‘I Was Chalaned For Speeding In Australia’

Updated: May 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Soft-spoken, mild-mannered and warm, Jasbir Jassi doesn’t quite look the kind who would sing Dil lai gayi kudi Gujarat di. For, it could have been very much the other way round. He could have captured many hearts himself. An epitome of sobriety, his choice of cars is very much a reflection of his personality.

“I love sophisticated and sober cars as they suit my lifestyle,” says the munda from Jalandhar. “To me, a car should be comfortable and, more importantly, one should like a car to enjoy it,” he says. Dwelling further on liking and enjoying a car, Mr Jassi says, “I have seen many people owning Mercedes and expensive cars, yet they don’t bother about dirt on the foot mats or on the car itself.”

“I don’t think they are quite enjoying their car,” he mulls, revealing an aspect of his personality. “Had they been enjoying their car, they would have kept it absolutely shining.”

Accordingly, Mr Jassi likes to keep his black Honda Accord as neat and clean as he keeps himself. “I am very particular about it,” he says, adding, “Everything should be systematic and in its proper place in the car. This is the cassette bag,” he points to a medium sized black bag, where he keeps all his music cassettes and CDs, giving you an idea of how particular he is about keeping the interiors of his car in perfect order.

Rummage through the music and surprisingly, you can find tapes of all singers except himself. “Well, I don’t listen to myself,” he explains.

Considering his personality, it is not surprising when he says “I don’t like sports cars.” But when it comes to driving, he loves to drive long distances and drive as fast as he sings those Punjabi numbers. Recollecting a recent incident in Australia, he says, “I covered 8,000 km in one week in a Toyota Camry. But while I was driving from Melbourne to Sydney, I drove too fast and was chalaned. I wanted to pay the fine there and then itself, but the policemen said I could pay at the airport. Somehow, I couldn’t pay there and now I am still waiting for the chalan receipt to reach me,” he breaks into laughter.

Mr Jassi’s long distance driving, however, is not restricted to roads abroad. “In fact, I drive down to Jalandhar from Delhi quite often with my wife, Kanchan,” he says.

And Ms Jassi pitches in with perfect timing, “Oh yes, and his spondylosis is a result of that.” Mr Jassi admits it laughingly.

On another trip, this time in their earlier car, a golden Honda V-Tec, they met with a terrible accident. Luckily, both of them escaped unhurt. “I don’t know what happened,” Mr Jassi reminisces.

“It was near Ambala and I was driving at a fairly high speed, when I suddenly hit a milestone and the car banged into a tree. The horn kept blaring and I had to pull off the battery wires.” “But he was more worried about the tanpura inside the car,” Ms Jassi interjects again.

Mr Jassi’s tryst with cars began during the curfew days in terrorism infested Punjab. “It was my father’s Ambassador,” he recalls with a grin. “That day, my father forgot to take the key along with him, so I sneaked into the garage and took the car out. After driving for nearly 15-16 kms, I brought the car back and parked it exactly as he had parked it. My father did not find out, but there was that guilty feeling, though driving the car had given me a kick.”

In 1994, Mr Jassi had his own car, a white Maruti 800, which was followed by a similar car. Then, when his Dillagi became a hit, came the Zen, again white. He obviously loves the colour white. “Yes,” he admits, but adds, “It would depend on the car. White is fine for small cars, but for bigger cars...” No prizes for guessing, his Honda Accord is a gleaming black!