Like many others, 42-year-old Bibhuti Bhushan Nayak came to Mumbai in 1987 from Cuttack, Orissa, to seek his fortune. Today he’s put Navi Mumbai, where he lives, “on the world map”, as one newspaper headline had it.
It’s been an extraordinary journey of hope, triumph…and pain. The ‘groin kicks’, for example, a record that Nayak set in 1998, and which Limca initially rejected as “potentially dangerous”. “It didn’t hurt when I was being kicked,” Nayak recalls. “But at night, after the body had time to cool down, a pain started and I knew I had done serious damage.”
Unfortunately, it’s the one feat that continues to exercise the imagination of most television crews who come to interview him. Just this year, Paul Merton, the British comedian turned host of a Channel 5 travel show, joked in an The Telegraph article about how he “helped out” Nayak “by kicking him in the b******s several times. He even complimented me on my accuracy.” At least, this one time Nayak was paid for his pains — he got Rs 25,000, as per new guidelines set by Limca.
“His body is completely toota-phoota,” says Smriti, his wife. “What has all this given him? There’s no recognition and when he is injured, there’s no one to help.”
So what keeps Nayak going? “The desire to do something extraordinary as an ordinary man”. Fitness is Nayak’s passion and he started learning gymnastics and martial arts when he was seven. His aim, he says, is to set 72 records, and this year will try to set one more — breaking 50 baseball bats on his shinbone.
27 one-hand chin-ups in 42 seconds