THE importance of new Pakistani entries in the Guinness Book of Records cannot be underestimated. As these lines are being written, an attempt is being made at a stadium in Lahore to create the world’s largest painting. Hold it — the biggest painting has already been made and a record set. Such is the pace at which the enthusiasts at a mela sponsored by the Punjab government are going about scaling new heights. The giant picture is particularly pleasing since, more than what we are, what seems to matter to everyone around is the kind of image we can convey to the world. All acts of patriotic Pakistanis are consequently aimed not so much at our own salvation and progress, but at our international audience.
The Guinness record book provides people here, as anywhere else, eager to break records a forum to flaunt their talents. Apart from the record for the largest gathering of people singing the national anthem — an honour we have just snatched from India — a man has come up with the fastest rotis — mixing, kneading, baking all included. Someone has just pulled a van with his moustache. A young man has been noted for ‘kicking’ 617 times in three minutes. One charming young lady has displayed brilliant skill in arranging all 32 pieces on a chessboard in a flash — a relevant comparison with a powerful group of people who set the pawns before an election back in 1990. So many records have tumbled that it is difficult to keep track of all of them — and there may be a million more in store. The categories in which a record can be made or broken are endless and the mela is a lot of fun. The Guinness people might want to consider setting up a permanent record breaking place here.