My Cubing Journey - Hardhik Varma Kalidindi

Introduction

As of today, I can solve a 3by3 in 8 seconds. But it took me 5 years to solve one for the first time. Are you puzzled? Read along to find out why!

CURIOSITY

The first time I saw someone solve a 3by3 was when I was 7-8 years old. My grandmother’s neighbour could solve it in 1 minute back then. I was so amazed by the skill that I used to visit him whenever I could just to watch him solve it! Eventually, the curiosity to learn and solve it built up in me. Before I could ask him to teach me, his family moved out. But curiosity was always there in me ever since then!

THE FIRST STEP

After a few months, I bought my first 3by3 rubik’s cube with my allowance. I was able to solve one colour on my own after playing with it for some time. It was at that time I met my relative who could solve a rubik’s cube. This time, I didn’t wait to ask him to teach me. Whenever I visited his house, I tried to learn how to solve it. However, I could only learn the first step before he too had to move out. 

After that, all my efforts to learn it failed. I eventually gave up. You might be wondering why I didn't look up a tutorial. Well, that idea never crossed my mind.

WHEN I FINALLY DID IT!

4 years had passed, and I grew up watching some of my peers solve the cube. Out of nowhere, I suddenly had the urge to learn how to solve it. So, I bought the Original Rubik’s cube and finally looked up a tutorial and learned how to solve the Rubik’s Cube! After 5 years, I was finally able to solve the rubik’s cube! I was very proud of myself! Eventually, I was able to solve it in 1 minute!

These are videos I used to learn to solve a 3by3

How to solve a Rubik's Cube (Part One)

How to solve a Rubik's Cube (Part Two)

GETTING FASTER

One day, when I was casually solving the cube on my school bus, a senior from the bus borrowed my cube and solved it in 30 seconds. Everyone was amazed, including me! His name is Ruthwik, and he also happened to reside in my neighbourhood. I tried to get faster with the LBL method, and I was able to reach 40 seconds with the LBL method. When he told me about CFOP, I switched to CFOP and started improving faster!

MY MOTIVATION!

I always wanted to be faster than Ruthwik. As far as I remember, he used to average half of what I used to average until he was sub 12 and I was sub 25. I always had fun while cubing and never really thought beyond getting faster than him. That kept me going forward until I was sub 10. Another motivation was my classmates, who kept cheering me.

BEYOND 3BY3

Until I was averaging 15-16 seconds on 3by3, I never considered learning new puzzles.

My cousin's grandfather is the one who introduced me to puzzles beyond 3by3. I taught him how to solve a 3by3 a few years ago and after that, he learned 4by4 and 5by5 from youtube tutorials. When I saw him solving those, I too wanted to learn 4by4 and 5by5. He taught me 5by5 first, and then I learned 4by4 and other puzzles from youtube tutorials. I learned 5by5 before learning 4by4 because it had one parity less than 4by4.

QiYi MS Magnetic Series Bundle

QiYi MS Magnetic Series Bundle

MY FIRST COMPETITION

My first competition was Deccan Cube Open July 2019. It was a one-day competition in which I participated in 3by3, 2by2, and 3by3 one-handed. I was hoping to win the competition. Back then, my PB single was 10 seconds and my average was 14 seconds. I thought that I would get easy scrambles and get a 10-second average, and others would mess up due to nerves. I was expecting too much out of my first competition!

That was the first time I saw Naren Ramesh, Akshaansh Chilikapati, Bhargav Narasimhan and other fast cubers. Back then, I didn't think Indian speedcubers were that fast! I thought Ruthwik was the fastest after Feliks! I still remember watching Akshaansh getting an 8-second solve in the bus we were travelling in, and he was so casual about it. That was when I realised that I couldn’t win.

MY FIRST VICTORY

The first competition I won was Cubing Returns Raipur 2022. It was my first competition outside Hyderabad and my first competition after the COVID Pandemic. I still remember chatting with Gaurav Bachani who was from team Deccan Cubing and telling him that I wanted one podium, and not being too serious about it. But I ended up getting 3 podiums and winning the 3by3 round, which was the main event. The crazier part was that I won against Aryan Chhabra, who is considered the fastest cuber in India!

Bhargav Narasimhan, Me and Aryan Chhabra

The competition itself was very well organized and is the best competition I have ever been to, organization-wise.

YOUTUBE

I tried making cubing videos on youtube before! I watched a video made by Cameron Brown, CEO of speedcubeshop on how to get free cubes, and one of his ideas was to make content on youtube and reach up to cube stores like Cubelelo and ask them for free cubes in return for content and publicity. I contacted cubelelo and asked them for free cubes! And obviously, they refused. I made 2 videos on one channel. I soon deleted it because I didn’t like it. I made another channel and deleted that too. Now I have another youtube channel, on which I hardly ever upload.

THE DARK SIDE

Cubing is very addictive. At some point in time, it affected my studies. My parents were not happy with that. I decided to quit cubing. But... I started cubing soon after one month. Now I am better at managing cubing and studies than I used to be, but I still need to work on it. I am glad that I didn't quit cubing!

CONCLUSION

As of today, Cubing is a part of my life. It is more than a hobby for me now. My parents support me, which is the best thing of all! I am sponsored by Cubelelo, which has been my dream ever since I started youtube.

-Hardhik Varma Kalidindi

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