Added: Irving Deen - Date: 01.01.2022 07:46 - Views: 15144 - Clicks: 934
Simi Mehra's father responded in arithmetic summation when she told him she was gay. Then, like every other day, he shot off for a round of golf. Her mother, Billy, a former national level golf player, wasn't too pleased by the news at the start, suggesting that Simi choose between her and her partner. It's parents who choose to havenot the other way round.
She obviously came around. The year-old came out publicly insix years before sprinter Dutee Chand. While the latter made the big headlines, Simi ascribes the absence of attendant controversy to her relatively lesser-known coming out story. Brave, funny and thoroughly irreverent, Simi, decided to chase a spot on the LPGA Tour - something no Indian had done before her - after being stirred by the legend of American golfer Nancy Lopez.
When she hit her 20s and the pressure to get married mounted, the mission assumed urgency. That's when I knew I had to act fast.
She was okay with me playing golf but she wanted me to prove that I was good enough. I did it by winning every amateur event I could, 25 of them all over Asia, breaking course records. I could hit farther than most male players. But I was getting a bit tired of the way women's golf was being run in India and the favouritism at play. They didn't appreciate my plain speaking either. InSimi moved to Orlando, U. Homesick, in her early days away from the country, she'd drop quarters into payphones at street corners to call her mother and spend the first three minutes wailing into the receiver.
Slowly, though, the hard-knock life in America toughened her.
I was this something girl from Calcutta who slept with a gun by her side to feel safe. I didn't want to ask my parents for money," she says. I was like 'how the hell am I even going to drive out of here'? My roommate went, 'shoot 65 and win the event'. I've learnt that when life pushes you to the wall, you've got to use the wall to push back. Simi was stupefied when she found herself sharing the locker room with her idol Lopez, who walked up to her and introduced herself. The Indian was still finding her way around then. I learnt how to be a human being in America.
Simi married a teacher from Indianapolis while living in America, but they parted ways five years later. It was to be the inflection point of self discovery. I was pissed," she says. I thought I too should be with someone else. That's how it started. But it ended in discovering something beautiful down the road. Simi had known Seema Sobti, a fellow Indian golfer, since she was Their families were close too and they both met every time she visited India. When she walked out of her marriage, Seema was living with her husband and two.
We both don't know how it happened but we kissed one time. She was the first woman I'd ever kissed. It felt perfect. When their relationship took flight, Seema's husband threatened to call the cops on Simi. This was years before same-sex relationships were decriminalised by the Supreme Court of India in She said, 'let the cops come, jo bhi hoga dekha jayega ' we'll see what happens. It was one mega Hindi movie with romance, drama and threats. The cops never came and we lived happily ever after. Simi's public coming out was incidental. She and her family along with Seema were at the Tollygunge Club in Calcutta when the idea was proposed.
I was surrounded by my dear ones, who already knew about Seema and myself and I thought maybe it's a good time to tell the world too. The next morning's paper carried the news. While she herself didn't encounter grave challenges when coming out to her parents, Simi recognises that most others aren't as fortunate.
We're from such different demographics," she says. Stand your ground and allow your parents to come to the realisation on their own. With social media, everyone is trying to be someone they are not. I think parents recognise that in their. The mind can be easily influenced by what it sees so trust your gut. It'll tell you who you are and what you really want. I'm not propagating a relationship, or trying to be an inspiration.
I'm just following my own path. What I have is right for me and I have the courage to deal with it. Simi went through the wringer after her partner was diagnosed with breast cancer in Seema underwent mastectomy, had to take weekly chemo sessions for six months and radiation every day for two months. She was cancer-free for nine months before slipping into a relapse in We then decided to look outside conventional medicine for an answer," Simi says. The couple overhauled their lifestyle, started growing their own food and began using jaddi buttis roots and herbs with medicinal properties to treat Seema's condition.
She's cancer free. Seema's kids are married now and things are a lot more peaceful between families. Everybody was anxious. But that's life, you've got to face what it throws at you. Now, her ex-husband is happy in his life, we're happy in ours.
We're not the kind you'll bump into at social gatherings. Both of us like being away in the mountains. We just got back from six months in Himachal Pradesh," Simi says. During these trips, Simi carries footballs and any other sporting equipment she can manage to find donors for, in the trunk of their car.
The kids in paha mountains already have terrific strength and flexibility, they just need to play a sport. There's a huge difference," she says. Perhaps the next time I visit, I can find out what came of it. Selfless giving is among the greatest lessons life in America taught her, she explains. A couple of years after Pak arrived, a parade of fellow Koreans landed. I had peers like Annika Sorenstam asking me, "Simi, what's happening in India, man?
I owe it to my fabulous friends and legends in the sport in America who took me under their wing and taught me how rewarding it is to give rather than receive. They encouraged me to get things moving in India for women's golf. They were right. It made me viscerally happy. During her India visits, Mehra would ferry golf balls and equipment donated to her by LPGA peers to help grow the women's game in the country. Simi won it.
The tournament is now sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour. Most within India knew that Seema and I were together. Trust me I faced a lot of backlash when I was building the Tour. Now apparently, I'm just an invitee. But it doesn't matter. The important thing is there's an organization in place and there are girls making a living out of it. That was my only objective. I don't care about being remembered as a founding member. Aditi Ashok ed the elite female professional golfers' club as a rookie in Simi wasn't surprised. A few years after that, I remember at one of the tournaments in Bangalore, caddying for herself, pulling her own cart and still shooting a phenomenal round.
That day I heard myself say, 'Okay, this kid is going to make it big'. Watching her do what she did at the Olympics this year, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't sleep on any of the four nights because I just couldn't wait to see her play at dawn. In contrast to Aditi, Simi's exploits never found their due in her time. No media covering any of the events and no mention even when I made top-ten finishes on the Tour.
But after a while you forget about it because you're so focused on what you're trying to do out there - surviving on the Tour and trying to pay your bills. It's hard," she says.Golf maybe love
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