It didn’t happen by choice but now that it is a part of him, Siddharth Semwal doesn’t mind being torn between deception and integrity. A consistent performer on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), it was golf at the forefront, till a while back. The 25-year-old was renowned on tour for following a punishing schedule, one which entailed waking up early to cook and hit the gym. Thereafter, it was golf all the way till early evening.
The desire to get better was strong and a couple of solid finishes last season pointed to that. While in Shillong for a tournament, the initiation happened. With darkness setting in early, cards were an easy way to unwind, but the opening wasn’t good as he lost money.
Despite surfing the Internet to learn how to play, he continued to lose, leaving him firm to get even by cheating. It was peer pressure that had got him into handling a deck of cards, but the losses were incentive enough to come out of it.
Along the way, a change of heart took place as well, as the prospect of cheating friends lost its appeal. What stayed on was the yearning to practice the highest genre of magic --- close-up card magic.
“Cards leave you in a different zone,” says Semwal. Inner peace matters as during a pro-am in Panchkula, he realised the merits of ‘sadhana’ following a chat during the round. “I didn’t go back and practice but talking at length with the gentleman made me understand the concept,” he says.
Not one to ponder for long “on what works for me”, cards leave Semwal with more options. As he gets better and word spreads, the demand for his craft has gone up. The biggest platform he’s got so far was the McLeod Russel Tour Championship last year, the PGTI’s season-ender.
Practice isn’t an issue as he does so while driving and even before a round. He recounts with a smile how once he almost missed his tee time as he was in the midst of a trick.
Though he can prioritise now, golf will always remain a part of him. “Both will stay as I have to do more than one thing.”