my relation to my country is on trial

so what is nationalism?
i am imagining indonesia now. what really happened there? in mentawai, yogyakarta. the earthquake, the eruption. the tsunami. it surely has happened before. i was working in the media.
my friends asked me about my family. dejavu. yea, i think something also happened last year.
oh they are okay. we live in java, a different island. oh we live in jakarta.
should i read news? i am not supposed to be just informed by facebooks statuses. i sms-ed my mom. she is afraid. the other day i chat with my aunt (faebook-literate), she thinks the judgement day is near. that it’s on tv. i was speechless.

today at 4 o’clock i have to come to my embassy. for rehearsal of performance. i havent attended any since i went out of the city for 11 days.
ok, then, for thanking iccr, for giving us all opportunity to have a taste of india.

two days ago i didnt go there for the flag-hoisting ceremony for Youth Pledge. my excuse: i had a seminar, a farewell for one of our professors (which was quite true). yes, i know, i am a citizen. though i don’t know whether i am a good or a bad one.

tete « a la faveur de l’automne » (too early to play, eh?)


get ready for the chill

how do you know when winter is coming? durga puja has passed.
when you don’t go to the library again to feel the AC, because they have turned it off–even the pankha.
when you prefer taking water from the big bucket for shower, because it’s warmer
you feel like drinking water from the cooler, although it is ‘normal’ temperature
you wait till its 2 to take shower
your shawl is useful because it protects you from cold, not because it looks good on you (but the colors or motive still matter)
i see some blooming flowers, so good. like sparks of magic in this shitty life

soon, you will see a lot of puppies!!

north-east (india) night

manoj (phd student from assam) came accross me when i was walking on the way to campus for the first of the 2-day seminar on « Australian Studies: Indian Perspectives ». i was late, he did not seem to be attending. rather, he asked whether i want to come to north-east night, especially for the dinner. the programs–the dance, fashion show, sing–were free, but for the food of course we have to pay. they charged us 80 rupee. obviously i was interested because last year i missed the dinner.
i came with prerona and shabnam my classmates. priyanka came later. i got separated from them because i wanted to get a better view, for taking photos. i finally got a coupon. there was a fuss about queueing for the food, but finally we managed to push ourselves to the stage and get it hehe. i didnt take the pork, but the fish was damn good. there were two kinds. i regret not taking pictures of the food.

people i’m with

that day i decided to go to claridge hotel because of some embassy function. i thought, why not giving it a shot. i’ve been to that hotel before to see my sister’s friend, but obviously the food would be good. i wanted to wear my batik skirt as well

(batik was the dress code for indonesians for the function). had really good time to be around indonesians. in the pasta corner, i met an indian lady whose husband was in indian embassy in jakarta. she looked very young, her son is 20 years old! and she spoke quite good indonesian and loved gado-gado! i had champagne, red wine and a shot of black label. and snapper, salad, and mud cake.

back to my friend’s place (who has a car and whose house was our dressing room) and her brother took us home. i had to meet my best friend as our friend would have birthday. went to this hostel, she gave him a very thoughtful present (a brand new sony mp3 player), had chai and chips. poulomi was there, i was glad that she was there as she always cheers everybody up with her attitude. i think my hindi is improving also hehe.. we planned to go to some place.

the next day, after class (which sucked because i didnt read the play though i know it was a good play, discussed in some books), i took a coupon for korean dish. walid told me it’s very delicious. i ate sitting with bedatri and all, didnt know where my batchmates had gone. got brochure and, later on, cd on korea. hmm… then walid kidnapped me to see tibetan poetry reading. i received an sms from a tibetan friend. we went and saw two out of three poets. nice. though most of the times, especially the second poet since she talked very very softly, i didnt know what they were talking about. but when the first poet shared his experience of loss and displacement, somehow i felt the same way. though in my case, the nation is there, but i dont really know where i belong to.

then went to karol bagh to see my indonesian friend. she got married with an indian, a very nice guy. still amazed when i listen to her stories. found some skirts for me to be sent to indonesia. i borrowed some of her dvd collection. she gave me karela (bittergourd) chips, loved them. she made gado-gado. and with her husband, we were talking about translation and india and bhagavadgita.

went back, checked who was online. of course he was there, but i didnt bother to say hi as i thought most of the time he’s busy. got engaged or something. someone else buzzed me, but i didn’t care because he talks too much. my best friend in indonesia was there, but i was too sleepy to discuss about our project.

so here i am. waiting for someone to get up and pick up my call.

CWG has started! I’m stucked in metro

so i planned to go to india’s literary institution in delhi, sahitya akademi. it is near mandi house metro station, just two stations from CP–which i can reach by bus from right across the street. there is ‘meet the author’ session, starting today. though i forgot the author who was going to inaugurate the event, i remembered that he is an important literary figure hehe.
but things did go as i planned. i was waiting for about 10-15 minutes but the bus did not show up. it was already 16.45, while the event would start at 17.00. i took an autorickshaw to the nearest metro station (i think), haus khaz. this stations, along with many others, is new and i admit i shoud thank commonwealth games for changing the face and body of my city (there IS a sense of belonging here). was waiting but again, the metro did not show up. once it came, it was so full that i decided to take the next one. otherwise i would be like a sardine. fortunately the next one was not full. i could stand up normally, hang on to some pole and feel the AC. my nose is not offended by any bodily smell of other people surrounding me… but, again and again, luck was not on my side. the metro had to be delayed for some power reasons. felt like an idiot, standing there, stagnant, out of place.
when the metro finally departed, we had to curb our joy as in the following stations, lots and lots and lots of passengers went in. i was standing near the door and i could see how people struggled and insisted to get in. there were shoutings, too! this reminded me a bit of the train’s general class… so it was rush hour and maybe also because of CWG. i saw some people wearing new clean white jackets and red pants, although i was not sure they were athletes. the metro was so full that you dont need to hold on to anything as your body already leaned against everybody. this is not something new for me, i guess. and it’s the indian factor also. however, i was a bit scared because besides me, only one lady was in the compartment… what if some madness strike the consciousness of the mass (men) and they all attack me??
it was in patel chowk station that the guy next to me signalled that he would go down at the next station. i gave him way, i didnt realize that i would also go down there, rajiv chowk, as i had to change to blue line. i know that rajiv chowk is the most crowded station. when i looked outside the window, i didnt dare to imagine how i would get out and get fresh air 😦 as i expected, people from the outside already forced themselves to get in. i joined to flow of the outgoing passengers, gasping, trying to maintain my balance (i was reminded of a band concert in bandung, west java when i fell down amid the chaos). i felt that my strenght was defeated by the mass and i almost gave in when a guard pulled me from outside so that i could stick to the passenger in front of me. i knew that if i broke the line, i could never get out. i felt i was not stepping on earth. but that guy really saved me. but i also had to, maybe unconsciously, stay close to the passenger in front of me. i didnt let him go and i felt that his strenght somehow dragged me… haha! then i realized that i held the arm of that man very tightly… then i said ‘so sorry!!’ when he, also finally realized what happened to his arm, looked at me. and he said, ‘it’s ok’. oh god… then i breathed and climbed upstairs. i was definitely late.
but it’s ok. when i reached sahitya at least i saw some great books. wanted to buy bama’s sangati but the price was… fourfold of the xerox copy hehe. i went to the gallery and really enjoyed it. i really miss my routine in jakarta, going from one art gallery to another. some amazing paintings!!! they are i guess to be put at some places (metro stations), in conjuction with.. what else… CWG… I also went to kamani auditorium to check the event for that night. there were rajahstani music and dance, the ticket is 150 bucks.

i left. thinking what to eat and where.

before i reached mandi house, i took the wrong metro, going to the opposite direction. so i got down at karol bagh. the good thing is i could see another part of the city, near my friend’s place. moreover, when i was about to join the queue, there

were actually some special lines for women. so even inside the metro, they were all women. i felt so comfortable (and it was not packed), psychologically. saw women wearing saris, carrying apples, their hair decorated with kumkum (?).

some world, apart from my boring campus life.