20 April 2013

Reuse, recycle

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.

Fore Sight!
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 our budget.

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 paradise!

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.   

Golf, golf course, magazine

Golf article, magazine, article


Jemima Pett said...

If you're ever in Norfolk, UK, I shall invite you to my club :) Seriously though, I have never played a sport for so long and so badly - I've either given up or got better. It's a funny game. You always think tomorrow will be the day it finally clicks. And it might - for one or two shots!
Funnily enough, my R also mentions the Nilgiris - although from a purely fictitious angle!
Happy A to Z-ing!
Jemima at Jemima's blog

Archana said...

Thank You Jemima.