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Funny signs

December 23, 2008

The graphic given  below instructs people on how to use a lift. It explains which buttons needs to be pressed (the second button with the arrow pointing downwards is not in the picture). I guess this is because at times people are not sure which button to press! For example if they are on the 10th floor and want to go down to the ground floor but the lift is on the ground floor, they feel that they need to press the up arrow as they want to “call” the lift up, even if they actually want to go down! Confusing? Sure, for those unused to lifts!

This second one was taken in Agra at a tourist spot. But yeah, there was another place where water was available!

This one, which I have published on my blog earlier in another context, was taken on a Goa beach. Couldn’t imagine how people provided “professional” services in such a small shack!

This photograph was taken on a Mumbai-Pune expressway. I found it funny, because why should there be a sign telling us to obey the traffic rules?? That’s a given isn’t it!

When it comes to faulty English, these signs are a dime a dozen in India. Here is one taken on a country road.

This one was taken in Chennai city. Wasn’t sure what it meant.

At times just having an English name gives some sort of prestige to a shady shop. This one was taken in Agra.

(All photos are copyrighted to me)

Related Viewing: A post on Puneri Patya: Pune signboards (Puneri Patya)
This is a picture of A funny battered car which was still being driven around the city and these guys actually waved at me when I took their picture with my cell phone!
These are Bal Thackeray’s election campaign ads which should be serious, but are funny instead!
These signs are not funny, but are Interesting signs from Europe

Some photo posts which tell you the story of India.
Other posts on Humour

56 Comments leave one →
  1. Vinod permalink
    December 23, 2008 8:47 pm

    This was funny, no doubt. Good capture, Nita.
    I have seen a similar one about English signs in China.

  2. December 23, 2008 9:18 pm

    “Late better than never” guess some arabic enthusiast wrote


    YOur description on lifts made me confused..I re -read it,got more

  3. December 23, 2008 9:28 pm

    lol i come across so many here 😛 nice 😉

  4. December 23, 2008 9:33 pm

    Good ones. I’m commenting after a very long time. A techie like me would have posted a big “FAIL” stamp over each photo. You know, like the kind at

  5. December 23, 2008 9:36 pm

    Oh the traffic sign is quite necessary…we all know whats correct but still have to be reminded. Just like a “smoking is dangerous to health” sign on a pack of cigarettes. 🙂

    After reading the sign, people will observe rules for atleast one km 🙂

  6. December 23, 2008 9:45 pm

    As far as traffic rules are concerned, even if it is kept at every 10 meters our people are ready to break them.

    First one is a real funny thing.. lol 😀

  7. December 23, 2008 10:09 pm

    Hahaha….really funny…Guess what?? There is a church I see almost everyday when I go to office and the sign on it is as below :

    ” Dont let troubles kill you, let The Church Help!”

    Imagine? this is in UK not India!! :O

    When I saw it first, I could not control and laughed out loud and asked my cab driver what he understood of it…and surprisingly even he laughed his heart out too!

    I shall try 2 take a pic if possible sometime 😀

  8. Vivek S. Khadpekar permalink
    December 23, 2008 10:19 pm


    # 1 is a serious issue in communication design. You find manifistations of it in the best of situations. If you have tried to buy an ordinary Philips bulb (clear, packaged in a flimsy corrugated cardboard wrapper, you have to actually strain your eyes to read the wattage on the glass bottom of the bulb. One would expect an international company such as Philips to have heard about printing essential information on the packaging, and about colour coding of the wrapper to distinguish between the wattages.

    #2 — what is that little bit of “Madrasi” script doing in a place like Agra?

    #3 — what is the connection between the space standards of a business premises and the professional quality of the services offered therein?

    #4 — In many places in “dry” Gujarat you find signs advising people not to drink and drive. How’s that for stating the obvious?

    #7 — Unless you actually went and had your hair done there, how can you say it is shady?

    You just seem to be prejudiced against Agra 🙂 . (Well, so am I, actually) 🙂 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  9. December 23, 2008 11:01 pm

    LOL! As usual some really cool ones from you! BTW I remember it reading on a highway an arrow pointing and reading – Tamil Nadu Toilet Tea Shop. Guess they had missed comas in between 😀

  10. December 23, 2008 11:32 pm

    Nice one Nita…. The first picture or sign is very much needed in my office, there are plenty of people in my office, who press the down button on gf if they want t0 go up and lift is somewhere on a upper level.I have took an printout and out there..”Press up to go up and press down to go down, regardless of where the life is” 🙂

    @ Vivek ..loved reading your comment 🙂

  11. December 24, 2008 3:49 am

    Maybe the hairdresser’s is shady because it is so well shaded it took me a while to make out the sign? But, the sign doesn’t promise much confidence. OK, in that customer may or may not come out with chopped ears and a so-so haircut. These are funny signage. G

  12. gauri permalink
    December 24, 2008 6:15 am

    Hehehe. Funny! You know, the lift one was so obvious – until I read your explanation!! Must admit I found the logic cute 😀


  13. December 24, 2008 8:11 am

    haha @ vivek – its not madrasi…its telugu..andhra!
    and ya what a analysis…liked ur comment 😀

  14. December 24, 2008 9:50 am

    Nita: That auto in Chennai must belong to some association. There is an Auto Drivers’ Association here called Goodwill. But, it still doesn’t make sense… Maybe Goodwill financed the purchase maybe? 😛

  15. December 24, 2008 9:50 am

    ha ha ha..your post was special as you picked up these signs along the way..thoroughly enjoyed it!
    To err is human but to entertain while erring is certainly creative.

    @ Sahaja, the one you cited about the church could have been put up in good humor. The community is known to wear its humor and attitude openly. There is an undertaker’s shop in Mahim which says “Our customers even die for our service!”

  16. Vivek S. Khadpekar permalink
    December 24, 2008 10:37 am

    @ Sahaja:

    Possibly you have not read my rants on the North vs. South post on this blog. “Madrasi” (placed in quotation marks) refers to the attitude (common among Hindi imperialists) that anything that is not Hindi — and particularly the Dravidian languages, is “Madrasi” (uttered in a spitting tone, a contemptuous look on the face, and with a dismissive outward flick of the hand from the wrist down — I wish he practice would result in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). Fine distinctions such as Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam etc. are meant for “anti-national” people like you and me.

  17. December 24, 2008 11:14 am

    Good observation Nita, you can find plenty of these in rural India.
    I was once entertained by a signboard which said- remain untied, I guess it meant, remain united.

  18. December 24, 2008 11:56 am

    haha nice collection.. we see loads of such stuff around India !

  19. December 24, 2008 1:45 pm

    LOL I once received an email forward showing a Beer Shop called Child Bear. Guess it meant Chilled Beer?

    And now look what Santa has left for you on my blog here.

  20. Dev permalink
    December 24, 2008 3:03 pm

    Funny ones. I have never forgotten those crazy traffic signs I read as a school kid while driving through, in my school bus, those dangerous serpentine roads within mountains. The funniest one used to read,
    ” Ho sakta hai ki aapke davara bachai gayi jaan aapki apni hi ho”.. lol
    Then there was something like, “drive slowly, someone is waiting for you at home”

    • December 24, 2008 5:20 pm

      Thanks all for your comments and contributions! I am not responding to all of you individually today as am literally on the run with some work.

  21. Chirag permalink
    December 24, 2008 5:02 pm

    Ha ha ha LOL, Brilliant Photo Shoot. Very Funny.

  22. Vivek S. Khadpekar permalink
    December 24, 2008 6:41 pm

    @ Nita:

    On Christmas Eve you should be on the run from work. 🙂

  23. December 24, 2008 8:41 pm

    What about truck signs next? That should be hilorryous!

  24. December 24, 2008 8:42 pm

    Nita, if you can, please edit the bold tag.

  25. December 24, 2008 9:19 pm

    On the run with work during Christmas eve? Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and be safe. Nice post Nita, enjoyed the humorous signs 😀

  26. December 24, 2008 10:50 pm

    I like the lift picture. There are a lot of funny English signs in Japan. However I guess these signs at least make us have a nice laugh. You certainly have been traveling around a lot!

  27. December 24, 2008 11:19 pm

    The traffic sign in Chennai means “Do not overtake”

    You are doing a wonderful job with your blog, Nita. The articles are informative, well researched and most of them positively inspiring.

    Happy New Year!

  28. December 24, 2008 11:36 pm

    Nice collection there! Cant wait to get a facial at the professional hair cutting saloon 😉

  29. December 24, 2008 11:53 pm

    oh it happened to me also when i started using lift at my tution center 😛
    (except that i pressed both the buttons )
    “dressar”……..oh there are numerous with quite funny names
    and once i read “dringing water ” 😛

  30. December 25, 2008 1:10 am

    Exellent collection, Nita – I enjoyed a lot! 🙂

  31. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    December 25, 2008 10:00 am

    @ Arpit:

    Was the “dringing water” sign in Kerala?

  32. December 25, 2008 11:03 am


    Merry Christmas 🙂

  33. December 25, 2008 1:04 pm


    The best thing about that haircutting shack is that the person who wrote it could spell correctly.

    Although that it is a shack is not necessarily incongruent with professionalism. Many people from IIMA would tell you that the best, most courteous haircuts – with head massage etc – were to be had from a guy in a shack behind the campus. For Rs 4 in early-to-mid 1990s. Some of the most stylish girls went and got their hair cut there too.

    And I am guessing this guy doesn’t yak in your ear unlike some vacuous bimbos in ‘classy’ hair saloons who _must_ talk all the time. :-/

  34. Nimmy permalink
    December 25, 2008 1:13 pm

    Merry Christmas Nita 🙂

  35. December 25, 2008 2:10 pm

    hehe, funny 🙂

    Btw Merry xmas 🙂

  36. December 25, 2008 3:44 pm

    @ vivek : no it was in uttarakhand 😛

    • December 25, 2008 4:24 pm

      Merry Christmas to you all! I’m having this huge problem with the internet. The Internet has been off for the whole day and by some miracle I connected now but its very very slow. I hope it improves by tonight.

  37. Vivek S. Khadpekar permalink
    December 25, 2008 4:27 pm

    @ Arpit:

    Was it at a teashop/tyre-repair shop in Uttarakhand?

  38. Vivek S. Khadpekar permalink
    December 25, 2008 4:50 pm

    The eagle-eyed among you may wish to note that in the last photograph, barely legible Under “Dressar” barely legible in the photograph, is a line that says “(ONLY FOR GENTS)”. So relax, Nita, you don’t have to go in there, unless curiosity kills the cat. 🙂

  39. December 25, 2008 4:59 pm

    MeRRy ChristMaS 🙂

  40. December 25, 2008 8:59 pm

    @ vivek : nah…….it came as a part of the puja thali we took at nilkhantha 😛

  41. December 25, 2008 9:03 pm

    same to you nita! 😛
    it happens with me lot of time, you see internet also has its share of mood swing , must have taken an off on Christmas eve 😆

  42. December 26, 2008 1:38 am

    Lol ..
    I have seen something like the last one here in chennai 😛

  43. December 26, 2008 1:16 pm

    hi nita
    goodwill is the name of the group/ faction/union/? (i don’t know what to call it) for auto guys.. so u will find lots a autos bearing this sign or auto stands with goodwill written there

  44. Joss permalink
    December 27, 2008 6:00 pm

    Great post, Nita. The funniest sign I saw was in an empty Lincolnshire field, recently harvested of I don’t what crop. At the side of the road there was a board which said, ‘Dogs beware trip wires!’ Dogs in Lincolnshire can read, apparently!

  45. wishtobeanon permalink
    December 29, 2008 9:11 am

    Good one, Nita, 🙂

  46. December 29, 2008 11:50 am

    A really good collection of signs. I once found a shop in rural Bengal called Zulf clinic promoting women’s hair weaving.

    You can find it here on

  47. March 21, 2009 3:14 pm

    Wondeful! I also have an eye for such signs!

  48. Snezzy permalink
    October 5, 2009 10:35 pm

    “Up” and “down” on elevators. In earlier times the elevator was controlled by pulling on a thin cable that ran from top to bottom. (This is a control cable, not the cable carrying the lift car.) It ran through the car and through the entire shaft. You pulled it up to make the car go up and down to make the car go down. Elevators of that sort have not been seen in the US for over 30 years, but may still exist in India.

    It was also possible to open the door when the car was not present, and step into the shaft. Freight elevators of this sort were in service more recently than passenger elevators. According to legend, about 1972 an employee at Digital Equipment, the computer manufacturer that occupied an old woollen mill in Maynard, Massachusetts, wheeled a hand truck with an entire PDP-9 computer into the shaft because someone on a floor above had moved the car up while he was behind the (rather large) computer. It went down four floors. No one was hurt. The insurance company said, “No more old-style elevators!”

  49. math17dotcom permalink
    October 7, 2009 5:34 pm

    very cool…

  50. Guru permalink
    October 8, 2009 1:51 am

    I think this is a little late to comment, but I am surprised the “Drinking water sign” which you said was taken in Agra has a script on the left most corner which is either Kannada or Telugu.
    Anyway these are pretty interesting.

  51. May 11, 2010 11:45 pm

    I saw your other post titled “Frank but funny” and thought to myself about an idea that I had once. My girlfriend was working for a man that had to make a signboard that could intrigue youngsters, catch their attention and convince them to drive slowly on the roads. The residents of the colony were primarily rich, and their children drove vehicles recklessly. The signboard was to be put up so that the school’s neighboring area could become more safe for children to cross roads and there was hardly a chance of convincing young spoiled children of rich parents to drive slowly. The message of the signboard had to be targeted at our chosen audience – the youngsters of the colony. So I suggested some ideas:

    1. A sexual innuendo that read “Drive slowly, last longer” with the silhouette of a couple in bed and a man on a motorbike.
    2. “Check out your girlfriend’s horrified face! Slow down one moment.” This board was to be larger, with one image of a horrified girl sitting next to a guy in the car and the other image of a horrified girl with a guy on top of her.
    3. “Take a break to kiss your girlfriend”
    4. “Kiss your boyfriend, if he slows down here”
    5. “Wait! Your girlfriend is calling on your mobile.”
    6. “If you couldn’t read this joke, you were too fast” and then in smaller print there is a funny joke that would be put up every week.

    Of course some of these ideas could backfire and we had to think of the visual messages carefully, but that must be fun. Also, I thought a combination of these signboards could do the job far better than just one. The trouble is, the manager was a prude and he reprimanded my girlfriend for these “anti-cultural ideas”.

  52. May 11, 2010 11:49 pm

    Another idea was: “Your girlfriend is hugging you. Now’s the time to apply the brakes!”

  53. October 9, 2010 3:52 pm


  54. ibfoon permalink
    May 11, 2016 9:56 pm

    Some are actually funny. By the way(pun intended) did you see some funny “himank” road signs?

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