Sarthak Mangla

How I Met the Cube

Sarthak Mangla (12, India)

Although I had a cube since I was 5 years old, I didn’t really meet the cube until a couple of years back. The cube was one of the lonely inhabitants of my cluttered desk. Most of the time, I would stare at it, it would stare back at me and we really never got acquainted. I had half-heartedly tried solving it a few times but never got a hang of it. Thus we remained strangers for many years!

About two years back, when I was browsing on Youtube, the world record for cubing showed up in my recommendation tab. It reminded me of the cube still sitting on my desk, untouched and unsolved. This is where I really met the cube. The thumbnail was a picture of a person with a cube, standing beside a number display which showed 5.25. I thought ‘No way! He can’t solve the Rubik’s cube in 5 seconds. Not even the smartest people in the world can do that!’, And after I watched the video, the first thing that came to my mind was that this must be a fake solve.

Collin Burns record
Collin Burns breaking the record in 2015

Of course, he must have faked it. That’s humanly impossible.

To clarify my theory, I searched the world record for solving a Rubik’s cube. The same video came up. After searching for some time, I finally came to the conclusion that the solve was real. Inspired and impressed by that solve, I resolved to solve a cube that fast. I got hold of my untouched cube and tried to imitate the record holder’s style of turning it fast. I looked up a couple of tutorials on Youtube and after a day, I learnt the first 2 layers. The last layer is where my problems started. I was learning the beginner method for CFOP. The beginner’s method still had about 6-7 algorithms, which I had really struggled with. After about a week of trying to learn these algorithms, I finally gave up and thus ended my first attempt to know the cube.

After about a year, in school, some of my classmates used to cube together during lunch break. They were pretty good and held mini competitions every now and then. I was motivated by my classmates to finally finish learning the cube. That night, after spending hours to learn how to solve the cube, I still struggled with the cube, but with a little bit help from the instructions, I was able to solve the cube. I was ecstatic! My heart was filled with relief and happiness. For me, this was a huge milestone. Many years after meeting the cube, I was able to solve it. After a week of practice, I could solve the cube in under 3 minutes. I got better with practice and I could solve the cube in less than 30 seconds after a few months.

This is when I started living with the cube – I eat, drink and sleep cube. I practice all day to get better, solve it before sleeping, solving it after I get up. And now, my classmates also involve me in their cube session during lunch. The cube session has now become a ritual that helps all of us a lot in our cubing. It teaches me the social aspect of cubing and the art of learning by just watching other people. Before sleeping, I always remember the number 5.25 at the back of my mind and I dream of breaking that record. I really enjoy cubing and would continue until I get a solve less than 5.25 seconds.