Saturday, December 16, 2006

Apartment Blues... finished



the search is now over and i am now writing from our new apartment. In this city/country nothing is easy. start from looking for a flat to planning a visit to signing the contract to moving in... all steps include much more than i have previously seen in at least two countries in Europe. Really... Its not simple.

then there are these microsoft guys... god help me from them... but the xp home edition service pack 2 is just unthinkable.... the people from Mcafee are not far behind.

in the name of virus protection, they load your system with so much stuff, that normal things can't work anymore. I am seriously thinking about asking them to refund my payment for their internet security suite...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Apartment blues contd..

Well, just when we thought we have got our apartment, we got another jolt. The renting agency on which we were waiting for a decision as to whether we get the flat or not refused to answer on their predecided date. Earlier they said that they will decide (probably no for me as well) by the friday that passed by.

Unfortunately for us, they did not. Even worse, they said that they cannot give any dates as to when can that decision be taken.

Now, our second best choice, another apartment, for which the renting agency was ok renting it to us. But, when we called them on friday (after getting to know from the first choice place), they were already closed for the day.

This basically resulted in destruction of our weekend from the moving perspective. Now we did not know whether we could have the flat of our 1st choice, and the decision to move to 2nd choice apartment could not be executed since the keys needed to mvoe were stil to be handed over to us.

Here we are ...still in hotel... trying to do things to pass our time.. and not worry about loss of time that we would have to move during the workdays in the coming week.

I believe its a tough test someone has administered on us... really tough... not letting the life stabilize. Its been almost an year plus that we are waiting for things to stabilize.

well...we'll keep trying...

Friday, December 1, 2006

Apartment blues contd..

the search for apartment continues...

really.. its frustrating.. i saw two apartments.. and by the time we were reaching the place for third apartment, there was an SMS announcing that the flat is already gone. nothing doing.

Well.. the apartments are truly costly in this city as well... paying 1200-1300 Swiss Francs for a 2-2.5 room apartment.. isn't that crazy ? Well... as it is...

Earlier I was renting an apartment 2 rooms for 850 SFr only. and now I can only talk about it...someone else is living in it... although from my own company. He took it when I was gone trying to arrange or my wife's travel documents.

People around here in office do sympathize... but that does not help much really.. does it ... I hope some help arrives from somewhere...

Another saturday passed by. A mixed day with almost no tangible results.

Went to visit a flat, had to leave it due to quite a few factors.. all added up to the decision.
Some "shady" residents around there, the approach to the house, the fact that she did not like it too much, the toilet situation.. all in all, not one of those flats where you walk in and say ... wow.. i want it... still in our situation it was one choice... out of the few we have these days.

then i took her to see the flat i was renting earlier.. i hoped she would like it... but then there is another person living there already. She liked it for sure... but now we have to wait for him to find another place and leave before we can move in. Hope that happens soon enough.

If that doesn't happen... quite a few things will go wrong... :(

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Apartment blues


I never knew that finding an apartment would be so god-damned difficult.
Every option that comes across has some or other negative trace.
Either its too costly, or its available next march or the neighbourhood is not worth living in...

It could be so difficult to find an apartment in a city... ohh... ohh... I never imagined that.

On top of that, the hotel I am staying in.... its so damn small room that its difficult to fit in all my luggage let alone live there humanly.... The wife... that poor thing has to spend all her time killing the time itself.. Not knowing the local language its even worse.

Can any body out there in the blog world help me in my ordeal..... :(

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Finally Landed here...

Hey... Believe it or not...
I have finally managed it...

I have finally been able to travel to Switzerland after a frustrating 7 months of Spouse Visa processing. During that process I had to travel three times to my home country.

The company I work for cried foul, but then it was their own mess and had to handle it.

Finally, after all that has happened, We landed in Zurich on sunday 26th of nov.

I am still looking for an apartment and therefore we are in a hotel for the moment. But I hope its all headed towards a better future...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another frustrating long weekend...

Well well well... How bad can it go...

On a Monday I tell my company to transfer me back to my country, they finally wake up... The reason for my asking for a transfer back was a piece of telephone information I received from the Migration Office, that it will take about 8-9 weeks before she can finally join me here. I told my mgmt that I am in no mood to wait that long... that I am done with my job and life here and they would better start planning to send me back...

That's when they wake up and decide to try and pull some strings... Poor messy management...They waited until I gave them the ultimatum. Well, next thing I know that the country head and the sales head and who all are trying to salvage the situation. Well, then next day I receive an email from the contact person in company that the migration office have promised to deliver my resident permit in one week (earlier from 4 weeks) and they will speed up her processing as well.

As I have come to understand, the migration office people are smart in making up stories.. they really are. I have heard at least 4-5 versions of such stories from these guys tracing my processing. So, I told my top bosses, that this story better be true, since the migration people have a nack for stories...

I guess, they understood that, because I got the read receipts for my mails... but no replies...

Now I am waiting for the agreed response on Monday.

The week being short, not much was expected anyway, but I hope I can extract some good news on Monday.

And, personally, our fights continue.. and there is just one and only root cause... our frustration of living apart... In there also, we were seeing each other on weekends only... and here also.. we are set apart due to some messy management examples by my dear organization. Courtesy to that, every third or fourth day, we end up arguing about more or less the same thing and spend hours and hours consoling each other.

I have spent about 50 dollars already on my phone bill in just 3-4 weeks...

Great examples set by my professional life for my personal life... :(

And, to top all that...there are more and more long weekends lined up for me... Especially when I am in no position to go anywhere, or use them to a better option. And, I know for sure, when she is here (if) and I would need these long weekends, I would not get any of them... There will not be any holidays for me to use... hard luck me... hard luck...

Suddenly I am losing all my wish to enjoy my stay in Switzerland. I don't feel like visiting places that I am so close to .. and have been waiting to visit ever since. Places I have seen only in movies or on Television... Feel so terrible and pathetic... I can't do anything but wait.

Baught my precious dream camera here, expecting to put it to good use once I am settled here... And now... Its waiting here.. Actually not even with me... a friend has a new baby, and his own camera broke and therefore I allowed him to use it... Me, who never parts himself from his camera, just gave it away for weeks... just like that.. of course thats a dear friend and all that... but i couldn't have imagined myself without a camera before being in this situation.

u see.. where am i headed...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Another friday...Do I want to do something ?

Suddenly its that phase of life when I don't like working, I don't like sitting idle on my workstation, I don't like almost anything. Some kind of depression is taking over, I fear. But then, my concious mind takes over and makes me get engaged. I have seen this happening over a few days and now can recognize this as it happens.

For example, Today first half of the day was victim of my depression. First I had a bad quarrel with her over phone, and then I didn't feel like going to office. I just wanted to lie down in my bed and do nothing... let my mind wander around... without limitations... sort of thing people would imagine to do on a holiday.

No, but my mind took over and then i made myself shower and get ready to office. Like an obedient boy, i was on my workstation.. doing nothing for some time... it just didn't click.

Then I called the migration office here in Zurich and tried to find someone who can speak to me in English and enquired about her procesing status. And, I got to know another story. I call them stories because each time I try to figure out the status, a new thread comes out.

They told me that its waiting on one of my documents, my resident permit. As soon as that is done, they can go ahead with her processing. However, there is nothing stopping my resident permit from being issued. Its just that they have too much work and things are going late. I told her many things about my situation, in personal life and that i might have to leave this job and go back if it doesn#t come faster.

And she suggested that i call back again on tuesday and that she would press it for urgent processing.

After the telephone call, I felt like crying... really the frustration is so much and I personally can#t handle it all alone. I hate it when things are not in my control, even knowledge. I have come to depend a lot on knowledge of things. If i know about something, as to how would it work like, i already feel better.

So, in this case, I have no, absolutely no clear picture.

On the workstation then, I finished some unfinished business, something I was doing for the first time in life and therefore the learning curve was too steep. The challenge engaged me for some time. But then that also finished.

After that i forced myself to study a document, based on which i had to design a sub-system. Suddenly I realized that i am getting interested in the functionality of the system. and that's exactly when i realized that a part of me doesn't want to do anything, but there is another subconcious that makes me work. For that is life for me. Work is what I do, I can't imagine myself sitting idle and do Nothing for more than a few seconds. Till the time my body allows me... i tend to keep doing something.

Well. after the engagement in the analysis cheered me up a little, I faced another fiasco. I planned to watch a movie in a theatre. I have been watching many movies over DVD players or PC but not so many in a theatre. So i investigated and chose a movie after confirming about the language with the half-english-speaking telephone operator. I booked tickets for myself and two colleagues, whom i convinced to get along.

When we reached there at the stipulated time, we were told that the language is in-fact German and there are only English subtitles. Utterly horrified by the idea of watching something like that we dropped the plan. What a disappointment. Even worse was the fact that there was no other movie running in English language. All movies were either running in German language or in other native languages, showing subtitles in different langauges. I wanted to opt for "Da Vinci Code" but couldn't, since it was running in German language without any subtitles. :((

Felt really bad coming home, sort of empty handed.

Well, then the better part happened, I spoke to her using Yahoo Messenger (with voice) for about half an hour... it was lovely.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Long road ahead... only partner...

A scene from wilds near Winterthur, Switzerland

Bad News...

Wow !! how bad can this go...

We are already waiting for last 7 weeks and today I was told that it might take about 5-6 more weeks before she can join me here in Switzerland. Sometimes I feel why the hell did I accept the assignment...

Its proving to be anti-family happiness thing since day 1. First it turns out that organization has not done any homework to support employees in their pursuit to start regular family life here on year or more longer assignments. Pathetic.

Well, I know it wouldn't help to curse or crib about the organization. What's happened has already happened. No benefit from cribbing over it... but then where does frustration go.. here in this blog by saying names to the people who are responsible for this.

I know, nobody would quite like to read my frustration, so I#d better shut up... really..

However, the fact remains, my apple-pie is not going to join me for some more Weeks, it feels as if its not weeks but years. I took the news very badly.. really.. for sometime i was feeling as if my head is spinning and i couldn't think as to what to do. The brain just didn't work.

During the day, one of the old friends wrote to me and poor fellow had to be on the receiving end of some of my situation... It was kinda strange though.. in those few lines.. i complained to him about almost everything that I could never have imagined otherwise. Also, the last days I had a bad awakening with some other old friends... sort of falling apart.. and i guess that also came out in that mail. I could only feel that now.. bit out of that situation mould...

its true that during these two-three weeks i have never felt more lonely. That's very strange for me since I tend to like my solitude and lose myself in various things.. books, internet, and now writing perhaps...movies for sure... but these days this visa thing and that mail conversation with friends just did me something, perhaps never had known that in myself....

ANd, the problem is, I can't forget the fact about her absence... time and again it comes back to me.... Now after a few hours after the news came through, i can hardly say i am back in shape. I am really doing good. actually very bad. Trying to read, can't make myself like this spy story by Ken Follet.

Then there are some movies waiting here for me on rented DVDs of course ... didn't feel like watching any....

Will add more to this when i feel better....

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Language Issues


After spending three years in a country whose native language i did not speak, i fought a successful war with a pc which spoke in a different language. It was (and still is) a Windows XP Professional of a friend. Installed in German. Luckily the OS installation is multilingual, which means its possible to change the language of the operating system even after you install it.

But unfortunately, he was not with me to help me with the changeover. So, I had to fight it myself. Not knowing a word of German, and with help from and Google Language tools, I made my way through much of the dialog boxes. And finally after a few reboots and things here and there, it finally started talking to me in English.

However, I could not make individual programs response to me in English instead of German. For example an anti virus software installed on the laptop, which speaks only german and was somehow blocking my skype access. Damn it.. it took me some hours to get the skype configured and working, thanks to the restrictions posed by the firewall created by the anti virus software.

At the end of day, it worked... yes I can barely say that... but not so much as I would have wanted it....

But eventually i have a windows pc working with my internet connection.. allowing me the kind of applications and access I was looking for.

Rest of the day was ok.. nothing much to say about... Except that the share markets around the world are not doing very good and i was worried about that....

till tomorrow...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Helping people and fighting with myself

Well, here goes another monday. hah...

It was a funny day, its rare when people offer to help you, and that too more than one person offering help on a single topic simultaneously.

I needed an open laptop/personal computer to access internet from home since I inteded to use voice over IP for calling parents/wife at home. Since the company laptop does not allow VoIP, I had asked a few colleagues to look for possible alternatives.

Well, what alternatives they suggested. One of them brought me his old IBM laptop with Linux Ubuntu installed on it. I had never used or even heard about Ubuntu before, but there he was offering it.

And another colleague offered his German language Operating system based Dell laptop (he is on vacation next 12 days).

Wow, that's help. !! Thanks guys.

However, all of my evening went by in asking the linux installation to accept my internet connection. I was missing a crucial step which was very important. I needed to restart networking after plugging in my network cable. And I was not doing it. All sorts of configuration playing around here and there.. I did not restart the system or the networking interface.

Then one nice guy on Ubuntu forums suggested that to me and it worked immediately. I can't help that guy enough.

If you want, you can look at those forums at

The day was ok. Actually not good, I just lost my touch for working full heartedly. I didn't feel like going to office, forgot some stuff already at home when leaving.

Then it was the stock market crash everywhere in the world. and i was busy getting my money out and buying cheaper stocks while they were falling... for some time.

Then I got the dreadful news from embassy. It seems things are moving... albeit slowly... very slowly...It has passed from one office and now is in a different office, in Switzerland somewhere. Hope it gets processed quickly... Really.. its now getting over the head now.

there are times in day when I just can't concentrate. Don't feel like. And thats when I feel, its time to go home. Relax. May be take a little holiday.

Lets see... normally all my holidays/weekends are spent in front of my laptop (if i am alone). And I guess there is another long weekend coming ... I hate to have so much free time without her being here with me. :(

Sunday, May 14, 2006

First Ones's

A scene of the setting sun in woods near Winterthur, Swiss.

A statue in the marktgasse in Winterthur city center

A bunch of flowers, when spring was trying to show up in Winterthur, April 206

Another statue in marktgasse, Winterthur city center


This place came to me as the natural place for posting my photographs, which is becoming my only hobby off late.

I love to shoot.

Another weekend..

Another weekend, came and passing by...

Watched 3 movies in span of 20 hrs... Read about 250 pages, skipped three meals, read dumbly Spanish formula 1 race commentary on website (not having TV that was the best option)...

So, that sums up my weekend here... Sunday is turning out to be pretty sunny as against the forecast. Initially I thought that the forecast in smaller countries are better than larger countries due to the difference in sheer geographical area to be covered by the forecasting system. Well, it seems Switzerland has its own reasons to have "not-so-accurate-forcasts". Perhaps being hilly is one.. i don't know.

I have started contributing to wikipedia now. It gives me just another option to while away my time. Today I realized another facet of the global village we are becoming. I updated something at some point in time, and within 5-7 minutes, my entry was not listed in the last 500 updates. That really shows the popularity of the site, in addition to haw many people are contributing to the site... Interesting...

Suddenly I am liking devotional and slow music more than anything. Today morning I repeating a particular "song" about 4-times before switching to another one. Perhaps the softness embedded in the music was attracting me.

I hope she receives her flowers in time. Will love to hear her after she receives the bouquet. :)

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Swiss Family Visa : Start of an Issue...

Its been frustrating and at times depressing.

Living alone in a distant country just after a few months of your marriage is not the best ideas. Many a folk have said something or other in the disagreeing way, the way i have let down my family life for the sake of job or saving some money.

Well, I have my own reasons. and possibly defendable too. Can't really say. Coming from where I do, money is a very important social tool. As much globally recognized fact as it is, money is close to your best friend when you are out of the circle of warmth of family and friends.

Well, that was the first thing that drove me, but then the charm of living and working in Switzerland was even bigger. Living in THE most beautiful country in the world. WOW. That was my first reaction when I heard about the possibility of the assignment.

On top of all that, none of us imagined that it will take so much for a spouse visa process. Really, there have been some gross mistakes from the employer's side as well. The 'wonderful' never really enquired about the process of family visas and all that. They didn't even know the differece between L and B permit, except the fact that one is unlimited to the conton whereas other has a cap on the number.

That was purely business perspective. Get the guy here, get the billing started and let everything else come second. Inspite of having a 6 year strong relationship with this employer I could not force anything better than the current situation.

At times I feel myself responsible for the situation I have put myself and my family in. Though I know its not entirely my fault, but then what do I gain by pointing at others... What we have been taught in our upbringing is "look at ur own fault first, then point to someone else".

I am close to finishing the "The Pillars of the World" (by Ken Follet), and at times I compare myself to the situation Jack and Aliena had. In Love, married and still forced to live apart. There the villain was the church and one bishop and here its my "great informed" employer and the processing system.

Today, I added another level to my contempt of the officialdom. When I tried to reach the embassy officials in my home country to ask them the status of the situation, the gently female voice told me that the concerned person is not in office today and I should call again on Monday. Well at this speed, perhaps her visa processing can finish by the time I am planning to wind up here.

Going this way, only god can intervene and do something. Well, she is a very religious girl, perhaps someone up there is listening to her prayers and will do something. I am literally at gos's mercy... his will...

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

First Time in Switzerland


I have been earlier in Switzerland... although on a two week business trip. A very short very busy and focussed trip.

That trip perhaps laid foundations to my long term assignment here.

Arrived here on 27th March. Wife had to come asap after that.. awaiting only visa...

Then came the bang... i was given an L permit by my employer and the authorities said that on an L permit its not allowed to bring in your spouse.

Busted, redfaced with anger, I approached my management and they realized what they have done.

They agreed to convert it to a B but it took about 5 weeks for my B to come through. After that my wife's processing started. Its supposed to take 4-6 weeks more before she can get her travel documents in her hand. And this is another estimate. really...nothing more than that.

I tried my employer requesting the officialdom to speed up the process. I teid almost every tact, even the threat of quitting if its not done in good time (what that means is still a mystry for myself..). And they have agreed to shoot a fax to the concerned embassy... but.. nothing more than that... lets' see what happens...
I wonder how may have faced same kind of situation.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

German discussion using Google translater

Well, it was fun and heroic.

I don't know any German. And this girl I had to speak to over telephone knew no English. Now, since I had to talk to her to get the right information out, I had to do something, and there came in Google Language tools -> Translater.

I had to type in the English in the translater and then ask it to give me the equivalent german, and then I tried to pronounce those words as good i could. It was tedious, frustrating, but I have to praise the girl, Lischer, she didn't put the phone down. I tried and she allowed the time to do that.

Eventually, we managed to converse (badly though), but the experience was just great. Trying to convey something to someone who knows nothing of ur language and vice versa.


Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Its snowing again


Its snowing again since today morning. Not the heavy kind of snow, rather rain that converted itself to snow later in the day.

Its getting colder by the minute. And slowly but steadily, the snow deposits on top of bushes by the pedestrian areas, or gardens and car-tops etc are getting snow covered white.

The weather was supposed to get colder and rainy but as much as this.

This looks wonderful and beautiful too...

Monday, March 27, 2006

In Winterthur Again


I am in Winterthur again, perhaps for a longer term this time.

Arrived yesterday afternoon, I had to face a little problem due to a incorrect (possibly) train suggestion from an official at the office (train office). Carrying about 40Kg of luggage, I was made to switch trains in between a trip that normally takes about 15 minutes. Poor me.. Used all my energy in carrying that load of luggage from platform x to enquiry and then to platform y.

Other than that, life is good. Here, things are much better in terms of weather this time. Its pretty sunny, and not COLD at all. Its very much like Feb/March of Delhi/India, where you can roam around in a shirt and a simple sweater if you wish to have one.

Joined office, still to get in the mould though. Still managing infrastucture stuff in and around the place. Currently staying with a friend, but plan to rent an apartment myself. With a view to bring family along.

Well, let's see how it goes.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Pictures from First Trip to Switzerland..

EMR Software
EMR Software

River Limmet and two landmark churches of Zurich

A Pigeon

A white pigeon holding fort against the snowfall on shores of River Limmet in Zurich

Me, on the boat with backdrop of Zurichzee (Zurich Lake) during my boat trip

A fantastic looking home on banks of Zurichzee (Zurich Lake)

View of the city from the top of GrossMunster

Row of pigeons after feeding

More pigeons on banks of Zurichzee (Zurich Lake)