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It’s hot as hell and it’s called bhoot jolokia to boot, jolokia being chilly in Assamese. And she not just eats it but rubs it, quite liberally, in her eyes as well. Anandita Dutta of the Titabor sub-division in Jorhat district in Upper Assam is all set to become news, the 21-year-old being invited by Guiness Records Ltd to set what could be a record in the consumption of the ‘highest number of chillies in a minute’. ”I can eat a 100 chillies in 60 seconds,” says Anandita. For the unintiated, her favourite bhoot jolokia is classified by botanists as being one of the hottest in the world. A single chilly of that variety is normally more than enough to set on fire a dish for a dozen people, normally more.

The eldest daughter of Siba Dutta, a vegetable vendor, Anandita says eating chillies has been a passion with her since she was a child. Now, eating it, and rubbing it in her eyes and on her face and forehead is a part of her act that has befuddled all, including doctors who say she simply isn’t effected by it at all.

Her neighbours at first thought of it as a disorder when she took to eating chillies in large quatities, some even advising her parents to take her to astrologers and tantricks, says Anandita. That, however, changed with her gradually becoming a celebrity in Titabor. Her list of visitors now includes Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi. As for the idea to write to Guinnes, well, that came from principal secretary in the prime minister’s office, Ashok Saikia, who incidentally also hails from Titabor. While the invitation from Guiness has come through, the family has now written to a number of people, including Saikia and local MP Bijoy Krishna Handique and the deputy commissioner of Jorhat, all of who have promised to assist her in making the trip to London.

Wish her luck. And please don’t try this at home.

Bijoy Shankar Handique (