Eleven Years Ago

Guess I should blame it on my niece.

"YEEEEWWWW!!! Valentine's Day! That sucks!"

"Don't hate the commercials if you lack a man now." I didn't even move my eyes from the newspaper I was reading.

"Aju, have you ever really celebrated Valentine's Day?"

And that was the very moment your name came up in the conversation. The memory of you -- never really disappears -- started lingering again. It was the Valentine's Day eleven years ago, and your Valentine's card. I'd had a crush on you for over a year, didn't hear from you for months, and thought that I would never see you again.

But the card was in my mailbox. I stared at your name in disbelief for a few seconds, and called my best friend to share the joy (ah, so typically girls!). It took me a half-an hour conversation before I got the gut to call you to say thanks.

Yes, you said that you had sent Valentine's cards to all your friends. I held myself from asking whether those included your male friends, heheheh... believe me, I was tempted to!

Although we hadn't seen each other for quite a long time, we chatted as if we did it everyday. As usual, you were an engaging talking partner. I can't remember how, but at a point we came to the topic of your birthday, which is only a week after the V's. I said that "Traktir-traktir dong!" thing and you quickly responded, "Okay."

I still suspected that maybe you were only being nice to me. But a day before, you called me to confirm it. "I'll come to your house at eleven, we'll go see a movie, and get our lunch afterward."

It was beyond my expectation. I had assumed that we'd go out in a group.

Everytime my mind brings me back to those days, my heart is filled with warmth. We were together like, what, 10 hours a day? (That didn't include the long-distance calls when you were out of town doing your final project). Ahahahhaah.. young love. Yet, you had been quite mature, and I was usually the childish one. You bought onde-onde for my late grandma, knowing how she loved them. My mom liked you a lot. Especially when she knew that you had to go home straightly after church because you had to do the laundry for your whole family. She called you "responsible". Of course! I was spoiled, dependent too much on her "back office" assistants to do house chores, heehhehe..

I don't know where you are right now. A cousin told me last year that she saw you. You were with your son, and she said he was cute. Well, I can only wonder when we'll meet again. Until then...

I wish you bluebird in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing

I wish you shelter in the storm
A cozy fire to keep you warm

I wish you health
But more than wealth

I wish you happiness. Because you deserve it, nevertheless.

Ketika di Langit Ada Bintang

Ketika di langit ada bintang, 'Dik sayang
aku menunggu kedatanganmu
pada mega di langit, 'Dik
kutanyakan kabar beritamu

Janji-janji aku ingat, 'Dik sayang
tersedot rasa di hati
bintang-bintang memanggilmu, 'Dik
menunggu bulan purnama

Kala itu, janjimu disaksikan
langit bintang, diiringi
rasa cinta yang begitu besar

Ketika di langit ada bintang, 'Dik sayang
dengarkan tangisan hati
bersamaan dengan suara malam, 'Dik
cintaku jauh setinggi langit

Sebelum Jeng Miund dan Ibu Silverlines terkapar lagi karena liris di atas, saya sampaikan dulu bahwa kata-kata indah tersebut adalah terjemahan "Yen Ing Tawang Ono Lintang" yang dibuat oleh Mas Andreas, salah seorang artis yang karya-karya kreatifnya selalu saya kagumi (baru kenal di multiply, belum ketemu langsung, hehehe..).

Saya ingat obrolan dengan sejumlah teman beberapa waktu lalu yang berakhir dengan kesimpulan bahwa bahasa daerah lebih kaya kosakata dan nuansa dibanding bahasa Indonesia. Akibatnya gurauan dalam bahasa daerah ketika dialihkan ke bahasa Indonesia jadi kurang lucu.

Hal yang sama mestinya berlaku untuk tulisan yang puitik. Walaupun terjemahan di atas sudah romantis, tapi rasa yang terpancar dari lirik aslinya tidak bisa ditangkap secara sempurna dalam bahasa lain. (Biarpun begitu, saya tetap salut sama Mas Andreas!)

Coba, bagaimana dengan lagu di bawah ini:

Bahagia kita berdua
Selama aku berada dekatmu
Ketika kita tak sedang bersama
Anganku selalu kembali padamu

Tutur katamu indah
Engkaulah yang memiliki hatiku

Bahagia kita berdua
Selama aku berada dekatmu

Itu upaya saya membuat terjemahan "Nang Sonang Do Hita Nadua". Tidak puas dengan hasilnya sih, rasanya mati gaya membuat lirik yang bisa menangkap kecantikan lagu itu :(.

Practically About Anything

Firstly, I'd like to extend very belated Christmas and Idul Adha greetings to those who celebrated them and best wishes for the New Year to everyone. It's been quite long since my last post and, believe me, I actually had a lot of ideas for this blog but somehow couldn't bring myself to write them down. Holiday blues? Maybe! There are a few things that I'd like to share, though.

This Christmas gave me mixed feelings. Again, I didn't have a White Christmas, though I've been dreaming about it for months. It's my third Christmas here and not once had each one snowed! It was even kinda warm this year. Some people were thankful, saying how nice it is to be able to walk outside and not freeze over. As for me, I was FRIGHTENED. I agree that the "nice climate" is in fact an indication of the global warming. If the process continues at this pace, or even faster (accelerated every year thanks to our destructive habit!), we will have a global flood way earlier than we expect -- and today we don't have Noah and his ark! Watching "Ice Age 2: The Melt" on DVD wasn't helping -- it only strengthened my fear.

But at the same time, I felt blessed more than ever. The Christmas Eve service was so beautiful, and I choked to tears while singing Christmas carols with the rest of the congregation. I finally managed to redo my apartment AND made the general cleaning, so I could invite my friends over for Christmas. I got many Christmas presents from friends and colleagues -- so many that I will have to be creative to have them all stored in this small, one bedroom apartment without making it look cluttered. I'm still thinking of how best to handle those countless cookies and cakes and chocolates, hehhehe... it's really heartening to know that a great number of people do care about me.

"What have I done to deserve such kindness?" I poured out to Boe.

His answer struck me: "It's probably not what you've done. Maybe it's a message, or a 'down payment' for your future generosity to your friends and other people." (Well, these are not exactly his words, but mirip-mirip deh!)

Ain't that so true. I just hope Iwill never forget that I've got 'paid forward' for all these and that I'm obliged to spread similar treatment to those around me.

On a not-so-pleasant note: of course, Saddam Hussein's execution. I made my point sometimes back that I oppose death penalty. I hold the view that one's life isn't their property, let alone other people's. I echo Gandhi that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Utopic? You bet. But some utopism satisfies me most of the time. And I rest assured that Saddam's death will not halt the violence in the Middle East. Seeing the man's expression when he was about to put out his head really broke my heart. He seemed much older, with the calmness of someone who is aware that his life is drawing to a close.

Saddam's tragic faith, however, doesn't necessarily make him a hero, though he's been a symbol of a "fight against Western domination and neo-colonialism" among certain societies and groups. I tend to agree with Pakde Isnogud's assessment, as 'quoted' by Ndoro Kakung Pecas Ndahe, that our own frustration resulted in hailing Saddam despite his aggression towards Iran and Kuwait years ago (as well as his policy on the Kurdish). We even named Kuwait "antek-antek Amerika" for turning to the US to get some help when Saddam invaded Kuwait -- and forgot that it is the Kuwaitis' RIGHT to defend themselves, in whatever ways they choose.

A few days after Saddam's execution, Gerald Ford had a lavish funeral. Observing the different treatments these two former leaders received on the last days of their lives, I couldn't help but conclude that history is indeed cruel.