Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Passang Dorji is a classic guy. Not only does he let slip a cruel joke every now and then, but he also does things that are beyond anybody’s wildest imagination.

His aloof, serious and no-nonsense persona, only adds an extra tinge of flavor when he unleashes his wisecracks and antics. So unexpected and abrupt they come, forget the rest, it even freaks the man himself out. And that is precisely why; Passang Dorji is a classic guy.

Even in all his seriousness, the man has the ability to blend himself to the space he’s in and instantly adjust to the situation. Plus, the things he does at the spur of the moment, thinking it is necessary, is, I thought, worth a mention.

Headed for Gelephu, darkness was already falling when we hit traffic. And it just didn’t seem to bother our man that the gate might close for our destination in Sarpang, he continued driving at a snail’s pace. “Whether you like it or not, I cannot go faster than this. I suffer from night blindness,” was his deadpan answer to shut me up.

Although I bought his excuse then and followed him in my car just as slowly, I wasn’t aware that if the gate did close, he had a trick hidden up his sleeve. The classic trick, may I also mention, was intended in all seriousness.

When we finally got there in what seemed forever, the gate, as expected, was closed. He didn’t seem worried – not then and not now. If I may add, with his permission of course, and in his own words, “Passang Dorji can move mountains.”

He simply took out his phone and explained to some officials how urgent and important it was for us to get there. So, we were made to write and sign an undertaking stating we were traveling the stretch at our own risk. And should anything happen, no one would be held responsible.

“Drive fast and don’t stop the car no matter who asks you to,” warned a cop standing at the check-point.

Our man, wearing a grave expression, walked up to my car. “You know, I have two kids. But for you, I will take the risk,” he said, with a sense of urgency in his tone mingled with uncertain fear. Having said that, he got into his car and slammed the door in a fashion very typical of him.

The gate flew open and his tires squealed as he zoomed before me. It seemed like it was now my turn to keep up with his pace. And, just as I was beginning to enjoy the speed, with a few meters covered, he was back to his normal self again. The fear, I felt, had gone flying out his car window.

All of a sudden, the warning didn’t seem to disturb him anymore. He got back to driving at a snail’s pace. Only this time, his car started going zig-zag. No sooner would he finish turning left, he would turn right, sometimes even going off the road.

The first time his car veered off the main road, I braked hard expecting a mighty jerk because of a pothole. There wasn’t any.

The road was smooth, straight and without a car in sight. Even then, he drove from one corner of the road to another, like a man possessed, while the car screamed every time he did so. I couldn’t understand what was going on.

The half-hour drive to Gelephu from Sarpang took us almost an hour but nevertheless we made it without any hitch. And, although, I could make out he was exhausted from driving like that, I was curious.

“Oye Passang, why were you driving like a mad man?” I asked.

He looked at me, as if to say, are you really as stupid as you look, before he answered.

“Don’t you watch movies or what? That is how you dodge bullets while driving, should anyone open fire,” was his classic reply. I realized he wasn’t joking.

By the way, Passang Dorji isn’t just a classic guy; he is also my roommate at work.

There are so many other classic incidences of his, but because space doesn’t permit, and because a guy capable of dodging imaginary bullets is capable of anything else, I will not incur his wrath.


Post a Comment