Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots but you have to play the ball where it lies.
– Bobby Jones
“Mr. Suhas! So you are a novice to Golf? Don’t worry. Have you played Hockey? Then you can play Golf. Mr. Suhas! Have you seen your servant mopping? The same way you have to take a stroke. Suhasji ! Just imagine that you are holding two eggs lightly on each palm. Now take a stroke and YOU HAVE LEARNT GOLF!!!!!!”.
These were the sordid inputs by my friends of Golf and I would have followed each one’s dictum blindfolded, had I not met Mr. Balachander, our coach in the Brondo’s Golf Course, who cleared the mist of confusions off my mind and made me the gentleman (in Golf) that I am today.
“Hey Kalpana! What’s your handicap?” A voice intruded Kalpana’s deep spell on the ball lying on the greens to be ‘putted’. This was Mrs. Groony Bimbaro, an Anglo Indian by birth and a consistent petulant by behaviour. Kalpana hesitated and in her decrepit tone, answered, “ Mrs. Bimbaro! I have no handicap. I am physically fit. I am just trying to learn this game of golf , starting with the ‘putting’.
Mrs. Bimbaro casted forth such an expression of awe with her gaping mouth that I, who was onlooking the field expeditions, felt that a full crocodile might enter her mouth. I did not like her time to time intrusions into Kalpana’s ongoing tryst with the greatest game of the world-Golf. Afterall she was a novice and poor lady hardly knew the literature of the game, believing that it is so very easy to plug a ball into the hole and proclaim oneself to be a keen golfer. Hardly did she know the intricacies of pegging a golf ball.
Kalpana is my consort and I fondly call her ‘Kal’. I am a keen golfer (in true sense) and my invariable trips to the neck of the woods of a golf course has conflagrated the hidden sporting talents of Kalpana. My repeated suggestions to her to read the Golf Lore properly have always fallen into deaf ears and today she has successfully projected her idiosyncrasy to Mrs. Bimbaro that she has no handicap and she is physically fit. Vacuous Lady! Will she ever try to apprehend what a ‘handicap’ actually means in Golf?
In my seventeen years of espoused life, I have so far fathomed two best secrets of success:
1. Always say YES to your wife’s propositions and
2. Never try to expound anything to your wife
because she cannot hark to a NO and secondly whether she grasps your theory or not but you will undoubtedly end up, assimilating her tutelage.
Golf was now getting on to our nerves. I was forcing her to learn the genuine skills of the game and she was adamant in proving all the laws of the game ‘Wierd’.
“Kalpana ! Don’t talk when you are about to take a shot.”I cautioned her once.
“But why? See I can concentrate on the shot only if I talk. It ameliorates my whacking skills.”Pat came Kalpana’s own credo on the game. I skipped to mute mode.
The common hitch with the world is everyone wants to verbalise. I wish there was a certain academy at every street corner , teaching people how to listen profusely and then comport!
We often fought and the bout usually prorogued at an emotional blackmailing note by Kalpana that I was very unservile and professed male-chauvinism. I never understood where the hell did I ever exhibited my chauvinism in front of her! Perhaps this was her shotgun to thwart me whenever she knew that I was supplanting her. Strange are the SWAYS of the spouses !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sighed.
At last I decided on a strategy to make Kalpana understand the elegance of the game. I took her to the Golf coach and hoping that atleast now the things will fall in right track, I continued my game . One day the coach Mr. Balachander approached me , “ Sir! I have trained many a ladies for this game but the most impossible learners are your wife and Mrs. Bimbaro. They keep questioning about the authenticity of the Golf Clubs and balls and then connive for hours together to juxtapose my credibility for the game. How can I ever teach them?”
I was astounded at this revelation by one of the best coaches in India and felt too ashamed to accept the gospel truth that it was my wife who was constantly proving herself, a universal blockhead.
“ I am going to my mother’s place . I don’t want to learn anything. Keep the children for two months and you can then measure your potential.” These words hurled by Kalpana did hurt me. It was not about Golf now. Two intelligent persons were involved in ego clash , often resulting in an armistice and children were its mute spectators.
“ I can win a championship if today I participate in Golf Tournament. I can play the game very well. All the ladies appreciate my talent except my husband, you. I know you are jealous of my success. This is what Mrs. Bimbaro told me and I know she is right.”
……………….. I JEALOUS OF MY WIFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t know whether to express my anger or laughter at this self-proclaimed, self-styled sort of connivance.
“Ok fine. You need not learn the game. Thank God that you backed out.” I never knew that these supposed-to-be kind words were going to shoot the ego-queen sitting deep down into Kalpana’s persona. She roared ,“ If you are confirming that I will never enter the Golf-Course again, then you are wrong, my dear. Never under-estimate a woman’s prowess. Afterall I am the secretary of the Women Empowerment Cell and I am not a LOSER…….YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND THAT.”……………..I understood.
I personally have a great regard and respect for Golf. I pay attention to each and every psyche that persists in the learning of this beautiful game. However, I started realising that I was unable to concentrate on the game as I was expected to. Each time, I tried taking a stroke, my Kal’s face would appear in front of my eyes and I wouldn’t be able to strike the ball well. I knew that if I had to play well, I had to leave the thoughts pertaining my family and especially my wife. I pinned hope to my education in resolving the issue and had to start somewhere….
“ Kalpana! I need to settle our issues. Can we share some moments in this regard?” I politely asked her as we lay in bed.
Readers will excuse me here to explain why I chose my bed, that too at night, to settle the key issues with my spouse. So readers! Let me tell you that many of my friends have opined that it is the bedroom which is your actual life…..everywhere else you feign…..the marital bliss commences and ceases in your bedroom . Thus, keeping the friends’ faithful words in mind, I am going to attempt something impossible but I believe that the positive vibes ,which I always feel surrounding me, are going to assist me in this suicidal attempt.
Contrary to my expectation, Kalpana hugged me tightly and said, “ Go Ahead my lovey-dovey! I have been nominated for the post of President of the Ladies’ Club. I am very happy today. Say what you want.” …..Readers! Did you hear anything falling anywhere?????
Women always find true happiness in things that are never related to their families. You praise them, they are happy. You displease them, your character is under the hammer. Atleast my experience says so. However , taking it as an inappropriate hour of the night to discuss serious issues, I thought it best to sleep peacefully in the arms of my beloved. How beautiful my Kalpana looks, when she sleeps peacefully and her lips look different when they aren’t combatting her husband’s ideas!!!!!!! “ Sleep Kalpana Sleep! Rest your mind before we resume our debate tomorrow.” I inwardly advised Kalpana and slept off.
Colonel Prakash Kumar joined me on the Golf Course , the next morning. He was new to the town but was an expert in Man-Management. He was my father’s close friend and was recently posted to our town. As I was a businessman, I could not find another time of the day to meet him so I requested him over a phone call to meet me on the course. After exchanging a few pleasantries,the Colonel enquired about my family.
I am basically an introvert but the Colonel’s inspiring words prompted me to discuss about the marital harmony in particular. After the first three rounds at the course, we took a break for a cup of coffee and snack.
“ Uncle! Can I make my wife learn Golf ?” The Colonel gazed at me as if this was an out of syllabus query.
“Yes! Why NOT?” This confirmation by the Colonel prompted me to narrate Kalpana’s adventures on the golf course. The Colonel laughed heartily and kept striking my hand at each giggle. “ So you have also joined the wagon of the victims of wife-syndrome. Don’t worry. I am coming home tonight. Will converse with the lovely lady and all shall be fine.”
I know that most of us prefer strong familial privacy and advocate nuclear family system but the fact cannot be ruled out that an entry of an experienced and matured person in the family uplifts the self-confidence and shoots down many a minor problems which seem too adverse to its affected parties. Long back, I read a book on philosophy which had rightly(now I know) mentioned that “ If you want to make life simple and happy , then don’t dig at its events profoundly. Because in order to catch the worms of your problems, you will land up catching snakes.” Cheers to the mind that thought of this calculation!!!!!!!!!
That evening , Colonel Uncle visited us with a fresh- flower bouquet for Kalpana. After a few minutes, Uncle insisted that I get a packet of special brand of cigarettes for him and I left him with Kalpana. When I returned, the dinner was laid and we had a fantastic dinner under the culinary- expert guidance of Kalpana who had trained our otherwise trained chefs for special nutritional food for uncle. Uncle was head over heels in praise of Kalpana and left us at midnight ,with blessings. That night too, I couldn’t talk to my wife and considering it to be a matter of proper time and space, we slept.
Our children’s holidays had begun and that meant late night sleep and a very late morning awakening too. I lazily rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock , hung opposite to our bed. It was seven and Kalpana was not beside me. I called her but she was not to be found in subsequent rooms. Perhaps she had gone for a walk. The children had now woken up and it was eleven.Yet Kalpana was untraceable. I tried calling her friends but most of them were away on a holiday with their families. Where had she gone? My heart now pounded with unease. She had never before left the house without intimating me. What had befallen her?
It was now noon. Suddenly I heard the door bell ring and opened the door in haste, injuring my toe in the act as I dashed against the sofa leg. There stood Colonel uncle with Kalpana, both broadly smiling. “ Don’t worry. Kalpana and I spent some time together in the golf course. She is indeed a lovely lady.”
Was uncle trying to flirt with my wife? I felt an Othello in me and casted a ferocious look at Kalpana. Both Kalpana and uncle laughed heartily at my gesture.
“ Young man! Kalpana is like my daughter and fathers don’t flirt with their daughters. Hope you know this universal truth. Now if you don’t get me a cup of tea, you can expect a kick in the rear.” I smiled and ordered my men to prepare tea along with lunch for uncle.
Uncle left us after the evening tea as he was expecting his friends at the dinner at his residence. We bade him bye and I chose not to talk to Kalpana as she had hurt me by conspiring against me with the uncle. She smiled at me and joined the kids for a beach walk. I was all alone at home. I felt dejected. Why were they doing this to me? I was becoming a stranger in my own house and Kalpana was displaying her high-handedness by closely following the advises of the uncle. He seemed to be playing with our sentiments and I could do nothing than to remain a mute spectator and they mocked me.
As I hit the bed that night, I decided to scroll a few pages of my favourite book. I did not notice Kalpana’s presence beside me. She was constantly looking at me. Suddenly she snatched the book from my hand and almost flung it aside. I turned to the other side and pretended to sleep.
She almost rose on me and said, “ I am sorry.”
I closed my eyes and showed no interest in her words. At this gesture of mine, she ruffled me and the next few hours saw a spontaneous,incessant flow of tears from her beautiful eyes.This is a common dictum now that no man has ever been able to disentangle himself from this powerful weapon of a woman. I too succumbed.
“You Know Suhas! For past two days, uncle has been training me to play the right golf. Every morning at five thirty , I reach the course and uncle teaches me the essential tips of the game. He told me that Golf is like your marital life. Each stroke matters in your decision-making and communication skills. The only difference between this game and the others is that in Golf, your ball decides your attitude and not your golf club with which you target the ball towards the hole. Show your correct attitude and temperament and you excel your own self. It is a competition between ‘you’ and ‘you’. So learn it with your right attitude and you win.”
These words of Kalpana awoke a new man in me. How ignorant was I to have judged my uncle disconsolately. He taught Kalpana not only the game, but her responsibilities towards her family too. Kalpana told me that uncle had left in the morning to bring his family here and would be back after a month. I was happy for my sweet Kalpana. I eagerly awaited the new dawn when Kalpana and I could start afresh, a new life of our life. Suddenly my self-proclaimed ideologies on marital process seemed belittled. Marriage was a bliss and my Colonel uncle was a blessing for us.
Literally, today is our first day to be spent ‘harmoniuosly’ on the Golf Course. It’s Kalpana’s turn to ‘tee off’. She takes a position and for the first time, gives an expansive smile to the ball and here she goes with the F……….I………….R………….S…………..T S……….H…………..O……………T.
Don’t Quit……( a poem by Edgar A. Guest)
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
MY ‘KAL’ HAS LEARNT TO GOLF……….