Today the plan was to arrive at 10am and meet with Pramit Maity, the Events and Media Manager at Protouch Golf Academy, Indrajit Bhalotia's company. We discussed Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter integration, and the pros and cons of various payment portals. Although regarding the payment portals I was going off what Jeremy (Fairways COO) had previously advised me.
Afterwards, I did some other Fairways work in the office he shares with Indrajit. About an hour later, Indrajit arrived and we had a chat about social media and the new website they had under construction. I met Rukmini Mehta, who is one of the head pros working with Indrajit at Protouch. In 2007, at age 18, she became India's youngest female professional golfer. I had a good chat to her about Fairways and what we will be doing in India. She helps manage the junior programs both at the Tolly Club and at RCGC. Then I was off to watch some of the junior golfers.
Both of Indrajit's children, 15 year old daughter, Yasho, and 17 year old son, Uday, were competing. Firstly, Indrajit made a call to check if parents were allowed to watch as Uday was leading the event, so didn't want to get him disqualified. I headed to the top floor of the range so I could watch some of the groups come through. I watched some fantastic golf. Uday was the clear winner and took out the tournament. He is planning on going pro next year.
I headed back to the office to work for a bit until Indrajit came and got me at 3pm for the award ceremony. The youngest children were probably up to my shoulders and shot way better scores than I am capable of. I was sitting next to a gentleman that nudged me smiling telling me it was his son who just won his division. He was chuffed. Following the presentation I had the pleasure of meeting a group of disadvantaged golfers who would all be in at least the top 20 in their age group in India. I had watched them all compete sometime during the last few days and they were so happy to have played well. After they left, Indrajit and I spoke about how best to help the talented golfers play tournaments. $2700 US per year would cover all golfing costs, including food and travel, but until we get more funds in, supporting them in such a complete manner is out of our reach.
While we were sitting there, one of the juniors who had just won his division came in with a well dressed gentleman. I assumed it was his father. They had a chat to Indrajit, then left. It turns out it wasn't a parent, but a local entrepreneur who had just that very moment, told Indrajit that he would sponsor the boy for all his golfing expenses. Indrajit also arranged with him to support a couple of the other juniors. As you may recall from yesterday's blog, Indrajit's major corporate sponsor, worth $10,000 US per year, had recently diverted its funding to another NGO, and there was quite a hole in the budget.
I was delighted to hear about what happened and was so happy for the boy who had just won. What a wonderful reward for all his hard work! As we were leaving, Indrajit introduced me to the benefactor and told him what I was doing. He was astounded I had flown from Canada after watching a YouTube video, and wanted to help juniors golf in India.
Tomorrow is an early start as I am playing with Indrajit and a couple of slum children, who are off very low handicaps, at Royal Calcutta Golf Club. It will be the 90th course I have played in 27 months (in 10 countries)!