With a collection of over 7000 key rings, Delhiite Rakesh Vaid hopes to find himself in the Limca Book of Records

Passion and persistence are the ‘key’ factors that can drive people to any length while riding their hobby horses. In the case of 59-year-old Delhiite Rakesh Vaid, these along with a ‘key chain’ factor seem to have worked real well in pursuing his hobby. With passion, Vaid has been collecting key chains, so much so that his house in Mayur Vihar has 7,765 key chains now, hung from 24 display boards. Some of the key chains are made by him too.

Visiting his house to take a look at his collection, I find he is a compulsive creator. For example, the couch I sit on is made of car tyres. A smiling Vaid says that he has made a key ring that has his sketching of the unique couch. Turns out, he uses a whole lot of used stuff to make key rings. Say, by using toothpicks, plastic straws and bottles, beads, stationery, etc.

Vaid’s house has a corner which he calls his ‘work station’, where he crafts various key chains. Some of his creations include key chains in the shape of swimming pool, kitchen rack, soda making machine, tube light, ceiling fan and even metal detectors. The collection also includes key chains with popular cartoons, football team clubs, national flags, various personalities — from politicians to sportsperson to actors, besides key rings procured from different exhibitions from across the country and even abroad.

On a lighter note, Vaid, who now runs a housekeeping firm, says he is so addicted to this activity that he once secretly took away a piece of metal scrap from his former office. He is always on the look out “for material that looks different.”

So how did the idea to have such a hobby overtake him? “While working in a private company in 1979, my duty was to type quotations. The clients used to offer key chains to lure me to get their task done. What started as an incentive turned into an addiction before I knew it. Gradually, I started going out and purchasing them,” says Vaid.

And what made him create key chains? “Neighbours used to look at my collection and ask things like whether I had a temple or a letter box or an iron. I didn’t. So I accepted it as a challenge and developed a knack for making the ones which I don’t have. I make sure I possess everything which a viewer seeks,” he says. Vaid says he has applied to the Limca Book of Records for an entry. “Right now, the largest key chain collector in the book is the one with about 4000 pieces,” he adds.

During the conversation, Vaid also recalls how this passion once landed him in trouble. “Back in 1984, someone asked me to make a key chain of India Gate. So I used to sit in front of the monument to observe it well and make a rough sketch of it. It went on for days One day, the Police took me away thinking I was into some wrong doing. They released me soon with the promise that I will have to show the SHO the key chain after making it. I did it and he was highly impressed by it,” relates Vaid.

Does his passion get appreciated by his near and dear ones? Vaid laughs saying, “People tag me differently, calling me crazy or insane at times but that doesn’t deter my spirit. Even my wife once told me to sell them off as I usually spend even my vacations on the hobby but my daughter keeps pushing me to do more which is encouraging.”