It took a mini circular saw to hack off the keratin talons that had been growing on Shridhar Chillal’s left hand for the last 66 years.
The 82-year-old Indian man told Sky News he started growing out his nails when he was 14. According to Chillal, it all began with a grudge. After Chillal accidentally broke a teacher’s nail while he was getting rowdy with a friend, the teacher told him he could not possibly understand the care needed to grown out long nails. He set out to prove that teacher wrong.
“I don’t know whether the teacher is dead now or not but I would definitely like to say that the thing for which you scolded me, I took it as a challenge and I have completed the challenge and now, I am here,” said Chillak.
That grudge has earned him a Guinness World Record for the world’s longest fingernails. According to Sky News, they have a combined length of 29.8 feet. The longest nail, from his thumb, is 77.8 inches.
For most his life, Chillal’s nails have made his life more difficult. He said he’s had to wake up every half hour or so throughout the night in order to move his hand to the other side of the bed—gingerly, to avoid breaking the fragile rods. And his hand has been mostly useless because of the weight
When Chillal decided he was finally able to put his spite to rest and clip his nails, he reached out to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! franchise. “He approached us when he was ready to cut his nails,” Ripley’s spokesperson Suzanne Smagala-Potts told Gizmodo. “He wasn’t just going to sell his nails to anybody. He wanted them to be memorialized in a museum.”
The nails are now on display at the Ripley’s museum in New York City.
So how much does 30 feet of nails get you? Unfortunately, Ripley’s wouldn’t divulge the actual price the company paid. “But I will say it was a hefty figure and it will be enough for Mr. Chillal to retire,” Smagala-Potts said. “Growing your nails as a retirement plan—who knew?”