When a writer goes ‘Go-Karting’ !

A few months ago, I went for a Go-Karting session along with my colleagues as a team building activity. It wasn’t something I had attempted before and I had certainly not been looking forward to it. Any form of adventure sport is not really my scene. As I often like to say, ‘I would rather read a book’. Everyone around me was super excited. They rubbed their hands and let out whoops of delight. ‘Oh, what fun!’ and ‘I can’t wait to get on the track’ were some of the statements flying around. I was possibly the only one not looking too happy. When I heard we had to do 15 laps of the track in total, I felt dizzy. Surely not? FIFTEEN full laps? When I could be doing something else like playing chess or solving a crossword?

The girl at reception encouragingly handed out helmets and jumpsuits. I got into the garb and made sure I posed for enough photos. What’s the point of being brave enough to do Go-Karting if there wasn’t a photo to prove you did it?

‘Hey, Nim. I’m gonna race you. Okay?’ a few of my colleagues yelled out as we all made our way to the track. I tried to smile through the helmet, but it was more a grimace. Race? No way! I would simply do my fifteen laps and come back. The others could race each other to their hearts’ content.

We were shown how to operate the small, sleek vehicles and finally, we each got into our designated cars. With much yelling and cheering, everyone pressed down on the accelerators and zoomed off. I did too. Like I said before, I am not really into competitive sport. While everyone else was keen on finishing in the top three, I was content to cruise along, enjoying the fresh breeze.

All was okay for the first fifteen minutes or so. I was enjoying the ride and giggling every time one of my colleagues flew past. And then suddenly, out of the blue, I remembered a scene I had written that morning for my novel.It was a difficult scene..one that depicted an argument between my protagonist and her best friend. As I went round the track, I began plotting in my head about how the argument should proceed and finally conclude. Different dialogues spun around in my brain as I tried to work out the scene. Should Anjali (my protagonist) win the argument or should she give in to her bossy friend? As I tried to choose the best dialogues, I suddenly came to a strange realization. All around me, other participants were zooming by at alarming speed. ‘Niiiiiim……what…are….you….doing?’ I heard someone yell and laugh out aloud. It was then that I realized that I had come to a complete standstill. Everyone else had finished their fifteen laps long ago. I was still on lap number 5..so busy had I been plotting my novel! The staff member waving a flag looked at me in confusion, trying to work out what I was up to.

With a sheepish grin, I completed one more lap and signaled to the staff that six laps were plenty for me, thank you.

When I finally came off the track and removed my helmet, my friends asked me what on earth I had been doing. ‘Not much,’ I replied. ‘Just plotting the dialogues for my novel.’

Everyone gave me a strange look and then we all burst out laughing. That’s what happens, folks, when a writer goes go-karting 🙂

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