It's Purim: Make Some Noise!
It's a time-honored tradition on the joyous holiday of Purim to make some noise, drowning out the name of the villain Haman during the megillah reading. In India, we do this by stamping our feet on the marble floors of our synagogues. In Ashkenazic communities, groggers or noisemakers are the norm.
It's also a time-honored tradition on India's streets to make some noise--actually a LOT of noise! Any visitor to India's cities will find it impossible to forget the honking horns. According to an old saying in India, to drive well all you need are four simple things: a good car, good eyes, good luck and a good horn. Drivers use their horns constantly to nudge traffic along and to announce, "Watch out, move aside, I'm coming!" They even honk when the light is still red, to get drivers ready to go! "Horn OK Please," is painted on many trucks, buses and taxis. Sometimes individual drivers object, painting or placing "Do Not Honk" stickers on their cars.
The honking in Mumbai, a city of 22 million, became so loud that the Mumbai Police implemented a stop-honking initiative. At certain intersections they installed devices that measured horn noise. The louder the honking, the longer the light stayed red. Eventually the drivers got the message : “Honk More Wait More.”
The police filmed the scene and posted a video on social media. It went viral instantly.
Sometimes, it's good to make noise. Sometimes it isn't.
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Rahel Musleah was born in Calcutta, India, the seventh generation of a Calcutta Jewish family that traces its roots to 17th-century Baghdad.