On Monday it was three years since we relocated to Germany. I still remember the day we landed here: our airport shuttle dropped us in front of the house we had been allotted for our first month’s stay, and a young lady was waiting there to hand over the keys of a shining black Mercedes A Class standing next to her. I do not remember if she was blonde or brunette; all my attention was on the Mercedes, which, looking back, seems rather regrettable as the A Class is really a very ordinary car.
The house was an old, spooky one, and our apartment on the top floor had a nice view of the village: rooftops covered with snow, just like a painting.
About a fortnight later we shifted to an apartment we liked, and after three years the rooms we once considered spacious are now stuffed with belongings we hardly use but do not wish to part with.
The years have gone by in a hurry. Memories that remain are those of travel and people.
Of our drive through France, across the Pyrenees into Spain, ahead to the southern coast of Portugal and back: five thousand five hundred kilometers filled with kaleidoscopic variety.
Of the rolling meadows of Tuscany and the cluttered rooftops of Florence.
Of trying to ski in the slopes of the Swiss Alps, falling, getting up and falling again.
Of the gypsy dance in the square of Luxembourg, and the saxophone quartet in the tower of Belfort.
Of the timelessness felt in the Viennese coffeehouses.
Of the tinge of sun’s warmth in the middle of Zurich-see.
Of playing cards in the car in the middle of a long traffic jam.
Of hiking in Bernese Oberland, with rain on our heads and snow at our feet.
Of our neighbor who always spoke of his constipation or his sore throat when we greeted him with “How are you doing?”
Of another neighbor who spoke of his escape into West Germany from the East, smuggled across the border by a shepherd when he was a boy of 10.
Of yet another neighbor who told us she just came back from the friedhof, while we smiled gaily, unaware that friedhof meant cemetery.
Of the piano tuner’s magical skills.
Of the stranger, an English teacher, who drove us from the railway station to the spot in town we wished to visit.
Of Madhu’s commentaries during Hindi movies, and Bala’s amazing skills of negotiation while playing Siedler.
Of places and events revealed to us by Uta and Stefan.
Of the scrabble game at Mark and Venita’s.
Of places yet to visit, people yet to meet.