Recycle, reuse… a couple of words that are part of the ‘save our world and environment’ mantra.
Staying true to that, here is an article I had written a long time back about my tryst with golf. It was first published in the April 2008 issue of Windows & Aisles, the inflight magazine of Paramount Airways.
I sat sipping a tall delicious drink on the
verdant green lawns of the WGC (Wellington Gymkhana Club at Connoor, The
Nilgiris), at peace with the world in general and myself in particular. The
harmony was broken with a sudden urgent cry of ‘ball’ as the object obediently
fell with a huge clang, almost on top of my head. Soon a gentleman raced up
enquiring about my well being. I reassured him and he set off swinging a
curiously shaped steel rod in his hand and called out to a young boy who
tottered under the weight of a huge bag with more similar sticks.
That was my first brush with golf. I looked
around to discover that the WGC was a popular and full-fledged golf course.
Till that moment, my knowledge of golf had been limited to computer games. In
the real world, I knew someone called Tiger Woods was (I am talking of 1996) an
upcoming sensation on the circuit.
So here was a good opportunity for me to
rectify the deficiency. My husband too apparently had the same idea as he began
taking lessons from the local coach and equipped himself with a basic set of
clubs and a large number of balls.
Suddenly a whole new world opened up for me
via ‘his’ lessons. The ‘rod’ I’d mentioned earlier transformed into a club and
were either labelled as an iron or wood of a particular number. Instead of
these humble materials, I learnt that clubs were made of high tech carbon
composites each of which could easily burn a hole in one’s pocket, costing up
to thousands of rupees. Words like Birdie, eagle, hole-in-one, handicap took on
new meanings! Further one always played with a caddy, who carried your set. In
the PGA-tour, a caddy plays an important part in the player’s victory, perhaps
as much as the player himself!
When I proudly boasted of this newfound
hobby to my friends I was surprised to be on the receiving end of many a
pitying look! Now that should have set alarm bells ringing but I ignored it.
They were just plain jealous I said to myself. Golf is the game of CEOs and
rich magnates. The pros make quite a packet I remember vaguely reading
somewhere. I had visions of my hubby being a part of this elite club and me-
his spouse swathed in Kancheepurams and dripping diamonds! Hence I did not
grudge the huge dent that the equipment purchase, green and caddy fees made to
And when my husband set off for WGC post
lunch every afternoon I was almost angelic—not even uttering a word of protest.
He would be there till sundown, practising hard after the hour-long class was
over. He would return home with tales of how his swing and range was improving.
A new full set of clubs that were more expensive than the last were absolutely
a necessity now.
As days turned to weeks, I realised with a
start that I was alone throughout the day. Weekends meant hubby dearest devoted
the whole day to golf! I was soon doing all home administrative jobs, attending
PTA meetings, organising parties. Movies, shopping and other such stress relieving
activities (for me) all took a back seat. Golf was fast turning out to be worse
than the mother-in-law from hell!
Months sped by and we soon left Wellington being posted
to a distant base, which did not have a golf course. I gratefully heaved a sigh
of relief and handed over administration and more to my husband. After all he
had to make up for all duties shirked in Wellington!
But my joy did not last long and we moved again, this time to the Far East, which I welcomed with a groan as a golf lover’s
The game threatened to
take over hubby again, body and soul, but this time I was prepared. I appointed
assistants for all sundry jobs and decided to take matter in my own hands.
Quite literally! I brought out the now unused half-set
from the store. It was not really my size but I was undeterred.
I expected to find it an excruciatingly
easy task to hit a stationary ball down the fairway into the ‘hole’ at one end,
but to my utter shock, this was easier said than done. Initial efforts to
strike the ball ended with me taking a huge swipe with the club. At the end of an hour’s sweat and effort, the ball would
quite wickedly stay where it was! My respect for
all players who dispatched moving balls in other sports went up exponentially.
No more criticism for Sehwag or Sania from me! In better moments the
ball would obligingly take off and fall a few feet ahead or zoom towards the
trees alongside. Many were the days that I played from jungle to jungle!
As if these striking troubles were not
enough, the ball often took a fancy to all ‘hazards’ on the course like water
bodies, gur (ground under repair) or even bunkers! Bunkers may protect soldiers
on a battlefield but here there were more like minefields that sucked my ball
into them as though they’d been ridden with invisible magnets. With my game
standards, entering one was an extremely risky affair. The lakes that looked so
beautiful on National Geographic were now a blot on the landscape!
Over a period of time, I learnt the ropes
and soon could finally get the ball by the aerial route towards its target. I
began to enjoy the game. I not only understood my hubby’s attraction for golf
but soon became an avid player myself. The best part, I was outdoors all the
time and that allowed me to completely relax my mind.
We have now moved to Pune and our game is
restricted to a couple of days a week as city traffic exerts a sufficiently
braking influence on our enthusiasm. Though both of us may have some time to go
before we can invest in diamond ridden golf clubs, I am happy to have
discovered this wonderful game that lets me compete against myself. I also
discovered that it gives you a good excuse to innocently whack the man next to
you, without being sent to prison for harassment. Don’t forget to yell, ‘Fore!’
and do set up that golf date with your boss.