Seventeen-year-old Tushar Lakhanpal has a "passion". He loves collecting pencils and has been nursing his interest since he was just three. In the last decade and a half, he has collected over 19,000 of them.
The teenager hailing from Gurgaon recently created a new Guinness record for having the largest collection of pencils in the world.
"The largest collection of pencils consists of 19,824 pencils and belongs to Tushar Lakhanpal (India) as verified in Delhi, India, on 14 October 2015," the Guinness World Records website states.
Lakhanpal's huge collection of pencils include regular wooden pencils to mechanical ones, coloured pencils to flexible ones and even those studded with Swarovski crystals. The smallest pencil that he has is 2 cm whereas the largest one is 8 feet long.
The record for the largest collection of pencils was previously held by Emilio Arenas from Uruguay. Arenas had 16,260 black pencils from 72 countries. Interestingly, Arenas started his collection in 1956.
Image cource: Limca Book of Records
Lakhanpal says he has also held the Limca Book of Records for 6 years in a row from 2009-2015, barring 2011, when he says he lost out to his competitor by a "small" difference.
"Getting a Guinness means a lot to me. It is one of the ultimate goals in my life," he says.
Lakhanpal, who is currently in Class 12, started collecting pencils when he was three years old. He was fascinated by the character of Henry, the penguin who collected spoons, in the popular cartoon TV series Oswald.
The initial pencils in Lakhanpal's collection were the ones that he received at birthday parties.
A majority of pencils from his huge collection are usually stacked up in glass frames in the basement of his house. There are 500 pencils in each frame. The pencils are counted once every year, or before he applies for a record and the process of counting can take up to a day to finish.
Lakhanpal, who usually browses the Internet to look for pencils to add to his collection, eventually wants to set up a pencil museum for the public. "That is difficult now with the collection being at my house. Though my friends and relatives often drop by to go through my collection, we want more number of people to see it. And that will be possible through a pencil museum," Lakhanpal, who wants to become an engineer in the future, says.
His pencils have been sourced from around 40 countries, with friends and relatives often gifting him pencils, keeping his passion in mind.
But how regularly does he use pencils to write? "Not usually. Our CBSE format of education does not really require the use of pencils a lot," says Lakhanpal, adding that he mostly sticks to pens for his studies and focuses on pencils for his collection.
With supportive parents and friends who have always encouraged him to pursue his interest, Lakhanpal is keen to keep adding to his burgeoning collection of pencils.