Published: 14th June 2017
Cube Route: How Chennai's Mahesh Menon went from solving a Rubik's cube under his desk in school to winning a national competition
Mahesh Menon was just helping his mother shop when he came across some children playing with the Rubik's cube and he gave it a shot. That's how he won the Landmark Challenge
Almost all of us have a Rubik's cube at home, try to unsuccessfully solve it for the first few days and then it promptly becomes one of those things that begin to gather dust over time.
Eighteen-year-old Mahesh Menon is not one of those people. A Rubik's cube will not remain unsolved in his hands for too long. He'll take just about 15 seconds to get all those unruly colours back in place. You read that right. Fifteen seconds or less.
Menon first got his hands on the Rubik's cube when he was in the 6th standard, "I saw a classmate of mine solving it and it really amused me. I asked him to teach me how to do it but it isn't really easy to teach someone. So I went back home and googled it." After reading up on how to solve it, Menon began to try his hand at the cube and would take a few minutes to get it right.
Squared up: Mahesh Menon and his colourful weapon of choice
Under the desk business
It was a habit that stuck so hard that it became difficult to shake off. "Suddenly everyone in school started to do it and all of us would compete with each other. We were so into it that even while the teacher was teaching we would hold the cube under the desk and play. We would also time it to find out who could solve it the fastest," said Menon.
He soon became one of the fastest in his school but after winning the recent second edition of the Landmark Rubik's cube challenge, Menon is looking to compete on a larger scale. "It all happened by accident, I was shopping with my mother in a mall and I saw lots of people with the cube in their hands and I was told that there was a competition. So I just registered." Menon then forgot about the competition but a few weeks later, he received a call that he had been selected for the challenge at the all India level.
I saw a classmate of mine solving it and it really amused me. I asked him to teach me how to do it but it isn't really easy to teach someone. So I went back home and googled it.
Mahesh Menon, Winner, Landmark Rubik's cube challenge
He decided to take a crack at it. "It came as a surprise to me but then I decided to go to Bangalore for the competition and fortunately won," Menon solved the cube in exactly 17.12 seconds, not his very best. "I think because it was my first time, I was nervous. Usually, I take 14-15 seconds." The world record is about 6 seconds, Menon says which is why the modest teenager terms his feat a very small one. "There are people who are much better than me but I do aspire to compete in bigger competitions and do better," he added.
Aiming for the world stage
Menon wants to compete in competitions hosted by the World Cube Association, "They host a lot of tournaments and have record-breaking competitions every year. It isn't a joke to win though, it needs a lot of confidence and alertness to do it. I want to be able to compete at a world level some day," Menon explained. Solving the Rubik Cube is only one of Menon's many talents, he also plays volleyball, plays the guitar and has his own band. But for now, he's awaiting the result of all his entrance exams to determine which college he can go to.