Neighbours and friends called Rakesh Vaid "mental" and his wife was furious when she first heard his "crazy" idea in 2013 but he remained resolute. In the next two years, Vaid made over 200 national and international records, including three Limca Book of Records, for the largest collection of key rings (13,500), largest collection of key rings on Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan (1,110), biggest key ring (Titanic), smallest key chain (Indian national flag) among others.
The 62-old-year-old Delhi resident is now busy preparing photoframe key chains on former president APJ Abdul Kalam as a tribute to the "Missile Man" on his 84th birth anniversary falling on October 15."It's my love and respect for the late president that I have decided to make 500 key rings on his memory. R Rajendran, founder of Assist World Records which had awarded me for the largest collection of key rings on actor Rajinikanth (1,212) last year, has invited me to Puducherry where I will be felicitated on the occasion," Vaid tells HT.
Vaid's apartment in east Delhi's Mayur Vihar Phase-II is no less than a miniature photo archive. Name any actor, sportsperson or even a freedom fighter, and you can find a bunch of key chains with their photographs hanging from the display boards put up all across his residence. His drawing room is filled wall to wall with awards, certificates and medals, all he achieved in just two years.
The 'ring' master also has 1,100 photo frame key chains, each on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sachin Tendulkar--the largest such collections so far. Key rings on Modi's RSS days to his first day at the Prime Minister's Office and the cricketer's much-celebrated childhood picture holding a bat to his final Test are part of his collection.
Now, he is eyeing to claim his fourth Limca record for the largest collection of key chains (20,000) in the country. His feat has already been acknowledged by the High Range Book of Records in 2015.
After running a housekeeping firm for 21 years, this Delhiite quit work in 2012 due to his health condition.
"During my service, my clients would present me key rings as tokens of appreciation, and I used to keep them in my house. Gradually, I also started collecting photoframe key rings of different personalities. During that period, I also made more than 300 hand-made chains in varied shapes, sizes and colours that included India Gate, swimming pool, tubelight, metal detector, etc," recalls Vaid.In February 2013, a year after his retirement, Vaid decided to renovate his house. That was when one of his neighbours noticed hundreds of his key rings kept in a carton. "He asked me why I didn't put them on display," says Vaid, adding that after counting they found that there were as many as 7,700 key rings.
"Soon, I contacted Limca Book of Records and many other national and international organisations like Universal Records Forum, Everest World Records, Record Setter and the rest is history," he says, while holding one of the certificates.
Addicted to turning any waste material into a show piece, Vaid had to face his wife's wrath for "ruining money and time." "I used to collect magazines and newspapers to collect cut-outs of different personalities. My wife was against it, so I had to hide those rings. My neighbours laughed at me when they came to know about my hobby, but my daughter, who stays in Mumbai, backed me," the collector says.
The 'lord of rings' may have countless records under his belt, but still turns child-like with excitement as he shows off a giant 10-feet-long, 1-feet-wide and 11-inch-tall Titanic ship model with 52 photoframe key rings of some of its crew members and passengers strung all around the bow. He completed the masterpiece in merely 28 days (January 12, 2014 - February 10, 2014), using thermocol sheets, chart paper, cardboard, pencils and fibreglass sheet.