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Effort

Effort

Once you bend a knee in reverence any object can become a deity. If you sit under a bush with devotion, it would begin to appear as a tree of life. Meditation can shed light in a dark cave. Death can walk through a locked castle. Worship can fly through the skies. Knowledge can reach the deaf and mute. Brightness can find the blind and love can find a heart. 

A drop of water can dig hole in a hill. A man can land on the moon. But nothing can reverse death. Still man’s titanic efforts to overcome illnesses are continuous. It even has goals to conquer death and make it possible for the dead to live again, although with meager results. But the struggle is ongoing. 

It is the effort that turns unfeasible to feasible. Effort achieves the impossible and performs the wonders. It opens the shut doors and brings down the skyward walls. It makes paths on hills and builds bridges on rivers. Effort awards sailors like Columbus new worlds. Conquered continents to pronounce Alexander, ‘the great.’ Effort carves Noah the Ark of survival, builds the fortification wall for Qin Shi Haung, it rewards a desert leader Umar with a caliphate, and it prizes Imhotep pyramids. 

It takes an enormous struggle to learn a skill and master it. So does sports. Golf however is a game that’s learnt in the mind first. It takes years to play it well. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to grasp its prowess. Most of us play golf just for the ambiance, exercise and entertainment without a desire of mastery. Still it is a considerable undertaking to go through each round. In most sports, players’ achievement is tabulated and preserved as the match progresses. Like in cricket if you score 89 and get out on the next ball your score could not be altered. Same goes for goals in football. On the other hand, in golf your steady performance can be ruined with a slight mess up in one or two holes. In other games you play against or with others but golf you play against yourself. 

‘Golf is the only sport where you can practice every day for six months and not get any better.” Larry David 

Golf is a continuous contest of creating control and command over the clubs and course. You keep kindling to execute and enforce the effective swing as long as you play. The effort is endless, so is the pursuit. 

The gap to do more persists growing on and on to a span of lifetime. Swings change with age along with many other things. Diligence is the only way forward, no matter what you do, playing golf or leading a life. Working laboriously is an option and victory is a chance. The universal fact is that only those who attempt, succeed. 

Good luck with your efforts in anything you are trying to achieve. 

By

Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, author, blogger, entrepreneur, wanderer.

Credit

britannica.com

Wikipedia

Swing and the Java Plum

There are days when success follows us and times when it leaves us without a prior notice. Life is a race for victory, and sometimes life runs from the winners. No one runs this marathon better than a sports man. Among sports, golf is nothing but a regular punishment with brief intervals. The golf ball is known for its willfulness, it reacts in the strangest of styles and ends up at the most peculiar places. There often comes a time in golfing when we need to go back to the range, online coaching videos, and golf books to regain our swing and control. They introduce us to wonderful golf lessons, amazing techniques and marvelous formulas. We try to translate the attained knowledge at the range where it seems fine. We go home thinking, we are fit to play a resolute round. We try to mirror those lessons at the course only to lose another round again and we accept defeat shyly and shake hands with the winning player, wondering what went wrong. The next day we return to the range only to train for another failure . 

A golf shot is a coherent collaboration of the mind, body, the equipment, situation of the ball and geography of the course. Golf is more cerebral than it is somatic. It requires absolute precision, a flawless game plan and intricate course management. Carrying a range finder alone would not be of much use. 

Bobby Jones says, “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears.”

Contrary to popular notion, the club is not the only thing that we need to swing; we also need to swing our body. My game continually refuses to improve even though I played plenty of golf in the company of professional golfers and veteran caddies. I tried to learn the art of proper body movement but my tummy prevents me from dancing with that tune. We need to create a complete coordination between the body and the club to hit better. Body movement adds strength to the swing, giving the shot distance and speed. 

Talk of the swing and pouring rain outside of my window reminds me that July is the season of clouds and rains; the month of swings hanging from a tree and java plums in the area of the subcontinent, particularly in Punjab. 

Swing, song, romance and rain go hand in hand in these lands. The jambul is the greatest gift of the monsoon. The unique, bluest of the blue, small but mighty java plum. British call it an Indian blueberry. Unlike the evergreen jambul tree it’s java plums are short lived, but loved by all. It colors the tongue blue and makes the throat dry. Like the distinctive purple mesocarp, it’s got a taste of its own. Some of us strongly value it for health benefits. The similarity between jamun trees and golf is that their fruits are very short lived. The moments of joy in a round of golf are brief compared to the effort. 

While talking about the swings how can we leave out mood swings. 

My mood gets uplifted the moment I begin to think about golf. I am always in high spirits on the course. Bad swing, shank, landing in a bunker and hitting inside the water hazards – nothing disappoints me. There is a certain chemistry between me, the greenery and ambiance. 

Swings were a very important art in the age of the swords. Before the invention of the bullet; the world was shaped by the swinging sabers. 

We can not play any game if we don’t have courage to fail. Determination to come back and a strong will to resist failure is what sportsmanship is all about. Despair is the main ingredient of loss. Only those who wear the necklace of faith and hope do not surrender. Only they can make the comebacks. The stars with bigger stature face higher failings, many sink in the ditch of disappointment and disappear. A few face the problems head on and return to glory, thus climbing the ladder of the legend. Tiger Woods’s health failed him badly but he made a remarkable recovery both in his health and career. 

Take these broken wings and learn to fly again. As sung by Mr. Mister

Credits

GolfDigest

Google 

Pinterest 

By

Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, entrepreneur, blogger, author, poet, 

Email: Golfaij@gmail.com

Website: Golfaij.com

The Magic of Music II

This is the second part of my previous article:

“The Magic of Music”

Music is an energy that touches the soul. It’s a frisson of excitement that runs through the heart and comforts the mind. It enriches the surroundings and flourishes the atmosphere. Breads the dance and expresses the unsaid. Music translates joy and defines grief. It is a breath of beauty and praise of the beautiful. It expresses love and exhausts hate. It is a lyric of a lover and partner of the poet, acapella of reverence and hymn of the choir. Music lives in a flute and dances on the drums. It dominates the opera and consolidates the plot of a movie. It is a mate of the dancer and language of a composer. It makes strings sing and gives melody to metal. It pronounces intimacy and energizes the audience. It brings the beat and roars the rhythm. It produces life in a word and turns a verse into a song. It unites millions and rides the air. 

It sometimes is a call of the holy or the hoot of a hip hopper. It satisfies the listener and it glooms the emotional ones.

It dwells in an artist and is an art itself. Music tunes the mind and soothes the soul. It is the inversion of notes and immersion of imagination. It is a conversation of the spirit and beem of the brain.

There are certain societies that believe in the healing properties of music. Many nations venerate music. Some attain nirvana and others achieve mystic heights through it. In other parts of the world music is a forbidden commodity, some consider it a devilish delusion to derail humanity.

Worship or sin aside, a majority of people love music. As for myself, I am a staunch music lover.

If you are looking for some gems here’s how I can help:

Peter Gabriel & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- Passion.

Yanni – Nostalgia

Credits:

Pinterest.

By

Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, author, entrepreneur, blogger, poet, wanderer 

Email: Golfaij@gmail.com

Website: Golfaij.com

New Social Animal

In these unique, uncertain, and unseen times, a sense of stability is very important to maintain balance in life. It’s easier said than done. The traditional rich are falling like dry leaves and old jobs are shedding like broken feathers. Usual businesses are sinking and new complicated and strange trades are emerging. It is becoming nearly impossible to cope with changes in economic affairs and the fast pace of progress for the majority of us. An ever-changing working environment, unbelievable floods of inventions, and constant fear of health hazards regularly shatter minds even in the safest conditions and securest of jobs. Psychological pressure and continued anxiety breed unprecedented burdens on the already fragile social fabric. In these circumstances to remain on our feet is what matters.

We are trying to pull ourselves through these tough times, learning skills that otherwise seem out of our grasps. We trained in languages like Cobol, Python, and Java. And whatnot. Wearing weird, eating junk, singing abuses, hipsters language, and so on. Movement from jazz to pop to rock to hip hop. From uniformed and disciplinary schools to dressing half-naked with poor cleanliness. Playgrounds to PlayStations. A storm of rebellious attitude is disintegrating the culture of etiquette and manners. Staying home has become a noble gesture and looking for easy-going work is in fashion. In the old days, wise and hardworking people were those who spent their time laboriously. Workaholics that created remarkable institutions through their day and night efforts. The kind of people who were working overtime or having two or more jobs to meet their ends. And now idle and indolent who stay home are regarded as responsible citizens. See how the tables have turned.  

Anyway, this century belongs to sitters. People across the globe are working from their desks quite productively. Drones are flown from behind the bench. Cross continental meetings are held without stepping out of the room. Office work is done from homes. Can anybody comprehend where we are heading? Is this rapid change for better or worse? 

Our phones have replaced so many gadgets from our lives. The gadgets of our past lives have lost their individual identity to fit into our cell phones. 

A small pocket-sized device carries more science than the technology of the moon landing in the 60s. The mainframe computers began their journey of downsizing from room size to a desktop to laptops and into a sim card. The more computers shrink in size the more powerful they become. 

Although the pandemic has made us much more inactive and it has turned our lifestyles lifeless. Yet the idle and sluggish communities of our society are proving to be useful and trustworthy. The twenty-first century is taking us to unprecedented levels of stillness. This generation of sitters, on the other hand, is planning to reach, settle, and live on extraterrestrial destinations. It is developing hyperloop traveling tools and exploring extraordinary genetic possibilities. See how the meanings of everything are changing. 

Science and technology are already replacing our ill organs and damaged body parts with artificial instruments. Machines are almost ready to shift from our hands and pockets into our brains and underneath our skin. Technology is leaping forward at a much higher speed than our psychological, social, and legal systems. Governments all over the globe are unable to cope with miraculous and magical scientific advances. Our philosophers and clergy lack effective decrees on emerging questions like birth control and cloning. A confused common man has more mesmerizing options that are exploding around him. All of us sometimes get lost in the dilemma between right and wrong. In the end, we have no choice but to give in to new technologies eventually falling slave to new products like computers, cell phones, internet, and medicine.

Democracies that used to appease the public are now controlling them instead. The process of elections itself has fallen victim to scientific advances and gradually people are losing their faith in it. There is news of voting being hijacked from outside of borders. The fragile thread of rules, regulations, and laws is incapable to curb the hurricane of upcoming inventions. Human beings that are known to be social animals might have adapted to a new kind of socializing; one that is virtual instead of physical. 

The way to lead an ideal life is to create balance and equilibrium between stillness and motion. One way to achieve this is a physical activity that requires deep mental involvement, and what is better than golf? Golf is chess on the ground that we play on foot. 

Credits 

Pinterest 

Google 

By

Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, author, entrepreneur, blogger, poet, wanderer 

Email: Golfaij@gmail.com

Website: Golfaij.com

Moon and Monsoon

The scorching heat of June in Lahore is driving me to make my way to the northern hills. The pandemic, however, pulls me back home. Within the family, we were divided about the decision to stay home or to go to Bhurban. In the end, logic triumphs emotion. I know clouds roam in the streets of Nathiagali and dance with pines at Bhurban slopes. What a pity to be stuck in the heat. When we have all the arrangements available to us in a much cooler atmosphere. I am already missing golf at Chinar GCC Murree. This golf course is eight thousand feet above sea level. What a unique place it is. One becomes ‘one with the universe’ in a place like that. 

It wasn’t easy to break the chains of the epidemic so the majority of our family decided to remain home. The wonderful idea of hanging on mountain tops and scenic valleys was sanitized away. This wishful plan was thrown to the dumpster like used face masks and discarded gloves. I have to settle on playing in the hot weather of the Punjab delta. 

In order to escape the heat we, the regular crew, have already come to the conclusion to begin the game early, by five in the morning. The weather app was predicting rain today. I called my caddie to begin the game by 4:30 am. So I can play a nine-hole round before the rain kicks in. A little before dawn we were at the tee. Of course, at that time it would be a solo flight since it was too late to discuss with the rest of the crew about the new take-off time. 

A refreshing cool breeze was assuasive to the soul. It was way better than man-made air conditioners. A jasmine-like fragrance was riding the zephyr adding to conforms of the special dawn. The umbrella of clouds was engulfing the morning, confiscating it’s right to shine. The moon also stayed on to welcome the monsoon rains while the sun shyly hid behind the dark clouds. Today clouds were the rhythm and drops were the dance. I was the voice, golf was the song and the course was the orchestra. The moon was the audience and the breeze was the spectator. What a morning it was. 

I could not go up the Nathiagli mountains to walk with the clouds, instead, they came to meet me. The arrival of wonderful weather opened the shut layers of my golfing mind and revealed all held back secrets to revitalize the game. I wonder how our surroundings can affect the outcome of our actions. On the same course where I was struggling with my swing for the last two weeks, I was playing fine overnight. As if that cool breeze carried golf lessons with it. 

We seek shadow in hot weather and on cold days we burn fires. A lush green tree knows autumn is coming and night waits for the day. Change is the melody of the universe and variation is its virtue. Evolution is the human understanding of nature and adaptability is their essence. Today’s rain is one of the exhibits that heat and cold are ornaments of the earth and golfer’s determination to be on the field in both cases is a display of human determination to live on it. 

By

 Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, entrepreneur, blogger, author, poet, wanderer 

Email: Golfaij@gmail.com

Website: Golfaij.com

Hurdles on the Course

The poplar tree stands there alone in the midst of the eighteenth hole and invites golfers to hit it if that’s possible. Underneath it sits a wide bunker and lies a taunting moat on its right. This conifer is in straight alignment with the pin. Either we go over it or target away. The stroke index of this hole is only sixteen but this tree hides the pin and green completely. It seems that the designer of the PAF Skyview golf course was in love with trees so he tried not to remove the few trees that existed there. He, on the other hand, was determined to test golfers’ patience with these gifts of nature. In the middle of the last fairway, to test the nerves of trudging golfers, he mischievously built these obstacles. Most of us are exhausted and fatigued by the time we reach up to this point. We fail miserably to meet that target. Young and veteran golfers sometimes fly their balls over it. Most of the golfers avoid playing through this trica of hurdles and aim on the left side of that combination of obstacles. I, however, foolishly am the one who keeps trying to hit over that junction of evil to no avail so far. It is beyond my driving range.

“A rolling stone gathers no moss.”

Publius Syrus 

An easy goer can’t break the status quo. No matter which ditch I land in, I will continue the hard paths. The events of the story of my life are evidence of my tough choices. 

At this stage of the game, our minds are already divided; our duty demands to finish the game and our heart desires to carry on. The idea of leaving an ambiance like the golf course to go and sit in an office capsule is daunting. But a man’s gotta do what a man’s got to do. 

Beginning a journey is the hardest part of it. It’s not easy to start something. It takes enormous effort to get up and take off. The round of golf is no different than any other journey. Usually, we get bad at the first shot that is why mulligan exists. Once we disembark the tee box, the other steps get easier, the confidence begins to add up and the beauty of the field also appears to play a role. Golf is a journey of choice and golfers love to take it time and time again. 

“What a joy, to travel the way of the heart.”

Rumi

It’s not this particular eighteenth tee where we see such challenges. It is the way the golf courses are made. The golf course is a collection of eighteen different gardens furnished with various levels of hurdles that are created by drenched ponds, sandpits, turns, difficult topography, rough areas, and tree lines. The level of difficulty of the arena is called the stroke index. The eighteen holes on a course are generally ranked according to how hard they are using the stroke index. Usually, this means that the hardest hole on a course will be index one and the easiest, index 18. But, as with many other things in golf, it is more complicated than that.

It strongly resembles our own life. Our childhood is usually in between index fifteen to eighteen, adolescence is from ten to fourteen, adulthood is five to ten, and old age is one to five, the hardest part. 

The design of a golf course is deliberately marked with interferences, hurdles, and obstacles providing players an opportunity to strategize, execute, and implement. Which is called the course management. It takes a lot of practice to comprehend and translate it into reality. That is why we claim that the sport of golf resembles the game of life. 

At this point, I will leave you with Mandy Moore “singing to the song of life.”

Have a great day.

Credits

Google 

YouTube 

Mr. Robin 

By Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, entrepreneur, blogger, author, poet, wanderer 

Email: Golfaij@gmail.com

Website: golfaij.com

Recovery of the Swing

I was ecstatic to resume golf as the clubs reopened after lockdown.

This happiness came at a price, my game wasn’t the same anymore. 

Contrary to my expectations, I returned back to the course with a beginners game, and sometimes, it was even worse than that. I believed that being back there would exhaust the frustration I had compiled within me while being stuck at home. My poor performance as a golfer was adding more to this discontent. My swing was simply not there anymore. This happened for the first time since I began to play. The only source of solace I had is that I was not the only one struggling with my swing, other golfers were going through the same problem on my social media feeds. It means like the COVID-19, the issue of swing loss is also universal. 

Golf at times simply disappears on us. It hides within our thoughts and makes us wonder how much worse we can play on the field. There is no limit to how bad we can get at it. I read somewhere that, “Golf is a game where it doesn’t matter how bad you play, you still can do worse.”  

It dawns on me that it’s not my swing, but my mind that is lost. Golf, like girlfriends, doesn’t like to share us with someone or something else. It wants us to be occupied only with its affairs. Due to the pandemic, I made a habit to travel the world through my mind because I couldn’t do it on foot. Since I am a wanderer my mind often happens to be at multiple places at the same time. Thinking about writing, taking pictures, at the new golf course with new golf buddies, on top of that the stress of business and COVID -19 precautions. It kept diverting my attention recurrently. That led to my golf performance to fall in a ditch of disappointment and deterioration. I knew I had to pull myself back into the game to restore my glory at the fairways. 

Humans are a great invention; especially the human mind. It holds an unmeasurable capacity to adapt. It carries skills to compartmentalise different data and varieties of intakes. It can develop resources and resolutions as soon as you set it to the task. It only requires deep determination to resonate and resolve any issues. If you have the will to do it, your brain will make it happen. So I put my mind to the task and it quickly began to spring out results. Finding an answer is one thing and implementation is another. 

I am not a coach who can unfold scientific formulas to improve your game. I can only share my humble experience with you.In order to restore ourselves in a game, we should not yield to peer pressure and self degradation. I stopped caring where I was and who was with me in those rounds. I started to play with lower irons as soon as I realised that I had lost my swing. I only concentrated on the shot at hand, ignoring score cards and competition. The next area to pay attention was my posture, grip and placement of the club before the shot. I changed my caddie bringing in a professional one. My concentration and his assistance brought me back in the game. I am not a professional golfer. I play for the heck of it with a handicap of sixteen. I think getting back at that level is sufficient for me and I am happy with it. In short, when hard times strike in life we should align ourselves accordingly. In times of bad patches we can not hesitate to step backwards or downwards as per the demands of the hour. The adjustment according to the given circumstances is the first step towards success. 

Credits

Instagram 

By 

Ahsan Jamil 

Golfer, author, entrepreneur, blogger, poet, wanderer 

Email: Golfaij@gmail.com

Website: Golfaij.com

Ring of Fire

The Milky Way is my home while the sky is my destination. Sun oversees my day, the moon shares my pains and earth holds me tight. Mercury blinks at me from afar and Mars cordially invites me on a tour. Venus is my neighbor and Jupiter twinkles on me. We live in an exemplary harmony and in perfect peace. Some of us get mischievous at times and that is what today’s tale is all about. 

The anecdote of the three musketeers, the sun, the earth, and the moon may be a simple family affair or they may be accommodating one another, like satellites. It might be a threefold love story or a star conference of some sort. They are always on the move. They follow set orbital routes and rotating patterns complimenting each other in a continuous game of hide and seek. Sometimes glowing their neighborhood in gleam or bright light, and sometimes making it dark like a dragon’s dungeon. The earth and the moon enjoy a variety of temperatures, both on a daily basis and annually through prolonged heat and extended cold. While the sun burns constantly to beam the universe on a wide range as far as it can reach. They dance in perfect harmony in uninterrupted speed and with total precision. The movement of the three balls: sun, earth, and moon come to an alignment once in a while. The moon in such alignment tries to steal  earth’s right to shine thus casting a shadow on it. Such an attempt by the moon is known as an eclipse. Today it is called the ring of fire, annular solar eclipse because its small size wouldn’t fully hide the larger sun. 

People have always been fascinated by the affairs of the stars. Historically people have related solar eclipses with omens in different mythologies. Some took it as a sign of death and destruction. Others celebrated it for positive purposes. Babylonian and Chinese have been predicting the solar eclipse as early as 2500 BCE. Ancient Egyptians had observed the eclipses 4500 years ago. They associated the fall and rise of the emperors and kings with it. In the era of astrological dependence, the value of such events used to multiply manifolds. The astrologers were rewarded and punished for their true and false predictions. Today’s people who travel through stars and whose voyagers are learning about the properties of these stars know that it’s nothing more than another proof of Newton’s theory of relativity. 

The first time I saw a ring of fire was in a circus, a clown crossed the circle back and forth repeatedly. Today while researching the topic I came across skaters on YouTube jumping through the ring of fire. I am avoiding writing about the scientific facts of the eclipse because all of that is already floating on the net in abundance. Rather I will stay close to the literary aspect of it.

It is not only the stars that eclipse each other. Sometimes our judgments are eclipsed with anger and greed. The other times our memories get eclipsed by amnesia. Most of the public opinion is eclipsed with propaganda and conspiracy theories. We should refrain from falling victims to all sorts of eclipses. Staying close to reality keeps our thoughts pure and clean. Just like eclipses cloud our minds, looking at the eclipse with naked eyes damages our retina causing blindness. 

All eclipses are not only lunar and solar, but they are also eclipses of heart and soul as well. Beyond the realms of science and facts, there is a certain magic about it. The sky always plays a mystical role in our lives and events up there cannot only be regarded as mere scientific facts. True or false, I would not deny my feelings about it. As James Richard Steinman

wrote, 

Every now and then I get a little bit lonely

And you’re never coming ’round

(Turn around) Every now and then I get a little bit tired

Of listening to the sound of my tears

(Turn around) Every now and then I get a little bit nervous

That the best of all the years have gone by

(Turn around) Every now and then I get a little bit terrified

And then I see the look in your eyes

(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then I fall apart

(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight

And I need you more than ever

And if you only hold me tight

We’ll be holding on forever

And we’ll only be making it right

‘Cause we’ll never be wrong

Together we can take it to the end of the line

Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (all of the time)

I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark

We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

I really need you tonight

Forever’s gonna start tonight

Forever’s gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love

But now I’m only falling apart

There’s nothing I can do

A total eclipse of the heart

Once upon a time there was light in my life

But now there’s only love in the dark

Nothing I can say

A total eclipse of the heart

Every now and then I fall apart

(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight (and I need you now)

And I need you more than ever

And if you only hold me tight (if you only)

We’ll be holding on forever

And we’ll only be making it right (and we’ll never)

‘Cause we’ll never be wrong

Together we can take it to the end of the line

Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (all of the time)

I don’t know what to do, I’m always in the dark

We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

I really need you tonight

Forever’s gonna start tonight

Forever’s gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love

But now I’m only falling apart

Nothing I can say

A total eclipse of the heart

A total eclipse of the heart

A total eclipse of the heart

Turn around, bright eyes

We, the travelers of the stars and skies, and ancient cave dwellers, all are equally mesmerized by the beauty of the galaxies. It doesn’t matter what on what celestial body this multi-planetary explorer dwells. There will always be a sky for him or her to look at. 

Credits 

Google 

YouTube 

Wikipedia 

Pinterest 

By

Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, author, entrepreneur, blogger, poet, wanderer 

Email: Golfaij.com

Website: golfaij.com

Formation of a Flight

The exhilarating breeze, lush green fairways and rising sun in the background form a blend of blessings in a morning already glowed with grace. As I approached the tee box, a flight (group of golf players) of three was preparing to take off. I stood there waiting for my turn. One of them innocently invited me to join them in order to complete the flight of four. I agreed in response to his goodwill gesture. Courtesy demands that I should inform the gentlemen that I am an average golfer. It seemed they were not interested in playing with a professional level golfer and I would suffice. With the sun in the background, our flight took off together. We remained on the ground but the sun was ascending slowly as if it was trying to get away from the virus stricken planet. 

We developed comfortable coordination within no time. They were a nice bunch, full of laughter, open to differences and very well mannered. In response I matched their decency by impersonating a cultured golfer. The level of decency is always high in the initial flights. Gradually people uncover each other’s true colors. In most cases golf quickly nourishes workable relationships and tolerant acquaintances. While discussion during the round breeds new friendship. Golf brings people together and forms clubs within a club. The beauty of the game is that all handicappers (golfer’s numerical potential) can play against each other. This is the reason veterans and beginners play together. 

I was paired with a gentleman who liked to keep to himself. He rarely showed anxiety or excitement. He carried wits in his pocket and always kept the most relevant jokes handy. He spoke briefly in a mellow tone and was well-versed. I am also usually focused on my struggle with the swing. Given the size of my belly, body movement is an enormous effort for me at each shot. In many cases, my ballooned tummy completely disregards my attempt to make a move for a swing. It knows all this early morning exercise is intended to cut back its size. I can’t blame it because no one likes a demotion. So my golf, in true sense, is a match between myself and my enhanced stomach. 

Coming back to the game, my partner and I, both trailed along without paying much attention to the scorecard. I actually did not know the golfers in my flight well enough to judge what brought them to the golf course so early in the morning. All of them were in regular shape physically, so surely it was not their bellies that made them play, they were here for reasons undiscovered so far. It was not decent for me to be inquisitive about golfers on the course. I should’ve played my golf keeping the writer inside me in check. After all I was just a fill in the blank in the flight. The other two fellows paired together had a great combination of their own. One of them was the best golfer among us; the blind rules the sightless. The other was the youngest, he had youth and experience on his side and we on the other hand were loaded with disadvantages. I, being the deformed and oldest, got tired by the 7th hole. My partner being indifferent to the scorecard was playing at his leisure. I liked his calm and composed attitude towards golf and the golfers. It doesn’t matter who won or lost, it turned out to be a great game. The only uncomfortable aspect in that flight was the pandemic protocol. The fear of coronavirus kept us at bay. We were together but we were not. Group play is dangerous these days. 

The sun and that flight took off together, we disbanded in a couple of hours but the sun’s round would take twelve hours to complete. So long guys. I know I will meet this far away burning ball on this course tomorrow but I would like to come across these golfing stars again. 

(I conceal the identity of the three golfers in respect of their privacy.)

By 

Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, entrepreneur, blogger, author, poet, wanderer.

Email: golfaij@gmail.com

Website: golfaij.com

On The Move

This morning was fresh and warm, I enjoyed the after dawn golf in full swing. The PAF course is well manicured; it is a testimony to the zeal of the management’s neatness. Golfers don’t lose balls here unless they drop it in water or hit out of bound over the wall. On the other side of the fence is Lahore’s bustling international airport. Playing under recurring inbound flights instigate wanderers like me to get into one and fly away from home. Like the migratory birds, I used to go to North America each summer but this year I am caged behind the invisible bars of COVID-19. I miss playing on the New England courses where summers are milder than Lahore. 

These days, this course is missing the descent of international airliners that used to fly over the golfers’ heads while trying to land at the adjacent airport. Since most of foriegn air traffic is on hold because of the pandemic, the skies are emptier than usual. Today I only saw one airbus inclining by. The roar of the landing aircraft untapped a sprinkler of old memories and new dreams in my mind. I am a compulsive tourist, wanderer of the world, and a traveler of the globe. A restless drifter of the continents, a backpacker by choice and rover like me can’t be stuck in one place for long. The urge to go somewhere takes over the rest of my desires. 

I came home after a good round of golf, still a part of me was looking for something more. I believe that we will overpower this virus and I will be roaming around the streets of far away cities soon. In the meantime a stanza sparkles in my mind, “not all those who wander are lost.”  I open safari to search for the rest of it;

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

After a great session of golf, a hot shower combined with tunes of Guns & Roses “Sweet child of mine”  makes my morning even more mesmerizing. The only thing missing now is the hot and healthy breakfast. As I entered the dining room, I saw my sunny-side up eggs glaring at me. They could see their demise coming towards them. Before I had the chance to devour them, I got a call from my office. I was informed of an urgent meeting to be attended in Islamabad, I agreed even before they finished their sentence. My excitement of traveling even to the nearest of places could not be hidden. As if, I was already waiting for the inevitability to come across my way. There it was knocking at my door, eager to fall into my lap. I didn’t get on a plane like I wished this morning, still I was on the road, on the move. 

Paulo Coelho describes this situation best, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” 

Journeys are not sheer travels, sometimes they are spiritual and internal. A journey of the soul is a walk you take alone, to find who you are, what your problems are, and to become one with the universe. This is an adventure that you go through by yourself. It’s purpose is not to find answers, rather it is about asking questions. It sometimes is like a cacti’s journey; without water, without fertile soil in vast meaningless sand, it grows, survives and flourishes. Other times it resembles the life of lichen that sprouts from snow and ice. 

We cannot lead our lives merely on wishes and comforts. There are times when the going gets tough. People who remain composed in the face of failures or victories alike are the actual winners. Those who stay grateful even in scarcity or in affluence are the true travelers of life. 

Some travels are made from inside of a prison cell like Nelson Mandela’sMother Teresa took her selfless tour of passion and presence. Abdul Satar Edhi created a world’s largest web of ambulances to protect life. Forrest Gump ran in search of the soul. Christopher Columbus sailed to discover new continents. Neil Armstrong rocketed to reach the moon. Malala Yosafzai made a fatal journey for females’ right to education and Greta Thunberg’s voyage to save the earth are a few expeditions to consider. Life itself is a journey, we keep going nonstop to destinations unknown. A seed also begins its growth from under the soil, where it’s sowed, to transform into a grand tree only to fall back on the earth to be buried again. No matter what form of a journey we choose to take, we ought to go somewhere. Idleness is lifelessness. Movement itself is the sign of life. 

Credits 

Google  

By

Ahsan Jamil 

Golfer, entrepreneur, blogger, poet, author, wanderer 

Email: golfaij@gmail.com

Website: golfaij.com

Responsible Resident

I have survived many fights, both external and internal. I have been through plenty of ups and downs. I have failed and passed quite a few tests. But I have never come across anything like it. They have declared it a pandemic but many are suspicious. Doctors are dying, nurses are vulnerable, and protectors are unprotected. All precautions in the laboratories are insufficient. The plasma of the affected is more valuable than the normal blood. No place is safe and no one is immune. Homes, localities, towns, cities, countries, continents and from hilltops to oceans, the disease is omnipresent. It’s unseeable, unfeelable, inaudible, and unrecognizable. It has no taste and no color. It’s a killer among us that kills from within. 

I have been trying to refrain from writing about COVID-19 but it has exponentially prolonged that it has become impossible to remain silent. You may regard this writing as my attempt to protest against this oppressor. 

What can we do about it, how do we escape or evade it, where can we be safe? We are still in search of answers about this horrible invader. We hear hundreds of experts, obey government instructions, live in lockdown and observe curfews. We unwillingly stay away from our elders in their most needful days. We keep a safe distance and follow quarantine. We have closed schools, worship homes, malls, restaurants, cinemas, clubs, playing ground, parks and locked ourselves in homes. Yet it goes on proliferating, unstoppably. 

We have heard and watched so many medical, religious, social and all kinds of sermons about it. Special recipes of homemade cures flood our social media. The talk show hosts exceeded their roles overnight turning into pundits on viral diseases. So-called doctors are even calling it a conspiracy, others are giving birth to strange theories of their own. UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects) enthusiasts suspect it to be an aliens’ intervention in earthly affairs. 

 In the meantime it continues to creep in closer and nearer to us; in our state, in our city and then in our street. After seeing it in our backyard, most of us now begin to treat it as a reality. It is real and it is here. 

In the initial weeks, we dealt with it like sweepstakes holidays. We began to enjoy a calendar full of free days. Cook food of our tastes. Get glued to Netflix and HBO. Spend hours in our studies. Watch favorite matches that we have missed. Have great family time. As our intake of news, television, and social media increases, so does the anxiety. They say bad times do not come alone. With it arrived a flood of economic stress, unemployment and joblessness. The worst stricken are daily wagers and small business entrepreneurs, the business of rental income and the services industry. 

Consequently, this pandemic has sprung threats at all levels and from different angles. It resembles menace to sinners and pious alike. The rich and the poor, white and black, young and aged, all are its victims. 

I would like to request my self-proclaimed messiah friends to stop flooding our phones with herbal remedies. I want to inform them that the cure does not lie in fennel seeds or basil leaves like they broadcast on a daily basis. 

Instead of wasting our time to look for solutions for the disease, we should leave that work to the professionals. I think we can stick to the protective protocol, enforce it in our surroundings and start to live an active life within the limitations of the new normal. We can encourage our neighbors and dear ones to strictly abide by the COVID-19 instructions at all costs for our joint welfare. We must learn to live with it while our scientific brethren are working hard to come up with a vaccine. We should do our part to keep society afloat as responsible residents. I don’t think we can do anything more than that. Here are few guidelines by CDC USA, more like that are available online. 

COVID-19 rules golf guidelines 

USGA 

Protesters and political gatherings 

Washington post

Religious organizations

CDC.govt 

Travel & vacation 

Forbes.com 

By 

Ahsan Jamil

Golfer, entrepreneur, blogger, author, poet, wanderer 

Email: golfaij@gmail.com

Website: golfaij.com