Extending the weather-beaten palms, Jeev Milkha Singh's gaze came to settle on the index finger. "See," he said, directing the group's attention. The difference was distinct under the early afternoon sun. The glistening look of the left was in contrast to the right finger, the skin off-white and slightly crumpled.
"It's (finger) gone," he remarked with a slight shake of the head. With time, the battered ligament has caused the finger to appear off shape.
The Scottish Open helped end a four-year title drought but the injury towards the closing stages was the flipside of that outing in July. Yet, the pain and discomfort are hardly a deterrent.
The physician's advice was a four-month layoff, but the words did not stay with Jeev beyond a month.
"Abstinence (from golf) is a word missing from my dictionary," he grinned.
Giving back to golf
Making do with temporary patch-up jobs, he has criss-crossed continents, picking up accolades while pursuing his first love, before settling down for the first edition of the Shubhkamna Champions, the R60-lakh event he is hosting this week at the Noida Golf Course.
Lifting the face to give it its full share of the sunshine, the mood was relaxed. "It is a way of giving something back to golf. You have examples worldwide --- Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods, they all do it. Time India had one too," he said, drawing the left hand towards the affected finger to form a shield around it. The action was involuntary, but it made it clear that despite the brave front, the injury had made inroads in the mind.
So, how does he cope with it? The answer was quick to come. Wading through tribulation is a trait that's in the genes, and a recent happening has only strengthened the 41-year-old's resolve to win against pain.
"I was in Japan (for the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup earlier this month) when Rakeysh (Omprakash. the film's director) called and asked me to check out the promos of 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' on YouTube." Watching Milkha senior's journey from obscurity to immortality gave Jeev "goose bumps".
"It's amazing what determination can get you to achieve. He (Milkha Singh) had nothing but the single-minded focus to achieve his goal. Guess, some of it got passed on," he smiled.