Deisel & Paint

No HGV driver in the UK would think that his lorry and creative painting are compatible
For the Indian they are inseparable; in a way it’s inexplicable
The HGV’s of Mumbai are part of the family and a home on the road

They’re expensive to buy
They’re pampered and painted like a concubine and accordingly sometimes difficult to handle when treated badly
Sometimes a drain on resources they’re nonetheless an important source of income

Made from heavy steel plate, iron girders and basic mechanics
A spinning transmission is just an arms length away under a heavily greased undercarriage
They don’t have power steering and from a standing start you need strength to turn the wheel
There must be a knack, as muscular forearms are not a natural part of the Indian physique


Horn Please; is a request for overtaking vehicles to sound their horn
This way the driver knows if you are on his left or right hand side
OK; advises that there is no oncoming traffic and the vehicle behind can overtake
No longer used the OK light has been lost but the decorative advantages are still utilised

Driving is difficult on Mumbai’s roads
They say in India that you should drive on the right and the right side of the road is the side that has no traffic
Traffic flows like a viscous liquid and the highway code is a guide and not taken literally
However, the sight of these painted ladies on the streets of Mumbai is a pleasant relief

There are regional variations
But all seem to have prosaic descriptions of the diesel tank and battery box
With painted garlands, flowers and landscapes they appear to be the Indian’s equivalent of the narrow boat

photography and text by Tim Harris


This entry was published on May 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm. It’s filed under India, Travel, Vehicle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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