Chapter I : The Making of a Guinness World Record Attempt

Basically, life is a set of rules. There are constrictions at each point and dictation is, quite frankly, normal. 56000 thoughts cross your mind in a day and only one is capable of bowling you over. You can’t get over that particular thought for some reason. There’s this feeling that something inspiringly wonderful is going to come out of it. You try your hand at it. Once. Twice. Then, roots of constrictions and rules start creeping slowly and steadily. These constrictions dissuade you by convincing you otherwise about that one thought; you believe could create an impact. And very often, we end up losing a pearl amidst the sands of doubt.

Similar, is the story with one of the persons; I quite recently got to know quite well about. Shivam Maheshwari, as other people define is, what ideally constitutes the definition of a misfit. Highly uneven proportions of enthusiasm and craziness basically constitute all aspects of his mind. So, this guy suddenly had this idea, with its roots idea untraceable from nowhere. ‘Most No. Of People solving the Rubik’s Cube in one venue’ says the existing Guinness World Record, set-up by CoEP, Pune. In no time, Sir reached out for a pen and paper and rushed to SR Bhavan, a first-years only hostel in BITS. From midnight to around 4 AM in the morning, he collected over 350 positive responses from hostellers on whether they would like to participate in such a World Record attempt. That is how began, a story that shook Pilani. 

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Reaching out to two more persons, Gaurav Mandlecha and Akshat Mechu, Shivam formed with them the aesthetically holy trinity of M3. So, it was decided that they’d start working on the Record attempt. At that point of time, they had more pressing questions than the answers they needed. How to get 4000 persons at one spot and convince people to take out their time to learn how to solve a cube? How to bring them to the event? Where will we get the funding from? Will the institute cooperate?

Three twenty-year olds had a mammoth task in front of them. Quite a paradox, it was. Then a cliché quote came into the picture as it gave an overall perspective of what their situation was them. ‘When life gives you lemons, you make a lemonade out of it.’ Despite so many constrictions and problems, these people kept moving like a wall. From a team of 4 people who were there while the ‘World Record Society’ was being formed to a team of over 60 persons during the Record attempt, the journey wasn’t easy. Instead of narrating a heartfelt story that would probably take all the time in the world, I’ll give a brief idea of what all it took for us to reach where we were yesterday.

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What it takes to create a Guinness World Record:

  • A dedicated team that stands with firmness behind you and is willing to take extra pains to shoulder responsibilities.
  • To be exact, 26 formal documents had to be drafted properly for communication with the following:
    1. Director, BITS Pilani
    2. BET Director
    3. Principals of BET Schools
    4. Gliders Club Permission Letters
    5. Chief Warden
    6. Deputy Superintendent of Police
    7. Senior Scientists, CEERI
    8. Public Prosecutor, Jhunjunu District
    9. Elaborative Plan Proposals for funding to start-ups
    10. Over 6 Root mails with proper details
    11. Layout of the Gliders Club Grounds (There was no existing layout for the ground. People, personally went to the grounds and took measurements themselves)
    12. Last of all, the Guinness Application. Not exaggerating, we proofread the details and guidelines given to us, for at least 3 proper days before we saw them as conclusive. The format of the Guinness application is quite taxing and proper care needed to be taken care regarding terminologies and usage of words. Communication with their officials took place over a dozen times.
  • A normal Guinness application takes place at least 3-4 months to process  before it is considered for review. Considering that we had decided upon the birth anniversary of Shri G.D. Birla as the date, we had applied for a priority application that cost us around Rs. 50,000. So, extra committal effort prior to just one month of the record attempt was one of the essentials.
  • Ensuring there is proper outreach and publicity along with huge inflow of registrations, mess signings and room-to-room signings took place. Our team of just 30 persons then reached out to a campus of over 4000 students along with faculty and their family members. Numerous announcements were made in the lectures. We were able to successfully register 4328 persons as our final tally.
  • 4000 Rubik’s Cubes, which cost around Rs. 150 in C’Not were bought at Rs. 55 per piece. The cubes were given to all registered participants at least 10 days prior to the event. Our volunteers worked almost 8 hours daily to teach students in BET Schools and BITSians for the last two weeks. Permissions, grants and even shifting of tests in some cases was done to ensure smoothness of the event. Everything was done, with justified perseverance to make things work.
  • Convincing 80 stewards from BKBEIT, a non-BITS and non-BET organization to come and officiate the event along with ensuring that they are provided proper incentives.
  • Banners, Flexes, art sculptures and Elaborative decorations for the event day along with arranging water bottles and biscuits for 4000 people was no easy job.

I am not praising or boasting about our efforts. The only thing that came out of listing all this was, there were actually genuine efforts put in by the World Record Society team. And everyone SHOULD know about it. Believe me, it is very easy to sit in your rooms and question the reasons behind such a record attempt. It is very easy to say ‘Lite’ to a volunteer requesting your participation for the event. It really is. People asked us what we were getting out of organizing such an event. We don’t have a made-up answer to that. We all just knew that no matter what, WE WANTED TO DO IT. That’s it.

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We couldn’t succeed in making a record, yesterday. We needed to cross 3420 persons in order to create a World Record. Only 3089 persons (2000 BET Students and around 1000 BITSians) turned up yesterday, thus disqualifying the attempt. But, we succeeded at one thing. 2974 persons out of 3089 people, that is 96.2% persons were able to solve the Rubik’s Cube correctly. For us, we were Record-Holders in spirit. We had managed, in the past one-month to change the quaint little hamlet of Pilani to instilling certain liveliness, where enthusiastic people took part in a World Record. We had generated enough frenzy for over 3000 people to turn up at a venue.

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In the end, I’ll conclude by what the ‘World Record Society’ wishes to express to everyone who came.

“Thank you all for turning up yesterday. We weren’t able to make the record yesterday but we have no regrets. For, failures are nothing but the pillars of success. And this, this was just the first stepping-stone. What if we fall here? What if we fall on the next? We will fall again and again, until we learn to walk. Until we learn to run. Until we make a record. And once its been done, the world will recognize us for something apart from our majestic Clock Tower. They will recognize us for our teamwork and more for our determination to do something outside the box. Thank you, again.”

Allow me to be immodest when I say this, but according to me, ‘World Record Society’ ne phod diya hai!

PS: The 4,000 cubes will go to Toy Bank, an organization that collects toys as donations for underprivileged children.

 

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Utkarsh says:

    Kudos to you guys. I hope (though I doubt it) I get to attempt it one more time during my college life. I had not even registered for the event and came on-spot, looking at the intensity of the evening. Sadly, it didn’t work (the record attempt) but I am glad it happened. Congratulations to you guys for conducting the event successfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ramaswamy setty says:

    Hearty congratulations to the team for attempting such a gigantic task and almost reaching a goal. 🙌👍

    Like

  3. VS says:

    Congratulations for the hard work and effort the organising team put it. It indeed was a very difficult task. I appreciate the efforts of each student to teach the school children, students and faculty members, how to solve the cube, individually. It is unfortunate that the BITS family did not act as a team and despite registering for the event did not turn up. The hard work that the 3089 people, especially the school children, put in, should have been respected. Thus it is sad, that we could not make it just because we fell short of people rather than not being able to solve the cube. However, there are a few suggestions that perhaps could have been taken care of by the team:

    1) Participation of administration, teachers and staff members, should have been pushed further. It is very important that the institute works together. It is only when people in higher authority take charge that the others will be motivated to participate considering the general human attitude.
    2) It could have been made mandatory for the 1st and the 2nd year bachelors students to participate, like it was mandatory for the school students.
    3) The date of the event should have been more carefully chosen:
    a) It was a long weekend, friday being a holiday. Hence a lot of people were not in campus.
    b) Such events can happen during a time when the end semester exams are not too close. This will include more participation of teachers as well as students.

    Hope we are able to attempt the record once more and make it into a success. Looking forward to it.

    Like

    1. We will definitely consider your suggestions and work on it, Sir.

      Like

  4. Bravo BITS buddies! Never mind the record. You succeeded in creating a typhoon in the dusty hamlet. Keep it up.

    Like

  5. AnKz . . says:

    Hearty congratulations to the team friends!
    Reading this reminded me of Akshat days while making our record. I truly appreciate the count you were able to inspire within such challenging time span. Its indeed commendable, n we very well know how tough that is.
    When I heard from Sachin about this, I was in awe, but the excitement was more. If you ask me personally, I completely​ agree about your statement that failures are nothing but pillars to success. You’ll be hearing alot from people about what you should have done because thats the easiest thing people can do;talk and advice. Its your team that believed in a dream and worked relentlessly towards it and trust me 5 years down the line, you’ll be very proud that you did it nevertheless.

    Congratulations again team!

    Regards,
    Ankush Tale
    Team Akshat, COEP

    Like

    1. Means a lot, Ankush. Thank you! 🙂

      Like

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