Caution! No driver in this car. These words may seem familiar to those few who may have come across this placard but definitely strange to many of those Bangaloreans who may have not witnessed this. We are talking about 26-year-old Farhan from Koramangala who controls the steering of the vehicle with just two fingers and the brake and accelerator from the side passenger seat. People look at his car with amusement when they realise that the car is without a driver. It makes them wonder as to who is driving the car and that too amidst the chaotic traffic of Bangalore city.
Interestingly, for the last one month, Farhan has been using his unique talent to promote awareness on many issues. He has pasted a few messages like 'Wear helmet and drive', 'Give respect to women', Leave sooner, 'drive safely, safety is must', 'Do not drink and drive, ' 'Keep the city clean' and 'Do not use mobile while driving.'
Speaking to City Express, he says, "It is because of my friends' support that I came up with this idea. Since I am a working professional, I do it during the weekends only. But I am happy to do something which hopefully people will implement in their personal life."
It has been nine years since Farhan has been driving, steering from the side passenger seat. He has even made it to the Limca Book of Records in 2009 by covering the distance from Bangalore to Ooty. Even the Guiness Book of world records have taken note of this unique record. He says, "They have not approved this feat as of now as they feel it is not legal to drive on the roads in this manner. Now I want to drive from Kanyakumari to Ladakh to set a new record, but the Regional Transport Office has not approved it. I am on my own and do not have any backing from any other organisation. Since what I do is considered illegal, it is difficult to get the permission."
Give him any vehicle and any type of traffic, Farhan can manage it perfectly. It all started from his father's old Fiat car when he was in his second year of his B.Com.
He said, "Being a tall guy, I had problems driving my father's vehicle from the driver's seat. One day, when my younger brother was sitting beside me, I told him to move back and took the side passenger seat and tried driving it from there. I was able to drive the Fiat without any glitch and from that day onwards, I am on a roll and there is no stopping to my passion."
Farhan has neither faced any problems with the traffic department nor been fined by them anytime. But he has undergone his share of many challenges. Farhan tried to convince Dr M A Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Bangalore Traffic Police to grant him permission to drive from Kanyakumari to Ladakh but was disappointed when he was threatened to put behind bars.
"There are so many people doing wrong things, why are they not threatened with arrest? What is wrong with what I do?" he questioned.
In another instance, a journalist from a TV channel who interviewed him, took the matter to a traffic personnel stationed at MG Road who threatened him with dire consequences if seen on MG Road again.
His talent has not only grabbed the eyeballs of the common people but also politicians.
He was once approached by a member of the Aam Aadmi Party to travel around in his car with posters of Aam Aadmi but Farhan said, "I do not want to be associated with politics. I want to support causes that I believe in and that too as an individual."
Undoubtedly, he attracts a lot of attention when he is in his car and he loves it. He says, "I love every bit of it. When I am walking on the streets of Bangalore, I am like any other person but as soon as I am in my car I am treated differently by everyone around. I feel that they are in a dilemma whether to come up and start a conversation. In fact, I am happy to speak to anybody who approaches me."