An Indian man who consumes six glasses of milk a day to keep his 62-feet-long (15m) hair in top condition has revealed how his locks once helped pluck a drowning boy to safety.
Savjibhai Rathwa, of Vadodara, India‘s Gujarat state, has refused to cut his hair for more than fifty years now after being visited by a deity in his dreams.
The 65-year-old explained:
‘I was 12 when I got the swapnadesh (direction in a dream) from Lord Shiva that I should never cut my hair. It is since then I have been growing my hair.’
Although keeping his locks in good shape is a mammoth task – each wash takes three hours and requires 240ml of shampoo – Rathwa reckons ‘everybody, including family and friends, have been cool with my ever-growing hair’.
People have been drawn to the city in which he lives, to see his Rapunzel-like locks for themselves, particularly after seeing online videos of him unravelling his hair and allowing it to be stretched out all the way down the road, with eight people required to hold it up above the ground.
Rathwa claims his hair has saved the life of a young boy after he fell into a pond at a local wedding ceremony.
‘I almost intuitively started opening my dreadlock and even before someone could bring a rope, I hurled the loose end of my lock towards the drowning boy. Once he grabbed it, I started pulling it and slowly brought him to safety,’ he explained.
‘Maybe I was destined to save this boy’s life using my dreadlock. Maybe this is why Lord Shiva had showed up in my dream asking me not to cut my hair some fifty years ago.
I dedicate three hours every alternate day to wash my hair. Each wash takes 30 pouches (8ml each) of shampoo, just to ensure that my hair isn’t dirty and smelly.
This burns a hole in my pocket, but I keep long hair for a hobby. It is my faith and it should be maintained at any cost.
‘I hate to keep my hair dirty and, luckily, I have my grandchildren to help me.’
‘I have cow milk thrice a day. Six glasses to be precise. I add a little turmeric and jiggery [Indian sugar] in it to make it healthier.
‘People come from cities like Mumbai and Delhi to see my hair for themselves.’
Rathwa said that when he began growing his hair in his youth, ‘some of my friends used to mockingly call me effeminate. Some even thought I was planning to become a hermit and renounce the world!’
Despite that reaction, he insists he has never questioned his decision to grow his hair to such an extraordinary length, even when his marriage proposals were rejected by women repelled by the length of his hair.
Rathwa’s patience was eventually rewarded, when he met a woman who did not care about the length of his hair, and they married shortly afterwards.
‘My long hair is the blessings of the god.’
The title of ‘world’s longest hair’ previously belonged to Chinese man Xie Qiuping who boasted of 22ft-long locks before he passed away in 2010. However Rathwa has not yet had his hair officially measured, because he has ‘no interest’ in finding out its exact length, DailyMail reports.