The case of my homing keys

I woke up to the soft sunlight falling across my face and the sound of construction workers hammering away. The internet had predicted a perfect summer’s day. Clear skies, a pleasant light breeze and temperatures around the 25ºC mark. For once, it seemed, Zürich had allowed it’s weather to be predicted accurately. In spite of the cacophony of metallic sounds jarring the atmosphere, it was a beautiful morning. Reluctance to put down “A Suitable Boy” the previous night however meant that nearly 8 hours of the day had already gone and I couldn’t afford to admire the enchanting Alps from my window. Jumping out of the bed, taking a quick shower and skipping breakfast as usual, I began my journey to my workplace. Given the fact that it takes me an hour and a half to reach there, I grabbed for “A Suitable Boy” and stuffed it into my backpack (making a mental note to not attempt to lift the book with one hand again).

Too engrossed in Mahesh Kapoor’s election campaign, I reached my office rather too soon (the counting for votes had not even begun). Somewhere along the way, I managed to change from a tram to a train and then to a bus, but I didn’t have any memory of it. I reached my desk, put my mobile there, took off my watch and set myself up for coding. While the computer was booting, I had a feeling that there was something that I have missed but I put it down to my anxiety in not knowing what happened next in the Kapoor household (and I used to not understand why people back home enjoy watching soap operas, I am no better when it comes to books). Tearing my mind away from “A Suitable Boy,” I forced myself to concentrate on the lines of code in front of me. To aid myself, I plugged in my headphones and put my library on shuffle. Not the same songs again, should have synced this thing last night. Tried asking to play me some recommended tracks, but nothing unheard was to be found there as well. To make matters worse, there seemed to be no circle-jerk going on at r/India where I could indulge in some pointless banter. Meanwhile, the sun was shining outside and the sky was bereft of clouds.

When the application I was working on refused to establish a connection to the remote machine, I decided to take a coffee break. Thankfully, I was not the only Indian working there. I called up my friend, we drank some coffee and abused the Indian cricket team for their performance in the ongoing test series against England. Little did we know then that the same cycle would repeat, against a supposedly weaker opposition.

Surprisingly, the coffee did not agree with the application. It still refused to see the remote machine. Here was a case of slumber that was not even cured by coffee; truly stubborn. I ploughed on, trying different combinations but to no avail. Lunch hour came, and after one disgusted look at what the cafeteria had on offer for a mere grass eater like me, I decided to head to an Indian restaurant near by. At least I would find something edible there, which I did.

Feeling drowsy after the rather heavy lunch, I was wondering how I would manage to stay awake. I need not have bothered. Being the cricket addicted freak that I am, the first site I opened when I came back was cricinfo and the score read: England – 90/6. After what had happened in the first test at Lords, this was completely unexpected. With visions of the famous Indian comeback (a la the South Africa series) firmly entrenched in my mind, I resumed my coding work. 90/6 soon became 124/8 and I was transported to a fantasy land. A 3-1 scoreline for the test series seemed the only logical conclusion at that stage.

Satisfied and happy with everything around me, I immersed myself in C#. After an hour or so of debugging the application managed to establish a connection to the remote machine, and I decided it was an opportune time to check the score again. Alas, what did I know? I am treated to the spectacle of Swann and Broad, of all people, taking apart the Indian attack. England finally dismissed for 221 when they should not have been allowed to cross 150. To top it off, I realise that the identification string that I had passed to the application was for the local machine. The connection to the remote machine was never established.

I decided to call it a day and headed home. It was then that I realised why I had that nagging feeling that I had missed something. Somewhere between my house and my office, I had dropped my keys. The possibilities were endless and I was too tired to explore them any further. I reached home, asked my house master for a spare set of keys, and entered my room. She (my house master) told me that if I did not find my keys soon, I would have to pay a fine.

Reluctant to pay any fine (but still overtly lazy) I made some perfunctory enquiries the following day regarding the whereabouts of my keys. I made enquiries at the lost and found offices of ZVV (Zurich Transport) and SBB (Swiss Trains) but did not find any help. I thought about asking the folks at RVBW (Baden Transport) but I did not know where their office was and I did not bother finding out. Laziness, by now, had completely overruled my reluctance to pay the fine. I headed home and decided that whenever the house master asks, I will pay the fine.

Almost a week later, when all thoughts of the fine had vanished from my head, the house master informs me that they have received a letter from SBB on my behalf. Apparently, someone found my keys, turned them in to SBB and by some hocus-pocus (or big brother style wizardry) SBB tracked those keys to me. More surprised than relieved, I made my way to the SBB “Fundbüro,” paid them CHF 10 to get my keys back, made my way back to my house and returned the duplicates to the house master.

More than six months have passed since the incident. A lot has happened. I finished my internship, managing to do a rather decent job. India got whitewashed in England (in spite of my belief to the contrary till the last day of the last test match) and in Australia (where my belief could not carry on till the last day, deciding to call it quits on the day before that instead). I managed to finish “A Suitable Boy” (which I would recommend to everyone, especially Indians). However, I still do not know how to feel about the effectiveness of the Swiss Human Tracking System.

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