A 70-year-old Indian man lives in isolation to protect his life’s most important accomplishment: his 18-foot-long mustache.
Ramesh Chand Kushwaha, from Agra in northern India, is somewhat of a reticent celebrity.
He’d prefer people not come flocking from nearby villages to stare at his lengthy, dreadlocked mustache, but it happens nonetheless.
Kushwaha never intended to break any mustache records — his mustache obsession likely started off innocently enough, first growing it long, then a bit longer, then a tad bit longer.
Kushwaha told Carters News that, eventually, his love for his mustache became a source of contention in his marriage.
“My wife used to demand me to shave it but I wanted to grow them,” he said. “This led to fights and I left the house.”
Eventually, Kushwaha left for good, moving to his own dwelling outside of the village so he could grow his mustache in peace.
“My family doesn’t like my mustache and so I live separately in a hut,” he explained.
“I live here alone and don’t like when kids come to see me. They are scared of me and I fear they will break my mustache,” Kushwaha said. “I don’t know about my grandchildren.”
Decades have passed since Kushwaha left his family.
He pours his time into selling purified water, which gives him the money to maintain his mustache grooming regime.
He buys high-quality oil, massages butter into his locks and avoids brushing his mustache.
Kushwaha lives with continual anxiety that his mustache will be damaged or break, and he has a strict no-children-allowed policy when it comes to people coming near to him.
“I have to be extra cautious every time,” Kushwaha said. “I am very careful about them. Whether I am walking or sleeping, I am very careful. I have the fear of them breaking.”
“At times, I feel pain because of the weight but I tolerate it for the mustache’s sake.”
Kushwaha also endures the stares and comments from passersby, some who are noticeably afraid of him, and others who laugh.
“While some admire them, others laugh at me or comment on me for my obsession,” Kushwaha said. “I don’t like them when they laugh at me. I don’t like it when people stare at me because I feel they are scared of me.”
But he refuses to give up his mustache, which has since grown to 18 feet. The current world record-holder, Ram Singh, boasts an 18.5-foot mustache, a record Kushwaha doesn’t really care to beat.
He says the mustache’s growth is out of his control, saying the locks will grow or break at their own will.
Still, he hopes for growth. He wants to see just how long his mustache can get, and he’s willing to sacrifice relationships with his loved ones in order to find out.
“They are priceless for me,” Kushwaha said.
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