Winfred Michael Raj is all smiles. After all, setting a Guinness Record for solving the most number of Rubik’s cubes while riding a bicycle is no mean feat. A postgraduate student at Christian Medical College, Vellore, Winfred solved a staggering 111 cubes in 123 minutes, all the while cycling, without putting his feet down even once. The record far surpassed the minimum limit of 30 cubes, set by Guinness.
But where did his love affair with the multi-coloured cube begin? While he was younger, Winfred was strolling down the sreets of T Nagar, Chennai one day, when he saw a Rubik’s cube and bought it. He had no idea what to do with it. He just started playing with it on the train and soon realised that this was no child's play. "I saw someone solving it in TV, so I knew there was a solution. But I didn't know how to find the solutio, until I went to my mom's office one day, and downloaded video tutorials. I started practising every day and I managed to get one side figured out," says Winfred.
In 2014, while doing his undergraduate degree, Winfred enrolled for the IIT Shaastra Cubing Open. "Although I solved it in 35 seconds, I lost in the first round itself. The winners had clocked it at just 10 seconds. The world record was 5.2 seconds, which was way beyond my ability. So I decided to try something different," he says.
Winfred had earlier read an article about a man who solved the cube while running a marathon. So he tried doing that. That didn't work either, owing to a breathing niggle. He then tried cycling and when that clicked, he didn't wait another day to apply for the Guinness Records.
On January 26 this year, with complete support from the Department of Radiotherapy, CMC, Winfred managed to fund the record setting event. But records, fame and achievements aside, Winfred has a higher calling. "Every day as I pass by the Rehabilitation unit at CMC, I watch people on wheelchairs, without the ability to move around and do anything by themselves. I think to myself, it would be great to teach them cubing. Not only is it an addictive hobby, it would also be great therapy,” he says.
Winfred hopes to do research in the field of Medical Physics and when he 'gets bored of it', he would like to go to some of the most backward and rural areas of India and become a teacher.