A cool breeze is pervading my sweater and a light mist is attempting to dominate the rising sun. The red globe is in no mood to oblige the fog. A beautiful pink rose has opened its petals wide to auspiciously receive the warmth of the rising star in full swing. Small dew drops on its petals glowing like little diamonds. They further invite the red star to help them evaporate once more, so they too can enjoy soaring back to the clouds.
At the other end, a long procession of “Mr. Majestics” (French marigolds, Tagetes patula) are getting ready to bloom, turning the whole scene yellow.
Meanwhile, a mushroom tomb-shaped Ficus celebrates the company of marigolds that are forming a decorative curve in its honor. In the neighborhood stands a tall Araucaria, a young palm and a band of other tall trees, providing a gracious backdrop. The steep slope of the long, broad fairway offers a lush green field to which the exhausted golfers descend to make their approach shots on the beautiful ninth green. The green sits gently there, smiling at those who sit on the club house veranda. Some of them are regretting the moves they played during the round while others are bragging about theirs.
“Love which is not, but it appears to be. Seek that which is, but is not apparent.”
This beautiful courtyard at the Islamabad golf club hosts so much in its lap. The parking. The green fee hut. The practice green. The clubhouse. First tee of the front nine. And the ninth green. This is a stepping stone and a farewell hill combined. I always enjoy sitting on the cane chairs. One can see both the impatience and the enthusiasm etched on the faces of incoming golfers. Smiles on the lips of the winners and stress and burden in the steps of the losers. This is a common platform for hellos and goodbyes. Flights are formed and dismantled here. The fragrance of cheese omelettes and aroma of the parathas are the cherry on the cake.
Islamabad club overall is a crossroad, a junction, where victory and loss is routine. Where friends are made and lost. Where relationships are developed and broken. Views are exchanged. Poetry is recited and jokes are traded. Some serious dudes make real life deals here. Others discuss their plans and strategies. It moves and shakes the bodies of movers and shakers across the capital. Its restaurants and quality of food are both widely appreciated and at times criticized. It also provides rooms for members and their guests and for members of allied clubs. When domestic quarrels erupt, it is the only refuge for some of the esteemed citizens of the capital. I met a housing secretary once who had been banned from his own home.
I wonder how busy those people are who ignore the veranda at the golf club and instead walk straight to the parking lot after their round. The P.G.A. should at the very least make it mandatory for golfers to partake in a glass of lemonade or a cup of tea or coffee here. A brief rest is so needed after a round — before we hit the steering wheel and the overcrowded roads.
The entry to and exit from the club is also a wonderful experience. After the check post, beautiful lawns stretch out in front of the building. A host of different flowers receive and see off the incoming and outgoing members. Lines and lines of seasonal flowers wave and bow to them. They smile and dance in your honor. Of course one may opt instead for a session at the gym, or the polo club, or the tennis court, or the squash court, or some other facility. I mostly opt for the beautiful golf course, which makes me forget anything else exists. Lost in the expanse of the fairways, I always become inspired to write more. My vision broadens even further at the lush green fairways, and the poet and author inside me awakens in appreciation of what nature is reciting through its sunshine, plants, flowers, fields and hills. The air whispers songs of creativity and the clay under my feet makes me feel so humble.
People of affluence and authority usually end up playing in the hands of flatterers and give in to their arrogance and egotism. The riders of automobiles and airplanes usually forget their eternal relationship with the land instead are inclined to become rather arrogant of it. Like most capitals of the world, many residents of Islamabad often lose touch with the beauty of the earth and become high headed or idealistic.
Golf is a humbling sport that involves a lot of sand, pond, dust and dirt. Defeat and disappointment regularly feature. There is no better way to remind ourselves that we are dust and to dust we will return.
“Bring anger and pride under your feet. Turn them into a ladder and climb higher.”
Islamabad Golf Club
Golfer, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Author, Poet, Wanderer, photographer, Rebel.
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