Dinesh Upadhyaya’s name may not ring a bell for most people in the country. In Mumbai’s suburban borough of Goregaon, he runs a small business which helps high school students master the theories of physics and mathematics.
He sounds like any other Mumbai resident, whose everyday living is hemmed together by work that must to be done to make a decent living. For some, it could be dismissed as the ‘ordinary’ way of living. That is precisely where the comparison ends.
It is in this ‘ordinary’ living that 42-year-old Dinesh has found something extraordinary to do. In his quest for making new, innovative records, he is always looking for the next big opportunity. When he is not teaching his students, he is trying to master records or trying to better existing ones.
For Limca Book of Records, if there is one person whose name catches attention for having the highest number of entries, it is Dinesh. With dozens of records in nearly 10 years since he first saw his name in the publication, and several more in the works, he could just be a role model for many.
“I am doing this to make myself happy. Creating a record is a smart thing to do. I have learnt how to do it now,” Dinesh says.
During his college days, he would occasionally take part in quiz contests and, not surprisingly, do well. Sometime around then, he managed to lay his hands on The Limca Book of Records 1997 (he still has the copy). He wanted to make a crossword that could qualify as one of the biggest in the world. That dream is still unfulfilled.
As he flipped the pages of Limca Book of Records to whet his appetite for trivia and quizzes, he marveled at the interesting entries and the amazing feats people accomplished to find a mention in the book. He wanted to be one of the ‘incredible.’
Earning the right to have his name against a slew of records was anything but easy. As he began his quest for making a name for himself, he had to face rejection, one after another. The process continued for eight years and there were many a heartbreak during that period.
“I would regularly send the proof of feats that I achieved to the Limca Book of Records. A few weeks or months later, I used to get a letter signed by the Editor, Vijaya Ghose,” Dinesh says of the tough days that he had been facing. The hope in his eyes would soon disappear as he would read the letters that his claim for the record had been turned down.
It was also the time when he was struggling to make a career. After his post-graduation in chemistry, his effort to clear India’s civil services exam, which helps select bureaucrats for top government jobs, had not borne fruit.
It was a dream he had nursed since the days when he was studying at Ismail Yusuf Government College of Arts and Sciences in Mumbai during the mid-1990s. School education had been tough after the family had faced hardships as his father had passed away when he was barely 10.
In the first half of 2009, Dinesh received a letter which was contained in an envelope from India Post, the government department that manages the postal services. While the content of the letter was nothing special, the envelope was a little queer. While the address mentioned on it was correct, everything on it was printed upside down. Dinesh sent it to the local India Post office in Mumbai, which confirmed that it had been printed as a mistake on their part.
Dinesh then sent a copy of the letter to the Limca Book of Records, with his claim. As was the norm, he did not hear from Editor Vijaya Ghose for long. Several months later, he was told by someone that his name had been mentioned in the Limca Book of Records! Since his record had made it to the book, there had been no letter informing him of the ‘rejection.’
“After 2009, the direction of my life has changed. It made me a more positive person. That is how I am what I am. People appreciate what I do,” Dinesh proudly says.
It does take a lot of effort, research and innovative thinking to create a record that is recognised the world over. One such effort began in 2010, and helped him achieve the recognition that he was working for,
After nearly five months of research, he started writing the tweets, each of which appeared as a story within the 140-character limit. He would not use space in between words and capitalise the beginning of a new sentence to cram more characters into his story. Written in Hindi, Dinesh used Roman characters for the story.
When he completed the writing, the micro stories on Twitter were the first of their kind. For a generation that is growing up on social media, his effort does take the stories of India’s ancient books to a new audience.
Try pouring through the history of the Limca Book of Records and there may not be anyone else like Dinesh Upadhyaya. With 70 records to his name, the first of which appeared in 2009, he has managed to carve a niche for himself.
Several of the records that he has made have been surpassed on different occasions, but Dinesh has made more and, occasionally, reclaimed his record by improving his performance.
Dr. S Ramesh Babu, a professor at Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was honoured with a lifetime achievement in 2009 by the Limca Book of Records. For those who track the passion among people to make records unique to themselves, over several years, his name has been synonymous with record making. He has had multiple records to his name including most autographs signed in an hour, fastest poori making, fastest sandwich making, the longest lecture (that lasted 26 hours), fastest carrom player, fastest rope skipping, among several others.
Since he is constantly in the pursuit of breaking records, Dinesh takes pride in his collection of the various editions of Limca Book of Records. Since 1997, he has every edition of the book and says that he regularly goes through the old editions so that he knows about the records.
He has been setting a scorching pace and now claims that he has beaten the number of records held by Dr. Babu.
Dinesh, clearly, wants to be India’s records man!