Friday, May 28, 2010

Pictures and then the Story.



After a sticky weather all week, the sky really opened up on Sunday last week (23rd). We were really looking forward to it with a child like excitement(atleast I was!!). My Team Lead Marianne had invited us (Me and another friend and colleague, hereby called KG) to her house for a short hiking trip in the mountains and then dinner.




The Place is Thun, 30 Km south of the swiss Capital Bern(Thanks Wikipedia). We had heard, it was very very beautiful.




The Sunday morning started very early for us as we had to go to the Airport to receive another colleague who was joining us here. I woke half an hour late in the morning and hastily called KG to get ready for the Airport. We reached just on time. Weary eyed, we returned to our rooms and I was still feeling sleepy. We had planned to catch a 11:00 AM direct train to Thun. But, true to our nature, we missed it. In fact we missed two trains in a row. Both by a whisker. What a start!! KG listened to songs to pass time as we tried to figure out the next train. We caught 11:30 AM train to Bern, from where we had to change to another one for Thun. The 1 hr journey from Zurich to Bern was pleasant enough. We reached Thun around 1 PM where Marianne and her husband Rudolph were waiting for us. Rudolph is a very pleasant man. We easily warmed up towards each other as we talked about many things during our 20 mins ride from Thun Railway station to Beatenberg, a place near Lake Thun. From here we had to go up to the mountains for a brilliant view of the Swiss Alps.



The view from the top was absolutely Fantabulous. Instead of taking the train ride to the bottom we preferred to walk for about an hour (KG was a bit under pressure, but managed well). The walk itself was very pleasant giving us good views of the snowy peaks. We took the bus ride back to Thun.




We went to Marianne's house which was on the fifth floor of a apartment made on mountain slopes (pic below). The house was amazingly beautiful and view from there was one to die for.



To our surprise, Marianne prepared us a tasty Indian dinner of Rice, daal and mix veg curry. I had some white wine with Rudolph, but had to stop after only two rounds, when KG started giving some looks.




It was as good as a Sunday as any!!


P.S: All shops were closed,Thun being a small town and the day being Sunday. What little ideas KG had of Shopping were gone.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last Weekend - Basel




French Border - Somewhere on the Left. German Border - Somewhere on the right
Swiss - From where the photo was taken.

Everyone: It is a Fun post. So enjoy without being critical :)

As the weekend approached, my hits to wikipedia increased in order to find some place to visit. Bad weather and worse weather forecast had already limited our options. So, when two colleagues of mine(both girls by the way) took pity on me (Being new to the place!) and asked me to join them and a senior German colleague on their trip to Basel, I was relieved and excited at the same time. For starters, the city of Basel stands where the French, German and Swiss borders exist. Sounds Great...I thought. The pictures on wikipedia increased our expectations.

So, we started around 10:30 in the morning with atypical swiss efficiency. Our German friend(hereby called Kurt) came in his car and we boarded. The journey took little less than an hour. Kurt was concentrating hard while driving and we had to ask a couple of times, whats the matter.

Us: What is the matter, Kurt. Why are you so silent. Here, have a sandwich.
Kurt: Umm, I am watching the traffic.
Us: You have been to India, and you are saying this is traffic. There are hardly any cars on the road!!

Just a smile in return.

We parked the vehicle and decided to explore the city. Oh sorry, Did I say 'We'. Before I could ask our good friend Kurt about the places to see and visit, the girls jumped in-

'Hey Kurt, where can we do shopping here?'

Gayi bhains paani mein. I thought in Hindi. I am 200% sure, Kurt thought the same in German.

But a patient and optimistic friend that Kurt is, he asked for the directions from an old lady.

We came to know that a good shopping street is just round the corner, to girls delight and our plight. To keep a long story short, hardly a shop was spared. Watches were the hottest commodity as we went from one brand to another (Fossil, Swatch, Tissot, DKNY and god knows what!!). 'Can we go inside' was switched to 'Lets go inside'. Next in line were clothes, jewellery, Perfumes in no particular order. They had our (Me and Kurt) mute approval of exploring every shop. We smelled perfumes to check if a guy will like it (for Presents). We gave our Go-No-Go for watches, if a guy will like it.

Ye dukkan achha nahi hai.
Isme mazza nahi aaya hai
Ye wali mast lag rahi hai. Ander Chalein?
Isme bhi kuch nahi hai yaar!!
Ye wali achhi thi.
Arre Samne DKNY ka showroom hai. Chal dekh kar aate hai.
Ye ghadi kaisi lag rahi hai. Pata nahi usse pasand aayegi ya nahi.

We were bombarded with these quite frequently as me and Kurt spent time talking and drinking Coffee. (The girls actually asked us to go and sit somewhere while they explore another shop!!).

Par ek baat to sach hai, when girls go on shopping, time ka to pata hi nahi chalta. This was no exception. We only managed to see an old church (which was rather quite old) and it was grand as most churches are.

But to our credit, we were patient and it did not pay. Soon it was evening and time to return. We did took snaps as souvenirs and the name of the place went to a category in the diary as 'Also went...'

For Girls, Shopping is a journey, not a destination. A never-ending journey as someone added :)

We can not understand each other. That is true. They are from a different planet!!

Truth Be told, it was a weekend well spent. It was nice to manage something in a not so friendly weather.

Edited after Comment - We were treated to a nice dinner after our unconditional moral support for their shopping. Some rewards for our non-performance!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Settled, Almost in Zurich..

I have settled, sort of, in my room alloted to me. In a big apartment, I occupy a small room on 12th floor. It has been raining the whole week. Mostly cloudy. Sun has briefly made its presence, but enough to make its presence felt.

Railway tracks nearby, two multi-stories buildings further away and if you get lucky with the weather(no clouds),I have been told that I can see the snowy peak of Alps. When I arrived on Sunday Morning and entered my room, it was so silent that it was a bit scary. I could actually listen the sound of Silence. It was deafening. So, I opened the windows and let the cool air come in and the noise (if you can call it) of traffic and trains passing by come inside. I could sleep peacefully then.

I woke up in the evening and called home and a friend to find out that India had lost to WI, to almost crash out of WC. They did finally crash out on Tuesday. Anand won the World Championship and Indian Women qualified for the Semifinals of WCT20. Anybody knew that??

I have joined office on Monday and team members are really good. The Boss is Swiss (of Italian background, I am told). A few are German, one is from Austria, a few from French speaking part of Switzerland.

Preparing food has always been a challenge. Its only the second time I will be handling the kitchen tools all on my own. (In Spain last year being the first). I hope things go well on this front.

Weather has been very sticky. I hope it clears on weekends to allow me to go for some sightseeing. Rest is all OK... Cheers!!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Goody-Goody

Its been raining news this month. I mean, just 5 days have passed in May and I am receiving goody-goody news from friends spread over different parts of the country.

Patna:One of my best college buddies has been blessed with a baby boy. I mean, the news came like a shock to me. He has become 'papa'. I bet, even he could not believe it the first time and must have asked the doctor,'Are you sure?'. He is a great guy and an absolute fun to be with and I am feeling really really happy for the couple. I hope the boy grows to be twice as fun as his father. All Izz Well here.

Delhi: Another brilliant friend of mine has been promoted in his company. He think, it was long overdue. I, off course think the opposite. His salary will increase around 30-35% from already the exorbitant amount he is charging for just sitting and cleaning the dust from his system every two days and bunking the office every once in a while to meet his girl-friend.

Bangalore: One of my very good friends is getting married in June.I came to know it today. We were colleagues first, then grew to trust and know each other quite well over eating pathetic cafeteria lunch. The only regret will be, I will not be able to attend her wedding.

Hyderabad: Well, what else. A very emotional friend who was struggling a bit in his job has hit a jackpot. He has got admission in a prestigious MBA college on the basis of his CAT score. He says, it was all luck. I do not know. For all his struggles, he deserved it. Good luck, friend.

Bangalore/Hyderabad/Delhi: A former colleague in Bangalore after completing his MBA from Hyderabad has landed a job in Delhi. He is an interesting person to be with. Spreads laughter where ever he goes. Hoping to be no different this time as well!!

Canada: I asked a friend, share a good news with me. I want to share it with the world.
The good news is, that she has not received any bad news so far.. (Touch-wood).

Ab main apna bhi bata hi dun. To doston, I will be flying to Zurich in almost all probability(you have got to respect the nature, especially if the Volcano name is Eyjafjallajokull ) in the wee hours of Sunday on a 4 month long promotional event on Global Warming and how to save Penguins from their affects. Yeah, sorry about the last part. Its a joke. Its an official trip.

Say All the best!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pleasure, Tainted

It might be strange, that I am regularly sharing some anecdotes about my insignificant past. The only reason being, I am in a constant fear that one day, I will wake up to find my memory erased or tampered somehow and all these little incidents which makes me smile (and sometimes gloomy) will be lost forever. Hell, I might even forget that I have a blog. Well, that will be the time when you friends kick in :)

I will go a bit further back than the last post. I am in class 8th. The classroom is huge. And I mean HUGE!!Teachers have sore throat in trying to get their voice reached through the length and breadth of the room. And one day, a teacher is absent. Perhaps, it was an history class. Because I remember myself having a history notebook in class. We were merrymaking as kids our age usually do. A free period is something like 'mooh khola aur beer ki barish' (RHTDM). The class was in mayhem when a fat lady entered and we came to know her as 'Poonam madam'. Our new history teacher for today. Bacche apne apne seat ki taraf bhaage.

After a brief introduction of herself, she asked, 'What is the definition of Renaissance?' She had a loud voice. No sore throats there!! Coincidentally, that same page was open in my notebook. I quickly put the notebook 'below the bench-between the thighs' and read and gulped the first few lines of the answer. Up went my hand. And so went the 'Poonam Madam', 'Yes, you?' pointing at me.

Without any hesitation and nervous start, I recited everything I had gulped in a smooth flow. Amid a pin drop silent in the class for few seconds, Poonam Madam said (or shouted) -

'Is he the best boy in the class?'

Now, that is a very dangerous question. I asked myself, 'Am I the best boy in the Class?'

'Shut up, stupid'. Came the pat reply from my antaratma.

'Is he the best boy in the class?' shouted Poonam madam for the second time.

How can I say myself, if I am the best boy in the class. That will be difficult. But, I cant admit that somehow I manage to be in the top 10 and today I just got lucky!!

'He is the second best', murmured someone from the back meekly.

The voice reached the teacher.

'Who is the best boy in the class?' - Poonam madam in action again.

'He is absent, madam' - the same voice from the back, this time a bit more confidently.

That was it. The best boy absent notwithstanding, I was the new best. Admittedly, in only her class!! I was her blue eyed boy.