That's probably the best warning sign I could come up with. I was very, very bored, slightly nauseated from the round-an-round-an-round that my taxi was doing, so just to keep myself alive and not barfing I thought of all those signs painted on the side of the road. Y'know, the kinds that say "Hair Pin Bend" and "God Is Life". And "Beware Of Falling Rocks, They Might Knock You Out Of Your Socks." Okay, I made the last one up. And it was terrible.
My whole trip was terrible. Okay, perhaps terrible is too strong a word. How about mind-numbingly-brain-fuckingly-chew-off-your-own-arm-to-escape BORING? Yeah. What made me think I could do this? Cover a golf tournament? What made anyone think I looked like the kind of person with "Can Cover A Golf Tournament Without Collapsing" label?
Oh, it had its moments. There were hills. But the hills in Uttaranchal are dry and thirsty looking. Not like the Himachal hills. The Himachal hills make me want to run down them, arms outstretched, yodelling, "The hilllllllllllllllllllls are alive, with the sound of myooo-sick." But the Nainital hills? Nada.
Servile-Little-Man-From-Uttaranchal-Tourism hovered around me for a bit. He showed me ‘Scandal Point’ where many people have jumped to their death off a cliff. He pointed out a nearby slope where students from Sherwood school fell to a gory end. I wandered curiously close to the precipice and he made worried noises, "Please to be stepping back. Please, madam. There are whirlwinds in the hills and they will carry you away." Finally, to stop his head from combusting with all those ‘Please to be’s I moved away, not even doing the whole Leo DiCaprio "I’m the king of the world" thing I had been dying to.
The hotel was ancient and had these three stuffed tigers in various nooks and crannies. It was rather disconcerting to walk past their motheaten snarls just to get to the reception. But it was a hotel with character, the rooms were HUGE and there was an antiquated bathtub and I curled up next to the heater in the huge bed, read Alchemy Of Desire and watched The Apprentice. And Koffee With Karan, if you must know. And various parts of Page 3 on Zoom.
And I suppose the weather was nice. Freezing actually. There was a "gala dinner" on Saturday night after the game, and everyone was dressed to the nines. Bunch of old men, some with wives and annoying little children in tow. But, but, after speeches had been made and dinner had been served and band imported from Delhi crooned, "You feel up my senses, come feel me again," I sat down at the nearest available table, teeth chattering, with rum and coke. And found the only young cute boys there. And flirted mildly, spoke of Delhi longingly, because even though I had only been gone for a day, I was homesick. And it was Saturday night. And people I loved were having good times without me. Young Cute Boys served purpose, made me feel a little less mindfucked, and were very sweet.
Besides which, I’ve got golf jokes coming out of my ears. My favourite wasn’t even meant to be a joke: this guy was making a speech and talking about the 16th hole which was apparently on a slope. So he goes, "So my balls kept going up and down no matter how hard I tried to stop them." Hee.
And I was doing just that, snickering softly to myself, the hood on my jacket up when he says something about, "the young journalist who is here" and of course, everyone turned to look at me and saw the semi-leer, semi-retarded expression that comes when you’re trying to surpress the giggles. And of course, everyone probably also guessed at the dirty routes my mind was taking. So much for my as pure as driven snow act that I put on all weekend.
But never again. Golf is so not my cup of coffee (which, by the way? People in the hills DO NOT know how to make. Seriously, everywhere I went I got the world’s worst cup)