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Meet the Apeejay Pitampura alumnus who has made the highest paper cup pyramid in the world

Kushagra Tayal recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of his Guinness World Record for creating the highest paper cup pyramid in 2016.



Did the idea of making a Guinness World record strike you during the school years itself?

During the school days, the only thing that I had in the back of my mind was the thought of making a Guinness world record. Back then, it looked so huge a dream to achieve. I never thought that I would be able to achieve it.  But I had this intense desire since then, that once in my life, no matter what age, I would  certainly make a Guinness world record.  

However, It was only after I came to college that I started to think actively about it. I started researching and that is when the process actually started.

I have never had the habit of reading to be honest. I was not an avid reader in my school life either.  The Guinness book of world record was the only book that attracted me to go to the library during school years.  I think the fact that the work of a Guinness world record holder was very different to  what everyone else  was doing attracted me a lot. It fascinated me to do something great.

What was your inspiration behind choosing this particular record?

This was not the first record that I had chosen actually. There were some other records that I was interested in. Since I was a badminton player in school, I had thought of attempting a record in that field. But the application got rejected by Guinness World record. There is an application, that one has to submit to the Guinness world records. Only after their approval can one officially attempt to break/create a record.  

Initially around 2-3 of my applications kept getting rejected. Then one cold October morning of my first year. I was sitting in my college canteen (Hansraj College).  I had just missed my first lecture of the day. I was feeling very sleepy so I ordered a coffee. That was when the two worlds connected. The search for a Guinness record was always active in my mind subconsciously and there was a paper cup with coffee in front of me. So the idea struck, that can anything be made out of this. I went home, searched in the Guinness records and found this particular record and settled on it.

Please tell us about the steps you took to actualise this record?

It was an extremely long process. The entire process took 7-8 months.  Firstly, the acceptance of my application for this record was a big ray of hope. I went home and discussed the idea with my parents. They gave me mixed reactions, initially. But my father encouraged me and we thought a lot  on practical lines on how to go about this project.

 He brought some 400-500 paper cups from his office. We practiced making a pyramid at home with them. Then I decided on the number of cups to be used for the pyramid in order to break the record.  The former record holder pyramid consisted of 43,000 paper cups. Thus the pyramid, I made consisted of 56,980 cups in total. It had 55*55 cups at the base i.e. 3025 cups.

I soon realized that this was a very large project and I would not be able to do it alone. So I discussed this project with some of my very close friends in college. Among them was Harrshit Gupta, my classmate.  He was very excited and guided me a bit. Soon we selected some interested people from our batch and later added some juniors in the list.  Finally a team of 21 members was made for the project.

We needed an indoor place, without much air and disturbance. So I booked a hall in Thyagraj sports complex for three days.

The larger the pyramid would get, it would get all the more delicate. As per Guinness Records, regulations we were not allowed to use any kind of adhesives on the paper cups. So we needed the services of a crane to work on the upper layers of the pyramid.

We worked for three days and two nights continuously. We slept for very few hours and by turns. It took us 80 hours in total to make the pyramid.  It was a huge moment for all of us. It was recognized by the Guinness World records as the highest paper cup pyramid in the world. I got a plaque certifying the same and all my team members received a certificate from the Guinness book of records.  Alas, our record is broken now (laughs)

Could you tell us about some challenges you faced while making this record?

The biggest challenge was definitely the finances.  I approached many professional investors those days but it is very difficult to convince them as a college student. I used my LinkedIn a lot that time (chuckles).

 After being turned down by many professional investors, we found some in kind sponsorships for food and cups.  Shiv Naresh the Sports equipment company run by Mr Shiv Singh was the biggest sponsor for this project. However, the maximum part of the project was financed by my father. The total expenditure of the project was somewhere between 12-14 lakh rupees.

Apart from this, Team management and keeping a tab on how much work has been done also posed to be huge challenges for me.

Tell us about some of the new records you have in sight to be broken?

To be honest, after going through the process so deeply, I think this is more of a business for the Guinness world records. No financial reward is given to the record creator by them. It takes more from you than you get in return. I think that it was not worth putting in that much energy for the record. So I am not willing to do anymore records in the future. 

What is a piece of advice that you would like to give to school students who are aiming high like you?

 I would just say dream as big as possible. Just don’t think if you would be able to do it or not. Everything is possible if it comes to your mind.

How has the school helped you in identifying your passions?

My school Apeejay Pitampura has played a huge role in my development. Sports at the school was something that gave me a huge boost. I learnt so much by playing badminton. It still continues to play an important role in my life. It taught me so many lessons. It all started in the school.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]