A Rendezvous with Charlie Chaplin in Vevey, Switzerland

Over the horizon the floating white clouds were meeting yet shying away without touching. A relentless march of colors everywhere. Sweet fragrance filling the air. Sun shining warm and wind blowing cold. Yes, spring has sprung, I murmured that day. Indeed spring is a carnival of nature, I felt. I wanted to make that day special, so fixed up a rendezvous with our beloved little tramp, Charlie Chaplin.

We took a train to Vevey from Lausanne and soon enough, Switzerland treated my eyes with its picturesque lush green meadows. I could feel the emergence of life inside out! Bright green leaves on trees and a bright smile on my face - I just came to know that I am nurturing a life inside me. Every sense was absorbed in ecstasy. A change was slowly unfurling both in nature and in me. It was the spring of 2015.
Time passed quickly in the delightful blur of scenes from present and future and we reached Vevey- a beautiful pearl in the Swiss Riviera.

My mind was all set to meet Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin or in his words "a tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure". After walking a few meters, and seeing the alpine panorama, the lakeside and the promenade, I understood why the iconic actor retired in this town and spent last twenty five years of his life here. 

I was marveling at the beautiful branches of the trees that were holding aloft the first of their greens!

The promenade was redolent with sundry flowers that were fluttering and dancing in the soft breeze.
I was enjoying every minute, every vista, the bright greens and the colorful flowers that day. How aptly our beloved Chaplin said that "Life is a play that does not allow testing. So, sing, cry, dance, laugh and live intensely, before the curtain closes and the piece ends with no applause".

While walking on the sun-dappled promenade, I saw the smoky and steamy mist encircling the majestic Alps, while the white swans were swimming in crystal clear water.

Perhaps such contradictions make nature and life so unfathomable. It also lures us to see and think beyond our mundane existence. Thus, I choose to breach the surface and sink!
While realizing that every walk reveals some previously undiscovered treasure, I found our beloved little tramp.

Scenes from his films like The Gold Rush, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, City Lights, etc. were flashing through my head. Suddenly he became alive and stood next to me. That's the beauty of art and an artist. They live out loud. Both become immortal.

The Charlie Chaplin Square in Vevey is just opposite to the Alimentarium - the amazing museum on food and nutrition by Nestle, which is headquartered in Vevey.

The connection between our beloved little tramp and me was from the days when I was just a child. In my childhood, the name "Charlie Chaplin" was enough to bring a smile on my face. Every Sunday morning, no matter what, I used to sit in front of our television set to spend one hour laughing.  I didn't understand the profound sarcasms in his films at that time but now I do.

Now, I not only understand but realize the depth that is portrayed through his films. Sometime soon I would like to read his autobiography. 

Few paces away from the statue, I sat outside a cafe overlooking the lake. My heart began to imbibe a delicious sensation which engrossed my whole being and left no room for other objects.

I was remembering a few lines from his speech in The Great Dictator fondly!

"We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in; 
machinery that gives abundance has left  us in want. 
Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind.We think too much and feel too little.More than machinery we need humanity,more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.” 

Though our rendezvous ended that day, but I have returned to visit him again. The first time a new life was inside me and the second time that life had bloomed to a beautiful daughter. Yes, when we visited Vevey the second time, our daughter was on our lap. The third time I wanted my brother and mother to see him. I keep going there. Timeless nature and ageless man!

 I would like to end this blog post with yet another of Chaplin's famous quotes that always inspires and strengthens me.

 “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot."

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