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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Int’l Day of Older Persons | Seniors swing it in style

Age is just a number for these senior citizens from the tricity who can give youngsters a run for their money both on and off the greens. Manraj Grewal Sharma garners some golden tips to a life well lived from elderly golfers, who may be grappling with the techtonic shift but have found the perfect antidote in exercising and building social skills

punjab Updated: Oct 01, 2017 12:46 IST
Manraj Grewal Sharma
Manraj Grewal Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
(From left) Former pilot KD Joti, Lt Col BS Mangat (retd), tennis buff turned golfer Saroj Joti, Lt Col TS Bakshi (retd) and former Madhya Pradesh DGP SS Lamba living it up on the greens of the Chandigarh Golf Club.
(From left) Former pilot KD Joti, Lt Col BS Mangat (retd), tennis buff turned golfer Saroj Joti, Lt Col TS Bakshi (retd) and former Madhya Pradesh DGP SS Lamba living it up on the greens of the Chandigarh Golf Club.(Ravi Kumar/Ht)

Listen more, talk less

HS Dhillon, 92

This farmer took to golf at 50. Forty-two years on, he remains committed to the greens. “I used to be a badminton player but had to stop due to swelling in my knees, golf was the ideal alternative,” he says.

Best handicap: 8

Health wise: Dhillon prescribes a work-life balance. “If you work from 9am to 5pm, take up some physical activity after 5, and make sure you hit the bed at 10pm.” A vegetarian and teetotaller, Dhillon says a diet rich in fruits, milk and butter is the secret of his health.

The big change: The mindless dependence on technology and indifference among people.

Life lesson: Listen more, talk less.

Golden rule: Wait a minute. “If you find yourself getting angry, just seal your lips. If others are yelling at you, hold your tongue. Just wait a minute and watch their actions. They will pipe down on their own and you will retain your peace of mind.”

By the way: Dhillon is an award-winning photographer.

Lend a helping hand

Lt Gen SS Brar (retd), 89

It was soon after Independence that this general took to golf. “Sport is a way of life in the army and every military station has a golf course. It wasn’t long before I was hooked,” he says. Even today, he enjoys going to the golf course despite “not very cooperative” knees.

Best handicap: 14

Health wise: “Keep moving and stay active,” says the former chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission who feels passionately about soldiering. “You can’t but be fit if you are in the forces,” says the veteran who walks 40 minutes every day.

The big change: For Brar, it’s the mobile. “It’s like a collar around a dog’s neck,” he says, adding people lack phone etiquettes. “They give more importance to the person on the phone than to the one beside them.”

Life lesson: Money is not the only important thing in life. “You may have every material possession in the world yet you may die of a heart attack. Live your life for others.” Brar, who runs a charitable school in his village, says it’s important to make a difference in the lives of others, especially those less privileged than you.

By the way: The general is passionate about gardening. He enjoys pottering around his farm and stays close to nature.

Be honest with everyone

Lt Col BS Mangat (retd), 89

This veteran took to golf in 1971 soon after a riding accident. “I needed to exercise regularly and there was a golf course next door. It’s helped me make friends all over India,” he says. Even today, he plays as frequently as he can.

Best handicap: 11

Health wise: Fit as a fiddle, Mangat says the recipe of good health lies in being happy. “Take up some sport, exercise regularly, and don’t overdo anything, be it good food or wine.”

Life lesson: Mangat says life has taught him the importance of staying happy despite the odds. “Be honest with yourself and others. Try and help the less privileged.”

The big change: More than technology, it’s the change in mindset that stumps him. “People don’t believe in helping one another. They are becoming increasingly money-minded.”

By the way: When not golfing and keeping his house spotless, Mangat enjoys a good read. These days, he is busy with ‘House of Spies’, a thriller.

Don’t worry, be happy

SS Lamba, retired from the Indian Police Service, 85

Lamba took to golf in 1998 after retiring as the director general of police of Madhya Pradesh. “It’s a game you can play as long as you live,” he says. No wonder he rises with the sun to start his day at the greens.

Best handicap: 11

Health wise: “Napa tola khana and napa tola exercise (A balanced diet and exercise).”

Life lesson: Take each day as it comes. “Don’t fret too much about yourself or your family. You are doing a disservice to yourself when you wear the worry cap. Don’t dwell on the past or mull on the future.”

The big change: There is more intolerance now, says Lamba, who has had a stint with the Intelligence Bureau. “Our value system has been hit, we seldom say sorry. Expressions such as ‘Can I help you’, ‘It’s my fault’ are hardly heard.”

By the way: A postgraduate in economics from St Stephen’s, Lamba keeps his finger on the financial pulse of the country by devouring the daily papers. His favourite is the edit page. Also, this gentleman believes in greeting anyone who comes his way.

Live in the present

Lt Col TS Bakshi (retd), 84

This services hockey player took to golf in 1958. Today, he plays with his three sons and three grandchildren. “We are a family of keen golfers. My 15-year-old granddaughter bagged the junior golf title in California,” he says.

Best handicap: 6

Health wise: Take up a game to stay happy and healthy.

The big change: Technological advances amaze me. Though happy to adapt, the one gizmo he’s struggling to master is the smart phone. “I’m still with the old Nokia handset. My children gifted me a fancy one but I ended up deleting a lot of things with one swipe,” he says.

Life lesson: Take life as it comes. Don’t expect it to go your way all the time. If there are sunny days, there will be cloudy ones too. Live in the present for yesterday is history and tomorrow uncertain.

By the way: Bakshi loves to watch old Hindi films. He also deals a good hand in rummy, a game he plays with his wife and daughter-in-law every evening.

Never stop learning

KD Joti, 86, and Saroj Joti, 80

A pilot, tea planter, and a tennis buff, KD Joti took to golf in Assam in 1960. But it was only when the couple shifted to Kolkata in 1975 that he began to relish it. Saroj, his elegant wife, says she followed in his footsteps a little late in life. “I preferred tennis but I started learning golf when I was 55,” she says. Fit as a fiddle, she was soon taking part in tournaments.

Best handicap (both): 10

Health wise: Eat a balanced diet and exercise well. Taking up a sport gives you a high. “It is a force multiplier in life. It helps you excel in your profession besides keeping you happy,” says Saroj. Golf, she says, adds at least 10 years to the life of its players.

Life lesson: Learn new things by reading and interacting with others, do some social service, and face every day with a smile, says Saroj. For Joti, the biggest takeaway from life is that there is one God. All paths lead to Him, so respect all of them.

Big change: Joti fondly lists the changes in the Chandigarh Golf Club. “It started with nine holes, before graduating to 12 and then 18.” The authorities, he says, should set up more courses and encourage youngsters to take to the sport.

By the way: Joti set up the first pro-shop in the North at the Chandigarh Golf Club in 1984. An ace landscaper, he is behind the verdant greens at IT City and international airport besides a host of luxury hotels.

First Published: Oct 01, 2017 12:46 IST