CHENNAI: Twenty years of love and passion for cars, and the zest to give back something positive to society, motivated 42-year-old fitness enthusiast and six-national records holder, GD Vishnu Raam from Coimbatore, to hit the road and spread a message. One of the importance of educating girl child. Covering the four corners of the country in less than 256 hours got him another feather to his cap as he made it to the Guinness Book of World Records. “I feel car driving is a sport that should be popularised like any other. It was my craze for records, will to drive through extreme weather conditions and mission to make lives of the people around him better helped me achieve this record,” says Vishnu Raam.
With no special workouts apart from the efforts put in for the last 23 years in walking, running and cycling, the journey began on a Sunday morning (May 28, 2023) under Chennai’s hot skies. K Shankar, ADGP, Law & Order, and RV Ramya Bharathi, DIG/JC (North), flagged off the initiative from the Anna Nagar Tower. Calling himself “crazy for the record” and eager to spread awareness on educating girl child, Raam set out on the journey in his SUV. In two days, he completed the first leg of the expedition, reaching Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh.
There was a time when he drove for 36 hours at a stretch covering a total of 3,200 km with no proper rest or food. “More than any physical difficulty, the driving was mentally exhausting. All the emotions were heightened when the combination of sleep and food was lacking. It was a mix of Ilaiyaraaja’s song and other fast music that kept me going throughout,” he shares. Along the way, Raam made many memories. Driving at 110 km/hr in the wee hours through the Atal tunnel, Raam found this to be one of the smoothest paths. He calls the ride from Bhuj, Gujarat to Koteshwar, India-Pakistan border, the toughest. “There was no Internet connectivity and accessing Google Maps was difficult. Going ahead without any technical support was hard. Local police came to guide me through the remote areas,” he says.
Result of the drive
As important as it was to track the record, it was also equally important to spread awareness through this period of travel. “All my earlier drives were for a cause, and being a father of a daughter I thought the message spread through this one should be on girl child education,” he says. The car had paintings of Dr BR Ambedkar and stickers to support the cause. “I was stopped by people in cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Pune, asking about the initiative and supporting the cause. It was different in rural areas, as I had to look out for parents and talk to them. But the mission was achieved,” he says.
Being the fastest man to cover the four corners of the country in 255 hours and 40 minutes and entering the Guinness Book of World Records, a total of Rs 6 lakh was raised through the campaign. This money has been donated to Coimbatore Corporation under the Namakku Namae scheme to help girl children in their education.
The round trip ended at Chennai on June 7 at 11.40 pm. Following this an interactive session between students interested in sports and Raam was organised at Nehru Stadium. It was at this event that J Meghanatha Reddy, member secretary, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, presented him the Guinness Record Certificate.
After this drive’s success, Raam is already planning his next expedition to cover all the districts of Tamil Nadu in October with the help of police to spread awareness on girl child education. Beyond these, Raam hopes to achieve many more records, drive more and conduct meaningful campaigns.