Pencil this in: A Tamilian stationery marathon

RJ Nimmi receiving a 24-karat gold plated dhow as a memorabilia.

Dubai: The UAE has witnessed many marathons and half-marathon, but this one is with a difference. UAE-based RJ Nimmi wanted to celebrate his Radio channel 89.4 Tamil FM’s third anniversary on April 14 in a unique way: by staying live on radio for 89 hours and 40 minutes. And the proceeds of it went into collecting stationery for underprivileged children.

Beginning at 4pm on April 11, Nimmi went on to complete his task at 9.40am on April 15.

“The idea was sparked from Venkat Krishnamoorthy, popularly known as the Pencilman for his charity work, and felt it is an opportunity to give something back to the country and perform for a noble cause and combined it with my company’s third anniversary,” Nimmi said.

Narrating the events, the RJ, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday, said: “It is quite a difficult task, but I could manage it with the support of my colleagues and the listeners and fans, who even visited me at the wee hours to show their support to the drive.”

Nimmi, who has allowed himself a five-minute break every hour, which he combines to take a one-hour break in a 12-hour period. In that 60 minutes, he has a 30-minute nap and devotes 30 minutes to freshen up for the gruelling schedule ahead.

Nimmi was all praise for the team, especially his colleagues RJ Naga and RJ Sarah, who coordinated with the doctors and kept a watch on his health, while Naga drove around the country to collect the stationery from labourers, who despite earning less wanted to be part of the charity drive.

RJ Dheena, who holds the Guinness record for performing continuously for 168 hours, which he dubbed as Radio Marathon in 2008 – coinciding with the Beijing Olympics, was brought in from Chennai to support Nimmi in his endeavour.

“I had many surprises during my show. A British pair from London came to know about this programme and visited me, a father of a determined child came to show their support and a couple visited me and donated stuff in memory of their lost son,” an emotionally touched Nimmi said.

It is not all. He had a bigger surprise. His family was flown in from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu during the marathon programme.

“It was a well-guarded secret and I was touched when I saw my family at 2am. I should thank our MD Ram for this gesture,” he added.

Talking about the difficulties, Dheena said the toughest period in a day is between 11am to 4pm as the body goes on a slow mode during the lunch period. So one had to be on a liquid diet.

“And one will have to face sleeping disorder, when the body will not respond to the commands immediately.”

In all 229,843 items were collected, which included pencils, erasers, colour pencils, pens, sharpners, scetch pens, notebooks and bags, totalling 3,300 kilos, in the drive named Joyful Giving to commemorate Year of Zayed under the patronage of Emirates Red Crescent, will benefit children across Middle East.

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A.K.S. Satish

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