A beautiful canal floats through the middle of the historic city of Lahore; it is formed on the delta of Ravi. Its residents know the value of this water channel. Ornamental plantation, decorative lights, immaculately manicured green belts, and chains of flowerbeds, all add to its grandeur.
The signal-free roads on both banks of the canal take you from north to south nonstop. A herd of never-ending traffic flows there as blood flows through veins. Taking one’s sweetheart on a long drive on this road is a lover’s ritual. Any Lahori can narrate stories of their youth relating to this romantic river.
Lahore does not need a major excuse to accessorize its canal. This canal plays an important role in cultural and national celebrations. It is decorated with floats and fairy lights on auspicious occasions. On such a scenic western wing of the canal sits the famous Royal Palm Golf & Country Club. A jewel in the middle of a blistering metropolitan. It is a private club of privileges. A few golfers like me, who have exited the romantic paths, claim to be in love with it for its unique aura.
It is a great getaway in the center of this historic capital. While the city’s hustle-bustle continues, there is total calm inside of the club’s walls. There is no noise or dust that the city is known for. A breathtaking presence of magnificent banyans, poplars, acacias, cactus, palms, polyalthia, Sheesham, and cypress dominates the ambiance. Of course, trees are the ornaments of the earth, and this piece of land, in particular, is well adorned.
During the unforgiving hot summer of Lahore, these trees provide a shadow for the determined golfers to walk under on the course. Its turf is smooth and cushiony like a carpet underneath bare feet. A series of creepers decorate the gardens with colorful and aromatic blossoms. My thoughts are flooded with praise; the fairways offer chapters of descriptions, and Google aids loads of vocabulary. I can describe the course hole by hole and step by step but that would require volumes of writing in plenty of sessions. Neither you have time for long reads nor do I have a publisher to compose a book. So for now, we will stick to an abstract and not the whole anecdote.
From the curved fairway number one to descending fairway number eighteen, the course offers a series of graces and a variety of changes. A number of minarets from the inner city loom over these thick trees, offering a peek of divinity to the golfers on the course. Windows of the tall houses on the other side of the wall hide worlds behind those curtains. Sometimes you hear shouts from some of them and other times you hear a dim song playing. Mostly these houses sit idly with no disturbances or distractions from the outside world.
Swans parade in honor of a good shot and birds appear to appreciate a good put. You will find an individual or flocks of Eurasian hoopoes, doves, pied bushchat, parrots, white-throated kingfishers, Asian koels and red vented bulbuls fly by or chirping nearby.
Every now and then, a green turtle might grace golfers with its marathon. Making one pause and reflect on the creatures we share this Earth with. I have also witnessed crows chasing a domestic cat. On this course, you are far away from the troubles and comforts of Lahore. The only time you feel the existence of the city is when briefly you play close to boundaries.
Sometimes when you end up in the rough and go to take a second shot, a fat trunk of a huge tree tries to whisper a tip in your ear. Of course, it has seen golfers struggle under it for decades. These trees are veteran spectators of the golfers’ shanks and regulation shots. Bad and good shots are both a routine; how we tackle them is what makes us who we are. In a round of golf or life, recovery is all the matters. Sometimes we have to recover from a good shot too. In moments of triumph, many lose track. In times of failure, most seek refuge in despair. Moving on for the next shot is the only way to complete the round responsibly.
Golfer, Author, Entrepreneur, Poet, Blogger, Wanderer