This golfing ‘Ali Baba’ has a heart of gold
The Delhi Golf Club’s annexe does not list scrambled eggs with mushroom on its menu. Yet, Ali Sher starts his day with a plateful.other Updated: Oct 17, 2011 00:27 IST
The Delhi Golf Club’s annexe does not list scrambled eggs with mushroom on its menu. Yet, Ali Sher starts his day with a plateful. Buttered toast and cold coffee as accompaniments, Ali doesn’t remember the last time he missed breakfast at the club.
Soon after alighting, the first task is to see cook, Hoshiar Singh, an acquaintance of 20 years. The staff rises in reverence and after necessary instructions, Ali takes a seat overlooking the 18th green, the spot where he made birdie to lift the Indian Open.
It’s been 20 years since he became the first Indian pro to lift the national Open and a cheque of $24,990 (Rs12.2 lakh), but that epochal moment has blurred. “Khaaye, piye, aage badh gaye (The past is behind me, I’ve moved on,” he says.
Breakfast arrives and after an approving look, he says, “It’s called Ali Baba (as he’s lovingly called in golfing circles) Special. This is what golf has given me. Today, I can walk into any course in India and order items of my choice,” he says brushing the crumbs off the green Hilfiger tee.
The affection accrued means more than the money earned. “Paisa toh ghoomti lakshmi hai.” A considerable portion of the wealth has been spent on charity, and without any signs of regret the 51-year-old points to “inner joy”.
Tales of his large-heartedness abound the DGC, but to be a recipient, Ali first needs to be convinced on the “genuineness of the case”. The smart phone rings and an associate is at the clubhouse. On the way to the bar, he lights a cigarette. “This has been my brand for many years, though there are times when I switch to a premium brand during evenings.” The duo is ushered in and Ali heads to his perch close to the bar tenders’ area. “A respected member used to sit here but since he comes rarely, this is my spot,” he says.
Wine is ordered and from business the conversation drifts to his meteoric rise. “But for the sport, I couldn’t have imagined sharing the choicest of liquor with people I used to be in awe of,” he remarks and raises the glass in toast.