Voices Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 05:30
By Chitra Subramaniam In the village where he lives between Lausanne and Geneva in Switzerland, the news was received by the Swiss as only the Swiss can – with respect and quietude. Yesterday, people were happy when Switzerland beat Ecuador to a 2-1 lead in the World Cup.  Today, they received news that their most famous resident Michael Schumacher was out of coma and had been moved to the University Hospital in Lausanne (Switzerland) from Grenôble (France) as he goes into rehabilitation. He had beaten all the odds and medical prognosis, just like he had beaten every chicane in the races, overtaken that car at 350 kms an hour in Monza, pushing the F1 Ferrari machine – also among the world’s fastest computers – to its edge.  When it was time to push the most complicated and unexplained machine in the world, the human body, Schumacher, seven times F1 world champion had succeeded. He has beaten all odds and medical prognosis. He has recovered from coma he went into in December 2013 after he sustained head injuries in a skiing accident near Geneva. He was skiing hors pistes (prohibited tracks).  The entire village prayed privately, held together for Schumi, his wife Corinna, their children Mick and Gina Maria. As news of his fall and hospitalization cut through the village, candles and flowers were deposited in places he frequented. The local pizzeria where he showed up with his family and sometimes alone, the local football field, the coiffure du village – nobody was willing to meet eye-to-eye to accept that Schumi, as he is known, could be paralysed for life. It was not possible, they had heard wrong.  Seven-time Formula One World Champion – and one of the greatest pilots F1 had ever known – was skiing hors pistes. Everybody in the village had bumped into the legend and his spouse, they were private. Discretion – if the Swiss are discreet, Schumacher and his family are an epitome of that discretion. Kind, quiet, caring, few would have suspected who they were talking to if they had not heard of him earlier or seen him on television. I had the honour of working with Schumacher as I negotiated India’s first entry in the F1 world. It was between India’s Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Ferrari. Working with the then CMD of TCS S. Ramadorai, we had spent many hours in Maranello (Italy), home of Ferrari – 18 hour workdays, for three months, before the races.  Thereafter, during the Grand Prix races, we would meet in the garage or the mobile homes, fine tuning an input, correcting another from the last pit stop - so many races, so many brilliant people, such humility, such kindness such a race to be the best without treading on another. While the race started at 14hrs for the world, it never started and ended for the team.  Schumacher was there, for everyone, anytime – listening, suggesting and racing, always red, always first.  I now know one miracle. All else is detail.
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