The day I reached Grindelwald, the heat was at its peak. At least that’s what I heard from all whom I met. The receptionists at the hotel where I was put up were at their skimpiest best when they strapped their bag at the end of their duty hours. They seemed in a hurry to pull the official attire off and get into something casual. And boy they did!
“It is sticky and we need a dip.” They said as they tugged the t-shirt a little down to cover the rubenesque flat gut. Way below the navel hung the shortest cotton shorts. Hot, indeed!
Hot? Did they say, unbearably hot? Well for me, who had travelled from Muscat during June, it didn’t quite seem so. It was hot, but not unbearable.
The old couple from the UK, who I later gathered were regulars to Grindelwald for the last seven years, looked skyward and then later westward and muttered under their breath: “Better reach before the shower starts.”
I was on a visit to Grindelwald, courtesy Grindelwald tourism. Well, for those (few) uninitiated, Grindelwald is a tiny valley (if I may call it) surrounded by three mountains in Switzerland.
The room that I was allotted had a lovely garden on one side (or so I thought)and the majestic Eiger on other. What I thought was the lovely garden was actually a grave yard, so well–manicured and maintained. The day the house-keeping lady said this, I requested the front office to shift me to another room, probably overlooking a church or something. But the rooms were all taken. Damn!
So when the night fell, together with rains, claps of thunders and slivers of lightning, I resorted to spending time away from the room and so went to the nearby café, where some live football match was going on. I am not much a football fan but on this day, I was so deeply engrossed in the game, that I didn’t realize it was getting over!
Back in the room, I switched on the TV with a flourish and started watching cartoon network in French (all channels were in French or German). In the course of flipping channels, I must have fallen asleep. I woke up suddenly to some melancholic piano notes and saw that the TV was still running. I must have flipped channels accidentally while asleep. On the TV screen was what looked like a chat show. Superb! I washed my face, put the thoughts of the cemetery away unsuccessfully and tried to concentrate on the chat show. The time was painfully, quarter past three and that’s when Conjuring and Paranormal clocks came into my mind.
Amid the petering rains, flashes of lightning and loud claps of thunder, I was watching TV. Oh wait, it was not a chat show. They were showing an evangelist talk to someone seemingly possessed. I tried frenetically to change the channel but the remote seemed stuck. All on a sudden the light went off in the exact moment, I heard the loudest thunder-clap. As I dived into my cot and pulled the duvet over my head, allowing just a tiny bit of space to see the door, I could make the eerie dim blue hue in the corridor lit up by the emergency lamp. Not a sound around and then I saw the shadow of a feet just outside my door. The hand that belonged to the feet tried to open the door as I could see the handle of my door moving down. Calling all the Gods and silently sending prayers, I covered my face completely and shut my eyes hard.
Next day, I woke up to the lovely sound of the bells of the grazing cows. The soft morning sun light was sweeping the entire valley beautifully. Under my door was an envelope.
It was from my guide cum friend from Grindelwald Tourism who had missed the last train to her place and thought of jamming it with me.
The dandelions and violets in the garden below couldn’t have looked prettier!