Tushar Lakhanpal, all of 17 years, has collected 19,824 pencils and is aiming for an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. A fur-covered pencil, a 24-karat gold plated pencil, pencils shaped as Russian dolls and some ranging from three inches in length to 8 feet are among Tushar’s diverse collection from over 60 countries, which also has two pencils believed to have been used by Queen Elizabeth II.
“One of the characters in the Oswald cartoon show, Henry, a penguin, used to collect spoons. In one episode, he encouraged his friends to collect something and that caught on with me,” said Tushar, a Class 12 science student and president of the environment club at Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj. “I already had a few fancy pencils which I would get at my friends’ birthday parties from the Khoi bags (gift bags). I kept the decorative ones aside and would use the normal ones for school work. The simple Natraj pencils are the best for daily work,” Tushar said.
It was a relative who gave the Lakhanpals the idea of getting Tushar’s name registered in the Limca Book of Records.
“My cousin, who collected matchboxes as a child, suggested that Tushar should try for a record in the Limca Book,” Tushar’s mother Vandana Lakhanpal said. Tushar has featured in the Indian record book since 2009. Vandana takes care of Tushar’s collection as he prepares for his Class 12 board exams. From arranging the pencils according to shapes and colours in over 60 frames to shifting them from Gurgaon to the India International Centre for the Guinness book counting day, she did it all. “I am able to shift about 10 in one go and brought them to my parents’ house in Green Park from our Gurgaon home and took them to the IIC last Wednesday,” said Vandana.
“He already had 250-300 pencils by the time we found out about his interest,” said his father, Asheesh Lakhanpal, a commercial pilot. Tushar was just three then.
“As it was a constructive habit, we encouraged it. I get pencils for him from whichever country I go to on my trips,” Asheesh said.
“We were lucky that he found a target of getting into the Limca Book of Records, and now we have the Guinness. One should not stop until one’s goal is achieved,” Asheesh said. Tushar said the US is the best place to buy pencils because of the variety one gets.
“We never thought that it would become so big and that he would break records with his collection,” Tushar’s grandmother Poonam Kapila, a business woman, said. Asheesh said he hoped that one day Tushar’s growing collection would be shown in a museum for children to promote constructive habits.