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When I think about my friend Prof. Mircea Cinteza (..and this happens frequently), I try to figure out all those things he would not talk about. What kind of a child was he? How were his parents? Where are the sites of his childhood? Did his parents know of the “asset” they were launching into the Romanian society?
I took the liberty to call Prof. Cinteza and ask for a meeting. He was no longer the Minister of Health, nor was I in any special position.
We sat face to face in his small office at the University Hospital. The meeting took 10 minutes. Going up to his office, I remembered all my impressions from the time he was the Minister of Health of Romania.
Being in the medical field, I had had the opportunity to meet with him. I had also seen him often on the national television.
I thought about the loss for the state of Romania and that the Ministry of Health would not have a better minister. To my great joy, he agreed to collaborate and develop some of my medical business ideas.
As I was about to leave, he suddenly said: “Oh, one more thing: you can call me Mircea”. The process of developing our business ideas and working together became a fascinating experience.
We had discussions, conversations, arguments, moments of joy and anger. We do not always see the reality with the same eye, the problems and the solutions. But in this framework, I started my new journey in discovering the personality of Mircea.
The relationship took a turn, and a feeling of something new and real started to prevail. My meetings with Mircea became ever more frequent, and conversations went longer, and deeper. I felt attracted.
During the summer of 2007, on a phone call, he felt in my voice that I was in some personal turmoil. A few moments later, I received an SMS on my phone. “You have a friend nearby”.
At that time I needed a friend, and Mircea was there for me. At night, he took me to his house in the mountains. We spoke all the way and then had dinner at his mountain chalet. Our conversation advanced into the night. He was all for me. He was all with me.
He was all around and into my dilemmas and my puzzlements. Though in stress, I could see his personality unfold through a pile of thoughts, ideas and pieces of advice. He has an unbelievable sensitivity. He has the ability to dive deep into the issue and catch points and nuances in a shiver of a second.
I discovered his ability to make a fast distinction between the important and the nonsense. He gets inpatient if you try to repeat something he has already understood. That night ended with a confession about his past experiences. His lessons in life were his offer for wisdom.
The rules he had adopted to avoid unwanted situations were to become the gift I have received from him that night: simple guidelines, sheer commonsense, but a reminder of some “life basics” that at times we tend to forget.
“Thank you” I said at the end of the talk. “Never thank for friendship” he replied.
A new friendship was about to emerge. Since then, we meet, travel, share observations, arguments, conversations, dreams and aspirations. Mircea is a “Sensitive-Analytic” person. He enjoys the possession of huge amount of knowledge.
You name it, he knows it. Sometimes I am amazed with the amount of knowledge he has. We meet with friends, someone says something, and he has the opinion, the knowledge, the background, the ongoing news and an additional correction.
His “Radars” are fully alert; nothing in his vicinity will remain untouched, or no-commented. He is well “switched on”. He is informed about the ongoing issues of the world, near or far.
Mircea has his solid opinions about history, culture, music, politics, architecture, design and more. You may think you know some people of this calibre, but if you have not met Mircea, you have seen nothing yet.
“The real advantage of an educated person is the ability to match his level to the level of others.” he told me on one occasion. And indeed I saw this happening. I had opportunities to see how he relates to people. It could be his driver, or anyone at any level of the society. He is always kind, considerate, and could hold a constructive conversation with anyone. It is not always easy to be the friend or companion of Mircea.
His “type A” personality does not always leave room for what goes out of his understanding of life. Sometimes we have this silly tension between us. Suddenly I feel “electricity in the air.” I never know why we get into those situations. Perhaps he is better then I am to spot the build-up of those moments.
The gain from my meetings with Mircea made it worth any “surrenderness” that I had to give in the course of our friendship. When he likes something, then he is all into it. He may be innocently shocked by one’s lack of enthusiasm to stand near a pile of snow and snap 50 photos, insisting to find a shiver of beauty in each one of them.
Mircea finds beauty in everyone he meets, and in everything he sees. In the dawning of our relationship, I have received a book of photos, made and taken together with his wife Eliza.
The Album takes the viewer to the mountains of Romania.
Photos are at standards of no compromise. It was my first look at the outcome of a joint Eliza-Mircea enterprise.