NAT Siddhant Guinness 1-1608791756938
12-year-old Indian Siddhant Gumber with his Guinness World Record certificate in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A homeschooled 12-year-old in Abu Dhabi has created a Guinness World Record by identifying the most aeroplane tails in a minute — 39 to be precise.

Siddhant Gumber, who was earlier recognised by the ‘India Book of World Records’, achieved the Guinness record last month (November), much to the delight of his family. He had been listed in the ‘India Book’ for being the youngest to identify the top 100 tallest buildings of the world with their respective heights and locations.

“I have been a Lego buff since I was a toddler, and my father and I spent a lot of time creating a variety of models — rockets, air planes, buildings and vehicles. I was able to recognise a lot of the air plane tails, and my mother helped me compile them in PowerPoint slides so I could identify them [very quickly],” Gumber told Gulf News.

His mother, Monisha, 43, said her son has always been interested in signs, symbols and logos.

‘Variety of interests’

“He has an exceptional picture memory and usually never forgets an image once he has seen it. He does have a variety of interests and likes to [know about things into detail, just like air planes. Although he loves country flags, we focused on aeroplane tails for the Guinness record because they too are unique,” she said.

Although Gumber practised a little for his record, his mother said he already knew more than a 100 when he decided to try out the feat. The question of a challenge arose because he had to recall them quickly in random order. In the end, he took about 1.5 seconds per airline tail, Monisha recalled.

Gumber, who hails from the Indian state of Haryana, himself said he wanted to be known for something. “When my [older] sister used to constantly watch Charlie Puth — a teen heart-throb and pop singer, it got me fascinated with the idea of ‘being famous’. I think that is how the discussions on a ‘record’ started in my house,” he said. “My favourite topic of interest has always been Geography, especially flags, countries, their population densities, some world politics, etc. And since I have been homeschooled through ICademy Middle East since grade 1, it has given me a lot of flexibility to pursue my other passions,” Gumber added.

Aware that flags and logos had already been covered by other record holders, Gumber zeroed in on tall buildings and air plane tails for the records he would attempt. He said he had an advantage because of early love for Lego.

The ‘surrounding’ stories

“In fact, I had a great collection of Lego models, which only got dismantled when we shifted from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi a couple of years ago. We have since tried restoring them, and have kept adding to my collection. I actually love buildings, and watch YouTube videos to learn more about buildings, their architectural designs, and even the stories surrounding them,” he said.

And after achieving the aeroplane tail record for Guinness, Gumber became familiar with even more aeroplane tails, now easily recognising about 300 of them. This could come especially in handy if he goes on to become a pilot, as he hopes. “I am not too sure though, so I might just choose to become a vet since I love animals. My mom says I must focus on ‘doing’ and not ‘being’,” he said.

Monisha says she is constantly impressed by her son’s interest in the world around him. “At a very young age, I could see strokes of genius in a little boy of about two-and-a-half years old when he surprised us by learning to read two-letter words on his own. He has been a nutty professor with an amazing array of interests, including yoga, karate, space sciences, mountains, oceans, Google maps ... you name it. Over the years, he has collected flags of almost all counties. So I knew he did not belong to a regular school and needed flexibility and time to hone his talents. We have homeschooled him and this has given him opportunities to venture into anything he likes,” she explained.

Importance of a ‘comfortable environment’

“Honestly, I am still getting used to [him being in the Guinness record]. Never in my wildest of dreams did I ever imagine my son to be an official title holder. I have mixed emotions because it validates something that I always believed in — that parents should trust their children and be grateful to Almighty for these little bundles of joy. Children need a comfortable environment without the burden of expectations and as Siddhant has shown us, the sky is the limit!” the proud mother added.