Dr. Date’s Secret

Doc practicing hard at the Poona Club Golf Course.

Doc is a living legend.  Doc is also my idol and mentor in golf.  Let me introduce you to Doc.  Doc is a pediatrician from a long line of physicians (among Maharashtrians, the Date (pronounced “Daate”) surname denotes a physician).  Doc started golf at the ripe age of 47 (yes, 47), and within the span of a decade, he became one of the most celebrated amateur golfers in India.  He even won the All India Amateur Seniors Open twice!  In short, he is an ace golfer par excellence.

Doc also runs a flourishing pediatrics practice.  Although he won’t admit it, I’ve seen him treat poor patients pro bono.  The ultimate golfing machine has a soft heart.  🙂

I met Doc for the first time when I started playing golf in 2004.  We both joined a group that played 9 holes every weekday starting at 6:45 a.m.  I remember seeing his perfect ball flight the first time and being mesmerized by it.  Mesmerized enough that at the end of 9 holes, I dreamily handed over the Rs. 150 I’d lost to him.  (In golf, it’s not the amount of money lost that matters, it’s the fact that you have to hand over the money, that you lost, that matters.) 

After a few times losing to him, competitive in nature that I am, I started trying harder and harder to beat him, and the more I tried, the more I lost.  This went on for a couple of years until finally I realized that I am not in his league and will never be able to beat him consistently.  It also didn’t help that fellow golfers started calling me Doc’s ATM machine.  🙂

Strangely, when I stopped trying to beat him, I started to win a little more often than in the past… Wonder what that was about.

Life carried on and I started getting busier with my work and playing less and less golf. 

To get back to the story of Doc’s secret, two years back, while conducting some research on the dry fruits and spices market, I happened to walk up to a store counter in Pune’s Gultekdi Market Yard which is Pune’s foods wholesale market.  I was buying some walnuts to compare with what I found in Mumbai (Pune did not compare well with Mumbai’s, btw).  Next to me, a man was buying dry fruits and he had bought two bags full of assorted dry fruits.  As the man was handing over cash to the shopkeeper, a thought came to me.  I thought maybe I should chat this buyer of dry fruits up to discover why he has bought so many dry fruits at one go. 

Thinking this, my eyes went from the store counter up to the man’s face and lo and behold, it was Doc buying that truckload of dry fruits!  He also just saw me at that time and was just as surprised as I was.  He asked me in his deep baritone voice, “Kaay karto aahes ithe?”  Which translates to, “What are you doing here?”  I told him the long and short of it and he invited me home (he lives close by). 

I went to his house, this time as an interviewer, and talked with him at length.  During the ‘interview,’ he mentioned that he buys two whole bag fulls of dry fruits every single month and it barely lasts his family of 4 the month. 

Later that night, while reviewing our conversation, I was wondering why was Doc’s family consuming so much dry fruits each day.  And then it struck me.  You see, we are made of the foods we eat.  Our mothers ate foods that created us.  And we eat foods that help build and sustain the bodies we own.

What we eat creates the kind of body we own.  I was never a regular consumer of dry fruits and now I had found out that Doc was a regular consumer of dry fruits for years and years.

Could it be that dry fruits were the secret of Doc’s golfing success?  To say nothing of Doc’s overachieving family’s success too?

When I met Doc the next day on the golf course, I asked him this point blank and he smiled his cryptic smile which said some secrets are best kept secret.  But I had figured it out…

(Published with permission from Dr. V. T. Date, Pune, India)

P.S.:  Yes, Doc lives right next door to Pune’s largest wholesale market for dry fruits, but still orders online and consumes Frubee dry fruits regularly because he knows the difference in quality.  No wholesaler in Pune comes even close to the high quality that Frubee provides.  And I am not given to hyperbole.

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