It's not easy having 30-foot fingernails. But don't tell that to Shridhar Chillal. His 30-foot fingernails have brought him happiness and satisfaction, despite the obvious social awkwardness that comes with having to haul around fingernails so long. But Shridhar takes pride in his achievement, and since having secured a spot in the Guinness World Records for 2016, he feels that his life's work is almost complete. It took him 62 years to grow fingernails this long, but the huge mass dangling from the end of Chillal's hand is a point of pride for the Indian man.
Chillal is now 78. The last time he cut his nails was in 1952. Having 30-foot fingernails has taken the utmost maintenance and care. He sacrificed quite a lot for a fashion statement which mostly repulsed others. He discovered that many businesses wouldn't hire a man with fingernails that long. His family also gave him the cold shoulder, not wanting to be associated with a son who they considered to have such bad hygiene as to never cut his fingernails. Nonetheless, Chillal carried on, and for 62 years has not been persuaded to cut his nails. Having now surpassed the fingernail length record, he's looking to hang up this achievement and move on.
Chillal was inspired to grow his fingernails to extraordinary lengths after he and a friend were beaten by their teacher for breaking one of his long nails. They were puzzled and questioned the teacher's logic. The teacher only told them that they would not understand, as they did not have long fingernails of their own, and would not understand the care required to maintain them. Afterwards, Chillal and his friend challenged each other to see who could grow their fingernails the longest, and Chillal kept the challenge going all the way from 16 to 78 years of age. The friend must have bowed out of the competition, as there's no sign of him and his fingernails.
So what's next for the 30-foot mass of keratin that roughly snakes this way and that and curls into a spiral mass jutting from his hand? It may end up in a museum. Chillal would like to be compensated for the lifetime of sacrifice that growing these nails has caused him to endure. His fingernails are more delicate now, and he's looking to cut them at some point. There's no telling whether that would require a pair of scissors or a chainsaw. Whether attached to his hand or not, he wants more love and recognition for those 30-foot wonders. As reported by CBS, taken together, the fingernails equal 30-feet, but the longest of the fingernails is the thumb, in which the fingernail has grown into an amazing spiral which would measure six and a half feet if it could be unwound.
Chillal told Guinness World Records of the pride he feels in finally becoming a record holder after 62 years of effort.
"Now I can tell people wherever I go with pride about my title. And while travelling, people will recognize me as someone who has appeared 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."
If you are wondering about the love life of a man with fingernails so long, it wasn't easy, initially. Despite connecting with a multitude of women, he wasn't able to find one willing to put up with a man having such an odd obsession. But his brother finally hooked him up with a sister-in-law when Chillal was 29. Nonetheless, sharing the same bed has probably been difficult. Chillal has to wake up to reposition the hand with the fingernails every half hour during the night.
If this inspires a trend of fingernail fanatics who would like to defeat Chillal's 30-foot record, then good luck. But everybody else may have to wear extra protective gear, and goggles, while surrounded by people swinging 30-foot fingernails around town.
[Photos via Guinness World Records]