Join me, won't you? I'm paying tribute to the prowess of heroic Indians who bring recognition to the country. Indians who perform record breaking feats that earn them, not piffling Olympic medals, but something more precious by far.
Mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
So hail Milind Deshmukh, who walked his way to a record some years ago. No ordinary walk, though. He did 104 km. With a milk bottle balanced on his head.
Deshmukh smashed the previous record, a mere 98 km by a twit of an American woman. (No, the bottle wasn't smashed). And in his hometown, Pune, besides this milk bottle walker, you will find a man who has grown his fingernails for most of his life, clawing into the Book that way. Once in, he announced that the nails were for sale. Asking price: ten thousand dollars.
I understand that the line to buy what is clearly the world's most desirable living room showpiece -- perhaps a record by itself -- was almost as long as the nails themselves.
One KR Bheel has been furiously cultivating his facial hair, trying to regain the record for the longest moustache in the world. A Swede took it away. (The record, you understand. Not the moustache). The Swede's record stands at 10-odd feet. Ten very odd, probably pretty damned smelly, feet. Bheel is closing in on it, though I will not mention here the rumour that he has been frustrated by his moustache's inability, so far, to outgrow his wife's.
Then there's two-year-old Hemadri Patel. One December morning not long ago, her parents lowered her into the mucky waters off downtown Bombay. There, she "swam" for one hour and 20 minutes in an attempt to set a Guinness record. Don't know about you, but when I saw a picture of this toddler paddling away, only one world record came to mind. That's for the Highest Number of Tight Slaps Delivered to Idiot Parents, and I am itching to set it.
Though Prof (Dr) S Ramesh Babu, PhD, an accomplished record-artist, might beat me to it. In Bangalore a few years ago, I watched this man's latest record attempt. He was playing "nonstop solo carrom" for 24 hours.
I had no doubts about his resolve. Because I took time to read his posted accounts of several previous assaults on the Book, especially this one: On April 5 1998, he set an Inaugural World Record in Vegetable Cutting. Oh yes. Believe it. He picked up a "Single Cucumber Weighing 1070 g and 28 cm in length." 2 hours, 52 minutes and 21 seconds later, he had sliced it into 120,060 pieces.
And the Indian who once ran across the US of A. Backwards. I don't know if he had a milk bottle on his head. But my guess is, he was fleeing. Possibly from fingernail sales in Pune. Possibly from a slimy mess of chopped cucumber. But more likely, from the fair city of Chennai. That's where a 26-year-old called C. Manoharan ("Snake Manu") swallowed 200 live earthworms, each four inches long, in 20 seconds last November.
When Guinness recognized Manoharan, one Mark Hogg's 15 minutes of fame were up. Hogg had downed just 94 squirmy little beasts in 30 seconds.
Worms swallowed, a proud Manoharan told the press: "I have not only improved the timing but also the number of worms."
Have there ever been more inspiring worms, sorry, words?