Everyone has a right to dream. There is no tax on dreaming. If this promising golfer from namma Mysuru is nurturing hopes of making it big, he has every reason to feel so. A wonderful and flourishing career so far, this youngster is the latest sensation who is making his presence felt with noteworthy performances in the last couple of years. Even the connoisseurs of the sports are in awe of Aalaap I L who looks well set to make it to the next grade.
Behind every successful sportsman, there is a piece of history. Aalaap’s case is no different. As a kid, he would accompany his father S K Lakshminarayana, a golfer, to the course every other day. This left an indelible impression on the youngster. The lush green surroundings, wide open spaces and the very challenge of hitting a small ball to long distances all looked fascinating. When Lakshminarayana asked his son if he wanted to give it a shot, Aaalaap’s reaction was instant and the choice was obvious.
Though he was no pushover in studies, Aalaap, it seems, was not so much interested academics. He would always watch some sport or the other on TV. That he was born to become a sportsman was perceptible right from his early days. Taking little time to realise their son was destined to become a sportsman, Aaalaap’s father and mother Indira were always there to keep encouraging the youngster. The golfer gets nostalgic when you quiz him about his parents’ untiring support.
Studies were on expected lines. After schooling at CFTRI School and PU at Sadvidya Composite PU College, Aalaap joined NIE-IT to pursue to Under Grad and graduated as a Bachelor of Computer Science.
If Aalaap’s golfing career is chugging along well, it is because of his parents’ continued support and perseverance. “Right from the beginning, they believed in my dreams and goals. They are extremely hardworking and dedicated. They come from humble backgrounds and have fought the odds to make a name. And their humility is beyond measure,” Aalaap speaks eloquently of their sacrifice. “I have never had to look outside our house for any sort of inspiration. I am lucky to have learnt so much from them. They always encouraged me to believe in myself and to go after my dreams. I would also like to thank my sister for her support.
That golf is different compared to other sports is no secret and Aaalaap is all at ease to tell you the nuances of the sport. “Golf deals with a stationary ball. In almost all other sports that involve the use of a ball, it is dynamic. Golf builds character as it involves a lot of strict rules about etiquette. It is very close to how we lead life. It requires a lot of patience and at the same time a great amount of precision. What is most different about this is game is, you have a lot of time to play a shot. And so there are a lot of thoughts in your head. So mentally you have to be very focused, strong and calm,” is his line of argument.
With a fruitful career so far, Aalaap is practising hard to take his game to the next level. He is going to represent India in the World Amateur Golf Championship 2016 (Eisenhower Cup) at Riviera Maya, Mexico in September. His coach Vijay Divecha at Eagleton Academy in Bidadi, who has been training Aalaap since two years, also speaks highly of his ward. The youngster has also not forgotten Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar Golf Club where he started his career.
A good beginning has been made. Though it is too early to predict what is in store, given his exploits as a promising golfer over the years, Aalaap knows he is a few steps away from those at the top. He also knows the path to success is not a bed of roses, but he is not unduly worried. He is ready to tread the path carefully. Right now, it is just practice, which is the order of the day.
Q & A
In your career as a golfer, when did you get the big break?
I believe this is just the beginning, but if I have to choose a moment then it has to be when I finished 3rd at the IGU Delhi State Amateur & NCR Cup at the Delhi Golf Club in March 2016. It made me believe in my abilities and inspired me to dream bigger.
Most memorable day in your life.
There have been quite a few: When I got my hands on my very own golf set for the first time. I remember I couldn’t sleep that night. I was up by 6 am the next morning and forcing my father out of bed sothat I could go the golf course and play with them. When I won my first tournament as a junior in my home club Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar Golf Club, Mysore. When I realized that I would be playing for my country in the World Amateur Golf Tournament.
People say golf is a rich man’s game. Your comment.
It was like that in the beginning. But not anymore. A lot of people have started liking the game for what it is and have slowly started to come out of that cliché definition for the game. And with the likes of S Chikkarangappa, S S P Chowrasia and many more from humble backgrounds dreaming about making it big in the game. And now that there are manysponsors looking to support the game, those days are behind us.
Is the sport really growing in India?
It definitely is. With the likes of players like Anirban Lahiri who are doing exceptionally well on the world stage, it has inspired players like me and several others to dream bigger and try and achieve higher goals. Also players like Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Chowrasia have done a lot for the game.
Who are your favourite golfers?
My favourite golfers are Tiger Woods, Anirban Lahiri and S Chikkarangappa.
What do we do popularize golf in India?
First we must abolish the image of it being an inaccessible sport. There needs to be more coverage about the sport and its accomplishers so that people get to know how potential a sport this is to choose as a career. The government has to take off their blinders and take a look at the heights our Indian golfers are reaching and start supporting golf as they support other mainstream sports .Also, more kids need to be made aware of golf so that they can start early. It is one of the most beautiful sports to play.
Are we good enough to produce golfers who can rub shoulders with the likes of Tiger
We have already started the process. Lahiri is already playing alongside the best in the world and is doing a terrific job. And a lot of other golfers as mentioned before have been doing very well on the
Asian Tour and the European Tour already. So it’s only a matter of time before India is on the world map more often.
But for golf, which other sport do you prefer?
I love cricket. It has always been one of my favourite games. I love watching it. And also enjoy playing the game. I look up to Virat Kholi. He is a fantastic athlete and an exceptional player of the game.
What is your take on Mysuru?
I feel lucky to have been born in this city. It’s just magic. I always tell anybody I meet that Mysuru is the best city you will ever find. Not because this is my home town, it’s because the city has got an aura to it like no other. The very atmosphere of this city is binding. And the best part about this city is its people.
How do you treat success and failure?
I feel failure is a great teacher. I do get depressed when I fail, but what I learn from it is invaluable. It teaches me to work harder, discipline myself better and I come to realise my best just isn’t good enough. So it makes me want to strive harder and instills humility whenever the ceiling seems a little too short. Success of course makes you feel good and makes all your effort seems worthwhile. But, I believe the fear of failure is what drives you towards success.
Ten years down the line, where do you see yourself?
Ten years down the line, I hope to be playing the biggest tournaments in the world and rubbing shoulders with the best in the game. And if I am lucky enough, someday I hope to get an opportunity to play at the Olympics for my country.