Parsley and Thyme

Posts Tagged ‘jungfraujoch

Living Lives, Seducing Memories

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I have often wondered why certain sensory perceptions from my past have been indelibly (perhaps) inked into this fascinating fertile ground called ‘memory’. And why memories, seemingly involuntarily but ever-accurately, stir-up the exact original feelings that prevailed when the event occurred, irrespective of its time-stamp.

I must explain. Seeing a picture, video or word that says ‘Alps’ or any other remotely connected mountain range brings a deep sense of loneliness in me, even when am I with superlatively interesting company (a.k.a husband). This is where the theory that I put forth in the first paragraph comes into effect. The background behind the making of this particular memory hereby follows.

Jungfraujoch at 11,332ft, the highest point accessible by railway in Europe, is a strip of the Alps mountain range that belongs to Switzerland. On a sincere summer morning, fluid-smooth, pristine white glaciers flow endlessly among the mountains while grand Alpine peaks rise up like freshly sharpened pencils pointing at the blue skies, making the entire surroundings a visual spectacle. I know, I was there. And it was on one such summer morning, almost a decade ago. I rummage through my memory now and recall admiring the vista which seemed to me then, newly exposed as I was to original European art, like one giant Medieval painting. I was on the trip with two colleagues from office, one of whom I barely got along with, and the other, recently married, returned the same feeling with ease as his whole world started and ended at the daintily-colored chubby feet of his lady love. I was single, and the only people who persisted in communicating with me (a.k.a parents) were several thousand miles away. Yes, such sadness can be precipitated in a world that was yet ignorant of mobile telephony.

So while fellow tourists ooh-ed and aah-ed at the ethereal view the summit presented, my eyes kept wandering to a small stone slab embedded within the snow. The slab had the word ‘Delhi’ inscribed on it, along with the distance to Delhi from where we stood on the joch. That there were names and distances to a few other major cities in the world on the same slab, is a point of low significance to this incident and apparently to my memory as well, as the only name I recall from the slab in focus, is ‘Delhi’. My mood ? I was literally on top of the world, but felt utterly lonely.

And interestingly, neither my parents nor anyone I knew at that time, lived in Delhi. Hmmm.

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Written by Kanchana

November 3, 2011 at 3:14 am

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