Sunday, October 30, 2011

Need for Perpetual Excitement?

What is it about car racing that attracts the male species? Is it the thrill of taming sleek monsters? Is it the excitement for sheer speed? Or is it about controlling mean machines? Perhaps, all three! Psychologists say that it is the need for constant excitement which has men going ga-ga over car racing.

I am not questioning the need to spend millions on an elite and dangerous (Two deaths on the tracks in a month) sport.It is debatable. Other than the skill and courage of the driver, Formula1 is a multi billion dollar enterprise. A top driver can make up to $ 30 million dollars a year and more from sponsorships and promotions. Also when 600 million viewers watch the thrilling technological sport on television, surely, there must be something.

But where does the thrill come from? Not merely from racing. If it was only about the thrill of racing, Kerala’s Boat Race would draw similar enthusiastic response from the urban crowds. What if Mittals and Mallyas combine their marketing skills and promote ‘Airtel B1 Boat Challenge’ with foreign contestants, in God’s own country and invite Madonna to perform? The scene could very well spice up. But it won’t be the same.

More than the speed, the thrill comes from the lurking danger. A thirteen year old boy who had come to catch a glimpse of his icon Schumacher thought that the thrill of speed was phenomenal, but was upset that he could not witness a single crash.

Imagine what would happen if Asha Bhonsle or a younger Sunidhi Chauhan were performing at the inaugural event of F1 racing. Would the urban crowd shell out Rs 15,000 for the tickets and other Rs 1500 for the parking? I doubt it. It is Lady Gaga’s esoteric antics which they wish to see and not staid boring Indian singers. So what if they never hum Gagas meaningless songs?

What is good for the west should be good for us too. After the success of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, Bangalore and Mysore celebrated ‘Tomatina’ festival by pelting 6200 kgs of fruit pulp. I am surprised some ingenious soul did not get the idea of organizing Pampolina Bull Run. It was easy. Assemble all the stray bulls loitering in the sabzi mandis, request Mallaya to sponsor it and Wohooo…Spain could come to India. What are a few broken bones in between Spain and India?

Sorry guys, the idea is not to deride the thrill and excitement of car racing. In fact, it is good that Indians are being exposed to a sport other than cricket, the concept of speed other than Brett Lee and the concept of thrill other than twenty over cricket. My intention is to simply delve deeper and find what is it that excites racing enthusiasts?
I mean, don’t Delhiites drive to office everyday? And given the road rage incidents, I am sure they hate it. Perhaps it’s the heady concoction of sleek machines, the silky smooth track and thrill of speed. Psychologists also say that it is all about the thrill of doing something new, something different. Like the thrill of doing it in the dirty kitchen than the comfortable bedroom. Or like the thrill of making out with the ugly girlfriend rather than the beautiful wife.

The eighty one year old F1 empire head Bernie Ecclestone says, “In India not more than two percent of the spectators have witnessed such an event, so it is about the novelty factor”. A new sport. A new track. A new race. Lady Gaga first time in India. All encourage dopamine rush and the need to be in a perpetual state of excitement. Vroom!


  1. Car racing is akin to bullfighting where death is lurking just beneath the surface. I guess it is romancing the macabre that sets the adrenalin pumping. Not surprisingly, one of the lasting impressions from the monumental classic Ben Hur is that of the Chariot Race.

    As for Lady Gaga, it appears that some punks are having a tough time burning their (or their parents') dirty money. Is she a global phenomenon? These could be the signs that the world may be close to its predicted end!

    p.s. I was kind of expecting an ode dedicated to the Black Dog!

  2. I went for the flag off at Rajpath; sheer exhilaration. Apart from speed, pitt girls amuses the male species. Shhhh!!
    With greater speed comes greater risk. But when there is such a huge moolah is know what I mean. :)

  3. I think the thrill and the bait lies in the combination of newness + exoticism
    + consequent adrenalin rush.
    And if you are passionate, then you cannot be stopped but agreed,to realize this, we should have a place, a space and people who enjoy it without such causalities.

  4. @Umashankar..You have summed it up perfectly.Its the adrenalin rush. Gaga is just incidental.

    @Prateek...I know....the risk, the speed, the noise, the novelty factor,the hype, glamour and of course the moolah!

  5. Its the speed, speed which can kill. It has to be the rush of adrenalin and vicarious pleasures. Guys would love high speed boat races (not the kerela types), air shows equally. What is crucial is how sex and babes sell along with it. The scantily clad women etc. Yes all for the male audience.

    On a lighter note, let the males get excited with sports than finding the trill with ugly girlfriends.

  6. Ah...there you said it from my heart;) I too was wondering what makes the males of our species go mad after cricket and racing. May be the thrill, the adrenaline and Gaga:P Mallya and the ilk would never even set their foot in God's own country- for them, anything from West- sells well!

  7. Or how about assembling all stray cows and have them moo an Autumn's Sonata?

    Quoting Shobha De - It's not what F1 can do for India but what India can do for F1 :)

  8. The write up was as exhilarating as the F1 itself!Great imagination!

  9. @Mayank...Got it ...Babes, machines, speed and danger

    @A grain of sand...You are so right.

    @Cloud Nine...True, yacht parties, swimsuit models , Pit girls cheerleaders...go with Mallaya.

  10. @Purba...Possible..May be Subroto Roy can sponsor it.
    Shobha has summed it up well...Yesterday UP displayed India and Bharat...One with billionaires attending after parties in Lamborghini's and another where children were dying in UP due to Encephalitis.
    @Rahul...Glad you liked it.

  11. Let us revel in having pulled off an international event successfully!

  12. There is fun in danger I guess. Look at all the millionaires and billionaires driving their fancy cars over people or shooting up at the slightest provocation on the roads. I'd rather have all that adrenaline confined to the race tracks.

    On another note, I agree with Deepak. India, notably Behenji has proved herself better than the Sports Ministry, CWG committee and Delhi Govt, all put together!

  13. I have very little interest in most forms of sports. I watch the occasional tennis match, have lost all interest in cricket. But just like in case of movies, people love watching something which gives them the required adrenaline rush - F1 is a glamorous sport, involves a heck lot of money and beauty too if you consider the fashion quotient of the girlfriends and wives of Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Button and the rest. No wonder people get hooked in no time! But I feel it's a monumental waste of resources to build a flawless race track in our country and let the rest of the people drive on potholed roads. Funny!

  14. hehehehe for me its the grid girls. oka fast cars too but mostly girls :P

  15. "Or like the thrill of making out with the ugly girlfriend rather than the beautiful wife"-LOL!

    I still feel to each one, his own-let's not raise anything too high or dump it too low as we are prone to-be it the fasts, the swamis, the Ra-one and now the F1!

    Every news now suffers from such an overdose that it becomes stale even by the time we properly understand it!And you took such a cute, neutral stand Alks,Kudos!:-)

  16. anything for money i guess and it is a universal truth that people always go for the chamak - dhamak of any event.. and you are right no one wud pay for a Asha Bhonsle or any indian artist but for a foreigner we can all Ga Ga :)

    I missed seeing it .. yikesssssssss chalo maybe next time then ...


  17. I am not a fan of F1. Speed kills. Tomotina festival - I guess the prices will go high. Spain has got excess of them but not India....

  18. More than the actual race, its the fact that they built an actual, worthwhile track in India that stuns me!

  19. I do not follow F1 race much...but...when I watched the F1 race on cable sitting thousand of km away from looked absolutely amazing...More than the was the pride of seeing the Roads and greenery of Noida...may be...(they could have done away with the dog..though :P )

    And I agree with the Tomatina..Sheer waste...if you ask me...considering that there are thousands dying from hunger.

  20. Ohh how I wsih our country became a hot spot for int'l football matches

  21. @Deepak and Zephyr.....For once we have to give Behenji her due...She has made us proud unlike Kalmadi and Hooda.

    @Samadrita...Misplaced priorities again...

  22. @Maniachubter..Grid girls aka Pit babes...did you see them...I mean from up close?In Thailand and Korea they are celebrities.

    @Suruchi...The relevance of it is debatable. Thank God there were no glitches and kudos to Behen Mayawati.

  23. @Bikram


    ...For once the event was without glitches and thats a relief. Glamour sells.Its the crass commercialization of sport.But F! was always half sport half business.

  24. @Ana_treek

    Ana, even I am surprised when the highway bang opposite mt house is potholed.In India the private sector works it is the govt which is lethargic.

    Kunal and Jon

    The private sector manages to deliver but it is the govt which sucks. Misplaces priorities do hurt a lot.

  25. You did not add, the metallica concert, and the fiasco!
    I still don't understand the F1 fever. As a matter of fact, I am glad that I was not even in Delhi to witness the entire gamut of things!

    Well, I feel, that it is the thrill of driving at maniac speed without a traffic jam or a red signal that enthralls everyone making them wish that they could do it every day!!

    Hope you had a great diwali.. :)

  26. Fun is defined by mass consensus.Today's high might just be tomorrow's sigh !