And some wishful thinking

I wonder if that racing story I want to read could take place in the middle of the native people kicking the colonists out? If we pop F1 back in time as it is, for example, suddenly we have races in places like Abu Dhabi, and enthusiasts coming together over a shared love of technology.

So what happens if they start racing in the Raj? What happens if an Indian boy wants to race (we’ll call him Harinder, but the colonist’s daughter might address him as “Harry” because she’s got a lot to learn, too) and a colonist’s daughter (Delilah, but Harinder pokes fun at her by turning her ignorance on its head — so she becomes “Leela”!) has Ideas regarding engineering? What if each of them brought someone else to the table — Harry has a sister, Meera (whose name even Leela can’t screw up) who, Leela notices, is taking a keen interest in the mechanical side of things? What if Leela was testing her inventions on her cousin Alice before she met Harry, and now Alice wants in?

And what if, by some fluke, this team managed to be just as good as the men’s teams?

The implications of Harry and Leela swapping ethnicities w.r.t. names is something I can play with, too. Leela forgets, along the way, that she was Delilah first. It’s a taste of what Harinder’s whole country has to deal with. But by the time Leela remembers, maybe she has learned, and the name thing is her private joke with Harry. When she enters the team to race, she lists him as Harinder.

The big boys’ll scoff — A woman and an Indian? Against us? Oh, let them try. They won’t win.

And maybe they don’t win, but Harry takes second and Alice fifth. Formidable results for first-timers.

…did I just try to retell “Bend it Like Beckham”?

In my punked-out fantasy, things change in our world. The racing world diversifies early. Ever so slowly, attitudes begin to change, and by the time the British leave India, at least some of them have “gone native”. I don’t know enough to say how plausible this is even as fantasy. That’s what research is for.

If I ever sit down to seriously work on this one, you may have to bring me sustenance in my local libraries and repair shops. I wouldn’t bother showing The Public my work until I could be sure it wasn’t screamingly colonialist and racist. Part of the point is the way my heroes are able to teach each other, Harry more than Leela, because Leela has more to learn.

Lots of pickiness involved. That’s as it should be.


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