Words Shield

To certain degree, I am against the “don’t judge a book by its cover” notion. Of course we’re judging. That’s part of our defensive system that makes us human survive. It is our keen and snap judgment that saves us from the wildlife danger long time ago and from the human insanity on today civilized period.

People cover themselves with various kind of shields, the presented appearance which they consider safe enough for others to see, to judge. This shield often acts in two paradoxical function, to show and to hide.

Take clothes. We use it to cover our body, to protect the imperfect beauty, or to hide the scars; we let no one to judge. Yet in the same time – from the choice of fabric, design, and color – we are trying to speak our style, we are showing what kind of personality this covered body has; we let everyone to judge.

Another example, and this one might be little less used shield, is the words chosen. Words are originally created as tool to express idea or feeling, to bring the known information or the felt sensation out. Yet somehow, words are equally able to serve as a camouflage, it’s more disguising than silence. Like when a poet dancing with rhyme, trying to convey the most personal aesthetic feeling through metaphorical form. Words chosen are to articulate the feeling, to bring the atmosphere – implicitly.

Words is my shield, worn both to cover and show the innermost part, until the right moment comes to put all the cards on the table, to let it lay in bare.

Meanwhile, when I finally found the exact word for a specific sensation or for particular situation I am in, it is like finding the right dress to wear for a date, among those piles of junks, after hours of mismatching (girls know this very well). I stumbled upon this web and feel like, “Yes this is the right dress!”

On the very first pages, I find these five are the most epitomizing things I’ve been through. They bring the sense of closeness to the feeling which I can associate to a particular experience. Travelling back through time; correlating the moment, the feeling, and the word best describing the both two. Simple happiness!


TSUNDOKU (Japanese)

(n) buying books and not reading them; letting books piled up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands.



(adj) cozy, nice, inviting, pleasant, comfortable connoting time spent with loved one or togetherness after a long separation.



(n) encouraging people to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar; defamiliarizing what is known in order to know it differently or more deeply.



(v) pretending reluctance or indifference when you are actually willing or eager; saying no and meaning yes.


KAIROS (Greek)

(n) the perfect, delicate, crucial moment ; the feeling rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words, or movement.


Hey D!

Tell me your words.


A mystery. The dark area ahead, which could tremble you as you’re not very sure what kind of creature is living there, how will they treat you, what sensation you might feel, will it be your life’s tragedy or the best thing ever happened? It excites you as both good surprises and the bad ones might show in equal portion.

A mystery. The essence of a lively life. A life that is not just a mundane repeated scenes, so automatic which makes it goes so fast and we come to another Monday without even aware what had happened, what had been missed.

A mystery. The luxury that every soul is craving for, to a certain degree they could bear. To stay alive.

Dear D,

Let’s embrace that unknown territory.

from the familiar to the esoteric

Hello D!

You asked me to write every time I fail to fall asleep and lost deep in my mind. But you know, since you’re there, there’s no way I can write. Talking to you is what I prefer. And by doing so, I have expressed all idea and thought, and released all the tension caused by it. So I find no need to do it in another way.

You’re now becoming my addiction, and it is very strange. Don’t you think what happened between us is kind of suspicious? Like a stranger coming without any notice then offering every good thing in life, and we still can’t believe he’s doing it without asking anything in return. This is just too good. You know, every time I wake up in the morning, I am always surprised, just by thinking you’re really there.

How could this happened? And why? Why now? Why not a year ago or next year? I can see my days now will be about to find the answer of those.

The whole 4 years being in the same place, studying the exact same thing, having the same friends – yet nothing happened. When it is about people, I will surely remember: the face, the way they talk, the jacket they like to wear, their voice, place they usually hang around, the circle of friend they are in, or even their smell. As every individual is very particular, there is always something I will remember about a person I met.

But when I’m trying to figure out where were you, it’s like a sudden black out. All data from the stored memory is cut out, no single scene appear to light my way. When it is about you, I am left in a dark room. No clue. Not even a blur image of how you’re look like, the way you stand, the way you comb your hair, was it a sling bag or a backpack that you use? Oh, have we even met before?

Then how come just in half day everything’s changed? What did you do? Was it when you helped me with the route? Or when you offered me some snack? It mustn’t be your choice of songs, your song was odd.

Can’t tell exactly how and when. The only thing very clear is, since that day, I know my life is about to find its direction.


Nighty night.

Family Picture

One faculty that is well developed when we’re reaching the so called mature age is the ability to hide feelings. With me now spending more time with kids, I can say it’s very much easier to tell what they feel than what my grown-up friends feel. Kids laugh when they’re happy, cry when sad or embarrassed, frown when they’re angry or disagree, and scream when they’re excited. Their faces speak the truth, like having no filter to turn the emotion inside into the totally opposite expression, like us – adults – often do.

Just take a look at my family picture and see how it has changed from time to time. This is the first one we had.

20150217_131544 (2)So there, none of us was smiling. I still remember what happened. I had another fight with my brother. I must admit that I did trick him and teased him until he cried, just right before we’re taking the picture. I was totally not having that cutie pie look which could save me from mom’s anger. (I still believe the reason why mom was very much nicer to my little brother is not because he’s not an annoying kid as I was, but because he’s having that angel face, the kind of face you don’t have a heart to be angry at). Mom was very mad at me and it’s not easy to get my brother calm for the picture. So that’s the best shoot we could have. This picture speaks the truth. The frown on my face, the wet eyes on my brother, and of course the unhappy look on mom and dad.

This one is my friend’s. I don’t know what was happened there but I love the level of truth of this one. The wet stain on the vest plus the sleepy and totally-not-ready-for-shoot eyes, it’s just so hilarious. And look at that little girl on red. Maybe she was wondering, “Why the hell are people just standing and looking at that can’t-finish-counting guy?”

e98b450b817d7c5e8bd8e8af9856795bCourtesy of Dito

This is the second of ours, and this has included the youngest on my family. I’m not very sure why she put that duck face, maybe I teased her too. But here, we’ve learned how to put a little smile. Well, dad was still wearing that stiff military face. He’s in army so no wonder.

20150217_130543 (2)Time goes on, so does our experience on smiling. Mom calls this is perfect. We’re all looked happy and no more that after-crying face.

20150217_160030 (2)If you study math and look at this sequence of my family picture, you may conclude mature people are happier. But are we really? Or, are we just faking better?


One day, I’ll be tired to pretend
One day, I’ll just tell and sing
One day, I’ll see whether the truth is leading to an end
Or taking to a beginning

Simply Falling

I think I’m falling into this again. I know exactly how it feels. The rush of excitement, sudden big smile, easy laugh, inspiration to write, super energy to get up and make things done, extra attention, deeper thought, and without even looking I can tell that my eyes are brighter – bye bye sobbing eyes!

Growing up means we’re changing from being someone else’s suitcase into the owner of our own. The longer we live, the more experienced we are, the bigger suitcase we’ll carry. Sometimes we let people to see what’s inside, or it is easily seen from the outside, like carrying the transparent plastic bag. But most of the time, we don’t share. We keep things into secret pockets and hidden sacks, only to few very trusted people we let them opened.

See the analogy? Only things not so precious are kept in transparent plastic bag, they’re everybody’s knowledge, only trivia. Things we consider very valuable are locked very deep, and only to very valuable people we share the key.

So, back again to the feeling. I am having a crush, if it’s not falling in love. I can’t really tell the difference. But one very clear sign is this willingness to share what’s in my suitcase. And by saying “to share”, I mean I’m opened to any possibility, to let him see, comment or judge, even make a mess of it.

And looking through these rosy eyes, everything seems very simple. I’m falling because of very simple reason, the way it’s happened is also very simple. So, let’s see if this could simply rock!


Co-Pilot Test

I have a friend who is quite having a same circumstances with me. So without much talk, we can easily come to an understanding and reach that “uhm uhm, I got that” moment. It is priceless! And recently, we’re involved on the never ending talk about why people care so much about marriage. I won’t discuss much about it as it is really never ending, mostly try to figure out confirmation and validation of why it’s okay being single on this “oh you should really start having a serious date” age. And this talk led me to this super witty article, insightful thought written in the very daily words. I love the man behind this web.

Couldn’t stop nodding at the Traffic Test, I created my own to see if a person is worth to be considered as a partner. It’s called a Co-Pilot Test.

Since long I have developed a belief that I’m bad on remembering routes, locating position, or giving direction. As the truth is as far as the belief, so yes, I’m really really bad on these. But lucky now they invent this very helpful app which can show very detail and clear routes to reach any specific place. The feature I enjoy the most is its prediction on the distance, so I can anticipate how far I should take a turn or drive to the left lane to exit the toll way. The second favorite is of course because it is talking. This app produces a voice when directing, so I shouldn’t have to look at my phone often – besides it’s very unsafe, I hate people who are looking at their phone while driving, so I just don’t wanna do it. And as a bonus, I get a man voice. Call me pathetic but I feel safer when it’s a man who’s talking. Let’s call him Mamang (I’m not sure if there’s an option to use a man or a woman voice but my friend got a woman’s and I must say that she’s heard very fussy).

So basically, this Co-Pilot Test is only about how well someone sitting beside me could work together with Mamang and do some additional works like every good partner does – helping to read the sign, reacting calmly when I take a wrong turn (yes I still do this a lot even with Mamang’s help and please don’t make me panic by being over-reacted), or helping to prepare money for toll tariff. Let me recall some people and see why he/ she could or could not make a good partnership (at least with me).

  1. Anggi

By the way, she’s the friend I was talking about at the very beginning of this story, a friend I know for almost 4 years. It is not very long but what we’ve come through makes the counting years not quite relevant to how well we know each other. She’s one of Sangihe Squad and one of the closest. And in regards with being a good co-pilot, she made it! With a minimum score.

  • She loves to talk. She can turn to a totally different topic from the original one. Very knowledgeable and resourceful, I can never get bored talking with her (except when she started to be drowning with sorrow she created herself). So, one tick on good co-pilot side.
  • As the consequences, she’s not really helping on giving direction, often distracting. When we both need to focus on reading sign, we’re still involved in a super intense talk and Bam!! We arrived in Purwakarta instead of Bandung. This is a big no. But in the end, we just found it very funny and laughed at ourselves.
  1. Yuri

Another the closest on Sangihe Squad. He’s been living in Bandung for years so every time I visit Bandung, which is quite often, he becomes my co-pilot. How well is he?

  • As a man often does, he’s quite good on giving direction. He doesn’t really need Mamang as he knows Bandung pretty well. Even when he’s not really sitting on the co-pilot chair, he texts me with a very detail instruction on what signs I need to be aware of, to see if I am taking the right passage. For the person as bad as I am, clear signs is a big help.
  • One thing I find disturbing is he’s worried too much. When driving, sometimes you need to move to the next lane as you’ll have a long queue in front. And when I make that move, he acted like I am careless, not aware of motorcycle behind. So he said much fuss like “watch out”, “see motorcycle behind”, or “slowly”. I take this as little trust and me no like it.
  1. Mom

Without much talk, I only want to say that I couldn’t stand driving her for a long trip. I’m sorry Mom. A bit glimpse of what makes it so:

  • She’s always panic. Ok, this is what every Mom does
  • She gets angry when I took a wrong turn. This is another thing every Mom does, isn’t it?
  • She doesn’t understand why I couldn’t remember routes I passed before. Mom, I don’t understand either, could you please just tell which way I should take? Right or left?

Well, I think it’s just a typical thing. Maybe when I become a mom, I will also behave exactly like her and read a blog of how awful I am as a co-pilot. Hopefully not.

  1. Arif

A friend from uni. We barely knew each other and I don’t even remember if we ever talked before. It’s just couple of days ago he sat on that hot seat, and combined with the Traffic Test, he gave me this idea of Co-Pilot Test. I can say he’s pretty good.

  • He’s living far away from Jakarta so he knows no better than me about this city (we both clearly need Mamang). What makes him good is his empathetic way in showing which turn I should take and his easy response when I made mistake twice. Unlike Yuri or Mom, he didn’t make any fuss of how I drive so my confidence is up. When no traffic ahead, I could swing Bumblebee freely and that’s what I love from driving.
  • Despite the fact that we never talked before, it’s good to find no awkward moment of silence (yes, I think there’s a little while, but every first thing must always has that awkward silence) and the talk can go on and on
  • Well, he hates Jakarta’s traffic and that somehow affecting my mood, but who doesn’t?
  1. Ika

A very best friend since high school. I myself amaze of the fact that I could befriend someone that long. And to add my amazement, she is the best co-pilot ever! Oh I learn a lot from her. Not visiting her when I’m in Bandung is a stupid mistake. She knows every turns, shortcuts, where the traffic’s happening, what’s the cool place to see, good place to eat, etc. These are qualities makes her the best:

  • She clearly doesn’t need Mamang for Bandung, but she knows how it’s very helpful for me and acts out exactly like Mamang. She helps me to anticipate every turn just in a right time – when it’s not too far and not too close. She reminds me about the traffic light, one way passage, or the passing cars in a way which makes me stay alert yet without making a bossy or fussy tune. It is just perfect.
  • One special thing I love from her is her empathy. She always help preparing money for parking, toll, or to some unofficial street police. This is the thing I rarely find on people sitting on co-pilot chair, so I get used to prepare everything by myself. And when she helped me, she’s teaching me that a small help could mean a lot to people in need.
  • She’s a very good driver herself. She’s the one I look up to when it comes to long trip driving. She has that maintained energy, good in navigation, and she loves driving. She said it helps her to release the negative energy by singing out loud alone while driving. I tried it out and very well proven. What else you can ask?

So, what this test is really saying about a good partner? For me, there’re several qualities on finding or being one:

  1. You don’t need history. You just need an open minded person. Anggi is the example of a very open minded person, we can laugh at mistakes we stumble upon. And Arif proved that you don’t need to know people too long to be able to make a partnership. When you’ll be having long days ahead together, you’ll be needing someone who will gladly grow together. So every unexpected turn, every mistake, every lost, is not seen as thing you will be blamed to. It’s simply thing we need to laugh at.
  2. Please trust me. I know sometimes I put myself near danger. I enjoy the sense of getting lost in an unknown place, being a stranger, or risking things. But it doesn’t mean I am careless. So stop the fuss and enjoy the ride.
  3. Don’t forget empathy. Oh this is the hard work. When it is ok to just sit but you’re willing to involve in difficulties, you’re just showing the best form of caring. There, pretty clear you’re in a good hand baby.
  4. Show me how to enjoy life. When we tend to make things complicated, it’s good to be with someone who can show the joy on every simple doing – singing like crazy at the radio playlist or appreciating the little while of smooth drive between traffics.

Night night.

A Way to Stay

I keep questioning what can keep me on writing, to have a pattern as a drill and be worriless of how it will turn out. As the master of procrastinating, it’s always easy for me to craft million reasons or things I will assume more important. Yes they’re sometimes indeed more important, yet the commitment is also one thing on my top priority. This. A commitment to write in more regular basis.

As I currently spend less time on reading, the internal source of motivation, who was always coming out of nowhere whispering urges to convey thought, has also been slowly disappeared.

And I miss it, badly. I need something which can bring me there again and again. At least for once in a week, sitting, giving time for this cheating soul to look back and reflect, for how long will roll on this play.

Now let me try this.

Weekend is something the Jak always longs for. After 5 very long days, the rest 2 is something we consider as treasure. And what makes the treasure becomes more valuable is a plan on how to spend it. Or, in other words, how we’d like to be paid after the 5 working like a dog days. At least, this is very true for me. I oblige a very rewarding 2 days off every week and that’s one thing which could save me through the 5.

So, here I am. The idea is to write those rewards. They might be very much unsophisticated as staying home and sleep all day, or, like the one I will have next week 😉

Some hints:

  1. A sharing tent
  2. The closest on Sangihe squad
  3. Forrest and hill

Until next weekend!!


The Split

A short visit to this city has torn me again, leaving even clearer mark to differentiate the two.

I am the prisoner by the day, the dreamer by the night!

As the bell ring, we all gather heading the same direction, with the footsteps rhyming the sound of surrender, in the spirit for achieving conformity.

As the second bell ring, we all gather again, then spread like the air filling the space, to every corner where each belongs.

From that corner, I take off all my clothes, put off the mask, naked in front of the mirror which reflecting the truth, I collect again the identity.

This is the game I am in. And as on every game, each day brings a new level. The clothes are getting tight it is harder to take off. The mask and the face are getting similar I barely could differ.

Am I going to be forever having two faces? Or better to let them blend?


Satu pesan pendek baru saja masuk.

“Males balik ke Jakarta”

Seorang teman yang sedang menikmati jatah waktu libur tahunannya berteriak dari kampung halamannya.

“Males balik ke Jakarta”


Ada apa sebenarnya dengan Jakarta?

Kota ini ironis, karena penuh dengan jiwa-jiwa jenuh, yang tak henti-hentinya berkeluh namun dengan bodohnya terus kembali menjejali

Kota ini sakit, yang denyutnya dipompa oleh pikiran-pikiran menyipit, yang setiap harinya berebut keluar masuk kereta sempit demi duit yang cuma sedikit

Kota ini ajaib, yang bak tabib meracik sendiri ramuan untuk menghibur jiwa yang jenuh dan menyembuhkan yang sudah terlanjur sakit: bangunan berlantai-lantai menjaja rupa –rupa kebahagiaan semu.


Tiga golongan yang saya temui di bangunan kotak-kotak yang disebut kantor:

1. Mereka sejak awal mula menyadari disinilah cinta mereka berada, sehingga mampu bekerja dengan sepenuh hati dan dedikasi tinggi

2. Mereka yang belakangan menemukan bahwa disinilah hati mereka berlabuh, sehingga mampu menyusul dan bahu-membahu bekerja dengan ritme golongan pertama

3. Mereka yang tengah berjuang menjadi golongan kedua. Celakalah sebagian golongan ini, yang gagal dan tak berdaya, terjebak dan terjangkit epidemi , menjadi zombi-zombi baru penghuni kota mati ini

Celakalah saya!


*Maret 2014

Welcoming Gray!

hallmark your path

I wonder myself. Why am I this happy? Degree of happiness I didn’t expect before, from having a refrigerator. I had been planning to buy it since couple of months ago and finally it arrived yesterday.

People set points in their life; celebrate something every decade, once in a year, or once in a month. The most I see is birthday, New Year celebration comes the second, then Independence Day, wedding anniversary, office anniversary, couple anniversary, first meeting anniversary, we even invent death anniversary. Crazy!

What is it actually in celebration? Why we divide our time into days, weeks, months or years? Why we need to know the number of our years? Is it so we are able to tell when to start school, to know when is the proper time to get married and start a family? Or even to tell when someone should be dead? “Oh she’s 6, her mother will soon enroll her to school. Oh, you’re 30, stop playing with your life and settle down! Oh he’s 100, I wonder how could he be that healthy and still manage to live!” As if we have to reach a certain point on particular specified length of time. Crazy!

I have decided, to stand against the idea of celebrating birthday. I don’t see a point of counting the number we’re alive, length of time we’ve been through and classify it into years. Rather, I prefer to mark my time with momentum, stages of life I’ve been through, a juncture where I experience a growth. And it all has nothing to do with numbers of year.

As a part of human being who needs symbol to remember any accomplishment he has made, I am too crafting my symbols. I started wearing this hijab, to mark a point where I left my past and had a new beginning. I spent a full year away from city buzz, to hold back and see where actually my heart is belong. I climbed Semeru as a reminder to let things go and put a full trust on God’s plan. And yesterday, I bought a refrigerator. It’s a symbol of a promise I made, to not afraid to enjoy thing to the fullest, even when I know it will someday meet its end.

I wonder myself, that it turned out to be a refrigerator. Unlike other electronics (smart phone, notebook, or camera), it is not something you can bring along when you leave. Unlike other home appliances (a wardrobe, a set of mat and pillow, or a broom), it is not that cheap you can just leave it when you leave. It’s a refrigerator. It costed me some fortune yet I couldn’t always have it (at least after 7 months).

What does it imply?

I don’t usually spending on something temporary. I buy clothes not only because they’re nice, but because I know I can match them with many of my pants or veils, and the quality ensure me it will last for great length of time. I befriend someone not merely because they’re fun to be with, but because I know he/ she is always a fun no matter how far we’re apart.

A friend named it Gray. Now I call my refrigerator Gray. Gray is a symbol to mark a time where I learn that it is totally ok to spend on something temporary, as indeed everything is a temporary. It is not a matter of how long you can have it, but how well you spend time with it. I will have at least 7 months to play with Gray, and I can imagine the joy it will bring. The pleasure it offers to friends who are visiting, the surprises it gives whenever I open it: tasty ice cream, fresh fruit, healthy vegetables, cold milk, chocolate, and cheese. I will let others to enjoy Gray too, and then we will have a happiness shared.

How can I ask for more?