‘Pappu Backgear’ looks forward to driving in reverse (With Image)

November 7th, 2010 - 2:10 pm ICT by IANS  

By Jaideep Sarin
Bathinda (Punjab), Nov 7 (IANS) In the unruly traffic of this southwest Punjab town, where driving can be a torture at times, one man stands out - for driving his car in reverse gear. Meet Harpreet Pappu, better known as Pappu Backgear!

Driving a Toyota Cressida car in reverse through the congested city traffic or speeding in excess of 80 km per hour seems like an unbelievable prospect, but the way and ease with which Pappu manoeuvres the vehicle put anxiety to rest.

Pappu Backgear has recorded over 16,250 km of driving - all in reverse gear - in the last over 10 years.

“I started driving in backgear in the year 2000. I have driven a Fiat, Premier 118-NE, Ambassador, Maruti van and now I drive a Toyota Cressida. I wanted to do something unusual and driving in backgear seemed comfortable for me,” Pappu told IANS.

Pappu, whose name now figures in the Limca Book of Records 2010 for his unusual feat, says he wants to break the record of John Smith who features in the Guinness Book of World Records for driving 805 km continuously in reverse gear.

“I want to tell people that driving in backgear is not very difficult,” Pappu said.

The champion driver from Bathinda has so far done 140 km at a stretch - in reverse gear, of course.

In March 2009, Pappu drove his friend Muqqadar Ali in his decorated Fiat car in reverse gear for the latter’s wedding in a village in adjoining Haryana. Pappu drove over 70 km in backgear to the wedding venue in nearly two-and-a-half hours.

The car stopped at the shrines of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians and carried one person from each religion during the journey.

Even Pappu’s wife, Krishna Devi, is now used to their car being driven in backgear. They are now known to people as the ‘reverse couple’.

What’s more, he can also write in reverse!

Pappu wanted to go on a world tour a few years ago, driving in reverse gear, to carry the message of world peace. But he was not allowed beyond the India-Pakistan international border at Attari-Wagah and he had to return.

“That was a little disappointing,” Pappu said.

He launched his World Champion Driving Academy (WCDA) here in 2004 to train youth in regular driving skills.

“He (Pappu) imparts expert driving training to youth here. Many people come to learn driving from him because of his fame in reverse driving,” Roshan Pandey, manager of WCDA, told IANS.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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