After a rainy day saunter I woke up to a sunny day next morning. I opened the window and the sunlight brightened my face. My entire surrounding was glowing with a youthful exuberance. I must confess something here. After reaching Marignier I was only exploring the nearby attractions and I never took a walk around the locality. My host had already left for skiing and I was scheduled to leave for the site seeing later in the morning, so, I decided to enjoy the early slice of the morning.
Though it would be redundant to say how breathtakingly beautiful Marignier was, I would like to describe that particular morning. There were a very few houses and nobody to be seen on the road. I took a downhill and reached a wide valley not very far from my host’s house. There were traces of snows here and there, but mostly they got melted due to the powerful sun rays. I saw green grasses for the first time after my arrival on the mountains. For the first time I discovered trees other than the pines. I noticed some unknown flowers were popping out from the bunches of green leaves. Winter could not stop them from blooming. I could see a series of overlapping mountains got assimilated into the blue sky. The sky was blue and clear with a sudden stroke of white stripes of clouds. I didn’t know that the whimsical clouds could be that artistic too! We generally tend to associate the raw beauty of a place with the description of wilderness, however, in Marignier the untouched beauty lurked with an innocent glory of tenderness.
My clock was ticking fast telling me to move on from that enticing beauty in order to go ahead with my journey. That day I planned to visit Switzerland. I already described how I had to cross a Swiss town while coming to Marignier. So, Switzerland was not far from that place. Once again my Hindi-film-stricken-alter-ego made an appearance. As a generation who has grown on the staple diet of Bollywood platters, Switzerland represents the epitome of beauty and romance to them. A Hindi film fanatic could only fathom how much the Swiss Alps mean to me. Those postcard views with snow capped mountains and small scattered wooden houses on the vast green valleys are the features of Switzerland that I had only seen in those romantic Hindi songs earlier. I had this long cherished dream of dancing around the Swiss Alps wearing a red chiffon saree like a Yash Chopra (a very famous Hindi film director and producer who was a pro in making popcorn romances) heroin. I was even carrying a red saree with me. But what I didn’t know was the winter in the Europe. I had no idea how freezing cold the Alps could be during that time of the winter. So, with a heavy heart I had to drop the idea of being a Yash Chopra heroine. But how could I let my filmy soul die there without realising the Bollywood dream? I wore a red hot dress instead. The famous director had heroines who had romanced the Swiss Alps in red hot dresses too!
So, I was once again on the road with dreams in my eyes and songs in my ears. I saw people enjoying the snow in groups. The scene started to change very soon. The more I was approaching Switzerland the more preserving the beauty was becoming. The roads were widespread and the valleys were vast than the valleys in French Alps. I entered Geneva. What I found astonishing about Switzerland was that it is an impeccably well maintained land. Everything in Geneva from the trees to the artefacts on the roadside were well maintained and in tune with one another. Unlike France which is more of a careless beauty, Switzerland is one conscious woman who knows the value of her beauty and thus always aware of how to maintain it. I crossed the United Nations’ building. I saw cyclists racing fast and I could only capture a flickering image of them. The name of the place was Publier. I reached the Geneva Lake which is locally known as the Lac Léman. It is stretched from the busy city till the far end of the remoteness. I saw houses on the opposite side of the lake and thought how lucky those residents were to have a view like this everyday! There were casinos too and I wondered who visited those! The scene around the Geneva Lake in the morning was quiet and solitary. I reached almost the fag end of the lake. I got down from the car and went down to the lake. The water of the lake was crystal clear. There were tranquil waves coming up to the banks and the continuous sound of the waves made a musical note of its own. There was a boy collecting pebbles from the lake. I joined him. The pebbles were so colourful and I discovered them floating under the water in a variety of colours like white, orange, green, yellow, purple. The water was tremendously cold. There was a white swan swimming alone. I could see the mountains far away and also the city. Then the mother of the boy came to receive him. I said goodbye to the boy. In Switzerland people talk in multiple languages. French and German are widely spoken languages there.
I walked towards the road. A line of aligned trees was standing alongside the lake and there were some empty benches. I stayed there for a while.
I resumed my journey. I was heading towards the Col du Pillon. There situates the Glacier 3000. When I reached the point I could only see snow in and out of the horizon. The entire place was covered with a thick carpet of snow. With every step my legs were immersed deep into the snow. I was standing into a knee deep in snow when I saw two people skiing down from the peak. I saw women playing in the snow and when I got closer I discovered they were Indians. Most of the Indians are infatuated by the beauty of Switzerland and I guess all of them have the similar story to explain their infatuations. Throughout my tour Switzerland was the only place where I had the maximum number of encounters with my fellow countrymen. The train ticket to the glacier costed a bomb. The place was so cold that the battery of my phone died and as I was not carrying a camera I could not capture anymore photographs of the place.
The moonlit lake.
After a whirlwind tour I was on the path of return. The return path was the same, so, I had the opportunity to visit the same places once again but that time it was in the evening light. I must say the beauty of the place against the backdrop of a setting sun was unimaginably stunning. The entire sky was dipped in a riot of colours. Never in my life I had this notion that the sky could be that colourful. I again stopped at that point of Geneva Lake where I met the little boy in the morning. This time the crystal clear water of the lake was reflecting the colours of the sky. I could see the moon was appearing between the mountains. It was completely a different scenery in the evening. I reached the centre of the town. And it was crowded. People were taking walks around the lake. Couples were busy in romance. The roads were filled with cars. And after enjoying the sun taking a dip into the water of the lake people were entering into the casinos. I got my answer actually when the doors of the casinos did open and opened for whom. The affluence of Switzerland was evident everywhere. And I could only imagine it from standing far. The sun receded completely and the moon appeared entirely.
I returned to Marignier.