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Why are cubers in India so slow?

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ardi4nto

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I visited India for 2 competitions in the beginning of 2012, Here is my point of view.

I wonder why very few competitors who routinely goes to competition. Usually the competitors just participated in 1-3 competitions then never show up anymore (take a look on their WCA IDs). Although I know some cubers who goes to competitions frequently, but they are small fraction of all Indian cubers population.

Also, the availability of good cubes, timer, silicon spray, and other cubing tools is one of the problem they have. They don't have any local cube store and they must buy it from outside India. Also, if they order large quantity of puzzles, they may face problem with the customs. In Mumbai Open 2012, no one have Stackmat Timer v2, may be because of this. This is very different from, let's say Indonesia or Malaysia. Here, I just need to contact the seller via text message or e-mail, send the money, and I received cubes two days later.

Also for the competitions, they need a lot of things to learn. Organizer needs to learn how to start and end competitors on time, estimate how many competitors they can have (in Mumbai Open 2012, there were only 2 timers with almost 80 competitors showed up), control the attitude of spectators - I saw some spectators climbed the table for watching 3x3 finals - lol. Competitors need to learn the regulation, especially how to start and stop timer properly. But, one of good side of their competitions is they offer great amount of prizes, usually they give money. Indian Open 2012 gave total 45,000 INR (~US$900) and Mumbai Open 2012 gave total 26,000 INR (~US$520). This is different from in Indonesia where we only give medals, trophies, or certificates to the winners.
 

amay saxena

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i totally agree with subhankar and the views posted earlier about parents' attitudes. but this is slowly changing. for example my parents are very supportive of my cubing and say that whatever you do, strive for perfection and always allow me to buy speedcubes off the net. i am 13 and there are people in my class who, even in the eighth grade are of the mentality that anything that is not improving their marks, is a total waste of time. but there are others who actively practise cubing and are supported by their parents for this. alot of my freinds at school including me practise a lot, average sub 25, and fare well enough in academics as well.
so this attitude is definitely decreasing among modern families, where parents are not scared of online shopping and know that somethings are done purely out of personal satisfaction and not just for "life's priorities" and they accept it that way.
 

jonlin

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Your WCA profile says USA. No, you don't count as Indian.

blah: I've been wondering this too. It's weird. Even China (which is similarly focused on school) has many fast cubers.
I've seen china for a time(I'm chinese)and my grandpa even has studies for me to do during the summer. The main difference between China and India is that in China, you have at least some free time on our hands during the day, if you can find it, there are a lot of college students who can go outside occasionally and play basketball. Why not the same for cubing?
 

TimMc

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Reasons?

I've just quickly read over the thread again for a list of reasons:

  1. Parents discourage cubing because they don't see how it contributes toward a career and appears to be a distraction from studying.
  2. There isn't enough equipment for competitions.
  3. Competitors aren't familiar with the WCA regulations or the use of timers.
  4. Competitions don't seem like a big deal.
  5. It's difficult to get good cubes.

Are there any other reasons?

The above reasons apply to Australia too and I'd imagine that competitors in other countries have also experienced one of the above. It sounds like main thing that deters people from cubing in India is their parents...

1. There needs to be a balance between cubing, study and work. Try to agree upon boundaries of each activity, if your parents are willing, and avoid compromising work/study by cubing too much.

2. It seems like a bad idea to have a competition with 80 competitors and 2 timers. Try to raise some funds to get at least 6-10 Competition Timers.

3. Holding some workshops and unofficial-competitions might be a good way to ensure that competitors are familiar with the regulations. If competitors can't attend workshops, meetups, or unofficial-competitions then at least try to allocate some time at the start of the competition to allow competitors to practice using the timers and hold some kind of demonstration. Otherwise, let them learnt hard way and enforce the regulations.

4. It sounds like the prizes have been fairly good in past competitions. Sponsorship might help but don't let them control it... Do competitions need banners, judges with uniform (i.e. custom shirts), cube tables (or nicely presented tables), an MC to announce events, a projector or TV for live results?

5. If there's a will, there's a way.

Tim.
 

Akash Rupela

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I made my mom sit and read this entire thread ,here are her views-
First, she said, surely money is a problem, cubes are very costly, if it was not for my stubbornness to buy cubes at any cost, she would not have let me buy such costly cubes(i dont see how something costing 1-2% of their monthly salary is costly).
Next, its not like cricket here that everyone can involve in. Only educated, brainy (bad image in mind of people) people do cubing. And if someone is brainy, I or any parent will naturally expect the brainy kid to not waste his life in cubing, he should rather study as with that brain he can get a good job.
Next, its just not a healthy sport, its not a recognised sport like cricket or football that i can proudly say my son is good at, its just a brain teasing game, and it just gives tension and tension.
Next, she said, suppose you are going to a competition, there are 15-16 average guys winning it. So if you go next year too to the same competition, the same people will win it, unless you try like really hard (the mentality responsible for slow cubers) , and even if you beat them and do it in 14 seconds, then what? What do you get ? 1-2 wasted years of your life?

The sadder part is i dont see a solution to this, Some people may say India is rising at stuff, surely some great people are doing their part, but the general scene in India is very bad , its at the parental and education system level, and we kids cant do much about it (i believe)
 

qqwref

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First, she said, surely money is a problem, cubes are very costly
You can get a good cube from China for less than $10, plus shipping. And you only really need one or two a year, plus under $5 of lube. Unless you want to collect cubes or buy expensive stuff like stackmats and custom puzzles, it's actually not very expensive.

Only educated, brainy (bad image in mind of people) people do cubing. And if someone is brainy, I or any parent will naturally expect the brainy kid to not waste his life in cubing, he should rather study as with that brain he can get a good job.
Maybe this is a difference in culture, but in the USA we expect that people will have interests other than school. When you apply to get into a good university or a good job, they do want good grades (up to a point, they understand that getting 100% does not mean you are smarter than someone who gets 98%), but they also want people to be well-rounded. That is, a good applicant will have hobbies outside of school, such as being interested in art or sports or something else. I've even heard of cubing skills helping people get into good schools. So we don't think it's useful to spend all of your time studying, because it will just lead to people who are only good at memorizing things and reciting them back. And in my experience a smart person won't need to spend all of their time on school to get good grades anyway. I do pretty well at a good college and I've got plenty of time for cubing and other hobbies.

Next, its just not a healthy sport, its not a recognised sport like cricket or football that i can proudly say my son is good at, its just a brain teasing game, and it just gives tension and tension.
Next, she said, suppose you are going to a competition, there are 15-16 average guys winning it. So if you go next year too to the same competition, the same people will win it, unless you try like really hard (the mentality responsible for slow cubers) , and even if you beat them and do it in 14 seconds, then what? What do you get ? 1-2 wasted years of your life?
I guess nobody in India does things for fun/enjoyment? Life must be very boring there :(
 

CuberPanda

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I've just quickly read over the thread again for a list of reasons:

  1. Parents discourage cubing because they don't see how it contributes toward a career and appears to be a distraction from studying.
  2. There isn't enough equipment for competitions.
  3. Competitors aren't familiar with the WCA regulations or the use of timers.
  4. Competitions don't seem like a big deal.
  5. It's difficult to get good cubes.

Are there any other reasons?

The above reasons apply to Australia too and I'd imagine that competitors in other countries have also experienced one of the above. It sounds like main thing that deters people from cubing in India is their parents...

1. There needs to be a balance between cubing, study and work. Try to agree upon boundaries of each activity, if your parents are willing, and avoid compromising work/study by cubing too much.

2. It seems like a bad idea to have a competition with 80 competitors and 2 timers. Try to raise some funds to get at least 6-10 Competition Timers.

3. Holding some workshops and unofficial-competitions might be a good way to ensure that competitors are familiar with the regulations. If competitors can't attend workshops, meetups, or unofficial-competitions then at least try to allocate some time at the start of the competition to allow competitors to practice using the timers and hold some kind of demonstration. Otherwise, let them learnt hard way and enforce the regulations.

4. It sounds like the prizes have been fairly good in past competitions. Sponsorship might help but don't let them control it... Do competitions need banners, judges with uniform (i.e. custom shirts), cube tables (or nicely presented tables), an MC to announce events, a projector or TV for live results?

5. If there's a will, there's a way.

Tim.
I agree. But if you see, Australia is not same as india. You guys have Feliks, Somewhat like an Idol for cubing. he comes on tv on all quiz competitions and i beleive you have a cubing organisation. In india, You have to study, You're Ph.D earns you respect here, not holding a world record, And yes, We do have less competitions and that is solely because of the NERDY tags my fellow countrymen have given the game, I do agree with Akash, there is no physical movement here, So people are like, your moving youre fingers only, you can do that while writing too, NOW STUDY!! Maybe I am exgarrating for some people and for some people i am not like I, however am one of the lucky ones whose parents support their cubing, But at the end of the day, I always have to think where i will find time for cubing the next day.
 
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kashyap7x

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Competitions here are really few in number, and only one or two repeat every year. Usually have to leave the city for a competition, and that's something parents don't allow.
About cubes, almost my whole class can solve a cube, but in general Indians aren't into online payment and stuff, we hardly have paypal, parents hesitant to use credit cards except on ultra-trusted sites (Chinese stuff doesn't come under this unfortunately). That leaves a lot of us with a makeshift cube, no proper speedcube. We have huge problems with both customs and our crappy postal system. Also everything puzzle related including lubes, stickers, timers and stuff have to come from outside, we don't have much here.
Also, like it's being said, most parents think of it as a waste of time. My mom doesn't mind me practicing football 4 hours a day, but as soon as I get my cube she tells me to stop that and study something. It's mostly because I wasted a lot of time cubing in my first month or so. A regular statement - 'You aren't going to get anything doing that now, If you get a good job then you can cube for the rest of your life and noone's going to question you.'
Not only the prevalent system (education and stuff) but the whole generation kind of discourages cubing. This generation of youth though are much better and I'm guessing cubing will improve by the time the next one comes, there should be some seriously fast competitors by then.
Again, everything is just my opinion. I really want to know what everyone else thinks.
 

jeff081692

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and even if you beat them and do it in 14 seconds, then what? What do you get ? 1-2 wasted years of your life?
This I think is the biggest problem. I just took a class that studies leisure and there are basically three mentalities to it. Leisure as free time, leisure as recreational activity, and leisure as state of mind. For some people when they think of leisure as free time it is something not productive and wasteful. So in a sense because cubing does not do anything to "help society" or is not recognized as a major sport, means that it is as useless as watching tv all day.
However, leisure as state of mind is the best way to interpret what we do for leisure because it is personal to the individual so to us it is not wasting 1-2 years of our life at all because that is what we want to do with our time.
But since there are cultures that don't care as much about that and want you to spend almost all your time either on studies or other skills that are good for a job, it is very difficult to pursue your true interests sometimes rather than live the life that your parents are trying to mold you into.
I guess because India as a culture seems to belittle activities such as cubing many potential cubers would see the cube and think they don't have enough time to get involved with that because their free time might be more limited than other countries.
 

Photon

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There's a damn lot said here, I'll sum up, or add my perspective. Indian, Chennai here btw.

1. Cost of cubes. $10 for a cube. Fine, but in Indian money, that's almost 500 bucks, more than that definitely. No parent, at least not middle-class ones like mine, are willing to indulge in that.

2. Socio-economic factors. The most common question my parents ask is, "Where will this get you?" It's always "Go study". Sure, I waste quite a lot of time and everything, but this is perennial.

I'd also grump about my city not having any competitions this year. Chennai is one of the biggest cities, and if you talk of the 1 billion people and everything, then this place could do with one comp. right? Cube meet-ups do happen though, we had one here last month.

At the end of it, I think a lot is about mindset, and financial issues. Chinese websites are NOT trusted here, and that is another big stumbling block. Awareness is rising though. There ARE a handful of people doing sub-10s. We'll get there soon :D
 

theace

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You can get a good cube from China for less than $10, plus shipping. And you only really need one or two a year, plus under $5 of lube. Unless you want to collect cubes or buy expensive stuff like stackmats and custom puzzles, it's actually not very expensive.


Maybe this is a difference in culture, but in the USA we expect that people will have interests other than school. When you apply to get into a good university or a good job, they do want good grades (up to a point, they understand that getting 100% does not mean you are smarter than someone who gets 98%), but they also want people to be well-rounded. That is, a good applicant will have hobbies outside of school, such as being interested in art or sports or something else. I've even heard of cubing skills helping people get into good schools. So we don't think it's useful to spend all of your time studying, because it will just lead to people who are only good at memorizing things and reciting them back. And in my experience a smart person won't need to spend all of their time on school to get good grades anyway. I do pretty well at a good college and I've got plenty of time for cubing and other hobbies.


I guess nobody in India does things for fun/enjoyment? Life must be very boring there :(
There is a HUGE cultural difference here, yes. The entire education system is based on memorizing and regurgitating. At a college interview, a sub 6 solve won't do anything. But a 98% score on your marksheet (which is the result of about a few weeks of memorization) will certainly get you in. Here, you are judged not by the diversity of skill sets you have, but by the percent marks you score in exams. As a child, life is not only boring, but also extremely stressful. I'm pretty sure that most kids here are dying to get out of the house so that they can do things THEIR way.

I agree. But if you see, Australia is not same as india. You guys have Feliks, Somewhat like an Idol for cubing. he comes on tv on all quiz competitions and i beleive you have a cubing organisation. In india, You have to study, You're Ph.D earns you respect here, not holding a world record, And yes, We do have less competitions and that is solely because of the NERDY tags my fellow countrymen have given the game, I do agree with Akash, there is no physical movement here, So people are like, your moving youre fingers only, you can do that while writing too, NOW STUDY!! Maybe I am exgarrating for some people and for some people i am not like I, however am one of the lucky ones whose parents support their cubing, But at the end of the day, I always have to think where i will find time for cubing the next day.
If Feliks was Indian, the story would have probably been different here. If cubing was as glamorized here as is in Australia (the frequency with which he has appeared on TV, the reception he has got), parents would have been more keen to support their kids in cubing. Again, this is more about "my child is better than yours". That is the general mentality here. There are very fortunate outliers, though - My mom and Amey's mom are good examples.
only 1 wca delegate here.
Yes. And the delegate's expense itself is about INR 30k+ which is about $570+ Sponsorships are not always possible and having a tournament is an expensive affair. A standalone tournament like SCMU2011 on an average would cost up to INR 80,000 or more (USD 1 = INR 52 something)
This keeps bugging in my mind everytime i read the reasoning from the indian cubers

Also, does parents there can't understand the feeling of accomplishing something?
The only accomplisments that count in the view of most parents are a) academic b) PHYSICAL sports with good public reception c) Anything that fetches money and secures careers.
 

palash_du

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I guess nobody in India does things for fun/enjoyment? Life must be very boring there :(
Doing things just for fun gets you labelled as a rebel over here. Each and every single thing that matters is linked to cut throat competition. Be it studies, enjoyment, jobs, anything at all.

When students in Kindergarten give exams and every single parent wants his child to be the top of class and pressurises for it this is what happens.
 

blah

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Once again, this *isn't* about your color or where your parents are from or where your cousins live or any other ties you have with the big I. Your opinion isn't worth anyone's time if it's some monumental thesis about the correlation between ethnicity and speedcubing ability.

This is about the socio-political/cultural reasons for Indian cubers being slow. If you're brown but are *not* subject to the same socio-political/cultural conditions as the cubers in India, don't say anything, because any remark you make will be racist. If you *are* subject to the same conditions and/or have experienced similar conditions and/or have witnessed the Indian cubing scene first-hand, then your input is as valuable as any, regardless of the color of your skin.

Is it really *impossible* to get good grades (in order to secure a job blah blah blah) and be a good speedcuber at the same time? With all the people you have, surely someone has the brains to accomplish this?

I honestly think it's about what someone said earlier: no one seems to be able to do anything he or she wants just for the love of it, be it due to external pressure or lack of internal motivation. There are so many things to blame for not getting into a good school or getting a decent job -- I just don't imagine cubing being very high on that list, even if you're world class. I'm pretty sure the rest of the world gets it: cubing can't feed you. But can't it make you happy? Or is there some perverted distortion to the notion of happiness that you can't feel happy doing something you enjoy because you enjoy it too much and/or it doesn't contribute to the greater good? There have been many world-class cubers who've disappeared because of school or work, but nothing ever stopped them from being world-class in the first place. Some of them come back; other's don't. Regardless, it was fun for the rest of us (and certainly for them) while it lasted.

Bernett Orlando, at his peak, used to be on par with Feliks in comparison with the rest of the world, but no one ever caught up, so I don't think it's the lack of a fast cuber that's holding India back.

Edit: No one sits down in front of a computer one fine day and says to himself/herself, "I'm going to dedicate the next two years of my life to being a world-class speedcuber." First of all, no one knows what "world-class" means in a year from now. Secondly, people sit down in front of a computer to cube because they're addicted to it. In all honesty, it doesn't take complete focus and unwavering dedication to be sub-15 these days (for teenagers). Most of us probably need to put in conscious effort to be sub-10, but being "decently fast" happens naturally/as a simple consequence of addiction, ask anyone.
 
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mande

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In India, 10th and 12th grade exams are a huge thing...and cubing is impossible in both of these years (even most of the 11th grade requires us to study for entrance exams to colleges for our bachelors degree). After that, once you start your undergrad, there is an enormous pressure (from family and college as well) to do well. I myself completed my undergrad in a place which had an average class size of 10 students (my batch started with 11, and ended with 10 after 1 guy got kicked out), and if you failed in even 1 course, you would be chucked out of college (also the college had the reputation of chucking out at least 1 guy per batch). After that, people who take up jobs have no time at all to cube. People who continue studies (like me) get additional pressure piled up on them, and also find almost no time to cube.

I saw some posts about Bernett...he is currently in his 11th (or 12th, I forget) grade, and studying hard for his entrance exams, due to which he doesn't get time to cube...
Distances in India are huge...for me, going to Indian Open by train would take like 36 hours, which I cannot afford to waste because of my classes. Above that, there is only 1 delegate because of which we have only a limited number of competitions which we can attend.
I guess my main point is that the education system in India does not permit 1 to cube much...
 

theace

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is there some perverted distortion to the notion of happiness that you can't feel happy doing something you enjoy because you enjoy it too much and/or it doesn't contribute to the greater good?
More like you aren't allowed to.

There have been many world-class cubers who've disappeared because of school or work, but nothing ever stopped them from being world-class in the first place. In all honesty, it doesn't take complete focus and unwavering dedication to be sub-15 these days (for teenagers). Most of us probably need to put in conscious effort to be sub-10, but being "decently fast" happens naturally/as a simple consequence of addiction, ask anyone.
Rather impossible when you have your entire cube collection locked away for an entire year (10th and 12, as Mande said) isn't it? That's the harsh truth bro. If your kids don't obey, you take away the luxuries and make em'...
 

Shakil

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Hi

Im from India.... And Ive a lot of things to say.........
1) We have only 1 delegate here in India... And remember India is a big country...
2) Every year we hardly have 4 tourneys here. And some of them are in the north and some of them in the south. And our parents don't really allow us to travel alone....
3) In other countries... cubes like 2x2, 4x4 and 5x5 are sold in stores. So people there are aware that there are many types of cubes.. But sadly people here know about the 3x3 only.
4) And pls note that our parents dont let us spend on cubes and lubes. I've always wanted the Lubix lube but my parents don't allow me getting one. Even the shipping of great cube stores like Icubemart and speedcubeshop costs like $6.
5)The Media and press in other countries atleast sumwhat make people aware about cubing like if theres a new NR or so. But here they dont care a F*** bout cubing
 

palash_du

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No one sits down in front of a computer one fine day and says to himself/herself, "I'm going to dedicate the next two years of my life to being a world-class speedcuber." First of all, no one knows what "world-class" means in a year from now. Secondly, people sit down in front of a computer to cube because they're addicted to it. In all honesty, it doesn't take complete focus and unwavering dedication to be sub-15 these days (for teenagers). Most of us probably need to put in conscious effort to be sub-10, but being "decently fast" happens naturally/as a simple consequence of addiction, ask anyone.
Consider this routine you go to a college your bus takes you to the college at 7:00 A.M. in the morning. The college goes on till 5:00 P.M.. During this time you get a break of one hour for lunch. The time for speedcubing is 2 hours in the bus and in the recess. Then you come back at around 6:00 P.M. and you have to study a bit for the next day have your lunch etc. Sometimes you can cube for a few hours again. So the average input you can give on a weekday is 2.5-3 hours. That wasn't enough for me. So I cubed during classes(even during tests). This is when you get into college. When you are in 10th or 12th forget about even touching a cube.

This is when you are at the prime of your addiction. Otherwise you will be doing other things in the free time.

Maybe this much free time is enough for cubing. But I don't think so. That I think is the average Indian's problem of why he does not get fast. To get to sub 15 an average person needs atleast 400-500 hours of practice. That much addiction is hard to find for such a non-academic, non-paying, high-priced and nerdy activity with scarce competitions.

Edit: This summer I really wanted to go to a competition but no even one is being held in all over India. Around my place there are no meets also.
 
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