you’re beautiful

how do you response when someone says you are beautiful? for your consideration, first, this person is a guy. quite young. a stranger who happens to be near you. (meanwhile, you are actually more of a stranger, compared to him as he is a local) You may think he is just flirting. It’s nothing serious. Or you may also be flattered. You blush. You think it is a damn fact. You can as well say thank you, assuming that his statement is so blunt. The Indonesian way would be to say, « Oh, really? » It’s a way of showing a surprise.

But circumstances count. The location was a palace. To be exact, Lake Palace in Udaipur. It is a romantic place. The luxurious atmosphere really gives you a thrill, teleports you to another time and space. You’re feeling like a queen? Most probably.

lake palace
lake palace, udaipur, rajahstan, india

But does it all matter? The signified of the word beautiful is complicated, at least for me. I always find it difficult to explain the meaning of my first name. The first thing that comes in mind is ‘beautiful’. But I usually add ‘lovely’, just to avoid constricting it to visage beauty. I hate to say that my name means beautiful. It’s like saying I’m beautiful. Although my mother may mean it when she gave birth to me.

Belle, bela, جميلة, सुंदर, now the word has become an empty signifier. Too many people have said it. It is floating, waiting to be grasped by someone who really means saying it. Only this anchoring matters.


when dryness gets to the extreme

i remember my friend said, around march–just after the chill of winter was fading, « I love the weather, coz my hair stays good. » So, as the weather was dry, the scalp didn’t turned humid. you don’t need to wash your hair so often. and you know washing hair is such a big deal for indian girls, because they have to oil the hail first and leave it for one to eight hours–during which you are confined to your room as you look very ugly.
so nowadays it’s been hot. super hot. temperature reached 44 degrees. can’t imagine what july would be like. but the heat is different from that of jakarta. it’s very dry here. whenever i walk pass any open ground, it smells like either grass or soil. or shit or trash of course. strangely some trees have the effect of falling the leaves, leaving only the flowers. like the yellow one in jnu main road, from t-point to ad block. if you walk along the road, feels like being in a wedding hall.
and dryness bring patched land. and the jungle of jnu turns to be … a desert.
last night after watching the premiere of pirrates of the carribean, we were sitting in the lawn in front of lohit hostel, chatting over a cup of chai. planning our next trip (to rajahstan, guys!!) when the winds started blowing from every way… clouds of dust was floating. we had to cover our face in order to keep breathing. it came several times. unfortunately i didnt hv any dupatta to cover my hair. it got so entangled and dusty i know not how to clean it. the wind blew us to a desert… maybe rajahstan, maybe africa

such a suck day

always, always cant get good quality sleep whenever i have to get up early the next day. such as yesterday morning. i woke up on time, even before my alarm. my roommie can always wake me, not intentionally.. but even the sounds of small things she does.
then i finally got the call of the cab. worked. had coffee (i know.. i shouldn’t have). got trained. i asked for a hardcopy so that i can read more conveniently, especially to know the qualifier questions which will terminate the survey (mati kutu). but N.O. didn’t give me. i was alone. the two boys didn’t show up.
then i had to find the leads myself. tiring. got lost. dialled so many numbers, got transfered, got blank appointments. everybody told me to send email instead. internet resing. breakfast was some south indian vada n sambar and the pale chutney–of which the combination just stirred my stomach… 😦 but sandwich wasnt there yet.
i don’t understand BPO thing. in a website we got some links of BPO companies. but either the number is indian or singaporean or nil, or the companie had gone bankrupt. or they didn’t provide the service that the survey is concerned of.
so lucky i got a good car to go drop us. but those stupid guys took so long to show up. then one of them, who sat next to me, was acting as if he were the cutest guy on earth. the guy sitting in the front didn’t know how to put on the seatbelt. the geek next to me stupidly opened the window while the AC was running!! i didnt even care what excuse he gave. i had my earphoned… i don’t really like AC, or something. oh my god… cant u feel it’s 44 celcius degrees outside! you’ll get only hot wave! so ‘kampungan’! sorry to say… i just had a bad day. didn’t get any survey

therapy in the usual way

sooo.. today’s a holiday not only in indonesia but also some parts here. at least my center/department. i went because i needed to get clearance form for my certificate (yes, i have completed M.A.). but then i called the guy, he said they are on vacation. hmm. well at least i got mango shake from the usual place. then i got AC in the library. didn’t manage to read Dante’s Inferno or Czechoslovakian short stories. but took nap for about 15 minutes 😛

then of course my friend wanted to go out. somewhere, anywhere, at least to escape the furnace of delhi (44 celcius degrees). so we went to a mall, nearby. the first stop is big bazaar. a kind of Matahari or a little carrefour. we scanned d clothes section, furnitures, mobile, soaps.. and went down to the supermarket. quite a comfortable place, you can say. the good thing you can see a ot of imported stuffs (from thailand or indonesia!) and learn some names. such as the types of mango (alfonso, etc), also the vegetables (brinjal, bottlegourd…). i bought ‘oyong’. it’s a kind of gourd, but i forgot the hindi name. my roomie said its ‘jingga’. anyway, its just 26 rupees per kg, n i got less than half kg for 5 pieces. i got pudina (mint) powder, but didnt get gur (molasses, jaggery) for my rujak (fruit salad with peanut sauce). i bought canned salmon also (hmm… fish is quite rare n expensive here).

to the department stores (they have pantaloon, lifesytle, shopper’s stop), i just accompanied my friend in the men’s section. he tried on pants, t-shirts, shirts, suit, etc… really, this whole day it has been like living in jakarta. with family.

moving on to the next mall, right beside it, we were of course tired and needed to stretch our legs. we sat in the food court and bought something to eat. these days our meal-taking has been incredibly irregular. again, the heat doesn’t only make headache and hurt your eyes, but also kill your appetite. from the food court, we came to a bookstore, then fashion outlet… so i would call the day a therapy day, to discharge loneliness and stress. before coming back to misery.

women’s faces i’ve seen for the last two years

for Langston Hughes

Didi, cut your hair short when it starts having split ends

Didi, erase that sindhur if it starts tainting your nose

Take off the churi if you want to show your dragon tattoo on your wrist

Crush that anklet if you don’t like the sound of the bells dictating your steps

Don’t listen to others when you’re more comfortable with your cuurent status, complicated or single

puisi di hari sempit

kurta hijau-coklat spring collection
membawaku ke dunia permainan warna rosetti
kelopak mata bunuel yang tak angker
cuma goresan dengan alat pangkas sehari-hari
ya aku terjepit di revolusi langston
dan teriakan stalin
di laut conrad dan kanibal congo, di satu sisi sungai
yang mengalirkan benci-penyakit kurtz
dimana perkosa adalah senjata
coltan, bahaya turunan generasi benua
perut terbelah dan syukurlah ini kisah nyata, hobbes
membawaku pergi dari lapangan bersampah
topan dedebu, balapan merak
potongan nipis seperti mika, potongan bungkus teh berkarakter aneh
kembang yang enggan kering
tidak ada musim gugur di new york-nya billie
tidak ada akubisadapatkalauakucoba
ah tidak sayang, hari ini panjang
separuh siang
menggigil seputaran fan
seseorang mengangkat topi untukku
untuk cinta yang bertahan
tak roboh tertekan
seperti tempelan
chef-chef membubungkan sawi
tertawa memamer gigi
pada foto kalender taurus
suatu sore di alir cheonggyecheon tanpa kental ornamen salju
dan aku bayangan di ujung sana
diapit gitanjali
tanpa suara
cuma langkah
verve menggelincir
rekatkan semua yang tercecer, darling
sudah cukup aku tercacah