First Thoughts – 2012

Ola people! Hope everyone had a fantastic new years eve and a grand welcome into 2012. Happy New Year from the bottom of my heart, wish it turns out to be as special as it possibly could be. And I hope a few have already started ruing over their new year resolutions, if not broken them once or twice already. Just a real quick update on life and an extremely interesting incident which has been occupying a good enough space inside my head. Life is quite dull again since work has already kicked off. Exams on the 9th and 13th with a possible resource exam to be taken for Transport Economics and a project due on the 18th, which is evidence enough for the word “dull ” being tagged along with life. It isn’t really that I hate doing this, but there is really nothing else and thus life is quite predictable until the 19th. A bit of travel is also on the plans after the 19th since I have like 4 days before the next semester begins, though not sure how much of that is going to materialize. Now to the incident.
So I had a visitor on New Years eve. Nobody else was in the apartment and I opened the door when the bell rang. A Portuguese lady was standing outside – neatly dressed, posh, in her 40’s if not older. The conversation started in Portuguese, but soon turned to English when she figured out that her English was way better than my Portuguese. And she told me that she was the daughter-in-law of my neighbour, a lady in her 70’s. To talk more about my neighbour, she is Ana Maria, 75+ , rich with two houses in Lisbon alone, knows 6 languages including English (which is way too impressive for a European), quite a rare visitor to our place, largely peaceful and nice. She was working in the Portuguese department of transportation during her hay days, so we found a lot of things in common for a conversation to sprout up. Besides her career, she is vastly read, knows a lot about world culture and history and is very interesting to talk to, something which is very rare nowadays as far as I am concerned.
So yeah, the daughter-in-law. She is  accompanied by another lady who is Ana Maria’s sister, asks for Ana Maria who hasn’t been in touch with them for almost 3 weeks now and they are worried. So they came by to check on her. Soon we realize she is not present at home as nobody answers the door. Realizing that she has a key to this apartment, she opens the apartment to check for her. Its all very dark inside, so she asks me if I can come in too. I say yes and we go in. This apartment is a 6 room, old school place, large with a long alley and rooms on either side. Surprisingly, there is no power inside the apartment. We try the different switches and realize the power supply has been disconnected. And that’s when things start getting weird. I get a torchlight from my apartment and we go in. Its pitch dark and as soon as we reach the living room, its a scene of distress. Papers, books, flyers, clothes, unwashed plates, cutlery are all strewn around. I nearly pierce a fork onto my leg since it was lying on the ground in the dark, largely unnoticeable. And it was hard to imagine that someone lived here, amidst all the confusion that was called this apartment. The six other rooms resembled a similar picture and after seeing all this, I didn’t really have the courage to check the kitchen or the rest rooms. The daughter-in-law was being way too normal throughout this time and I was inching to ask her about her reaction.
So when we came out of the ghost house, I invited them to my apartment and asked her about her reaction on seeing the apartment all messy and weird. To which she replied, “Maria used to be such a task master lady until her 60’s until Miguel (her husband ) was around. After his demise, she lost all interest in life. She did not understand why she had to tidy up the place, and for whom, since no one ever visited her anymore. More so, since she didn’t want them to.” To see the condition of such a well learned lady, in her 70’s reaching a stage where she didn’t appreciate living life anymore was a hard thing to digest. She was very wealthy, but still lived the life of a gypsy. Why did she have to live life anymore if this was so meaningless for her? And that was the hard reality of life, that even a lot of money could not bring any happiness into her life. That’s because the essence of life is not entirely dependent on material things, though it does play only a small role in making it better. People run so much behind material comfort that they forget to live life in between. I have a professor at Tecnico whose story is equally interesting, though that is a story for another day. Though for the sake of debate, if I ever had to encounter that stage in life that Ana Maria was going through, I would just renounce myself from this world and move away. I am sure we all have different takes on it though.
Nevertheless a strange new year realization indeed.
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