It was a random act that brought me to Switzerland in 2009. At that time, I changed employer to come close to my home town. Little that I knew that I will travel even farther away. Soon after joining I came to Basel, Switzerland. I did not even know the name of this town. Within couple of hours of landing in the city, I knew I am going to enjoy this city. I got the feeling on my way from airport to hotel; the journey that lasted only about 15-20 minutes. I put down my things in the hotel and I went for a walk. After about an hour of leisure walking, I realized that I have reached railway station at German border. This beautiful short walk fortified the initial feeling about this place. I still do not know exactly what I liked about this place, but it always felt that the city had some place for me. May be that’s why I got an apartment to stay in 2 weeks, when I was told that it can take months to get an apartment.
I came for a year long assignment. However, things changed and it kept on getting extended every year for next 5-6 years to come. Slowly, I got used to the small city, where everything, every place is easily approachable. 10 min walk to workplace, 5 min to river, 15 to marketplace and 20 min bike ride to courts for badminton and tennis. With every passing year, I kept on meeting new people, started new activities, learned new things. Journey in Switzerland started with a tram ride. Ride, in which for the first time I realized that one can be with lot of people, but still somehow alone. This experience was purely based on language, as I did not know any German. By the end of Journey, many new people were part of my life in Basel that always made it feel like place to live and enjoy.
In 2014, time to leave Switzerland came. One question, that was frequently asked was why I do not stay in Switzerland? I should look for a local job. After 5 years, this is my place, the place I enjoy, the place I play, the place I take long walks, the place I go to celebrate with my friends, the place I had long beautiful discussions with some beautiful people, the place I shared lots of smiles and laughter. Apart from my personal comfort, there are normal practical things that makes Switzerland amazing place to live. Organized, time oriented, clean, extremely safe, amazing salaries, low tax rates, amazing exchange rates of Swiss franc. All these, overall make one’s living quality incomparable to any other place. So, why I do not make an active effort to stay. Why I do not talk to people to get me into some project or some other company.
It is not that I did not search for jobs in Switzerland. I did, but it was more a search to see what can be done and if there is a role or work that I would like to do. Staying was never a base for the search, it never added that intensity for that too. I knew all the factors also. I knew that it means that ease of life will never be same as in Switzerland. It would again need a new start, new struggles, new challenges. May be this is why I was also confused, why I do not feel the same way as some of my other colleagues do? Why I cannot change my viewpoint to practicalities of life? Why I am not putting efforts to remain in this comfortable environment? Why I am not staying at the place which provides all means to travel around the world?
All these valid questions were there along with all the practical facts of life and Switzerland. But, one question I was never able to answer was that is this the place that I like so much as to just “move” here? One feeling always kept on telling that I should move with river, do not put an anchor to one place. The feeling that makes you feel the breeze and flow with it. Yes, it not always a breeze, sometimes there is a storm. Yes, it is not always gentle flow of water, sometimes there are waterfalls and sometimes floods. Sky is not always with beautiful stars and colors. But, then won’t it be worth to go out and take the experience of the nature to its full? So, I let the life take control of me and moved out of Switzerland with smiles and happy moments for next experiences of my life.
I know something will surely will happen. Good or bad, I hope life will teach me how to evaluate it, if there is a way to do it. Till that time, I hope to see every thing, every experience, every person and hopefully every moment with a smile.
Mulla Nasruddin had become ninety-nine years old, and a reporter from a local newspaper came to interview him because he was the oldest man in the valley. After the interview the reporter said, “I hope that I will be able to come next year also when you have attained the hundred, when you have completed your hundred years. I hope I will be able to come.” Mulla Nasruddin looked at the man wide-eyed and said, “Why not, young fellow? You look healthy enough to me!”