A picnic at the Yak Golf Course, the highest course in the world according to the Guinness Book, for all officers at the brigade, their families, and a dog – a Miniature Pincher who is adorable if you fancy wide-set bulbous eyes on a ratty face that is constantly trying to lunge at you and take a good nip.
A croquet course adjoins the golf course and everything was set up by the time we arrived. We quickly divided ourselves into two groups – officers in one team with the ladies on the other team led by one officer.
The afternoon passed quickly as both teams got into the spirit of the game, vying to get the ball around the course first by hook or by crook. We ladies were lucky to have the one officer who believes that winning is everything and no means is too low or too crooked to achieve that goal! To our credit, we did win one game without being sneaky.
After six rounds of croquet, a game of golf – chipping by the men and putting by their respective partners – followed. Ducky teed off with great enthusiasm and just about avoided sending his ball into the little lake nearby. Incidentally, this lake is actually an ice hockey rink when it freezes over later in winter. Once Ducky had chipped our ball back onto the browns, I putted it into the hole in three attempts – a far cry from my nightmare that I’d keep putting till the cows came home before I managed to get my ball home.
I’m not sure whether it was the chill in the air, the physical exercise, the general uncharacteristic bonhomie of the group, or the lovely Sikkimese brewed beer, Dansberg, but I was quite famished by the time lunch came around and quite enjoyed the chicken biryani on offer. The group was livelier and more engaging as opposed to its usual stiff uncomfortable stance and strained conversation about the weather (of each month of the year), children (their games and schooling), and turbulent stock markets (a subject that everyone seems obliged to bring up because of the nature of my job).