Two women from Gujarat ran backwards for 53 kilometres in an attempt to create a world record. Sisters-in-law Twinkle and Swati Thakar covered the distance in a total of 13 hours, as per ANI report, beginning their run in Bardoli and finishing it in Dandi. The women revealed that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat on women empowerment that inspired them to take up this challenge. Said Swati Thakar, “Every woman is special, they just need to come forward and show their skills to the people.” It is indeed commendable that these women ran or 53 kilometres backwards, however one wonders about this fascination to create world records that a lot of people harbour. What’s with this desire to have your name etched in a record book, be it for doing the world’s longest handshake or having the longest finger nails or even skipping the rope fastest in 30 seconds?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Sisters-in-law Twinkle and Swati Thakar ran backwards for 53 kilometers in 13 hours.
  • The women from Gujarat are eyeing a Guinness World Record.
  • Why do people have such a fascination for creating world records?
  • It is about validation, or becoming immortal by having your name etched in history?

One wonders about this fascination to create world records that a lot of people harbour. What’s with this desire to have your name etched in a record book?

Did you know that a German man holds the Guinness world record for being the “most pierced man”, while another for India made a record by spinning a basketball perched on a toothbrush which he held in his mouth? Who even comes up with such ideas? Does a person wake up one day, and while getting ready for work it suddenly dawns on him that he should attempt a record at buttoning up his shirt the fastest in the world? Or a woman out to run errands has an epiphany about holding the world record for hopping across most potholes in a day? For every big or small, and relevant or seemingly irrelevant thing, there seems to be a world record holder. This tells us something about human nature- a desire to be immortal.

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Since science is yet to help humans attain immortality, we opt for the next closet thing to that, having our name etched in the history one way or the other. A world record is a sure-shot way of being remembered long after you die. The guy who consumed most big macs in his lifetime, or held most apples held in the mouth and cut them by a chainsaw in one minute, or the woman with the largest collection of rubber ducks. People want to go down in history, doing a certain thing better than everyone else.

We have to chase achievements to gain social validation. A hobby or quality is only relevant for people around us when it brings fame or money.

Another aspect of fascination with world records is a sense of achievement. Who wouldn’t want a certificate which proves they excel at something? It does make sense in the uber-competitive world that we have created for ourselves. We have to chase achievements to gain social validation. A hobby or quality is only relevant for people around us when it brings fame or money. For instance, a woman may have a hobby to crochet table cloths, but, we would pay more attention to her skills if she has some prizes and awards to flaunt, wouldn’t we?

The women who ran backwards felt that their feat was empowering and thus it needs to be celebrated. We may not relate to their motivation or even their achievement, but sometimes it is more important to celebrate the spirit that goes into making such records. It takes persistence, grit and hard work to have a world record to your name. It is a celebration of the human spirit if nothing else, and for that reason alone perhaps we should sit up and take notice.

Picture Credit: ANI Twitter

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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