Indian woman sets driving record

I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the achievement of my fellow Tamil Nadu native S. Poonkodi, Maruti record
who recently entered the Limca Book of Records, the Indian version of Guinness World Records.

Thirty-eight-year-old S Poonkodi drove a Maruti 800 with
49 persons on board in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu to enter the Limca
Book of Records on Sunday.

A Maruti 800 normally seats four people, but thanks to Poonkodi, all those people in the photo got a ride. If you look closely, you can almost read their thoughts:

Man in light blue shirt: "This is wonderful. Who needs a bus?"

Man in blue jacket: "A little faster, please. I'm late for the board meeting."

Girl on top: "Get your hand off me, Pervert, or I'll push you off."

“The previous record was held by
another person from Tamil Nadu, Giripakry, who drove a car with 42
persons on board in 1995,” said Theerthamalai a.k.a Jet Lee, 31, a
karate master who encouraged Poonkodi to break that record. [Link]

Poonkodi absolutely shattered the record, taking it to the next multiple of seven. I'm glad that the record is staying in Tamil Nadu, something for me to brag about when my Punjabi friends are going on and on about Abhinav Bindra

Punjabi friend: "Abhinav blah blah blah blah …"

Me: "S. Poonkodi blah blah blah blah …"

Friend: "Poonkodi? Who cares about Poonkodi? Bindra won an Olympic gold medal."

Me: "She would have won one too — if mass transit were an Olympic sport."

After Tiruchy district collector T Soundayya flagged off
the ride, Poonkodi drove the car to a distance of two km in 13 minutes
and 47 seconds. All the passengers were in the age group of 12-39

They were all in the age group of 12-39 years? Poonkodi obviously realizes that once you hit 40, your butt takes too much space. But 12-39 years still seems strange to me. If I were trying to break the record, all my passengers would be 12-39 months.

“During trials, she had 47 passengers in the car. But on Sunday
she succeeded in driving the car with 49. A tough task, but she did
it,” said Jet Lee.

As you can see in the photo, Poonkodi didn't just set a record for "most persons aboard a car," she also set the record for "most persons aboard a car wearing karate uniforms."

“I’ve proved women too can achieve things in
their respective spheres of activity. I want more women to take up
driving as a profession,” said Poonkodi.

Poonkodi, a mother of
two, took up driving after she failed thrice in Class X. Today, she
runs Abirami Driving School and a call taxi service.

Man: "Hello! Is that Poonkodi? I need a taxi to transport my family."

Poonkodi: "Where are you going?"

Man: "Well, can you drop my wife at the market, my 12 children at the mall, my parents at the temple, me at the office and my younger brother at the train station?"

Poonkodi: "Only 17 of you? I'll send the Nano."

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Highly entertaining! But I must say, the Mumbai Mirror guys have a knack of unleashing plagiarised a.k.a’s! Theerthamalai a.k.a Jet Lee?

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