Madam - two wheeler

From time to time, I like to return to the original theme of this blog – namely the joys of Indian English.

Yes I know I’ve wandered fairly far from that sometimes, but frankly; my blog, my rules.

Oh yeah, check me out, I can be a tough guy if needed. More importantly I will eventually be moving on from India and I’d like to think you gentle reader, will be just as interested in reading about the joys of Sri Lankan English, or wherever I land up next…

Anyway, there are certain things that still catch my ear now even after being in India for years.

One of the main ones is that there are no motorcycles here – only ‘two wheelers’. Which, lets face, it is an accurate description of the machine, but rather low tech in reach.

Incidentally, cars are occasionally described as ‘four wheelers’. Not as often it’s true, but there is certainly one security point outside a big business park that has a sign pointing two wheelers to one side and four wheelers to the other.

I shall try and curb my thoughts on the uselessness of the business park and hotel security. It’s an entirely pointless show of looking for things by utterly unskilled personnel. As you drive into many, if not all, fancy public places  three or four young men appear and stop the car, so that they wheel a mirror about to look under the car; they open the boot, they inspect the passenger foot-wells. Men who patently wouldn’t know a stick of Semtex apart from a pack of butter.

I can only assume that they’re looking for the Wiley Coyote bomb – the one with two sticks of dynamite, a curly wire and the helpful label ‘bomb’. Because they sure as hell don’t look capable of spotting an actual modern bomb.

And it’s not as though they don’t need security in major up-scale public places – there really are terrorist threats here. Look no further than the ever nervy relationship with Pakistan and the repeated hotel bombings of the last few years.

But no, security is not run at a close level by people trained to identify threats.

No, it’s a couple of listless boys and a mirror. It doesn’t exactly make you feel safe. Though to be fair – I didn’t exactly feel unsafe before hand. But watching limp security – particularly if like me, and most of the UK, you grew up seeing proper serious anti-IRA security in Britain during the troubles of the eighties… well suddenly your mind does start to wonder if you’re actually safe. After all, pretty much anyone could get through this level of security…

Ah, look at that, I seem to have come rather adrift from my usual happy Signage Sunday theme.  Sorry about that.

Lets leave it at this – motorcycles are called two wheelers.

And on this sign there’s a rather nice use of ‘avail’.

There seamless return to theme. Ahem


Part of our series of ‘Signage Sundays’. I’m slightly obsessed with signage in this country.

You might enjoy these other ridiculous signs:

Do not pick the lotus

Not so secure

India can be confusing

Or do check out the complete Signage Sunday page

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