Categories
Europe Life

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.
Categories
Education Europe India Opinion

On the M.Tech Vs MS debate

Its almost 2 months in Lisbon and life has undergone a shift of sorts in this time frame. The course work is getting more demanding by the day and it requires much of my focus on a more regular basis. The old days of sailing through the coursework (during the bachelors) is a thing of the past. Though I must admit I am liking the way the academics go about in this part of the globe. Rot learning, as was prevalent in India no longer exists. And there is a distinct relationship between theoretical study and its application in the real space.
Sure it demands more work but I think this works well if you are the kind who detests unreasonable and irrelevant intake of information, much of which becomes useless for the best part of your life ahead. What you get with a master is more of an optimized , no-nonsense holistic approach towards learning. I am not trying to look down on the Indian system of postgraduate education, but I feel this is what works best for me.
Categories
Miscellaneous

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

Well.. I wrote a whole list of things that I have been doing this past week. It was more like a description of how much different Saturday nights meant to me right now, thanks to the MIT Program and the vagaries of the same – rather depressing account for us all. But then, I realize that I love myself so much to let me down thinking this way. I am drowned with work, most times its overwhelming. I run on deadlines but I am learning a lot. I live out of the memo’ and notes on the mobile phone to keep myself organized. I live on breads for the best part of the week (and I couldn’t eat them any bit back home). Every cent goes down into the account books (maybe its because its almost equivalent to 6.4 INR) unlike times in India where I have never lived out of a budget, to be honest.I work on Sundays too reaching home by dinner time, but I have the company of some awesome people at the Tecnico. And despite being hard pressed for time, I think Facebook is a brilliant stress buster and I love it.
So even though life is a bad bitch right now, I have learnt to love her! Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.