THE MOST UNUSUAL SOLO TRIP - REACHING GANGTOK || PART 3 Skip to main content

THE MOST UNUSUAL SOLO TRIP - REACHING GANGTOK || PART 3

"Can it be fixed?" were my words as I was so doubtful about the final result. He said, "yes, yes, look what I will do, I will take this rope and tie this to this spring and remove the mudguard by hammering it. Although tyres will not be straight as the spring is broken but since there is no mudguard, what will they touch to? And the spring which was hanging, I will tie it.". This was his solution. I smiled at him and he smiled back, I knew he would do it but I was not sure about the final destination whether it will be Gangtok or some village where this car will finally breakdown.

I rushed towards the two boys who were smoking a cigarette under a shed of a house about 10-15 meters away. The visibility was just 5-8 meters by then. I could just see the main road and the people sitting outside their house where I was standing. Another boy who was sitting beside me in the cab also asked the same question to the driver and he gave him the same answer. While I was sure he would fix it, that boy wasn't. He quickly called his brother who was coming by car a few kilometres behind us. They arrived in about 15 minutes and that boy and his girlfriend showed their face last time to us. They went on their way. No doubt, they would be reaching Gangtok way before us. I could hear the sound of the hammer that he was beating loudly in between the sounds of thunderstorms and rain. I called Chandani's father to know the address of their house as my battery was dying. I asked him the landmarks near Gangtok and told him I will be there sooner or later. Then the driver called us, "It's done, let's go" and he smiled wholeheartedly. I went inside the car where one girl was sitting. She was very scared about the consequences. It is very dangerous to drive on a hill when your car is in such a condition. I told her, "Nothing will happen, don't worry". The driver was all wet and so was I. He quickly came inside the car and the fat guy sitting right beside him asked him, "brother, it will reach Gangtok, right?" to which the driver said, "Aah!! Don't worry, It will reach Gangtok, maybe(he said very slowly)". The guy said, "What maybe?", "Kidding" driver said. That guy had come first time in Sikkim like me. All the way he was getting a call from a person called Mr Kumar repeatedly and was continuously telling him that he took the wrong taxi, how bad his luck is etc etc. This journey could have been fatal, he knew it, I knew it but the difference between us was he was sure about it almost 90% while I was sure about it only 9%.

We started climbing the hill again with the car none of us had trust upon. We were now 7 guys and 1 lady. She was really scared though. Gangtok was not near I could tell. The car was making a lot of noises. A lot. And every pothole invited the breakdown so he used to drive just on edge whenever he used to see a pothole. He stopped at a place 5-6 km away from the last stop and he called his friend. They both looked at the car and talked something in Nepali. One guy among us knew Nepali. He said, "the driver is asking him to fix his car but his friend is refusing". They both looked at the car, did something very quietly and we were on our way again after 30 minutes. It was very dark that time and the board telling us Gangtok - 60 km looked very bright. After travelling about 20 kilometres, I smelled like something was burning. I thought at first that this smell could be of the tar that they use to build the road because I saw some construction going on some time back. But then the intensity increased and then my other sense also became active. My eyes. I could see the smoke right in front of me. Smoke inside the car, but it did not smell like engine smoke, it was like burning smoke. The man sitting in front said in fear, "Hey! Smoke!!" to which the driver calmly replied, "Aah! you must have put your foot on the circuit board".
"But who puts a circuit board there?"
"No! Actually, I had some problem with the car so the solution which mechanic proposed was very expensive so I installed this circuit board to get around that problem".
Everyone laughed at this. By now, everyone had believed that even though this is a shitty car with a talented driver, we are safe.


At the next stop, the driver picked up his father who was waiting for him on the road and together they would go home. He lived a few kilometres uphill Gangtok. His father was a unique human. He used to speak at a threshold frequency of human ear. He was literally shouting in every sentence. They were talking in Nepali so I did not understand anything but the intensity was mind-blowing. I can't forget. He was a very tall man. More than 6' 8" and quite healthy in the physique. He looked like some WWE wrestler to me. I remember every 15 minutes he used to take out the packet of tobacco from his pocket and chew it. Then spit it out and again. Although he had a pocket on his shirt in front, then also he would put the packet in the back pocket of his jeans. Then he would stand partially again loading me with his 1000 pound weight with one hand. The father-son duo was laughing all the way. I remember his father told him that one another car came before his and the number was the same. He did not look at the district serial number and just saw the last four digits and sat inside the car. And to this, which I found a generous mistake, they both laughed their lungs out. I finally reached Gangtok around 10 pm. Chandani's father received me and told me that you know one headlight of the cab was not working? I said, "No I don't". He said,"Yeah!! Well, it wasn't"

That was a hell of a taxi ride I had. That was a hell of a driver. But he was a good man. As the old saying says, "Those who find laughter in every problem, are the most magnanimous persons on earth". He did not panic for a single second. I did not too, but I was a passenger. I just have to put my butt on the seat. He is the driver, he has the responsibility of 10 persons to drop them safely. Maybe he panicked, but he never showed it. He was a great human. I can never forget his smiling face. He must have learnt that from his father and I believe they were a really happy family. I liked him. Maybe someday I meet him again, I won't remind him that I am that passenger who met you when your car broke down. But if anyone gives me a choice to choose between two cars, one of them being his, I will definitely board his car again. Even though it will break down, but everyone in this car will be smiling ultimately and yes we will definitely reach Gangtok.

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