Monday, 7 November 2011


I'll confess. Ever since I walked out of having what has been undoubtedly the single most exhilarating experience of my life so far, I've been attempting, in my head, to put it into words. And somehow, not surprisingly I'd say, I've failed miserably.

A dream, as I've come to realise, is only valid if it is first dreamt of. For me, watching the Indian GP was not a dream come true. You know how when you were young and thought, "One day, I'll go to Chepauk and watch Sachin bat" or "I'll go to the Eden Gardens and be one among the sea of cricket fans." With F1, for me, it was always the overtly ambitious dream of going to Malaysia and watching a race in Sepang on watching it in Melbourne. Not even in a highly delusional adrenaline filled state did I ever dream of watching a race right here in India. And when that came true recently, I was lost for words or expressions.

When I entered the stands and found a seat, I could hear the unmistakable rumble of a F1 car approaching me. That ear singeing cacophony at 19,000 rpm on top gear. That oh so famous moment as the cars go off throttle and exhaust gases bend inwards and outwards to produce that now familiar crackling. Every single part of that ultimate doff of the hat to all things related to physics worked in perfect harmony to bring towards me my first ever sighting of a F1 car. Fittingly for the occasion, I thought, it was the Lotus of Karun Chandhok. (I later learnt that Karun had overtaken Adrian Sutil sometime before my stands so that he could be the first one to put down an official time on the sheets for the Indian GP.)

The three days ended in a flash. The build up of the excitement was completely worth every single rupee I spent. Yes, there were a million things that weren't up to the mark. You would have read it in the papers or seen it online. But those things just don't matter.

After a few years, when I recall this unforgettable experience, (yes, despite my memory being famously attributed to that of a snail on morphine, this is permanently etched along with cycling and driving) the guard who didn't let us carry bags and cameras inside the circuit on the first day wouldn't figure in the story, the appalling sight of people buying Force India flags wouldn't be a part of the tale, the sight of tens of people mulling around the food counter when Vettel was blitzing the track on his pole lap would find no place in the recollection.

What would figure though, is that perfect symphony of that V8 engine revving at 19,000 rpm, that lucky picture I clicked of Michael Schumacher manoeuvring the exit of a chicane WITH ONE HAND OFF THE STEERING WHEEL, that image of Mark Webber carrying the Indian tricolour during the drivers parade, that idiotic marshall who decided against everything proper to sweep dust ONto the racing line, that moment when I froze when Michael Schumacher went past my stands during the drivers parade and I was completely sure that he looked directly at me. 

And finally, that single moment when all those years of unbridled depression seeing them taste defeat and the uncontrollable happiness of revelling in success, knowing that my screams of joy were in unison with the tifosi family spread far and wide, finally met reality - when I saw that scarlet Ferrari flow down the track, that was, in a way, salvation.

I guess some things that you experience won't ever be rubbed out of your memory.