The Misterious Story of the Magical Country

This might come as a surprise to many – but Romania is a magical country. For half a century the magic of communism has surrounded us and we became immortal, invisible and insurmontably insignificant. It is not easy to explain unless you lived then and there – but I will try.

If you are born in Romania right after 1990, this might be new to you as well. Between august 1944 and december 1989, Romania was de facto ruled by the communists. Not some romantic Che Guevarra that would find his way on a rebelous teenager’s T-shirt; but the maniacal, killer kind, that would torture, destroy and impoverish his own fellow citizen in the blind belief of equality. This is what I want to talk about.

Today’s civilized Europe cannot begin to understand what communism meant for countries like Romania (or Bulgaria… or Czechoslovakia… or Yugoslavia… or… or even East Germany). But I will try to shed some light – at least on the one country I know about.

Communism meant you were not allowed to have your own ideas. It did not matter how poor the country was or how desperate were the living conditions. You were innoculated the idea that the Party leaders are right under no circumstances. And if you had a different opinion you faced jail. The brave keyboard knights of today, fearlesy swearing at the president, parliament and government altogether – would be sent to jail. For expressing their thoughts.

Communism meant that you could not buy as much food as you needed. Food was rationalised – every family could buy a fix ammount of bread, butter, milk and sugar. In the shops you could not find meat. Fancy a barbecue? You had the coal, the matches and the knife – but no meat. Chocolate? I remember as a kid there were only two types of chocolate on sale. And they both tasted the same – but to us the taste was divine. There were no fruit with the exception of apples. Today you can buy a banana in every shop – 30 years ago there were no bananas, no oranges, no kiwi… just apples. And sometimes cherries and peaches.

Communism meant you could not have access to (correct) information. History itself was re-written to fit the communist ideal. You had no conections with the outer world. No possibility to learn something if not accepted by the propaganda. The most important thing everyone knew was that the imperialistic world is evil, and will eventually collapse; and communism will prevail. Everything that was even vaguely anti-communist was banned.

Communism meant there was scarcity and poverty in the whole country. You owned a car – but there was no petrol at the stations. You owned an appartment – but it looked just like the other thousands of apartments built by the new era: sad, gray, poorly lit, same furniture, same carpets, same oven… You owned a refrigerator, but it was empty. You owned a TV* – but you could only watch the communist triumphal news . Your house had lights and chandeliers, but two hours/evening, every evening, population had no electricity. You earned money but it was virtually impossible to spend them all, not because the salaries were high, but because there was nothing to shop for, except rubber gloves and prune jam.

Communism meant you were not allowed to leave the country. Members of the party could go outside Romanian borders and even spend their vacations in other countries – but this was not valid for the majority of the population.

And maybe worst of it, communism meant that the state police (the infamous securitate) had the right to put you to jail for almost any reason. Religion was a crime, not beliving the righteousness of the Great Leader was a crime, expressing your thoughts about the regime was a crime, reading a book of the forbidden list was a crime, expressing the desire to visit countries abroad was a crime, listening to a foreign radio programme was a crime, protesting was a crime, strikes were seen as crimes… all these things that nowadays seem normal, logical and common sense, sent real people to jail.

And real people were even executed for this kind of disreputable behaviour at the peak of the regime monstruosity. In Romania more than 800 000 (eight hundred thousand!) people were killed by the state authorities – not because they were commiting actual crimes, but because they had different beliefs and ideals.

Communism was in itself bleak, inhumane, atheistic, horrid and destructive; it crippeled a whole generation; it burried integrity and ethics, it killed, devoured and ravaged; a plague for the society, a distorted magic that turned everything it touched into dust.

*Black and white TV, obviously!

The Solidarity of Social Distancers

I look suspiciously at my wife as she is trying to hide a dubious cough. She might try to disguise it into a common type of cough – but I am no fool! Just minutes ago she came back from shopping! Maybe she was standing to close (perhaps under 1 kilometer!!!) to a covidian! Was she even wearing a mask last time I saw her? So many questions… so many fears…

I am not the right person to talk about the effects in the economy that the whole seclusion has brought about. (Although I am quite sure the risks had been evident when the decision was taken). But there are a number of psychological and collective consequences that will deeply impact comunities all round this cold-hearted earth; severe outcomes that will influence our social behaviour for a long time to come.

A new type of racism has slowly been seeded into our brains. We fear the white, the black, the brown and the yellow altogether – for who knows if they are not secret carriers of the Covid? If we see a fellow man on the opposite side of the street – we still don’t feel safe enough! We look at each other and hope they are not hiding a germ under their masked smiles. Walking within a close distance to a stranger brings sweaty palms; hearing a distant sneeze makes us shiver.

Greetings and salutations are entering a new era. We will probably find a good model in the old chivalry way – with bowing coming back into fashion as we drop hand-shake, hugs, kisses and hi-fives. And if we want to show real respect – we will get down on our knees and kiss the very ground one has stepped on.

Working from home will be the new buzz-word and trend. Bus drivers, agricultural workers, disposal men, janitors, assembly operators, butchers, shop sellers and shop-lifters, delivery drivers, car mechanics, window cleaners, sewage repair, doctors and nurses, teachers/students&parents duo, truck drivers…- literally everyone! The only people who would still have to go to office would be the always underprivileged CEO’s, politicians and the bankers – but life cannot be fair to everyone!

A new form of religious fervour will arise – as the on-line potential of worshiping, showing love and compassion as well as praying and living justly over YouTube has just been born. Chruches will become obsolete – what is the use of an ill congregation?

There will be no more poor vs rich – as everyone will give their life, honor, wealth and possesions to help the less fortunate. Every influencer will post on all possible media the benefits of staying at home – you cannot spend money, thus money itself is devalued. You cannot drive anywhere – thus oil is unesssential. You cannot show-off – thus fashion and jewlery is needless.

Social & classic media and the Internet alike have shown that their power has not been exhibited to the fullest. There is still much to display, and the mission of concealing the truth in a deep network of forgery and sham has barely begun.

Bragging about helping the needy whilst avoiding any specific action will see a turnaround. There will no longer be requested a particular measure – just by summoning the ever-powerful spirits of love and inner peace all things will become serene. No longer requested to help your neighbour – the neighbour better wear the mask and stay away from me!

As a form of conclusion – I might sound gloomy, but I fear these events have not popped out the solidarity of fellow humans, but rather our huge self and immense fear of social interraction…

A look on the media of 2220

Don’t you just wish you could travel in time, know what the future would bring, and be able to change your current set of actions – so that the times ahead will be better? Today I will do just that – offer you a sneak peak into the main newspaper headlights, 200 years from now, exactly on the date April 20, 2220.

Spoiler though! Do not read if you are easily offended and cannot take a joke!

Romania: Corruption strikes again! Another prime-minister under barrs! This will proudly bring the country to a new world record – the only nation having exclusively politicians in prison! The last 3 members of the parliament that are not arrested have gathered today to discuss the new budget but could not agree Paragraph 1.1, so they took a 6 months break.

Hungary: In a desperate attempt to revive the feeling of patriotism, a new statue of Orban shaking hands with Atilla has been unvieled in the center of Budapest. The statue features an emotional pose: boths statesmen are eating gulash and sipping palinka!

Serbia: The government will try again to define a series of measures that will help the country join the EU. If this attempt will not be successfull, Serbia will be the only country (with the exception of Azerbaidjan and Congo) that does not belong to the EU.

France: In the preparation of the launching of the new Peugeot 9008 (which will finally bring electric cars to the streets of Paris; and it will probably not be a cheap copy of a geman car) the government has offered free croissants and baguettes to all its citizens!

Germany: In a typical attempt of standardisation, the government has decided that everyone around the country will speak the same language. It will be a historical moment – marking the first time in the last 2000 years when people from lands such as Bavaria, Saxony and Wesphalia will understand each other using just Hoch Deutsch!

Italy: We have discovered yet another way to be proud of our country! It is internationally aknowledged: a profoundly italian word is the single most understood word in the whole world! From the most distant corners of the Greenland icebergs – to the heights of the Patagonia and the desert of Sahara, everybody knows how to order Mafia’s favourite food – PIZZA!

Austria: To avoid the common (yet annoying) mistake with Australia, the country has finally made the move. As of tomorrow the country will change its name to Neues Zeeland. The chancellor added that it is only a matter of time until the capital’s name (Wiener Schnitzel) will also be changed to Schwarzenegerburg.

Russia: The country salutes the 14th re-election as president of mr Vladimir Putin III, nephew of Vladimir Putin I (also known as the Vladimir the Greater). Invited as special guest to the coronation ceremony, ex-president John Iliesco of Romania, had a touching speech as he remebered the times he was holding little baby Vladimir in his lap and was teaching him the marxist theories!

United Kingdom: In just a matter of days the country is preparing for national scrutiny. If voted, the separation from Wales (or Wexit as it’s commonly known) will mean the UK will consist exclusively of the City of London and the Isle of Man.

United States of America: The last stages of the Mexico Wall are over! There will be no more means of emigration for the americans, leaving them without the jobs in Mexico as farmers and labourers. However, a spokesman of the White House ensures that the population will receive ladders and climbing equipement in exchange of a moderate life-long loan.

Spain: Justice has been made! Today marks a glorious day in the history of the Hispanic Kingdom. The spanish national holiday (also known as siesta) will be rightfully prolongued to 8 hours/day – bringing the total working time in Spain to an astronomical 7,3 minutes/week. And now – let’s Fiesta!

Bonus – Influencer news: Another life saved by the curageous intervention of a world-famous vlogger. By simply delivering a speech about the power of will – more than 100 people found the power to unsubscribe!

Despre cum am invatat eu matematica – si multe altele

Cosmarul meu cel mai mare din timpul scolii a fost cu siguranta matematica. Il uram pe x – nici bine nu aflam pe unde se ascundea ca pac! sarea pe mine alta problema, si din nou x era pierdut ca Elodia. Noa – afla-l Bogdane! Din nou si din nou… Astazi despre probleme pastisandu-l pe Creanga.

In epoca recenta, pe cand capitalismu se facea in Romania de nu se vedea din el calu calare pe calaret – ma gaseam si eu elev de gimnaziu. Imi placea nespus de mult sa invat la dirigentie, la educatie fizica si la purtare. Cateodata la muzica si la desen. La aceste materii eram fruntasu clasei – 10 pe linie! La matematici insa… numa Gheba stie cat l-am pomenit.Nici nu stiu cu ce sa incep. Oare cu monstru ala cu sapte capete numit de  cunoscatori geometrie in spatiu? Va mai amintiti? Se dadea de fiecare data cate o piramida in interioru careia se desena o tangenta adiacenta cu isoscelu de vizavi cu paralela apotemei, si pica fix la 90°C mai sus de muchia bazei trunchiului de con din interioru cubului ce traversa linistit un romboedru hexagonal. Pe cand terminam de facut desenu – semana cu insemnele cabalistice din cartea Introducere la masonerie.

Nu mai vorbesc de aria cercului! Atunci am aflat eu prima data despre faimosu  π . Nu da pi bune oriunde te invarteai prin cerc dadeai de el. Raza cercului, aria cercului, volumul cercului, perimetrul cercului, diametrul si cuscrul cercului – toate, TOATE trebuie sa aibe de lucru cu  π . Si pe urma auzi traznaie: cica formula e pi ori raza la patrat! Pai de aia nu iesea mai crestini – ca ala era cerc, nu patrat!

Despre algebra nici nu indraznesc sa mai aduc aminte. Cand credeam eu ca am apucat pe ecuatie de-un picior, numa bine am descoperit inecuatiile si integralele! Ohoo, si daca asta nu v-ajunge, ia de serviti cosinus din radacina patrata de ridicol, si fractii si AxB totul la cub, unde a=cu suma deimpartitorului datorata de diferenta dintre produs, prefix si predicat! Poftim de descalceste Bogdane!

Si-apoi credeti ca nu veti folosi niciodata in viata matematica? Amarnic va puteti insela dragilor! Pai nu mai departe de fizica: pe cand ma framantam eu cu experimente stiintifice, scufundand pahare de turnesol in hartii cu Berzelius si aprinzand iscusit doua bucatele de pilitura de fier intr-o eprubeta de-a lu Mendeleeviu – iaca scoate dom profesor o problemuta din sertar! Si inca din aia cu schepsis: se facea odata ca Ampere statea la o barfa cu Ohm, si doedata rasare Watt de dupa colt si intreaba Nu l-ati vazut cumva pe Pavlov? La care urma demonstratia : stiind ca legea lui Ohm spune clar ca viteza ii egala cu autostrada/timp de constructie (deci e=mc2) rezulta => ca daca nu iti iei vignieta capeti amenda!

Ei, dar oricum ar fi,  am scapat nevatamat din lupta cu matematica. Infrant, da viu! Baiu e altul – acusi trece fiul meu intr-a 5-a; care e cam nivelu maxim de matematica la care am excelat. S-au dus frumoasele vremi cu probleme lejere gen intr-o ferma sunt 7 vaci ouatoare care dau 10 l lapte/zi. Stiind ca din jumate de cantitate se face unt – aflati de cate bidoane de 2 l are nevoie fermierul in fiecare saptamana. Alea erau simple, paream si eu destept in fata lu fi-meu! De-acum gata, vin timpuri grele, cu probleme de genu Un tren rapid cu regim de marfar pleaca din localitatea B cu viteza nominala de aproape 3 km/h (doar in pante si cu vant din spate) . Stiind ca dinspre localitatea A porneste in acelasi timp un biciclist care face live pe Fakebook – aflati la ce distanta se vor ciocni din neatentia mecanicului care se joaca un Candycrack. Acum e acum! Daca ma vedeti vreodata incruntat, puteti baga mana-n foc: ma ocup de teme!

10+ Fun Activities to Have in the Family

Quite a few days have passed since we are all experiencing a whole new life style. A totally different optic in life. And I believe it is only appropriate that we learn how to adapt. So here are my tips on how to work it out:

  • Learn a new skill! Hi-speed snack eating is really fashionable nowadays! You can even compete against your wife and kids in a game calle Shove that chocolate and see who can fit minimum a dozen twixies in your mouth!

  • Cook less – barbecue more! Really now – all that peeling and chopping and stirring and frying and boiling and… You can bid it good-bye! Pile up a few woods in your balcony, lit them up and enjoy a nice sausage on the grill!
  • Avoid washing any part of your body (except the hands obviously)! See how many layers of health you can accumulate!
  • Practice working out! Spoon lifting, plate pushing, fork&knife streching – there is a world of exercise just waiting for you!
  • Ignore reading! It is a well-known fact that reading ruins your eyesight, which reduces immunity, which makes you cough! Watch for that frain vigour of yours!
  • Draw a pink dragon! The combined power of a dragon (ancient symbol of strenght and hunger) with the serenity and tranquillity of colour pink will boost your energy!
  • Time to forget about fears! Afraid of spiders, elevators, mice, vegans, height, frogs, Illuminati, germs, soap, smells, lice, dogs, bunnies? Now it’s the perfect time to get over your fear! Read a Fakebook article about it and it cannot do anything but help you!
  • And speaking of F/b – start polishing your grammar! This way, whenever you have nothing to comment just point out spelling mistakes! The only way to pass as a smart and cultured fellow!
  • Start a household repair! Use a hammer, a power drill and as many screws and planks you can get your hands on. And do it early in the morning – this way you will also entertain your neighbours!
  • Engage in clothes sorting affaires! Pick-up all of your slim outfits, and pack them away – you will not use them for a long while. Label them by color, size, type, usage frequency and material. And them pile them back in the closet!

Bonus activity: dust your Bible then hide it in a secret, concealed drawer. You do not need grace, you do not need belief, you must not ponder on your purpose on life – that is for the weak.

Transport Management – A Practical Guide

In the field of Industrial Logistics – there is a crucial element we need to consider if we want to be successful in our business. That element is Transportation – and it must be seen as an all-round job, as it affects both the input – material incoming; as well as the output – deliveries towards your client*. My post today is aimed to define the most critical aspects of Transport Management; as well as a few hands-on recommendations to improve it.

What is Transport Management? The simplest definition of Transportation is this: the moving of goods from point A to point B. Going forward, Transport Management is the integrated method to efficiently and timely moving of goods from A to B. For a Logistic professional Transport Management means technical information, planning, partnering and executing – and it involves a set of details which I intend to further dissect.

Back to school shall we? Let’s get the technical data straight. What kind of truck does your business require? Most of us know the standard trailers that we see every day on the roads – the big boxes on 3 axels, blocking our way, slowing us down… But there are so many out there: Jumbo, curtain siders, MEGA, tilt, moving floor, tipper, swan neck, open trailer, frigo trucks, containers, bulk, liquid, DGR and/or Waste license, oversized … My suggestion is learn the basic need of your specific business. The more details you know – the better. It will give you an edge in the business, you will know what to look for when organizing a tender, you will be able to measure to the full length your transportation needs.

The most common type of trucks (usually called curtainsiders or tautliners) in the EU have the capacity of carrying 24.5 Tonnes. The trailer width is 2.45 m; the length is 13.6 m. Height usually varies – from 2.60 to 2.80 m (or 3,05 m in the cases of MEGA type trucks). This allows to load 33 EURO-size pallets (120*80 cm) on the floor, with a capacity ranging from 90 to 100 cubic meters. The typical curtainsider can be loaded from the back, from lateral and from above (by crane).

And speaking of pallets – an efficient transportation starts from a very basic (and sometimes neglected) factor: packaging. In an old post I spoke about the importance of using packing units that are suited to your production process – now let’s focus on the transportation side. What you need is sturdy packaging (preferably re-usable; but obviously it depends on the industry) – the type of packaging that can fit on standard-size pallet (be it EURO or Gallia, or…). Bear in mind that the packaging needs to be solid enough to withstand stacking – what you want is to efficiently use the space in the truck. (Obviously there are also heavy industries where if you load 5 steel sheets, 12 m long and 50mm thick – max weight is already attained and even if there is space left you cannot use it! But this does not mean that packaging is not important! Even in such industries you need to bear in mind loading and unloading – packaging does not mean only boxes and pallets!). So always consider when you design packaging that it must comply with these rules : (i) protect the goods, (ii) suitable for transport and (iii) easy to handle. If all these criteria are met – you are good to load!
I want to add one more thing: In today’s world it’s an ever deeper fight for cost cuts and price reduction; thus often we overlook packaging and choose to invest in poor quality boxes/pallets/crates/cartons etc. But the truth is actually the cost is higher if (a) your goods are damaged during transport and (b) you are not able to fully load a truck because of poor packaging. And (c) – let’s also pause and think about environment! Trucks (safely!) loaded to the fullest would not only mean less money on transportation – but also less physical trucks on the road – hence less pollution!**
Next phase is planning – or traffic scheduling. And the biggest question in everyone’s mind is how can I plan something I have absolutely no control over? And in fact now you understand why packaging is critical – it gives you the first information – how much space do I require on the truck and what is the weight. Once you gather the whole information and you know what means of transport you require – the rest is really easy so long as you have good partners (i.e. Logistic Service Provider). And by good partner I mean there is a good number of criteria that have to be met:

Ideally your Logistic Service Provider will have his own fleet. That is not obviously possible every time – but important is to consider partnering with those traders that have strong, direct connections with carriers. In the world of Logistics it often happens that a load is passed on from one trader to another (often 3-4 times); so to keep your business interest scan carefully your provider and make sure they would only pass the load directly to carrier (I repeat – owned fleet or contracted).

The best Logistic Provider can ensure more than just one service. Your business can require different type of trucks; you may need to ship out 3*FTL’s, 2*LTL’s (different destination); ten parcels and one expedited pallet – all in one day***. And in the very same day you require some x-docking services, customs clearance support and a consolidation warehouse. Well let me tell you, such providers that can do everything do exist – but I do not recommend it. Do not expect that your Logistic Provider will excel at everything or that there is nothing they cannot perform. It’s impossible. Rather analyse the possibility of relying on 2-3 players, each with its own field of expertise.

Do not forget that you are choosing a business partner – not a mind reader. Planning is just as important for them as it is for you. Issues will always arise and you will every now and then require a fast car that needs to be here in one hour, load – and arrive at the client (1500 km away) in 8 hours or we stop their production (have I been playing the automotive game for too long?!?). But these situations are not the rule – you should communicate timely your requirements in terms of numbers of loads required, frequency, day of the week that need to be loaded and/or unloaded, etc.

Build a trust relation, and allow for enough time in case you delays. Do not just presume your will shipment arrive on the required hour each and every time; unless you have a consolidation warehouse in the close vicinity, JIT will never work! Drivers are human beings, and traffic nowadays is impossible to predict, so when you receive an updated ETA, it should not mess up your entire production plan. And this obviously goes both ways – what you want is have a partner that does not hide any delays, but timely and proactively informs you of every step.
Do not await for disaster to hit – rather build a contingency plan. Don’t forget that trucks operate on roads, and even if we are talking about a small distance an incident can unfortunately occur! Either something really bad which would completely wreck all your goods – or a partial loss (or theft! or malfunction! or…); in either way be prepared. Your provider should be able to compensate you in the limit of the CMR insurance law – or you can opt for an additional insurance if the value of the goods is high. In such regretful occurrence you must be able to rely on a reputable partner that is able both to offer an alternative solution and to make sure you will be able to recover as much as humanly possible of the loss.

Still I can hear your whisper once I had done all of this (packing and partner), how do I then ensure my plan is executed the way I want? After all I cannot be held accountable of what happens on the road! Oh but there are just a few things you can still do to ease the process, and make certain everything goes smooth. Key here is communication with your designated dispatcher (the assumption is that your partner is a professional, as just described). Here are a few useful tips:

a. Make sure you have the correct infrastructure. If your lorry docks are jammed, if there is an issue with the loading equipment, if your best forklift driver on that shift is missing, if… if you indeed have an issue that needs time fixing – make sure you communicate.

b. Make sure you have the goods packed, labelled and with all the required documents ready! Truck scheduling is not wishful thinking! Planning trucks is the resulting action after you had planned production and/or agreed with your supplier. If the goods are not completely ready – do not call the truck in.

c. As much as possible plan your loadings in the morning. Issues tend to happen in the afternoon, when everybody left home – so planning in the morning is advisable. And also – avoid that the loading starts on the first shift – and gets finished on the second!

Transportation Management is indeed a big thing – and every industry should consider it as a strategic matter in its development. After all – it is that modest driver that actually represents the company when presenting himself to unload the truck. It is that driver that hands you the parcel you’ve ordered. It is the driver that you empower to represent you at the supplier site, and allow him to handle the goods that are necessary for your processes. Investing in good, stable partnership with professional and caring Logistic Companies should be a pivotal scope of every Supply Chain department. What are your thoughts on the matter?

*I am obviously not only speaking about the end-customer. My client can be a warehouse or another division of my own company.

** I am aware not all products and business are tailored to fully load a truck every time – but it would ease carriers life if they know that the space in their truck is optimally used, and they can safely plan their next load.

*** In case you are not familiar with all terms: FTL – Full Truck Load; LTL – Less Than Truck Load.

A new chapter

There is a funny Romanian tale of a man who leaves his wife and kid (he also lived with his mother in law – so we cannot 100% put the blame on him) – and wanders the world, looking for… stupid people. (Not the hardest of all endeavours, now that I think about it). Throughout his journey – he encounters several idiots, all really lining up for the Fool of the Year Award (or the Donald award as they call it nowadays). The best of them all is trying to catch and store sun rays in a… barrel – to light up his house. The moral of the story is that wherever you travel this beautiful flat Earth – you will most probably have the chance of acquainting loads of dimwits. Dozens of fools!Well – admitedly – we were all in the position of being fools and fooled in our lives. Either fully in love – or fooled by someone we did not know, but should’ve knonw better. And the question still remains in the back of our mind though – how dumb are we really? Exactly just how stupid can we be? There should actually be a radar (or an app!) to spot stupid people around you – this way everybody could avoid them! (Although I fear we would end up all living alone, secluded, should we choose to use such a device). Anyways, this is a story of such an nitwit. Enjoy!The first encouter

I do not recall ever being born. In fact – there is little evidence I was not born at all, and though apparently I myself was present, I have no recollection of that particular element. What is for sure is that I am now observing every year a certain date that I can scruplously mark as the beginning of my reason, and that date is completely different from the day my parents tell me I came to this world. It is the day I first smelled the sweet scent of lilacs – and that one day I do recall!

It was spring – a day not very different from today. It’s strange how some days begin in an absolute ordinarly tone – you hear the alarm go on; you snooze it; you drag your way up to the bathroom; you start the morning preparation for work with that distant look, expecting the worst from the day… and already praying it will be over… Sip your coffee, scrolling thourgh the phone. Same day, same pattern, same colleagues, same walls. We see no trees, hear no bees. Nothing will change the way we look at the world – they way we look at our fellow humans or they way they look bak at us. We feel the same way we felt yesterday, and the day before. And clearly tomorrow we will feel the same. But then, suddendly, with not as much as a shred of notice, your whole day changes – and something peculiarly unexpected turns your day upside down; it just tears your life apart in small pieces and you are left in wonder, not really realizing how it happened or why, but deeply knowing that the days to come will simply not be the same!

So it was spring – a beatiful day actually. It was one of those lazy days when the world would stand still, quiet like a Sunday afternoon, warm like a hug yet distant like the memory of lost years. Sunny, clear, a little breeze in the air! I do not need to close my eyes to see it all again, for the memory of it will never leave me. Somewhere in the distance I would hear the barking of our neighbour’ dog, out in the street there were birds chirping and a horse-pulled waggon was getting near (I could hear the rithmic rap-tap-tap of the horse shoes on the stone road). I was playing with the wooden stick that my magical imagination had transformed into a mighty sword – I was armoured and fighting a mythical beast; I was on the verge of losing my last breath in the heat of the battle. The mighty beast was powerful – white fangs spliterred with my blood, steel claws about to get me, thunderous roars realeased with neverending fury! Just when I wthought my end was near, a lucky swing of my sword and I pierced through the creature’s chest – right through its heart! It released a final, collosal, shout – and fell lifeless on the ground.

And there – whilst I was contemplating my victory and analized the variants to continue my game (either lay down near the beast and die the death of the victorious, unknown hero – or reap the fruit of my triumph and marry a beautiful maiden) – it was then that I felt it. At first I could not understand what it is. Something sweet, crushing yet delicate, impressivley present but somewhat very subtle, fragranced still hardly nuanced – the scent was dancing around me in an ever seducing manner, and though I was 7 (or 8? or 6 maybe?) I fell irremediably in love with the bewitching incense of the lilac – and remained a slave ever since. Never before have I felt it, though passed by it every day – the little lilac tree was reigning the garden long before I was born – but never since have I been able to resist the embracing whisper of the lilac.

It was that day that I started noticing the lilac. I noticed its delicate little flowers, all gathered in that unaccountable formation, an intricate mauve pattern with gentle patches of white – releasing those sensations, that feeling, that silky perfume.

And I could never again pass by a lilac tree and give into memories; because I miss that naïve little boy who was fighting monsters and could talk to trees and enjoy the little every day miracles.