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All in the mind: Memory plus

Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury had a reputation for being absent minded in college. So after he passed out and got a job, he decided to do something about it. He read up 200 books on the subject — everything from the psychology to the physiology of memory — and tried out every suggestion in the book on himself, Gargi Gupta reports.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2009 00:16 IST
Gargi Gupta

Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury had a reputation for being absent minded in college. So after he passed out and got a job, he decided to do something about it. He read up 200 books on the subject — everything from the psychology to the physiology of memory — and tried out every suggestion in the book on himself.

The next step was to set a world record. After all, as the 35-year-old says, “you can’t get a Ph.D in memory, or any other recognition”. In 1997, he had his first shy at Guinness when he memorised an entire pack of randomly shuffled cards in one minute and 15 seconds flat.

Memorising 14 names and dates of birth in a given order in two minutes
Largest Pen — 12 feet

Next, Roy Chowdhury floated a company, Memory Lab, which spread the techniques he’d devised to students, primarily, but everyone who needed to boost their recall and could pay for it. Today, Memory Lab has 33 centres, including one in Kathmandu.

But there were other things that Roy Chowdhury had to prove to the world — And so he set another record in 2007: 198 push-ups in one minute.

That done, he set one more record — the largest pen in the world, 12 feet in length and weighing 10 kg — on March 29 this year. “I like variety, to do something new and exciting and so when I read about the record in the 2009 edition of the Guinness Book for a pen measuring 10 feet 11 inches, I thought I could easily do better.”

Incidentally, Roy Chowdhury reads the Guinness regularly “to know the possibilities” out there. He’s also begun publishing India Book of Records in Hindi for all those who have difficulty getting past the stringent authentication norms of Guinness and Limca.