Horn Please: The Trippy Psychedelic World of Truck Art

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We all know the “HORN OK PLEASE” and “Dekho Magar Pyaar Se” painted on trucks in India. But, the art of the truck is much more than that. Let’s dive deeper into the psychedelic trippy world of truck art to find out more.

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Truckers swear by the “home away from home” concept when it comes to their trucks. And with good reason, given that most truck drivers spend almost ten months on the twelve highways across the country. And to add flavor to this slow and sometimes lonely journey, these houses on wheels are adorned with a mix of bright colors, quirky slogans, religious symbols and political icons, among others; mostly personalized to the taste of the driver and owner.

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When you look past the bling and beauty of these embellishments, you will notice that more than anything, it is a mode of communication for these drivers. Reflecting their tastes, inclinations and origins, these art forms serve as speechless language. And this communication is more important than you think. India stretches over 1,42,126 km of national highways. Most states do not allow truck drivers to travel during the day, forcing them to travel long distances at night. And it’s not child’s play, especially with the monotony of the long and winding deserted roads. Passing another moving vehicle, and a dynamic truck, gives you the assurance that you are not alone. And sometimes that’s the only booster you need.

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The art of trucks has come a long way, from popular-inspired hand-painted birds and flowers to graphic stickers of famous movie stars and Bollywood films. While the traditional methods of breaking a sweat and painting intricate details by hand now diminish, modern printing techniques have opened a door to new dimensions. Modern trucks can be seen adorning three-dimensional designs with more jazzy colors. Until now, the truck artists who plied the profession of painter for generations have resorted to the art of printing and collage to keep themselves going. That said, most truckers believe in customizing their trucks themselves using the age-old brush and paint. And, they are very proud of it. And why not, these trucks serve as a canvas to demonstrate their creativity, and also as a conversation starter for the highway dhabas.

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Photo credit: unknown

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But, the art of the truck is not limited to exteriors. Come in and you can tell pretty much everything about who is driving. Photos of their wives and children, figurines of deities, a sometimes makeshift temple, the personal effects of loved ones for remembrance, and items to keep bad omens at bay are just a few of the embellishments that l ‘you can see. Apart from that, there are the usual suspects that can be found inside a real home like curtains, bedding, utensils, ornamental decorations and lights of different colors. After all, comfort brings the most happiness. As for us, non-road, the happiness lies in the extravagance of these trucks which brighten up the most boring journeys.

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