Guess which Nepali was the toast of New York last week? None other than ‘Little Buddha’ Khagendra Thapa Magar, a 17 year old from a remote village in Baglung district, nearly 160 km west of Kathmandu.
Standing a mere 22 inches small (smaller than a paper masala dosa), and weighing 5 kg, Khagendra is set to become the world’s smallest man next month. And Big Apple seems to have fallen in love with him.
Here are some headlines. ‘NYC loves the ‘Little Buddha’ (New York Daily), ‘World’s smallest teen tours Manhattan, draws smiles and crowds’ (New York Post), ‘World’s smallest man attracted to tall blondes’ (Gawker).
Donning traditional Nepali daura suruwal and topi, Khagendra, a guest of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, took a tour of Empire State Building, posed for photos at Times Square, and tasted salamis at Katz’s Deli.
While Ripley’s has already declared him the world’s smallest person in its Enter if you Dare, the Guinness Book of World Records is waiting for him to turn an adult on October 4.
Khagendra has been trying for years to enter the record books without success.
His hopes were raised in March when He Pingping (21), the Guinness record holder from Mongolia at 29 inches died due to health problems.
But again his age became the hurdle. This month Guinness awarded the title to Edward Nino, a 24-year-old from Colombia, who is more than five inches taller than Khagendra.
Unlike Nino, who prefers curvy brunettes, Khagendra has developed an interest in leggy blondes. Nino will however have to relinquish the title next month when the Nepali turns 18.
Born to average sized parents, Khagendra suffers from primordial dwarfism that could shorten his life span. But the teen is not worried.
The last time I met him in February, he was more concerned about finding a girlfriend. Ladies, he’s still waiting.