It's the only number we knew

Last weekend, while your attention was focused elsewhere, a bit of history was made in the small Indian state of Meghalaya. Now, you might not be aware that, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Meghalaya already holds two distinctions: highest annual rainfall and most rainfall in a month. In fact, 3-1/2 feet – yes, feet – of the wet stuff drummed on the roofs of Cherrapunjee, a resort town, in the span of 24 hours way back in 1876. As it happens, the new distinction also has to do with drumming – just not the sort that comes from droplets of water on roofs. On Saturday (in what turned out to be dry weather), 7,951 professional musicians, school students, housewives, military personnel, local police officers, and a whole bunch of indigenous tribesmen banged away in unison on everything from tambourines to the long percussion instruments often seen at cultural festivals, performing a five-minute piece entitled "Positive Vibrations." When it ended, a Guinness representative who was on hand for the occasion presented an official certificate and declared it "scintillating ... [and] in perfect rhythm." The previous listing for synchronized drumming had been held by 7,727 people, who performed at a charity event in Hong Kong in February of last year.

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