“Did you see this?” Daksha Bhaskaran asked her friend, looking at the screen of her mobile phone.
“What is it?”
“It’s the line-up for the big match next week, Nabhanya. Kerala is playing Rajasthan.”
A third girl, Josya, leaned over to look. “Is my brother’s girlfriend’s uncle chosen for this match?” she asked.
“What is his name?”
“I don’t see his name there. Sorry.”
“That’s a pity. My brother said his girlfriend told him that her uncle Pradheep is a very good batsman.”
“Who does he play for?”
“Kerala of course. He lives in Kochi.”
Mahishna Sreedharan was seated at the end of the bench, looking rather displeased with the conversation. She had little interest in cricket, “I might have seen him play once,” she said.
“And he was good?”
“I couldn’t say, Josya. I find cricket boring.”
The rest of the girls, all avid cricket fans, were aghast. Josya spoke for them all when she said, “I don’t know how you can say that. Cricket is the number one sport in India. How can you not love it?”
“Easy. I don’t like coconut, either.”
“You don’t like coconut?” all the girls chorussed.
“No. Or chilli.”
“What do you like?” Josya asked.
“Food or sport?”
“I like Formula One racing, although maybe not so much now that there is no Indian driver taking part and the pink cars are called Racing Point.”
“What were they called before?”
“Force India, of course.”
“So you don’t like it as much now?”
“I do still like it. It is the most exciting sport and some of the drivers are very handsome.”
“And are the drivers all men?”
“So far, yes. One day, perhaps, there will be female drivers, but I don’t mind for the moment.”
“You don’t mind that there are no women driving in Formula One? Why is that?”
“Because the men are so handsome. And I like to see the crashes.”
“I’m surprised to hear such a thing coming from a woman’s mouth,” Daksha said, her voice laden with disappointment.
Josya looked up from her phone. “There’s only one thing I need to know,” she said, “Whose side are you on?”
“What do you mean, Josya?”
“You are a woman, but you don’t mind that there are no women in your favourite sport.”
“There are women engineers, women team bosses and women at all levels—”
“But not driving.”
“That will happen. There is a separate formula for women, Formula W, as there is for electric vehicles, Formula E. And don’t forget it is only recently that women’s cricket and football—”
“And rugby,” Daksha interjected.
“And rugby. It is only recently that they have been taken seriously. And these games have been around for hundreds of years. Formula One only started in the middle of the last century.”
“Motor racing has been around longer than that.”
“And there have been women driving in motor racing and rallying for many years.”
“But not in Formula One.”
“Yet. And one day there will be an Indian woman driving a Formula One car.”
“Can you even drive?” Nabhanya asked.
“Not yet, Nabhy, but one day…”
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 248 published on this site.