Ticket to a record

Raghav Somani

Raghav Somani  

HOBBIES CAN be eclectic, and sometimes they can notch up a record or two. That is what 14-year-old Raghav Somani has found.

His hobby of collecting airlines baggage tags has earned him a tag from the Guiness World Records. And how did he start it? Quite unintentionally.

As a child, Raghav loved drawing aircraft. But he always faltered at the tail. He would cut out the logo from the baggage tags and paste it in the drawing. Later, he stopped drawing but his collection grew, says his mother, Sangeetha Somani.

The student of Sishya, Adyar, now has 469 airline tags from 115 airlines around the world, which he has been collecting since 1994. Bob Gober from New Jersey wrote to him saying he printed baggage tags for different airlines and he sent him 80 tags.

And among all, which are his prized possessions? He has a tag from the inaugural flight of Ethiopian Airlines to Lusaka, a Continental Airlines special tag issued for the Republicans who attended the National Convention in 1992, and a metal and leather tag sent to him by the Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic. Raghav also has tags used on dogs. His largest single collection is from British Airways (22 tags).

This self-professed computer geek stumbled upon the official website of Guinness World Records during one of his browsing sessions and filled up the application form.

Though he did not spend any money, building up a collection like the one he has, required a lot of time and effort, Raghav says. Laurels came in the form of a citation and a letter dated October 23, 2002 from Guinness Records.

By Saptarshi Bhattacharya

Photo: Vino John

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