Story is told of two persons who had committed equal number of sins on earth. When they died, going by their record, they both deserved to go to hell. But one was sent to heaven and the other was shown the way to hell. Naturally the hell bound fellow objected to this discrimination. He was told that the other man who was sent to heaven was a golfer and had already been through hell on earth every time he played golf!
But looking at my fellow golfers I often wonder how many of them really deserve to go to heaven. Take for example the conscious grave diggers. I am surprised at the furor created in the press some years ago when Shivsainiks [members of a political organization with linguistic and cultural bias] in their misplaced sense of patriotism dug up the Ferozshah Kotla cricket ground. This is located in the national capital of New Delhi where cricket matches are held. This kind of digging on a much larger scale goes on in hundreds of golf courses. To see pock marked fairways and pitted greens, thanks to unrepaired divots and pitch marks is nothing unusual. While the Shivsainiks were hauled to jail for doing what they thought was a patriotic act, golfers continue to labor digging up mini graves all over our golf courses.
Adding to this, there are gentlemen who believe that the fairway is the ideal place to throw away their empty cigarette packets and cigarette buts and the empty obnoxious sachets that once contained tobacco chew. I am forever surprised that despite having a caddy and enough storage space in their bags, these gentlemen [?] indulge in messing up our beautiful fairways.
Then there are slow torture specialists. These are those who come to the golf course, more for their leisurely constitutional rather than a game of golf. Surely, a leisurely walk in the sylvan surroundings is highly advisable and may even be therapeutic, but my objection is to their taking five hours to walk the 6000 yards when behind them are guys like me who want to do it in three hours!
One venerable group, all of them 70 plus and happily [for them] retired from active life, play regularly on our course. Even caddies hesitate to carry your bags when this foursome is ahead of you. To add to their slow play, they are won’t to get into heated arguments, during the course of which they quite often forget what the argument was all about. Playing behind them one day, I was a mute witness to a long and heated argument and met one of them walking back in a huff. I couldn’t help asking him what the argument was all about. He stopped and thought for a while but try as he did he couldn’t recollect the reason why. He suggested I ask the threesome ahead and satisfy my curiosity, but, he declared, he would not play with these characters ever again! True to character and his short memory, the inseparable four ball were in place the next appointed day as though nothing had happened on the previous occasion!
On another occasion an exasperated golfer went up to them asked them to speed up the game. He was ticked off true and proper. When he reached their age he was warned, he would probably take twice as much time and may not even be able to play the game. An irrelevant reply, but enough to silence the upstart. We at the time of writing don’t know how to handle this group. If you have any sure cure suggestions to make this foursome play faster with out unduly hurting them too much please let the writer know.
There are other golfers who think the golf course is the ideal place to have a picnic of sorts. Our club in its wisdom has provided kiosks at two places and this encourages these. There are foursomes who spend time here leisurely imbibing biscuits and beverages and discussing the weighty affairs of the world. One foursome has taken to sitting on the bench after finishing their repast and is galvanized into sudden activity as soon as they sight the following foursome leaving the putting green. On reaching the tee one is likely to see one of them teeing the ball with the club in one hand and a cup of steaming coffee in the other. No doubt the disposable cup will be thrown on the fairway causing further annoyance to the group following. As it happens at two places on the course and you can imagine the hold ups this causes on a busy week end. Instead of the suffered wait, most of us have also taken to having the not always welcome breaks.
Our club has recently set up number of toilets around the course. You may wonder why when we have a club house which has more number of toilets than rooms. But when you consider the number of golfers afflicted with weak bladders, who ever so frequently water the trees around the course and was a sight for the sore eyes, this additional provision of toilets is thus welcome. But has contributed to the delay.
Particularly offending are the golfer’s conversation at decibel levels loud enough to heard through out the course. Especially annoying are their celebratory shouts after sinking a put. While I appreciate their pleasure in sinking a long put or difficult put. I don’t believe it is a worthy enough achievement to deserve such high decibel woops. Besides I have on several occasions missed certain puts after getting jolted by these joyous exclamations on the adjacent green. Unfortunately let me remind these insensitive revelers, that golf rules don’t permit one to take the put again.
You may wonder why, despite all this irritation, I continue to torture my self every week end on the golf course. Well it is one way of reserving my heavenly berth.
This story I wrote many years ago which got published in journal devoted to golf.
On sparrows and urban life
My friend Dr SRJ in addition to being a good physician is a well known wild life photographer. His knowledge of flora and fauna is much deeper than mine. But I write on what I see around me and he doesn’t. He has commented [read his comments] on the disappearance of the sparrow from urban Bangalore. The health or otherwise of our delicate environment is often judged by the presence or absence of some forms of life. Sparrow is one such example. Sparrow and Crow are two birds who lived with humans in perfect harmony. Why then the crow has multiplied and sparrow has almost disappeared?
Here are some interesting phenomena which are linked to our changing lifestyle.
Years ago this city had many beautiful tile roofed homes [some relics can still be found in some old localities]. City also had hedges instead of cemented compounds. These were ideal nesting sites and it was very common to see hundreds of sparrows living in close proximity, unafraid and friendly. They survived mostly on grains. People those days carried grains in hessian [jute] bags and spillage was common. They also had this habit of spreading grains on mats on the verandahs to dry. Concrete has replaced the tiled roof and plastic the porous hessian.
In some pockets of the city, like Shivajinagar and Lakhmipuram I have seen sparrows still surviving!
Crow multiplied because it thrives on garbage which the fastidious sparrow cannot stomach!