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Oh my Guinness!

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Narendra Modi’s Guinness World Record offered us the perfect excuse to compile a list that even Ripley will find unbelievable.

Illustration: Satwik Gade
Illustration: Satwik Gade

Long before Silk Smitha and Sachin Tendulkar, India just had one national obsession — the Guinness World Records. People used to chew light bulbs, gobble fire torches, grow serpentine nails, stand on one foot, jump from towers, and do the kookiest things to somehow etch their hollow names into the hallowed book. Fifty-seven years on, GWR still holds as much charm. Today, even the movers and shakers use it to puff up their résumé. Having seen record holders hog megawatts of undeserved limelight, the aam aadmi is straining every sinew to invent bizarre new ways of earning this accolade. Allow us to share eight whacked-out instances that will leave you breathless.

Longest Movie Watchathon

How many back-to-back movies can you pack into your life? Four? At best, five? Ashish Sharma watched 48 Bollywood flicks continuously by investing 120 hours and 23 minutes of his precious life with 10 minute breaks in between. That’s 5 days of non-stop viewing! Ashish’s blockbuster feat deserves to be celebrated with a film titled ‘ Is brat ki subah nahin ’.

Most People Skipping on the Same Rope

The best-in-class engineering colleges make a name for themselves by incubating Nobel Prize worthy ideas. College of Engineering, Pune, however believes in being the proverbial square peg in a round hole. That explains why, 292 students from the college took one small skip for mankind and a giant leap for their alma mater instead of a quantum jump for technology.

Most Consecutive One-Handed Claps

Zen masters have often raised a profound question: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Scholars like Simon and Garfunkel have interpreted it as ‘Sound of Silence’. But Abhinav Upadhyaya gave the koan an altogether physical dimension by actually clapping with one hand. Not once. Not twice. But a mind-boggling 310 times in one minute! You have to hand it to Abhinav for being zensational.

Most Joints Cracked Continuously

Shillong-based shoemaker James Syiemiong holds the world record for knuckling 26 different bone joints of his body in just 56.1 seconds. Now that’s one hell of a knucklehead, don’t you think?

Oldest Living Dad

This is the baap of all records. Nanu Ram Jogi celebrated the birth of his 21st child ‘Girija’ at the ripe old age of 90. Apparently, he began his quest for kids in 1943 and has been scoring quite incessantly without ever popping that god of small things we call Viagra.

Longest UN Speech

The illustrious V.K. Krishna Menon holds the unprecedented record for delivering the longest speech ever in the United Nations. He spoke for nearly eight hours defending India’s position on Kashmir. Some lampooned it as ‘epic filibustering’. Amartya Sen viewed it as eloquent evidence for the existence of the ‘Argumentative Indian’.

Most Letters to the Editor

We all know that penning epistles to the editor was the previous generation’s way of showing the middle finger to the establishment. That being the case, Pooran Chandra Pandey must have been their Che Guevara as he wrote a gobsmacking 456 letters to Dainik Jagran between the years 2000 and 2006.

Longest Book Title

They say, never judge a book by its cover. But when Dr. Sreenathachary Vangeepuram showed his cover to the Guinness folks they ended up anointing him as the guy who wrote the longest book title. To cut a long story short, the title apparently begins with the words ‘Handy Crystals’ but nobody knows how it ends as it has 1086 soporific words. Conclusion: If you want your two minutes of fame, flunk your précis writing course.


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