Be it cars covered in gold, or shirts made of the golden metal, Indians seem to have done it all.
New Delhi: Dhanteras, which marks the first day of Diwali festivities, sees Hindus turn out in droves to buy gold as the purchase of pure metals on this day is considered auspicious.
But Indians hardly need a festival to indulge their obsession with gold. India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer and its largest importer, buying an estimated 700-800 tonnes from around the world annually. According to a report from October 2017, Indian households have the largest private gold holdings in the world.
Needless to say, this love for gold has manifested itself in some bizarre ways, not least of which are the bridal trappings unique to the Big Fat Indian Wedding.
1. $240,000 gold shirt
The late Pune-based businessman Dattatrey D. Phuge, also known as Datta Phuge, entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013 after he got himself a shirt made of 22-carat gold.
The $240,000 shirt was Phuge’s birthday gift to himself, and was embellished with seven Swarovski crystal buttons and a matching gold belt.
In 2016, Phuge was bludgeoned to death over a money matter (not related to the shirt).
2. Cars covered in gold
For a 2014 company event, Tata Group officials transformed the very economical Nano into the world’s most expensive car. How? They covered it in 80 kg of 22-carat gold, 15 kg of silver accent, and 10,000 semi-precious stones.
In 2015, another Pune businessman, Sachin Khese, wrapped his Jaguar XF in gold worth Rs 2 lakh. The gold-wrap treatment drew eyeballs around the Maharashtra city, but Khese said he had done it on his astrologer’s advice and not for attention.
3. Anti-aging cream
Luxury Ayurvedic brand Forest Essentials uses 24-carat gold in a product that claims to help users defy age and beat the harmful effects of the Sun.
According to the website, the Soundarya Radiance Cream is based on an “age-old” formula called ‘swarn’ (gold) to “revitalise the skin”. It’s priced at Rs 4,600 for a 50-g tub.
4. Medicinal value of gold traces in cow urine
Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali is aiming to commercialise cow urine after reportedly finding traces of gold in it. “We have found traces of gold (Au) in cow’s urine in Patanjali’s clinical results,” the yoga guru said in a 2014 tweet.
Researchers at Gujarat’s Junagadh Agriculture University made similar claims two years later.
This “hidden quality” of cow urine has been cited by proponents, including Patanjali CEO Acharya Balkrishna, as a sign of its medicinal value.
BONUS: Ingestible gold pills to make your excreta glitter
This one is not Indian, but has all the ingredients to attract the gold-obsessed people of our country. It’s a gold pill to make your poop glitter.
Created as a luxury statement by US-based fashion brand Just Another Rich Kid and designer Tobias Wong in 2005, each pill contains 24-carat gold and is priced at $425.
“Turn your innermost parts into chambers of wealth. Consume and digest,” the description reads on the website.
Here’s a look at a rather provocative ad for the pill: