Shridhar Chillal hadn't cut the nails on his left hand since 1952 — until July 2.
The 82-year-old from Pune, India, was flown to New York last week to get his talons — considered the longest in the world — cut, courtesy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, which will display the clippings in an exhibit at its Times Square location.
Chillal said he chose to grow his nails out after a teacher yelled at him for breaking one of her own long nails. That teacher told him he'd never understand the magnitude of what he did because he'd never committed to anything.
“I took it as a challenge,” said Chillal.
For years, he did everything with one hand. His nails didn't stop him from leading a normal life, however. He got married and has two children and three grandchildren, and had a successful career as a photographer.
But the challenge did come with a cost. As a result of his long nails, his left hand is permanently handicapped — he cannot open or flex his fingers.
Still, his granddaughter, Shradda, said she's drawn inspiration from his decision.
"If you decide anything, you should do that very well," Shradda said.
All told, the clipped nails are over 31 feet long, the height of a three-story building. Those curious can check out the exhibit where they are memorialized for all to see.
Now that the talons have been cut, doctors say they expect Chillal's nails to grow back normally, though he shouldn't expect any changes in their thickness.