An idea can grow on you, they say. Such an idea prompted Shridhar Chillal who hails from Pune in Maharashtra to decide never to cut his fingernails. That was 62 years ago. Today, the septuagenarian is the proud owner of the longest fingernails on a single hand ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The cumulative length of his fingernails is 909.6 cm (358.1 in) and his thumbnail alone measures 197.8 cm.
In the profile video taken by the Guinness World Records, Chillal shares why he decided to grow his nails as well as the struggles he faced due to the strange obsession.
Despite having faced strong opposition from his family members, the 78-year-old started growing nails in 1952. He was denied jobs and also struggled to find a life partner due to the unusual anatomy. He was married to his elder brother's sister-in-law at the age of 29.
However, after winning the Guinness title, Chillal feels proud of himself for achieving the biggest goal in his life. He also plans to preserve the nails in a museum as they have become more delicate. He wishes to get some kind of compensation for his nails, which made it difficult to earn much in his life, Chillal said.
"When I was a schoolboy, we were once beaten badly by our teacher, because my friend broke his nail. The teacher had grown a very long nail. We asked him why he had beaten us so much just for breaking his nail. He said that we would not understand as we had never grown long nails. Unless we grew long nails, we would never understand the kind of care required not to break them. After that we took it as a challenge and started to grow our own nails.
As the nails grew, the problems started to increase. First our family members opposed, then teachers were opposed, but I decided from that point on, I would never cut my nails again.
Initially, difficulties appeared everywhere in my daily life. My family really didn't like it. No one would wash my clothes, and I had to wash them by hand. Finding a job was also difficult as no one was ready to employ me. When I was to get married, no one was ready to marry me. I saw nearly 10-12 girls. If the girl agreed to marry, her parents would say I would strangle their daughter's neck and refuse. If the parents agreed, the girl would say she would not marry such a dirty person. Finally, I got married to my elder brother's sister-in-law at the age of 29.
After being recognised by Guinness World Records, I felt like I had achieved the biggest goal in my life. And now I can tell people wherever I go with pride about my title and while travelling, people will recognise me as someone who has appeared in the Guinness World Records book. Even when I travel on the road, people will say I am in the Guinness World Records book and I will get preference wherever I need to go.
If I had decided to cut my nails, I would not have a Guinness World Records title now. I have been growing my nails since 1952, so it is now 62 years since I first started to let my nails grow. Now that I am 78 years old, my nails have become much more delicate due to my age, so my wish is to preserve these nails in a museum. To date I have not been able to earn much because of these nails, so my last wish is to get some compensation for it."
Watch Shridhar Chillal's profile video below: