Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A bizarre morning

DISCLAIMER: Any resemblance to any character dead or living is completely incidental.(Can someone always get away from controversies/troubles by including this disclaimer?)

I was doing my internship at a place which is being considered by most of the Indians as Heaven -- Switzerland. But I was getting bored of seeing similar kind of natural scenic beauty everywhere I went in this country. So, I asked Him for an interesting experience. But little did i know that "dena waala jab deta hai, toh deta hai chappar phaad ke" i.e. when God is in a mood to give you something, He will blow off the roof of your house first. Well, this literally proved true on that Saturday morning when I lost the roof over my head for around 6 hours in a sequence of perfectly timed events.So, be careful about what you wish for, as they may be granted sometimes.

Andhera,AV,Goli and Bhengra had arrived last night at my place and we had planned to leave for Titlis(another natural scenic beauty location) by the train at 5.45 am. That day my room-mate Amit was leaving for India, so he had to catch a train at 6.15 am. Sandip, my other room-mate was leaving for Italy same morning at 6.20 am. So,my apartment would have been deserted for the day after 6.20 am. The others got up in time and were ready to leave for the train station. I was running a bit late on the schedule. I hurriedly ran through the daily chores, changed my lowers, grabbed woollen cap and gloves, wished Amit a safe journey home and rushed downstairs. As soon as i walked out of my building, i realised that i didn't have my room keys. The main door had a self-locking mechanism.It was locked now.I tried to call my room-mates via the intercom available downstairs but none of them picked up. It was around 5.40 am and the train was scheduled to leave at 5.45 am. I thought it's time to go, I can have the duplicate keys later from the landlord.So, i ran down the street and managed to catch the train in time along with others.

But as i said earlier, that day was really bizarre. It was only when the train wheels were set into the motion, I realized that I don't have the Eurail pass. Without the Eurail pass, the whole trip would cost me around 100 Euros. So, I decided to get down at next station and head back to my room and wake up my landlord and get the duplicate keys. The next station at which train stopped was Palazeuix.It was 6.00 am then and the train from there back to Lausanne was at 6.03 am. But unfortunately, this train was a local passenger train and it stopped 3 times at other smaller stations before reaching Lausanne. It was 6.30 am when I arrived at Lausanne. I knew that my room-mates were surely gone by this time. I was desperately hoping that my landlord, who owns a restaurant bar, was still there in the apartment.

I was back at my apartment at 6.40 am and ringed the bell corresponding to my landlord's apartment but there was no response even though i kept it ringing for 5 minutes. I gave up and sat down there, hoping for some divine intervention. After sometime, I saw the shop before my apartment opening up. I asked the lady in the shop if she knew when does that bar shop of my landlord opens up. She answered that it opens around 9 am. So, I had no other option but to wait there for the restaurant bar to open. Since there were two hours left before the bar opened, I went back to the station and explained to my friends that it will take me a few more hours to retrieve my key. So, I asked them to leave by the next train which was at 7.45 am and call me a few hours later so that I can convey to them whether I am still stuck outside the room or I am on my way to Titlis.

I went back to the apartment and waited for the bar shop to open. At around 8.30 am, I heard some footsteps. A cleaner who worked at the bar was opening the bar shop and was about to begin his job. I asked him if he could call my landlord. He didn't understand English and i didn't understand French(In hindsight, I felt that I should have learnt a few French words ). I kept telling him my landlord's name several times and he responded by writing '15 july' on a piece of paper and uttered 'Espain'. Oh my God! My landlord is enjoying a vacation in Spain, one of my room-mate has gone to India and the other won't come back before Monday night. I was truly stressed out thinking of possible options as to how can I retrieve my key.

As I had nowhere to go, I was sitting at the stairs contemplating a way out of this situation. It was 9.30 am by that time. Now, it was too late for me to go to Titlis as it took almost 4 hours from my place to reach there and without the Eurail pass, it was too expensive. I went to the bar again and asked the French worker the cell no. of my landlord using sign language. He understood me somehow and wrote down a number on a piece of paper. I dialled the number and my cell-phone shut down due to low battery. Nothing was going in my favour that day. God was making sure that i am having an exciting time. I went to a public pay-phone and called at the number but I could hear only the voice a French women who was speaking greek to me. I could feel the homeless feeling then. I looked around and found a church across the street. I walked down there with the goal of asking Him for directions. I went there only to find that the doors were closed. It seemed that all the doors were closed for me that day. I went back to my favorite place -- the stairs at the ground floor of my apartment.

I didn't knew when i fell asleep sitting at my favorite place. I only needed a begging can to look perfectly like a homeless. I woke up only when i heard the footsteps of another human arriving towards me. He was another worker from Bar arrived and (thank God)he spoke English. He said that he has got the keys of the main door only. He said that the only person who could possibly have duplicate keys to my room would arrive at 10.30 am.It meant that my stay at my favorite place was extended by an hour now. I was feeling very hungry by that time, so I headed towards Mc'Donalds. Fortunately, I didn't forget my wallet that morning. Otherwise, the situation would have been grave (or in other words, I could have gone to a grave). I satisfied my hunger and thirst with chips from a supermarket and vanilla milkshake from Mc'Donalds. Since, i had no means of entertainment available to me at that time, I looked at the other stuff present in my wallet. I found my monthly Metro pass. In order to kill time, I spent some time using the metro doing a to-and-fro journey.I reached the bar again at 10.45 am. The person i was waiting for hasn't still arrived. I waited for him for another 30 mins sleeping at the stairs. Then I went back to the bar again and asked the English speaking worker if that person arrived. It was 11.15 am, but he hasn't arrived yet . Probably, he was also on a vacation.

Seeing my troubled looks, the English speaking worker concedes that the key he has with him is not only the key to main door but also the key to one of the rooms in the building. After all the events occurring that day, I certainly didn't expect that i would be lucky this time. But there was no harm in trying my fortune, so I asked him to please do so. He opened the main door and then I led him to my room on the top floor. He put his keys inside and whoa! The room opened ! It was as if I had discovered a treasure. I can't describe how happy and how relieved I was at that moment. But the day hasn't ended. So,I left on my journey to Lucerne( a nearby location), this time ensuring I have the keys and Eurail pass with me. But my misfortune continued that afternoon also. (More on that later after I ...)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

weight gain --> zero error

As amit, needed to weigh his baggage before going to India to ensure that everything was under the limits of 20 kg set by swiss airlines, he got a weighing machine from the lab. His baggage was fine and under the limits. After that we started weighing ourselves and have a few giggles discussing how to counter for extra baggage weight.

I : "why don't you tell the airlines that i have lost around 5 kgs here. So, please bear with the extra amount."
Amit : "If they say that it's crossing the limits, i shall start wearing as much stuff i can on myself such as 3-4 shirts + jacket + 2 jeans"

He is back in India now and had luckily not to revert to any of such ideas as his baggage weighed just 19 kgs.

In his absence, I weigh myself and find that the reading is 55 kgs. I am happily surprised that i had gained 2 kgs here over the last 2 months.By the evening, Nitin and others arrives at my room, he gets excited seeing the weighing machine.Nitin stands on it and it said "102 kgs". Nitin is surprised that he has crossed the 100 barrier. Then he carefully examines the weighing machine and notices that there is a zero error of 4 kgs.My happiness didn't last long.

1) Nitin has not crossed the 100 barrier yet. A few more burgers to go.
2) I haven't gained weight.A few more pounds to lose to disappear.
3) Next time, when i suspect that i have gained weight, i shall look for the zero error first.

the intern song

Chorus: kaam kiya toh darna kya
kaam kiya toh darna kya

internship pe kaam kiya hai
koi baikati nahi ki
toh phir report likhne se darna kya


internship pe kaam kiya hai
koi masti nahi ki
toh phir safed kagaaz ko kaala karne mein darna kya


internship pe kaam kiya hai
eurotrip ke liye koi bahana nahi maara
toh phir report likhne mein itna sochna kya.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Return of the ...

A and B (my two favorite characters) are back at Guwahati for their final year.Though the difference being that A went for a foreign internship in the summer while B was at Guwahati during that period.
After exchange of a few words(that serves the purpose of synchronisation),B remarks about the way he perceives A has changed.
B: "hey,you look different these days.It seems that you have become a metrosexual now."
A: "ya,ya..i thought that i have been retrosexual the last 3 years,why not try being metrosexual for a few days."
B: "excellent! maybe when you get bored with this metrosexual thing,you can try to be homosexual for a few days.(winks) We will have good time then."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bargain la Italia

Bargaining is one aspect which Indians are pretty good at.We always tend to bargain the price of any item unless it is branded.I thought bargaining serves good only in India.But little did i expect that this skill is a much needed one in Italy.My first destination was Florence in Italy.As i traveled in the streets of Florence,i could feel that i am at home.There were beggars and street-side shops aplenty in all the streets.

We went to Academia-- a museum housing the sculptures of Michelangelo and other famous artists.When we came out of the museum,we could find the street lined up with hawkers selling panoramic pictures of Italy.We stopped to glance the pictures at one of the open-air-shops.After looking through a few of the pics,my friend selected one and asked the price.Now,the bargaining began.
He: "15 euros only".
me: "I will pay only 5 euros".
He: "ok..done.you get this at 5 euros".
My friend willingly paid the amount of 5 euros and got the pic he had selected.I was suspicious that this is still too much.So,i simply walked away.As i walked away,I could hear him shouting 4 euros.But i kept on walking.

Then we went to the famous Duomo at Florence.There again we found a few hawkers selling paintings.I went up to one of them and asked him the price of a painting though i had no intention of buying one even if he agreed to my price.
me: "how much will i have to pay for this one?"
he: "8 euros"
i started walking away.
he: "wait,how much will you pay"
me: "2 euros"
he: "i will sell at at least 4 euros"
i again start backing away.
he shouts: "3 euros"
i walk a few paces away.
he runs and catches me and says: "ok,just 2.5 euros"
As,i was simply not interested in buying the portrait,i say "naaa.." and kept walking away with a grin on my face.I looked at my friend who had bought a portrait at 5 euros and my grin got wider.

A lesson had been learned that day that do not forget to bargain at street-shops in Italy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The rubbing part

Here comes the inelegant part where i describe how i struggled to clear the evidences of how i had used her roughly.Now,i am describing my inability to an intelligent,innocent and straight-thinking audience.(That's my assumption.)

Scene 1: 8:00 am,Thursday
She was holding the whitish-colored fluid.It was all over her body.She soon started fuming and even spilled out some of that invaluable fluid out of her body.I forgot to stir the liquid at constant intervals.She didn't complain about it at that moment.But in hindsight it proved to be a costly mistake.I left her in that configuration and went out to catch the metro to CRAFT lab.

Scene 2: 8:00 pm,Thursday
I see her lying down at the same place.She had the remains of that whitish fluid all over her body.She was asking silently to be cleaned up lest anyone notices her in such a condition.She is to be used by many for similar purpose.I begin the cleaning part by washing the stains on her body slowly using water and foam.But the stains were quite deep by that time.I had no option but to start the rubbing action.I began rubbing her body with complete dedication but after sometime,i was exhausted.Still she was not satisfied and had those stains over her body.I came to conclusion that i can't do anything more to clean her up.I decided to take a snapshot of her and publish it on my blog and let the audience judge whether i had done a good job or not.

That's all i have to say in my defense.

Here is the snapshot of her(exclusively shot by me).

Friday, June 5, 2009

A night at Interlaken Ost. station

Summary: A fabricated tale of a few interns who went from riches to rags and braved the stormy winds to reach the topmost point of Europe.

It was the early morning of Saturday when a group of Indian interns left Lausanne to visit Jungfrau,the highest accessible peak in Europe.Their plan was formulated by AK.He had planned a tour such that it involved spending a night at Interlaken platform.He had great difficulty convincing others that it is a viable option and a good option.Somehow,convinced or not,they reached Interlaken by 4 pm.They kept some fruits and cakes and sandwiches in their back-packs as the necessary ammunition to fight against Hunger within.

The weather was pleasant and refreshing.They spent sometime admiring the view of lakeside and walked along the pavements near the lake and found a nice spot to sit down and chew upon a few sandwiches while watching the sun set along horizon.AK came up with the idea of visiting Lake Thun which was about 2 kms away from the current spot.They started walking along the road to reach towards Lake Thun.After walking for around 15 mins,they noticed that the only way of reaching Lake Thun was through a national highway.They started discussing the point whether they should continue walking further or not.Considering the risk involved and the amount of fatigue,it was not difficult to guess what the outcome would be.They headed back to the lakeside spot.(it was actually a canalside spot)

After spending a few more moments watching the streams of water pass by,the spirit of adventure again arose in their souls and they started their exploration trip once again.With no specific direction or no specific place to visit,they walked at a leisurely place observing the cattle grazing in the fields,two dogs fighting,an wooden bridge and finally they reached the woods.The path ahead led into a dense forest and it was getting quite dark.They decided to click a few pictures posing with the woods as if they camped there.Then they headed back to the Interlaken train station.(In simple words,they were scared to explore more as there was an isolated,spooky house present among that wilderness.)

That day was a lucky one for them as it was also the closing day of Nissan Adventure Sports 2009.They witnessed some amazing videos and pics prepared by 5 professional teams.Those videos and pics captured their best moments.Truly,a picture is worth a thousand words.It was a lively environment.People were blowing the hooters to express their feelings.This event finished in 2 hours and then they were again jobless.They drank the beer available cheaply at one of the outlets.It was getting chilly there with each passing moment.They chose to take shelter in a restaurant called Hooters.Their motive was to spend as much time as possible in there to avoid facing the cold winds outside.They took their time in deciding the menu like 30 minutes.Then they decided to order chicken wings and tried to consume the chicken wings with the rate of one piece per 15 minutes but when they finished,it was only 2'0 clock.They were back on the street,homeless and jobless but they were not cashless.

Walking along the street,their eyes lit up when they saw a casino signboard.They decided that they should give themselves a shot at this.Why miss this experience.A bunch of interns-turned-gamblers headed towards Casino Kursaal with great expectations.But how could they have forgotten to pose with the Casino building before entering it.So,here have a look at them.

They went into the casino with a few francs in their pockets and hoped to come out as winners,sweeping the floor.They rolled the dices and it turned up in their favour initially and they got involved in it.But,soon their luck ran out and they have lost all the money they had reserved for enjoying adventurous rides at Jungfrau.They walked out gracefully of the casino with their hands hidden in the empty pockets of their jackets.It was 3'o clock.Now,they had only one option i.e. spend the rest of night peacefully at the railway platform.The jackets weren't proving sufficient for keeping them warm.Still those brave souls,somehow braving those cruel winds reached the platform.

The Interlaken Ost. platform was an open one with winds blowing across the platform.There were a few benches on which some of them retired.The rest proceeded to the underground subway and decided to lay down there.Soon,they realized that they need some money for the trip to the top of Europe next day.So,they covered their faces and stretched their hands in hope of some help.Have a generous look at these brave hearts.

The night passed by and these mighty hearts survived the savage winds.They also got a few anonymous donations in the process.Their joy is evident from the smile on face of one of them.They have spent a homeless night at Switzerland successfully.

They took the train early that morning to reach Jungfrau.Instead of enjoying the view outside,they all were fast asleep.

A picture finally of the place where they all reached.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How i am managing to survive

Now,i am going to document the part which makes me remember of better times in India.Yes,i am talking about the times when i have to look for Food.I have to think hard of an option which is not expensive if i opt to buy or an option which is easy to cook if i opt to stay at home.Now,i know why cooking is called an art.These experiences have made me realize why in India in arranged-marriages the cooking skills are given such importance.

My day begins with a breakfast of toasted bread,butter/cheese and a glass of milk.The menu seems impressive but if someone serves you the same items continuously for 14 days,then your perception might change about it.Some days,i eat corn flakes/cereals with milk.Then,after washing the plates and the frying pan,(Washing utensils is one more reason I wish i were at home.You keep scratching the sides of the pan but you are not going to win anything here.) i leave by metro to CRAFT lab.

As the clock approaches 12'0 clock,i start feeling some voices coming from my stomach.I step out of the lab on the mission to silent the paapi pet.Sometimes,i am accompanied by either Amit or Sandip on this mission.I go to a shop,i go to a cafeteria,i go to a restaurant,i go to a shop on the wheels.This process continues for a while until i am tired of finding inexpensive proper vegetarian food or food with chicken as the non-veg item.Generally,we settle down on poule curry or cheese/leaves sandwich as the right choice for lunch.Though it is not sumptuous, it is sufficient for the survival of a 50-60 kg weighing adult.

When the clock strikes 5'0 clock,i start making preparations to leave the lab and to reach home sweet home.By 5'30,i reach my residence area and now it's time for shopping for dinner/breakfast.Again,i am either with Amit or Sandip.We go to the shop called "Migros" which provides cheap options for survival of 3 Indians.We carefully examine the prices of all brands for a particular food item and then make an economic decision.We buy bread,milk,butter,jam,potatoes,tomatoes,onions,eggs,yogurt etc. whatever we think we can cook easily.Then we proceed towards the Asian shops located at Avenue de France.These shops sell frozen paranthas which just need to heated and it is ready to eat.Our shopping adventure generally ends here and we head back towards our apartment located at a higher altitude(5th floor).

Now cometh the hour when three indians look at the items they have in the fridge and decide what should be their dinner.One of them says let us have veg rolls today.Then they start about their task.One of them discovers how to use a peeler to peel a potato.He peels off another one.Then he gracefully offers another person the chance to experience how does it feels to peel your first potato.The first person now looks for a knife to cut the peeled potatoes into smaller fragments.He looks in the drawer to find three knives.After applying Newton's law of motions for a few moments,he finally chooses the biggest knife which is generally used to cut the meat for the purpose of cutting his first peeled potato.He safely completes the task.Meanwhile,the other person has somehow managed to peel off some more potatoes.
After doing some more cutting the potato chips,some circular,some rectangular,some indescribable are ready to be cooked in sunflower oil.The cooking continues for a few minutes until we become desperate and decide that it's cooked.Now,it's time to heat up some tortillas.Some get over-heated,some get under-heated.However,we are finally finished preparing the dinner.Now,the much awaited time arrives and we bring into play jam,yogurt,salt,sugar,chana masala,etc. to cover up blemishes in cooking the food.We started up with the aim of making veg rolls and ended up eating tortillas as rotis and fried potato chips as vegetable.The hunger within always finds an ultimate taste in this food.Thus,one more day ends here.

PS:1)Happy birthday my love! Since you don't know to cook,i can't continue to love you anymore. :P
2)Don't ping me to comment on this post.I am feeling low as Kholu's blog has got 10 followers while mine got only two.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Coming of age

23 May,2009: This day was special for me as i turned 21 on this day.I was a bit disappointed by the (lack of) response of this disgraceful world.You,Ungrateful souls at least you could have remembered the treat that i gave to you last year.I kept cursing the disgraceful world for more than a few moments.Then,i reflected back on this situation philosophically and this current situation started amusing me.I arrived at the conclusion that i am expecting too much from such souls that they shall wish me and they are expecting too much from me to treat them again.

After receiving,a few phone calls from my relatives,i lightened up and i was able to get out of the philosophical mode.Then,i went with Sandip to view lake Geneva flowing at Ouchy.It was an effortless bike(bicycle) ride to Ouchy down the slopes of road.There,we were joined by Manish and then we roamed around at the carnival at Ouchy.We kept looking at the prices of food items and consenting that this is bakwas and it is too expensive.We moved along to the ride section where several wonderful expensive rides were observed by us.I kept clicking using my Canon-A480 powershot with 3.3x optical zoom and 10.1 megapixels(I am not showing off.Am I? :D).So,i kept clicking pics of all the rides which i found interesting.This activity went on for some quite time until i decided that i desperately need to spend some money on the "Around the world" ride.The ride cost was 6 CHF.My friends were not willing enough to accompany me in this ride.So,i had to take this ride without them. This ride took me 110m above the ground and from there i observed the Lausanne city.(As a matter of fact,the next day i went to a place which was 3000m above the sea-level.So,perhaps i wasted 6 CHF here).

It is not easy to enjoy the carnival without spending money there.We tried hard for an hour or so.Then we decided to have a closer look of the Lake Geneva instead.It was a beautiful sight to see the vast stretch of waters and beyond that the mighty mountains.It was hard to resist from wading into the cool,calm water bare-foot.So,we gave in quickly and allowed the refreshing water to gently rise and fall beneath our feet.After some time,we came out from the waters and moved along the lakeside for quite some time.As it was getting dark,we headed back to our residences.Hence,a peaceful day ended and what followed was a memorable night.

(PS:Ungrateful souls,don't wish me in the comments section now.If you do so,you will be added to my ungrateful list.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

This is how it all begins

Although,i don't like the idea of writing posts which describe how i reached here or how i reached there,how i walked on the road,how i crossed the road,how i sat on a chair,how much i paid for buying a train ticket,how i stared at the foreign chicks with great expectations etc etc, but yet i am here to write something to satisfy my tickling fingers and document my experiences through a blog.

I am a bit apprehensive about elaborating on my journey details and revealing the funny side of my experiences because humor is greatly a relative term.But,the motivation of writing a descriptive post is driving me fingers to type this text.Now,it seems that i am answering a question in HSS exams where marks are going to be awarded to me depending on the length of my post.In such exams,the content doesn't matter,what matters is the length.(Damn it,content and length doesn't rhyme.I can safely say that i am at loss of words now).So,two paras gone,enough to bluff the HSS teacher to give me an AA for this post.

Now,let me begin the boring part.You can skip this part.
It was the fateful night of Friday the 11th when i was supposed to reach the Delhi Airport to board the flight on Swiss Airlines to Zurich.I packed in as much as stuff as i can think of as essential in my baggage.It was overweight and i thought the airlines won't charge me more than 2000 for extra 4 kgs.I reached the IGI airport at 10.30 pm and moved a step closer to my destination.The lady behind the check-in baggage counter gave me a plastic smile and i returned back a plastic-cum-apprehensive smile.She weighed in my stuff and told me it is weighing 27 kgs.I asked her confidently how much it will cost me to carry the extra baggage with me.When she said that it will cost 6,000 to carry the chawal-daal present in my bag,i became tense.I had only 2000 in my pockets. So, i had to call my dad to come back to airport to take away the chawal-daal stuff.This was the only twist in my tale of how i boarded the plane.
But my other friends encountered some serious problem in convincing that their visa was not fake. The visa didn't have a proper stamp on it.It took a lot of convincing on Anand's and Satyam's part to convince the airport authority that they weren't holding fake visas. I was saved this part as my extra-baggage problem took some time to resolve.Thank god for his kindness.
I boarded the plane and saw a few air-hostesses welcoming the passengers on board with a genuine-looking smile. This time i got a genuine smile on my face as i responded to her greetings. An ignorant air-traveller(me) was trying to get used to the custom and tradition of air-travel. There were movies being telecast on the LCD display present before my seat.After a few minutes of struggle with the remote present to handle the LCD display,i managed to know how to use it.I chose to watch Happy feet and sometimes Sorry Bhai.After a few hours,i felt sleepy and woke up to find myself very close to my destination.The airline offered a sumptuous breakfast meal.It was delicious and to top that,there was a swiss chocolate given at the end.
By the time i finished with breakfast,we were about to land in Zurich.At Zurich airport, we had some trouble understanding the sign-boards but somehow we managed to secure our baggage safely and moved out towards the zurich-gare.
This is how i reached EPFL.
(this is so boring to script down.who the hell is interested in what i did here and what i did there.i can't continue more for this moment.)

Bye now!