Iron(ing) Man on a mission

Daniel Surya  

When we manage to talk to Daniel Surya, it is during the last three minutes of a 10-minute break he gets, after standing and ironing continuously for two hours. He has 10 minutes to fit in a bathroom break, a quick physio session, drink or eat something and — most important of all — sit!

Taking away a minute from his valuable time between sips of juice, the soft-spoken Daniel says he is from Tondiarpet and has been ironing clothes for the last 15 years. During this time, he has been perfecting his technique, as he has always wanted to break the world record for non-stop ironing.

His decade-and-a-half of practice seems to have done him good, as he has already crossed one milestone: he ironed over 2,000 items in 26 hours. This was the same number of clothes the present world record holder, Gareth Sanders of Bristol, UK, ironed in his 100 hours. This has left the organisers — the Lions Club International, Chennai — in a scurry to find new clothes for the record holder to iron. And no, you cannot drop by and ask him to iron your weekly laundry. The clothes he’s ironing have been donated by people, and are headed to different orphanages around the city.

But why ironing? Quite simply, for Daniel, it is how he earns his livelihood. And it’s what he does best. He always felt like he could break the world record; so he read up and researched about the existing records. With a plan in place, he just needed some sponsors. That’s where the Lions Club came in. He tied up with them to do the event, and gave it a cause as well: awareness for eye donation. “I don’t need any money, I can take care of myself. So I thought I should do it for a good cause like eye donation,” said Daniel.

As he irons patiently, on a nearby stage, college students dance to popular numbers. According to the organisers, this is to make sure Daniel has some form of entertainment. The music also attracts some attention to the event taking place in the lower basement atrium at phase three of Spencer Plaza.

The organisers and Daniel are hoping that the people who witness the record-breaking event, or hear about it, will be motivated to go online and register to donate their eyes — a simple act that could help at least 4.5 million visually-impaired people across the world, who can benefit from corneal transplantation. Of these, 1.5 million people are in India. Some statistics say that a meagre 25,000 corneas are donated each year, against the annual requirement of 2,50,000. A number of misconceptions still abound, and apart from creating awareness, they also aim to educate people on what eye donation really means.

And then, there is also the fact that this would be the first time an Indian has broken an existing world record. According to S. Thiyagaraja, one of the organisers of the event, Indians have set many world records, but no Indian has, as yet, broken a world record previously set by another country. So if he makes it to the 101st hour, it will be a first for the country.

Daniel started ironing at 10 a.m. on August 25, and hopes to finish by Monday, August 29, using the new PerfectCare Iron from Philips — which uses an optimal temperature technology that allows him to move from one fabric to another, like from cotton to silk, without having to adjust temperature settings. This steam generator iron too has a record to its name. “It is registered in the Limca Book of Records in 2014 for ironing a grand ball gown made of 100 metres of cloth including 37 different fabrics, without changing any temperature settings,” said Tushar Ovhal from Philips.

According to the rules of attempting a world record, Daniel is allowed a five-minute break every one hour and the entire event is recorded on video, as well as live-streamed on the Lions Club website. This will be sent to the Guinness World Records Management Team, who will evaluate the footage and then award the certificate.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 12:03:48 AM |

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