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Tea Leaves

Sound feeds fury in some Asian megacities

If Indian cities were quieter, would we be less angry?

My most vivid recollection of a recent visit to my hometown, Delhi, is the Armageddon noise levels. Imagine heavy metal music fighting atonal opera and the vocal gymnastics of Manganiyar folk music, and you might begin to sense what it's like for Indians threading through the horns, religious songs, wedding bands, screeching children, barking dogs and construction clatter that form the soundtrack to their lives.

During the day, motor vehicle horns are the worst offenders. For millions of drivers, the horn has superpowers. It's able to stand in for indicators, the rear view mirror, brakes and even, you would be forgiven for thinking, the driver as well.

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