It has been my habit of many years to go for a walk for about one hour in the mornings. I have walked along the near-empty roads and streets in many cities in India. As walking is a lonely occupation, I keep my mind occupied by reading the signboards of closed shops and graffiti on the walls. I have come across very interesting, curious and sometimes downright funny signage in my peregrinations that have often made my walk very exciting.
In Hyderabad I came across this graffiti: O B City Clinic. The caricature of a fat man turning into a thin man conveyed that it was an advertisement for slimming techniques offered by a clinic. In Delhi I came across this sign in a shop selling perfumes: Original Duplicates of All Foreign Brands. On the back of a truck I saw this written: The Nation Is on the Move. Speed 40kms.
In a hotel in Madurai, presumably to prevent theft of cutlery by closing options for sale of the stolen items, this cryptic message is etched on all its utensils: This is stolen from Hotel…
I came across this optimistic sign in Kochi recently: All types of typewriters repaired. Special discounts available. I wonder whether they are still in business. Another sign that casts suspicion on the professional capabilities was this which I came across in Mumbai: Become skilled in English. Expart tution available.
In a Bengaluru suburb I came across this curious message written in white on the rolled down shutters of a shop: Opened by mistake.
In a shop which sells antiques in Trivandrum I came across this wonderful truism: By hammer and hand all arts do stand. How very true!!
Taxis in Mumbai are a popular form of transportation especially in the city. The passenger is required to step in and out only from the left side; the right door is usually locked. In most taxis you find “Exit” written near the handle of the left door and “no exit” on the right. But in one taxi I boarded, the right door carried this cryptic message: No exist. When I pointed out the error, the driver told me there was no mistake; he explained if you get out of the right side you may not live, as a passing vehicle may run over you!
At a theatre in a rural place in Kerala this slide was flashed on the screen before the film began: No smoking prohibited. Maybe to comply with this instruction, I found that almost all the audience began puffing away almost immediately and the screen soon dissolved in a thick haze.
On the side of national highways usually one finds tyre repair shops, identifiable by the stack of used tyres piled in front. Once I stopped to change my car tyre at a shop which bore the enigmatic sign: Tyre Punkchure done here. Did it mean he punctured tyres to generate business?
On the glass windows of a leading bank was written this slogan: Your Prosperity, Our Aim. But some smart aleck had carefully inked out the “Y” to convey a selfish objective of the bank.
The name of a hotel in Kochi is Ali Baba and 41 dishes; I wonder if it is staffed by 41 thieves too.
In Delhi I once read: Exclusive Ladies Beauty Parlour. Gents also welcome. It made my day.
Only In India you find “stationary” shops selling paper and pens. But I found this sign on a shop in Ahmedabad which I am trying to fathom to this day: College Stationery Stationary shop.