Reconnecting with parents he hasn’t seen much of in more than a decade and practising yoga are the coping mechanisms for Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri as he reflects on life in the coronavirus-forced lockdown, saying “it is nice to hit the pause button”.
Lahiri, who has made Florida his base since he started playing on the currently-suspended PGA Tour, the world’s biggest and strongest professional golf circuit, has seldom spent as much time in India, as he has now. He is in Hyderabad, where his parents live. With him are his wife, Ipsa, and one-year-old daughter Tisya. “I haven’t spent so much time with my parents since I was 17 years old. It’s given me more perspective outside of golf. In fact, I don’t have my golf clubs with me now. It’s nice to hit the pause button and reflect on things which we wouldn’t normally do,” he said.
Lahiri has also been doing yoga practice. “…It’s nice to see my body responding to it. I’ve not been disciplined with yoga over the last few years as golf has basically taken up all my time. I’m lucky I’m still flexible and I’ll be turning 33 in a few months’ time. If I devote the right amount of time and attention to it, I can see my body responding well and it helps with focus and balance. I’m pushing myself a bit more, which is a good challenge. It’s nice reconnecting with my body,” he added.
Lahiri came to India planning to train a bit and then play the Hero Indian Open. The event got postponed and then flights were cancelled and finally the lockdown. Lahiri pledged a donation of Rs 700,000 towards the Prime Minister’s CARES Fund last weekend. He said he wanted to help millions of people who survive on daily wages but are currently out of work following the lockdown. Shubhankar Sharma, who is also training at home in Panchkula, has contributed Rs. 500,000 towards the fund. Sharma is keeping fit with a daily routine and has not stepped out since returning from events on the European Tour in Oman and Qatar in late February and early March.
With his golf set still in Ahmedabad, Lahiri is left with his father’s clubs in Hyderabad. The former Asian Tour No. 1, Lahiri has also sought to bring some respite via a new video cooking series aptly titled “Cooking with the Lahiris” on his social media channels. Lahiri has uploaded two cooking lessons, which focuses on his favourite Indian dishes. “We have food and shelter and our family is secure. Whatever we can do to make it easier for others, help these people and the government, let’s do it as very few entities are operational now. A lot of sports organisations and other Indian athletes are supporting this which is good to show solidarity,”