Names & Numerals

Truth be told, my math (amongst many other things that can go without mention) isn’t top notch. Well, let me put it mildly that way, and leave it there. But whatever little understanding that I have had around math was ably aided by scanning number plates and their three / four digit numbers on licnece plates.

As a kid, vehicle license plates and their three/ four numbers that Indian number plates had, held sway over my attention. Permutations, combinations, additions, multiplications on were best matched by a keen interest in automobiles!

That fancy for number plates, I discovered has remained ever so dormant. That discovery happened because the dormancy was disturbed, in the US !

While most plates were of the regular alpha numeric variety, there were some else that that arched the eyebrow, evinced a laugh or even evoked sympathy in human condition. When none of that happened, it plain popped the eye out !

Thus scanning of number plates of vehicles that were passing wasn’t just another passing interest but quickly ascending ( the missus calls it ‘ descending’) into a profound obsession that I could have easily passed for a car jacker or an insurance surveyor or a cop!

Some elementary macro dissection of the number plate. The full name of the state is present in a particular font. You are allowed to have symbols, alphabets and letters. The plate could get a different hue depending on a ‘theme’ ( for want of a better word ). ” A memorial ‘theme’ ” could get you a different background on your plate than what a “Olympic training center’theme’ ” could get. Or even ones that are ‘themed’ after a college / university that you went to.

A portion of the fee thats collected goes to that college / Olympic training center etc ( the list is long and myriad ). In case it interests you more than this, the list is here. And in the larger scheme of things, $ 75 per anum, well, seems ok !

Every spotting of a car with a fancy plate got the heart to beat a trifle faster. Sometimes evoking a strain on the neck to see the full plate or look at the driver to reconfirm deepest suspicions or just about see if the driver was for real !

On another note, these license plates while giving me new vocabulary, haven’t quite helped my math much. The closest that I came to math computation was spotting and counting ‘5Punjab’ ‘6Punjab’ ‘7Punjab’ ! That was elementary, even by my own towering mathematical standards ! Nevertheless, Name plates that beamed from BMWs and tangoed from the Toyotas stood out on Californian roads. !

Which brings me to another subject. The Hindustan Times speaks of number plates in Delhi that is going for as high as Rs.5 lakhs ( $ 11,200 )! All for a string of numbers. Imagine what creativity can be unleashed , if the US style is adopted. And of course, imagine the money spinner that it can become!

Sporting stylish license will become a super cool thing. Ad gurus will start specializing in it. Artists will thrive. Mainstream media will have a program going for it. And like all other sundry programs including the weather report, millions will stream to watch it.

Occasionally, or rather, frequently, some Sam in a whimsical mood to impress his wife or make up with her, could have his name plate bearing “SamYAni”. That could get the moral police up in arms for “public display of affection” or some such convoluted interpretation of a some archaic rule that caught a Britishers fancy many eons ago.

Of course, there would be protests and prime time national coverage with four blokes having a shouting match and the winner being the one with highest decibel levels!

I mean, just imagine, how many salaries can this number plate rule pay. It can bring about a change in the economy, I say !

Ah, but I digress. As usual. The number plate I so strained to capture on camera but with very little success was of this lady on a Harley Davidson, as she whooshed pass us. Her plate just said : ‘O Not Hiz’

9 thoughts on “Names & Numerals

  1. I have nothing but sympathy for the missus, as you go around straining at seat belts, and lurking in parking lots, trying to capture license plates and the stories they tell.

    Dont know about the 5-lakh facility for all this happening in India. Stay tuned now for a license-plate scam, I guess.

    In the meanwhile, I know someone who might be ecstatic over a licencse plate saying PAYASAM-1…..:-)

  2. SG says:

    Brilliant, simply brilliant! And I agree, this would be a huge money spinner in India. I bet I’ll go for one that says ‘DNT OVRTAKE’.

  3. Insignia says:

    Yes, the first time I saw such number plates, I was stunned. I like the freedom they get to express on their number plates. I wonder how it would be if we had that here 🙂

    And on a serious note, I appreciate you for clicking pics of number plate. Invasion of privacy and breach of security 😛

  4. Neha says:

    It’s so amazing to see UK reminding you about Payasam each time! I wonder how you must be feeling? Hungry, happy or seriously thinking of having such a number plate?

    I will get so bored travelling there! I love to calculate the digits on the number plates while travelling. I have written a post on it too..Alpha numeric plates are boring! Bah!

  5. dr.antony says:

    Enjoyed this post. Honestly I hadnt seen anything like this and never thoguht you could have plates like that!But is it expensive to get them? The last time there was an auction of numbers,someone bid an astounding ten million dirhams for a number!

  6. Yes, you digress, but that is perhaps what lets your key strokes wander wildy in your imagination. Enjoyed it!!

  7. Jeevan says:

    Interesting plate enthusiasm! This idea would resonant here aloud for sure and the fans of fancy numbers will delight along with the RTO officials who will make money large out of it. Nice clicks on variety of plates.

  8. Priya says:

    I remember seeing “poda dai” the plate in NJ few years bck. Very funny indeed. But when u personalize, u gotto pay more for it.

  9. I’m very late reading this post…

    Simply loved the different number plates you’ve shown here.

    I wish we could have creative plates like these- even if they did cost extra. Would at least give people something to amuse them during traffic jams!

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