Some love stories are forever – like Patna traffic superintendent of police P.K. Das’s relationship with his first car, a second-hand Premier Padmini.
He has turned the car, which he bought in 1994 from a Mumbai-based friend, into a sofa – because he wanted the vehicle to be part of his life even if he could not drive it around. He says he had fallen in love with the car within 10 seconds of seeing it for the first time. He bought it for Rs 1.1 lakh and got it transferred to Bihar with the same number: MH01A-2637. He sent a driver to Mumbai to get it to Nawada.
I used to take my wife on long drives to Rajauli because I had just got married (in 1992),” Das said. “Though the car had a mileage of 10-12km a litre, I never regretted driving her.” The Bihar Police Service officer, who has a postgraduate degree in physics from Delhi University, joined service in 1990 as deputy superintendent of police, Nawada.
“I was so deeply in love with the car that I used to polish it regularly. The love grew and I decided to fit an air-conditioner and a music system,” he reminisced. With the passage of time, however, the Padmini started throwing tantrums. By 2015, the car’s maintenance cost became too expensive to handle.
“When I took it to a mechanic on Boring Road, he said nothing much could be done with the car because of its age. Very few of the 1990-model car’s parts were available in the market. But I wanted to keep it because it was my first car,” Das said. “I kept it in the basement but other occupants of the apartment were not pleased. They told me to sell it as scrap. A scrap dealer offered me Rs 13,000 but my conscience didn’t allow me to sell.” Das’s son Amogh Ansh, who works with IBM, Pune, came up with the idea of converting the car into a sofa using its front and rear portions. Das worked on the idea and asked the mechanic to separate the car into two. The rest was sold at Rs 5,000 to a scrap dealer.
Later, a carpenter converted the twin portions into a sofa. “I wanted to fix headlights and tail-lights in my sofas,” Das said. “I sent a person to Delhi but couldn’t get one of my choice. Jeep headlights and tail-lights, which looked similar to the ones my car had, were fixed at the cost of Rs 4,500. But I wasn’t satisfied. I started searching in Patna and found the original lights from a scrap dealer. After spending Rs 50,000 and a month, the sofa was finally ready.”
He now wants to take install the sofa at his driftwood park at Burhanath Chowk in Bhagalpur, where he grew up. For more than two decades, Das has been collecting driftwood art of different forms. Das has 80 pieces of driftwood at his Bhagalpur park, which is spread over an acre. “There is a driftwood museum in Kerala (Kumarakom),” Das said. “I am planning to make a second museum in Bhagalpur. I will shift the sofa to the Bhagalpur park.”