Monday, May 28, 2012

Part 1: Day 2: Zurich

For the blessing

Seasons may come and go, but some things are here to stay....doubt thou not, for when the heart desires and the mind agrees is where I have found peace.
Day 2:

"Mane" Issues:
A word about the reception I got from the group. Most of it were colleagues of my parents or of the same age-group, with their families. And I had specially chosen a super-man t-shirt to add to the cheek-level, for with my Bob-Marleyish dishevelled look, I was sure I would be on the danger-level according to this group. I had worn my hair all ruffled and dishevelled as what I had been doing in the insti for three months, to very good response. I was proud of the look and it made my day when I looked into the mirror at times, even though it miserably failed me on my journeys to the church. But I knew with this group it would go all down-hill and even before I started I incurred my mom's wrath and dad's disappointed looks. So to save them further embarassment I thought I would try to tame my mane. Bad idea, curly frizzy, dishevelled hair has a mind of its own and it is used to a certain liberty in life; certainly hates the comb. So it was that when I was done with the hair I looked like a French poodle on a bad-fur day, tufts of hair sticking out whichever way. Add to it the super-man t-shirt and I was somewhere between a nerd and a fool. The lengths we go to save our parents' pride. My folks would have broken down laughing hadn't it been for the extremely grave situation they were in. They were probably at cross-roads thinking about about disowning their elder son and taking only the younger one instead. Fatso was picture-perfect as this trip was one he wouldn't miss in a life-time. Finally after much thinking they probably came to the conclusion that they had to bear with the prodigal elder son. It has taken much pain to raise me up and I felt sad for the poor folks; hence the attempt to tame the hair at great personal embarassment. I was right on all counts as with each introduction foreheads wrinkled, noses twitched, fingers pointed(to be hastily put away), and long hard stares were donned at the 'different' elder son. 'Bank-aunties' had their pupils open real-wide and not-too well-hidden smirks flashed at the black sheep of the family. 'Bank-uncles' couldn't hide their disappointment for the rotten apple of the family and foreheads wrinkled riding their spectacles up real high, and the whites of their eyes which ride out only for crisp 1000 rupee notes and heavy discounts at retail-stores, were visible now with obvious disregard, for the son that turned out 'bad'. All in all I enjoyed the obvious aversion to my looks(really I couldn't agree more folks, my hair shouldn't have been tamed), but I did feel sorry for my poor folks. They are pretty decent people and they shouldn't really take flak because they have a son who wants to think 'differently' for a change. Not when the son is 25 anyway. Anyways I wanted to get out of my tamed look. And that I did to partial success and went out with a lighter heart to a full-Swiss breakfast.
Breakfast was a special affair as I loved the French breads and the various jams and the cheeses and oh! just about everything. I will never tire of Swiss/French breakfasts, though I am yet to get in terms with their cold meat. I washed everything down with a rich coffee and stepped outside with a spring in my steps to see Zurich.
Rhine Falls:
We were headed first to the Rhine Falls on the Swiss-German border. I sat plastered to the window as the road took us through breath-taking Swiss countryside. Quaint farmhouses, rows of neatly planted crops, freshly rolled grass lying on the fields. Meadow followed meadow with lush green grass, dotted with wild flowers of every hue. All growing as though someone had trimmed them to perfection. Every hedge, every field, every barn we passed was picture-card material. There is something about the Swiss countryside; it looks as though everything here grows to be beautiful and is naturally trimmed to perfection. Even the tree-lines around the farms have a definite curve about them and I am quite certain someone has taken a blade through them so that everything looks beautiful. All through there is no sign of trash of roads or anything ugly. It seems like God has given the Swiss a view of what is paradise and the Swiss, hardworkers that they are, have maintained it to perfection quite like their watches.
We reached the Rhine Falls on the river Rhine ofcourse. Quite like the Niagra falls in appearance, it was a beautiful sight. The water rising as foam at the base from twin falls seperated by a small piece of rock at the top. The spray hung in the air giving it a beautiful appearance. We took snaps and also a family snap at one of the cafes with the Falls for background. We did some shopping and I spent considerable time thinking if I should take a Swiss cow-bell. I became good friends with our tour guide, Jina ma'am, a friendship that would be further strengthened in due course of the trip. Fatso picked a Swiss-army knife while I picked the Swiss cow-bell.

Where is the bag????
It must have been half-an-hour into the journey from Rhine Falls to our next destination Mt. Titlis when Fatso asked for my laptop bag. It came as a sudden sharp shock to me- I didn't have it with me. Then came the sharp realisation; I had kept it under one of the chairs for the family snap at the cafe at Rhine Falls. A deathly silence descended upon the group as I related to them the loss and that the laptop held the contents of my thesis. There are no words to describe the feelings at the time, the laptop's contents were my life's work till then. There were copies but nothing could compare with the original. I was stunned and in a sense of shock. I wanted to et out of the bus right then and hitch-hike back and get the bag, but m'am would have none of it. We were too far and transportation was near impossible. Sometimes nothing works but divine intervention. One of the group, Roy sir, had just the previous evening got in touch with an old friend in Zurich and was yet to see him, both after a very long time. He called him up and the friend very readily agreed to drive all the way to Rhine Falls and get my bag back to the hotel when we arrived- provided it was still there. Tense minutes passed and I think rolled into an hour, all passed in silent prayer. I was hating myself for making such a stupid and costly mistake and also for spoiling everyone's good time. And then came the call like a God-send "the bag is still here and everything is inside. I will bring it along to the hotel when you people get back from the day's trip" said the friend. I thanked God profusely and proceeded to thank the group for their support in my hour of distress. I still remain indebted to Roy sir and his friend for all the help and for everyone's prayers during the time. That incident though was an eye-opener in more than one way which I will not discuss here.

Mt. Titlis:
We reached Mt. Titlis in high spirits. With a height of 3238 m. Titlis is the second highest peak in Switzerland and its most popular ski-resort. We took a cable car that climbs up the mountain to its summit in three stages. The last stage is covered in the rotair or a rotating cable car which rotates as it climbs thus giving the passengers a 360 degree view. It is huge and can take upto 30-40 odd passengers at one go I guess. The snow-line starts way before the summit and it was a beautiful sight to behold the mountain decked in thick snow. We spent close to an hour on the summit, throwing snowballs, making snow-angels (Fatso and I have never had the opportunity of doing any of this before). We quickly got the hang of it and had a lot of fun. I still maintain that I got Fatso with a wicked one(snowball) and that he could never really close the tally. Ha there ! we made slides in the snow and it was a treat to watch the old man get a whiff of life while mom watched on. I guess both of them enjoyed the mountain in their own way. From the summit we descended into the thickest ice-caves(artificial) in the world and went about exploring them. We enjoyed the ride back down on the cable car. On the way back it was more watching in awe-struck silence at the beautiful Swiss countryside. We had our lunch at an Indian restaurant and did a Zurich city tour before heading back to the hotel. I marvelled the clockwork working of the Swiss -be it their watches, trams, machinery, lives. In Zurich everything runs on time and the people abide strictly to the laws. Everyone is paid well and all in all the quality of life is the best in the world. I guess that is the prize for living in such strict but healthy regimen.
To be continued....


  1. thank god you got your laptop back o_O! hope you've anyway made a backup!

    you must put up photos on your blog!

  2. @sumana..the photos are on my fb account..there are too many to put here.. :)

  3. leo, someday someone is gonna write a book out of your (mis)-adventures...

  4. and please please please remove captcha for commenting.. it is so irritating to figure out what the text is!

  5. @Sundeep on my (mis)adventures? :) lol...if i keep going at this rate.,..hehe maybe i will have enough for a small book :D I have removed the captcha..or so i think..tell me if it still there..