Saturday, 2 February 2008

Here's a story.

After much huffing and puffing and tension, my exams finally got over on the 28th of Jan 2008. and then, instead of breathing a sigh of relief and enjoying for a few days, I had a take home exam to do to be sumbitted on the 13th of february for a subject we freshers had been advised not to take on account of its advanced nature (and so of course, I went and took it. I insist on finding new instruments for my lazyness to torture me with). I had reconciled myself to my 10 day holiday being washed out in yet another tense period of wasted time and desperate concentrated work coupled with irritated house-hunting (the latter the courtesy of the VUB housing department), but my parents had other ideas. They had decided that I was working too much (hear ! hear !) and needed a vacation. They dint say it, but they clearly thought I was becoming(?) psycho, sitting in my room all day, eating by myself, not meeting people and generally brooding over a cold grey cityscape and inscrutable equations and growing slowly but surely fatter and balder. (all of which happens to be true) So, when my dad visited me on the 29th, he was quite insistent that I finish my paper before friday (thats today) and go meet some friends in Switzerland over the weekend. the more he spoke of it, the more inviting it seemed, and I promised that I'd do something about it. So, after I got back to my room before lunch on the 30th (I was in Brussels with dad) I promptly took my computer over to Aditya's place (apart from being a splendid chap with a large room, his landlord provides free, fast, unlimited download wifi access) and proceeded to watch some 10-15 episodes of the Xfiles well into the night.

I slept feeling quite guilty. So the next day (the 31st, yesterday) I woke up before lunch and found out that the housing problem had been kind of, more or less, solved, but my internet was not working and my phone was lost. Understandably, I thought myself exceptionally vulnerable to attacks by hi-tech psychopaths and alien abductions, so I spent most of the afternoon fixing my internet and finding my phone (which I had forgotten at Aditya's place obviously) and so on. I gave my nonlinear optics a cursory glance and in the night, settled down for another bout of the x files in my room. By the time I slept I had realized that the time had come for desperate measures.

I woke up today morning and decided that I must go to Switzerland and meet the few friends I had there and take a break (theres irony in there somewhere). I realized (admitted is a better word perhaps) that I'd never get down to work unless I gave myself a fixed inflexible deadline. So the obvious course of action was to book my tickets to switzerland and then make myself finish the needful before then. So I thought to myself - thursday I go to Switzerland, spend friday and saturday there, back on sunday, and next semester starts on monday, so by wednesday, I have to finish my exam, attend a meeting in brussels on monday, wind up my affairs in Gent, arrange for my luggage to be shifted to Brussels in my absence, and make arrangements for Aditya (who is staying in my room for a week because his contract expired in January).

Easy.

So I started looking at the various low cost airlines. I needed to go to Zurich, thats where the chaps are, but Zurich turns out to be an expensive place to fly to. So I was prepared to fly to anywhere in switzerland, and there were 10 open tabs with any number for airports and flights and few were affordable. Finally, I saw a list which read something like

Basel - EUR180
Bern - EUR132
Geneva - EUR156
Zurich - EUR1023
Nice - EUR3

AHA ! I said to myself ! finally ! So I clicked on the last dot, filled in my card details, paid, got my ticket in my mail and as I was about to print it out, I saw something that should have been horribly obvious right at the beginning - Nice is in FRANCE !!!!! its 600km from Zurich ! and the flight is on Tuesday !!

But the deed was done. The gods had spoken. there was no turning back. . . . . since then, I have bought myself a nice medium sized backpack and a good North Face jacket (my first major non food expenses in europe and they wiped out my savings for january) and helped Aditya move to my room and fixed an appointment to wind up my room contract on tuesday afternoon. I leave for Nice on tuesday night, reach there at 10. I'll spend a day or two around Nice I guess and then go to Switzerland either via Grenoble or Milan (I've been to north Italy, so Grenoble seems a more interesting but less convenient option) and my flight back from Geneva reaches Brussels at the exact time that the first class of my next semester is supposed to start. I dont know where I'll stay in Brussels when I get back and what I'll wear to college on the first day, but I dont care.

As usual, I'm in a tight corner, but I can assure you, its a lot better than being rooted in front of a flickering screen in a dark room feeding on cheap vicarious thrills ! I'm looking forward to wide landscapes, the sea, the mountains, the flavours of faraway cities and the winds of foreign lands :-) Should be fun, especially after 4 months of motionlessness :-)

And there is the small matter of doing 2 months worth of work in 2 days, but thats routine. Thats precisely what my Bachelors degree was about :-)

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