Reverse driving, eating glass among unusual hobbies found in India
By Channel NewsAsia's India Correspondent Vaibhav Varma | Posted: 21 January 2007 2356 hrs
INDIA : Many people count driving cars and eating delicacies as among their hobbies.
In India though, there are those who take these pursuits a step further.
Harpreet Pappu is a well-known personality in Bhatinda, Punjab.
He has mastered the art of "reverse" driving.
Pappu says he acquired this unusual skill to make a statement about India's political system.
"The entire system is topsy-turvy so I have to be the same. If people ask me why I drive backwards all the time, I tell them that they have the wrong perspective," says reverse driver Harpreet Pappu.
The former bus driver has logged some 150,000 kilometres of reverse driving.
And it was mere chance, he says, that led him to nurture this rare talent of his.
"I dropped off some passengers and backed up the car. The lever got stuck in reverse gear and I couldn't release it. I didn't have any money on me so I drove home in reverse for 50 to 60 kilometres. That incident inspired me and gave me the confidence to drive backwards," explains the reverse driver.
Glass eater Kishan Das Suryavanshi wants to make a living out of his unusual diet.
The resident of Chhatisgarh in central India crunches a glass bottle every alternate day.
He has even tasted light bulbs and spectacles, and says he enjoys the awestruck audience that gathers to watch him.
"I used to work as a driver for a school. I've bitten and chewed on glass bottles for 15 years. I started doing this because it was interesting and now it's become a habit," says glass eater Kishan Das Suryavanshi.
Suryavanshi is ambitious; he has set his sights on eating the windscreen of a supersonic aircraft.
Unique, quirky or strange - for these Indians, the pursuit may not be practical but nothing will deter them from spending time, money and sweat on it. - CNA /ls