• November 25, 2017
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India's man of records lives his dream of a borderless world

Guinness Rishi has 399 permanent tattoos on his body, including 199 national flags

21:30 July 7, 2017
WIN_170705 Guinness Rishi_NP1

New Delhi: New Delhi-based Guinness Rishi has a habit of breaking records. The 76-year-old has shot to international fame for over 22 records. Among the ones certified by Guinness World Records is - having the maximum number of ‘permanent’ tattoos on his body, cheeks and head.

The very recent tattoos that Rishi has got etched on his back are that of US President Donald Trump and Queen of England Elizabeth II. After a year in office, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was tattooed on the right side of his body, giving company to former US President Barack Obama. The lotus symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party found a place on the right side of his neck.

Rishi’s first record was created in 1990, when he, along with two friends, rode a Kinetic Honda scooter non-stop for 1,001 hours. He informs, “I had read that someone had attempted the longest non-stop scooter ride for 160 hours. My aim was to overtake that. But some months later the record was set for 360 hours and then for 560 hours. I realized, I had to think way ahead and began my preparations.”

It meant he could not stop to refuel, eat or go to the toilet. Rishi was then working as manager at an auto spare parts store and his experience came in handy. “I roped in two friends and we re-designed the scooter by attaching a sidecar to it, to accommodate two people. This was done so that we could continue our ride on rotation basis.”

Rishi and his friends rode non-stop for 42 days and equal number of nights on a circular track in Pune, covering 30,965 kms. “Each one of us would ride the scooter for two hours and when it was time for the next rider to hop on, the scooter would be slowed down. The record still stands unbroken,” he boasts.

Formerly known as Har Prakash Rishi, he changed his name to Guinness Rishi after the first record, As he put in: “Everyone began calling me by that name and it sounded nice and different.”

His obsession with tattoos began in 2009, when Rishi got the national flags of some countries tattooed on his forehead. There was no looking back hence. Rishi began getting noticed wherever he went and the limelight got him addicted. The result is: 399 permanent tattoos, including 199 national flags, 185 maps and 2,985 characters stating, ‘Let Us Unite Against Terrorism’ in English, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, German, Russian and Hebrew written all over his body.

“None of the flag is tattooed below the waist,” he clears. “That is out of respect for all nations,” he adds. But what does he get out of it? “It epitomizes my dream of a borderless world. Whenever I go abroad, children try to find their country’s flag on my body. At times, I have to take off my shirt to let them have a good look at my body,” he says.

Rishi may be a well-sought-after man in some countries, but in India, he lives in an obscure place. His house in north-west Delhi’s Dheerpur locality in Nirankari Colony is up a steep flight of narrow stairs. The main room is crammed with dusty magazines, newspapers, trophies and other paraphernalia – all lying in a haphazard manner. The wall of another room is full of framed records certificates.

Though Rishi is not afraid of getting new tattoos etched every now and then, as local anesthesia is administered before drawing it, he has to protect them from exposure to sun, as excessive sun can cause them to fade.

Apart from Guinness Records, he has also entered the Limca Book of Records for penning the longest ‘Will’ running into 489 pages and the shortest ‘Will’ is that of his wife. It reads: ‘All to son.’

Among some of the bizarre records Rishi has created is stuffing 496 straws in his mouth, for which he got all his teeth extracted. He confesses, “It was the most difficult record to make. But then some of my teeth had cavities, so I got rid of them.”

Other weird records include: hand-delivering a pizza over the longest distance – from New Delhi airport to London and Washington and finally reaching the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in San Francisco. “I have also created a record for drinking a bottle of ketchup in 39 seconds, although I hate ketchup!” he says.