F1 - My Passion: The Inception
It had all started with the shattering of a dream-work about a decade back. I was not yet acquainted with the world of motorsports or Formula One. The only connection that I could possibly think of then with the world of high octane and drama was a remote controlled toy-car that I was presented with on my eighth birthday by my aunt dearest. It was like the car of my dreams and its red color sparkled like rubies. I was eleven when a tragedy rendered my beloved toy-car useless. During those long three years that the toy-car was under my possession, it had become more of a companion than a toy. It was a day just like any other and I remember playing with my beloved car in the verandah of my house. I had just replenished the batteries of my toy-car which had given it a new zing. Suddenly I heard a rupturing sound and all I saw was a heap of debris scattered all over. Some imbecile had smothered the scepter of my childish passion. My beloved toy was shattered into bits and pieces. Tears started pouring out of my eyes like the Ganges emanating from the mighty Himalayas. All attempts at consoling me turned out to be absolutely futile. My mother forcibly took me inside and made me sit in front of the television set. She tuned the set to a sports channel which for widely popular for its wrestling telecast—something that was known to lure the children of my age. Perchance, it happened to be a race day in Spain and Spanish Grand Prix was getting telecasted instead of a run of the mill wrestling show.
Oh, my goodness gracious me! I got glued to the television set like never before. I had never witnessed such a colorful setup in my life before. There was not a single color that was missing in the arena. The grey colored track was studded with ripples of white, red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, black and more. The buzz of the engine had seemed to create an exaggeration of a symphony. I heard a couple of rambling voices from behind blurt out words like ‘constructor’, ‘championship’, ‘race-leader’, ‘pit-lane’, ‘lap-time’, ‘chicane’, ‘Ferrari’, ‘Mclaren’, ‘Williams’, ‘Renault’ etc. Luckily for me, I was completely inert to their rambling. My prime focus was on a driver in a black car with a silver lining who was leading the pack. There was another driver in a sparkling red car—highly reminiscent of my broken toy-car—who seemed desperate to close in. To my dismay, I found myself inexplicably cheering for the driver in red who seemed completely outmatched by his fierce rival. Suddenly everyone appeared trying harder than before and one could sense that the race had entered its final phase. The leader of the pack was still relentless in his approach but just when it seemed that he would emerge victorious the unexpected happened. His car suddenly got slower and a cloud of white smoke emerged out of the car’s exhaust pipe. The car halted few blocks before the finishing line and it took almost a minute for the driver in the red car to go past him all the way to the finishing line. At that very moment that I saw—probably for the first time in my life—a flag with black & white checks being waved by the steward. It was much later that I got to know about its significance in motorsports. Even though I wasn’t impressed greatly by what had transpired I couldn’t restrain from cheering for the winner who seemed absolutely ecstatic.
It was only during the post match interview that I finally got to know that the sparkling red car was a Ferrari which was driven to victory by the three time world champion Michael Schumacher. I also got to know that the hapless driver who couldn’t finish the race was McLaren’s two time world champion Mika Hakkinen. The day marked a new beginning for me as that day onwards passion had a new name in my life: Formula One. Formula One became my religion and Schumacher my God. Since that very day the passion grew stronger and stronger with each passing moment and eventually took the form of an obsession, which still flows through my body. It is this obsession that drives me and gives me the purpose and courage to exist. So much has changed in the sporting world in the last decade or so but the thrill and excitement of Formula One still seem unparalleled. My only complain had been its lack of popularity in the Indian Subcontinent, but that too is about to change as India is all set to host its first Grand Prix in the month of October. As I wait in anticipation, I sincerely hope that this colossal event would mark the beginning of a new era in India’s sporting history by serving as a harbinger for much bigger things to come.