Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Speeding cars and my racing heart


Racing is one of my least favourite things. Wouldn’t it be yours too if the only race you ran was in kindergarten and you ran in the opposite direction, all the while thinking you are in the lead? And then crying in front of 2000 parents because you came first and no one gave you a Running Trophy? Good. So, now that you understand my feelings, I can call you my best friend and proceed. 

Ask me to race you in eating hot gulab jamuns or downing beer bottles and I will agree; as long my feet don’t have to move or muscles get used. You see, I don’t like to get tired. I don’t think God ever pronounced ‘I made you in my image. Now go, get tired, man’. Even if he did, he was talking to a man, not the woman in me. Plus, the maximum labour I could undergo was done when I popped my popsicle out. Buss. No more. Not even Popsicles. Finished. Doors closed. Don’t ever ask me, you &%$#$, etc.

However, to watch a pro race is quite something. Especially if it’s on four wheels (or two, but four is more and in Punjabi circles more is gold). Ever since televisions in my house went from buxom to slim-fit, I have been watching, without much knowledge, zooming sports cars racing on tracks on ESPN. Was I waiting for an accident to happen, a car to crash, catch fire, spin in the air and land in the spectator gallery to scream ‘Woah! Tha’ waz cooool’? I will not admit that I indeed was, but understand, dear reader, this half-baked racing fan’s fully baked love for watching mean machines speeding.

That is why I broke my favourite crystal centre-piece with my scream when I saw two invites in my mailbox to the JK Tyre Racing Championship 2014. After all, most first-times are met with a scream and I was a pure virgin when it came to watching motorsport racing live. The first thought that struck me – Is this karma coming full circle? Will a spinning car fly towards me and the driver slap me for all the stunt-obsessed thoughts I watched telly racing with all my life? Thankfully, I was to be in the Lounge, with a thick sheet of glass between me and the ferocious wheels and two lunch coupons in my pocket. Phew and yippee, respectively!

Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida is really huge. Simplistic and wide-eyed as this statement may sound, I cannot get over the expanse that greeted me at 10 am on Sunday morning last. What was once a dot on the map, much like those little dots we cross on the two sides of the highway when going to a noteworthy place, was now an impressively designed structure hard to not stare at and very hard for Nursery-going kids to stare down. 

The sun is disturbing my eyes, mumma. I can’t see the top of the building’ was the gravest problem I had to trouble shoot as soon as we reached. On came the cap and up he came in his daddy’s arms for a higher view of reality, leaving his mother alone to rub her hands in expectant glee. She stopped doing that only when chilled cans of Coke welcomed her in a comfortable viewing space with TVs and a tiny balcony – overlooking the spot where the action begins! Grand indeed this stand was!

But first, it was time for the Pit Walk.


Whoever coined the phrase ‘in the pits’ to mean what it means must never have toured a race track pit. The area abounds with a pulsating buzz of wheels and engines getting prepped to go. Cars, in all their sexy glory, occupy centre stage and each has a crew fussing over every bit of it. Much like princes being readied for a coronation match. Or kings for a battle!


They sit there, those swanky monsters, like panthers without a care in the world. Ready to pounce at the first opportunity but never without reason. In controlled rage, as if, which will only unleash the moment the signal turns green. For now, getting themselves scratched behind the ears but with every angle on their bodies reminding you of the power these sleeping beasts hold within. And the sound when they growl!

What was that? Is it a monster, mamma?’ said he quite perturbed when one of them made the engines roar. ‘No, no, monsters don’t exist. Haven’t I told you that?’ said his mumma, convincing him it’s just a car but secretly knowing them and loving them as hunky monsters, from the very bottom of her heart!

We watched 5 races, back to back. Never met, never even seen before drivers were on a first name basis as I hung like a Juliet from the balcony cheering them on, or going ‘come on!’ watching the TV screen and turning my head as the cars turned. Did my husband mind the sudden surge of heroes in my life, in helmets and racing gear?

Who cares! Did I mind when I caught him waving back at those beauties with foggy eyes, slightly parted lips and like a scene from 'American Beauty'? I am sure I did not! 



Hours went by sped by at break-neck speed, and superb hospitality. Only one problem frustrated the race-lover in me. ‘Can you not set the camera such that I can get a still of a moving car and the moving effect on the still rail, honey?’ There was a tone to my question my beau did not deem fit to take lightly, especially the stress on ‘not’ and the formality in ‘honey’. ‘Just try panning with the focus on the car. That should help.

Yeah, right! He might as well have asked me to ride a super bike, standing. Well, I tried!

Got it!
Still, I loved them when they posed for me standing in one place. All of them, 5 race times over. See!





Oh! The paparazzi. 

Women called the shots!

Oh! I would give my right arm to work here’ said I to no one in particular but knowing fully well that the sudden turn of his head meant he heard me crystal clear on our way to the cab. Shrugged I, ‘What? Oh come on! Not in that black dress, no. Look carefully! Did you notice how many women were employed for every single race? With those jazzy walkie-talkies, skinny jeans, white tees and commandeering the mean machines when they stop or where. And surrounded, surrounded by those racers all the time!’ He didn’t respond, but something told me the flutter of my eye lids got him a little worried. A little. Finally. Needless to say, all 50 kms back home were dedicated to talking about the races, as was what remained of the day.

A friend joked with me if I would be racing on Delhi roads as I go pick up my kid from school now. I think he could, sitting in Bangalore, sense the excitement in this woman's heart. I said no. ‘Racing’ is still one of my least favourite words, when I am a part of one, that is. But ask me to go watch one and I will not refuse. Look below! You think this personified Happiness can ever mean I would refuse another chance?

There's always (w)room for more in this woman's heart!



PS –Just to remind the world that I was very serious about working ‘in the pit’. Psst, don’t tell my husband for now. I’m sure he knows that behind every successful man there is a woman, and around every car racer there's got to be many of them. It's just how the world works. What can we do?





27 comments:

  1. Did you really run the wrong way? That must have been traumatic! For you, I mean. I can't stop laughing over that.

    Yes, there is a something in the air at a motor race. Now of course, safety issues have taken the spectators away from the track to a safe distance.

    Back in the late 70's I was a track marshall at the annual Barrackpore races in Calcutta. Safety was not really a major concern. The cars were separated from the spectators by bamboo fences. I sat on chair at the edge of the track with my stop watch, right next to the start/finish line.

    There were mobikes there too, and Vijay Mallya in a Porsche 911 which I saw still smoking away in the pits. Met him too, though I'd venture to guess he does not remember me....

    That's a nice mobike there next to the chick in the black dress. Notice how only one of the paps has the right idea. The other two are focusing on the bike and rider.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did run the wrong way. My parents made sure they took a photograph to prove my genius to me when I grew up.
      The spectators weren't too far away from the race. The tickets amply warned us to come at our own risk, since accidents can happen!
      Slo, sometimes I wonder if you make up all these stories - guard, now marshall too. Cannot separate the real and the fictitious sometimes. Is it true?
      I saw a mobike race too. After 10 shots of capturing the road I realised they were too fast for me. :P I am SURE VM remembers you!
      I did notice that, actually. You've really strained your eyes on that one, huh?

      Delete
    2. Guard? Hmm...don't recall that. I was a record store salesman once, though, sold records, stereos etc.

      Nope: ALL the stories are completely true. The only fictionalized elements are the dialogues....

      Delete
    3. Oh dear! Memory fails me. *now you must be thinking how old is she*

      Delete
    4. Oh, I forgot, there is a story about running too.... :) It will have to wait till next Diwali I think, or not. Maybe, in between the French travelogue, I might squeeze it in when no one is looking.

      No one is looking, btw. :(

      Delete
  2. Vroooomm :) the post just sped like a speeding 4-wheeler. Seems like a great experience. Have to attend one to feel the rush.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You must when you get a chance, Jas.
      Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  3. Well, now this post is sure to please every car-racing fan who happens to reach here and read it. But how did you manage to reach the pit...? I mean, were you invited to be there? I guess people don't normally get to visit these areas...

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see you here! :)
      When we reached and were looking for our stand, a guy just asked us if we wanted to go for a Pit Walk. Many groups were being taken for a tour. 10 am - 11 am only. I guess it's routine, but there were a lot of rules, true.

      Delete
  4. Quite a Vroooom post, I say. The atmosphere is almost electric, right? Even for a non-race lover. And looks like you got the VIP treatment. Congratulations and yes, we're all envious :D A really nice post, Saks, on a sport that I enjoy watching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right. A charged atmosphere which only gets more charged up as the day goes by. Even for a non-race lover. So true!
      I need to thank a friend for this treatment, but yes, it was quite comfy. :D
      Good to see you, Sid. Thanks for liking this!

      Delete
  5. Awesome ! Thoroughly enjoyed and I could relate to many of the things mentioned.

    It was great to meet you there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could relate to how I caught my man staring at the beauties in black? Hm. :D
      I was very excited to see you both right at the parking but crestfallen to know we were tracks apart throughout. Would have been good to be together, and to learn a little photography from you too. Loved your pictures, VJ. If you most of mine you will either see nothing but the tarmac, or you'll laugh. Or both! :D

      Delete
  6. Here are some of the photographs from same race - http://phototravelings.blogspot.in/2014/11/jk-tyre-racing-championship-2014-budd.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. You watched all the action in Live!!! all those mean machines and hunky drivers LIVE!! Lucky lucky you. I love the way you write, all the excitement is oozing out of every sentence :) Awesome pictures too :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes, YES, I did, Rajlakshmi! Come over to Delhi, if you're not here already, and we can match out excitements at ground zero.
      Thanks you so so much!

      Delete
  8. The 'Got it!' pic of the racing car is stunning. Other pics are also good. I tried watching F1 races on TV when I was younger, but gave up after a few minutes. I just couldn't grow beyond cricket. Nice stadium, btw.

    Destination Infinity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. After 500 attempts, even God must have thought I deserved a car in one of them. :P Well, a cricket fan is usually just cricket's fan then. However, to this racing fan's mind, there is no comparison. :P
      Thanks, DI. :)

      Delete
  9. Good read Sakshi.. And I must tell you one thing- I too ran in the wrong way during my kindergarten race :P I think genius think and act alike :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roohi, may I please say that is so good to know? :D Of course, of course, geniuses follow their own paths. These lesser mortals will not understand our line of 'vision' - race or no race. :D
      Thanks for reading! :)

      Delete
  10. Nice read ! Pictures are awesome ! Even I have two left feet..so running is just out for me :) Why do women have to pose with the cars / racers / bikers.. never could understand that though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they add a glam factor to an otherwise very masculine world. I hear some people go for Auto Expos just because of them. So in that sense, they're good for marketing too.
      Thanks for liking it. :)

      Delete
  11. What cool images and I agree with you, I too would love to work in the pits. ;)
    I enjoyed reading this one. Good you don't racentre now. Walking is so much more graceful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Swanky Beast!! I am sure he was thrilled at the visual treat offered by his Momma. Planning to emulate the F1 drivers on the streets of Delhi?! Guess, the amazing writer has something to inspire her, on wheels:)
    Enjoyed this effortless post and makes me nurture the dream of watching the race:) You should tell them to rope you as the brand ambassador, for writing, I mean:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :D It was quite a treat, the whole experience.
      Thanks for reading, Vishal.

      Delete

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