As defending champion, the sense of belonging was natural. Perhaps that explained Anirban Lahiri's gesture as he approached the head table. Stepping aside, he ushered in Ben Fox and Chiragh Kumar with an extended palm. It was after ensuring that the fellow pros had seated themselves, did Lahiri take his designated spot.
Surveying the small gathering, a slight smile played, which grew into a grin as the first question came his way. A hark back to the Panasonic Open and Lahiri went through his lines again. "The win last year (his first on the Asian Tour) kick-started my good run."
It was the focus on "keeping form" that helped him emerge stronger from a slump midway and go on to notch up almost back-to-back triumphs last month.
From the start of the season, Lahiri has been listing the benefits of meditation, and the almost back-to-back triumphs at the SAIL-SBI Open and The Open Championship International Final Qualifying - Asia last month meant it was a matter of time before the conversation meandered to the subject, and the 24-year-old was asked to share his experience with vipassana.
"What kind of a schedule do you follow?" The question had struck a raw chord. Taking off the heavily-embossed cap, he replied, "The routine demands an hour each in the morning and evening, but given our schedule, its difficult to devote that kind of time. There is a conscious effort to put in 45 minutes a day, but if I don't end up doing that, whatever time I can snatch on the course (stoppages, etc) is put to use."
The urge for better compliance stays with him, but the lessons learnt have helped him to be "more at peace". Accepting things as they come - on or off the course, means the smile rarely leaves the lips.