with love)".

As for words of wisdom, I saw this puny tempo carry this heavy philosophical message, "Maut Rishwat Nahi Leti Kyunki Kafan Mein Jeb Nahi Hota (Death takes no bribe since the shroud has no pockets)".

"Karam Tere Achche To Duniya Teri Dasi Hai. Niyat Teri Achchhi To Gharme Mathura, Kashi Hai (If your actions are good, the world will be at your command. If your intentions are admirable, your home will be like the pilgrimage centres of Mathura and Kashi", another truck declared.

But one truck driver gave vent to the frustrations of the vocation, "Seekh Lee Beta Drivery, Phoot Gaye Tere Karam. Khana Milega Kabhie Kabhie, Sona Ugle Janam". Loosely translated, it would mean, "Boy it is your misfortune that you have become a driver. Now you will get to eat sometimes. As regards sleep - you will get to sleep only in your next birth".

Well, after four years of stay in Mumbai I quit my job and came back to my home town. The trucks and their messages were forgotten. Last Sunday's visit to the barber brought back a rush of memories.

Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission -
  • IIT-Kharagpur -
  • Indian Statistical Institute -
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras -
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad -
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission -
  • IIT Bombay -
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad -
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi -
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training -
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) -
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi -
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai -