Peep Peep Don’t Sleep by Ajay Jain
Peep Peep Don’t Sleep is a collection of road signs in the Indian Himalayas. Primarily in and around Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand has been compiled in this book. The signs are mostly in black on a yellow background. And most of the times written in English – ok, some version of English.
You admire the author’s observation and perseverance in taking pictures of all possible signs in all possible remote areas. And compiling them for the reader. He has tried to give a one-line commentary for each sign along with the exact place where the picture was taken. Sometimes the signs are funny. As in they are meant to be funny. And sometimes they are warnings disguised in pleasant messages. Sometimes a rather weird imagination of the one choosing the message. I am sure these messages will keep reminding you that humans have come here before you. And this is what they wanted to give you this message based on their experience.
The phonetic English makes the signs funnier. But the wrongly spelled messages take the cake in tickling your funny bones. At times there are so many mistakes that the whole meaning of the message is lost. And rest of the times they can be confusing. Stereotypes of the society come into play. But what stands out is the simplicity of the writers and painters, their simple thoughts and even simpler words.
As a book, you need to turn it off and on, is it difficult to read or see it in one go and the signs start appearing similar and you lose interest. But flipping through a few them can keep you amused. There are signs outside shops in the same region. And a few from Delhi, that is also equally funny. But I guess the pictures can not do justice to them as the ambiance is a part of the fun element.
Ideally, I would like to see a pan India book of Road Signs. Ajay, are you listening or collecting?
Pick it up if road signs interest you.