the peace burden

you came to me as a traveler. and left me as a soldier.

the war is everywhere, yes. if it is not happening here, if I can’t see it right nor, it’s actually everywhere, and always.

questions are left unasked. what is your principle what is your cause. how do you think you can change your country, or people’s mind.

have you used your weapon? have you made a soul lost? what is the worst scene you’ve ever seen? the bloodbath and fluttering sounds of machineguns… ramppamppaam!>

what do you do to escape the burden, as you call it. going for vacation every year. did yoga in Dharamsala. it’s been five years now, you say. five fuckin years.

soldiers are soldiers, obligatorized by uniform and authorized by guns. yet, humans they are still, men they are. blood within the flesh, streaming to their penis. some t i m e…

how can i not have prejudice that bad things happened to the flowers. how predictable, though not expected. delusional. weeping death. music that keeps you sane. or maybe make you afloat. tunes that bring you home. mother tongue that makes you feel holy. un-sinned.

do you close your eyes some t i m e

you said people hate each other. i’d ask you, what do you think about god now. what do you think about gender-prescribed roles. is your mom crying now? you write letters for her?

i’d want to ask you how do you juxtapose culture and violence. home and hell. you are too surrounded by conflict-triggering hatred.

but you are beautiful…

even your hands seem to pose all the times. the composition of your fingers just seem right. there is order. perhaps hope.

i would have asked you all those questions, regardless they may sound silly, you know.

the peace in your smile held me back.


random ‘misperceptions’ after consuming the following, to the extent of my awareness: Garin Nugroho’s Soegija, Eka Kurniawan’s Cantik Itu Luka, Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War, and Usmar Ismail’s Lewat Djam Malam


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.

new delhi’s new airport terminal

so i had to go to the airport last night. to pick up an indonesian student who got a scholarship. he already texted me twice, asking me to do so, to accompany him. though i’m not really sure, whether to accompany him from the airport to the hostel and/or from hostel to campus (jamia millia). he gave me the date, but not the flight number. i was also stupid that i didnt ask him that important info. i was a bit reluctant because earlier i thought some indonesian students from jamia will do the task, also because he can stay in one of their places (our basecamp) in zakir nagar. but let’s not rely on that. so i went there. took an autorickhaw at around 9.30 (he’s supposed to arrive at that time and my flat isnt so far from airport). after bargain, i agreed for 130 rupee despite its the era of meter for autorickshaw in delhi 😐

on the way, before the toll road, we were stopped by some officers because auto is not allowed. there was a debate on how much i should pay him. they also questioned the rickshaw-wallah for not activating the meter. so i just paid him 100 and waiting for the airport bus at some scary, dark so-called bus stop. the bus came and it took me to the new airport terminal (terminal 3). some sikh men who talked to the conductor informed that i should go down there only. i didnt mind at all because i wanted to check out that cool terminal 😀

the terminal is good, very clean. it functions for both domestic and international. there’s no visitor’s lounge where we have to pay 80 rupee to have the priviledge to see the arriving people first in the air-conditioned room, before they got out of the building and enter the wilderness of india hehe.. anyway i was waiting and didn’t really know what to do. i didnt see the iccr guy who deals with my country (and picked me up exactly last year) i called the iccr (the scholarship) guy and, since his english is not comprehendable, i thought he said there was somebody from iccr who was there. still, i wrote at a paper « ICCR Indonesia Mr. so-and-so » and joined the people and waited. i was so bored. some guys were leading the trolleys, some were mopping the floor with that tiny cars. some hotel people were smelly…

but while waiting, i realized that enjoyed being there. enjoyed the gushing AC from inside everytime the automatic doors open; imagining the stores inside; especially seeing faces from all over the world (muscat, hong kong, addis ababa, even paris), coming by different carriers, smell of expensive perfumes. wondering their purpose of coming to india. their expression were so various, anxious searching for the one who would pick them up, either their friends, relatives or strangers; how they react when they found it. one guy seemed unable to find it for a long time, and he kept moving to and fro. some guys were very cute. a group carrying large bags, i thought they were going for hiking (i still remember my trip to nepal and leh). and i think i was also practising stereotyping. i thought some people were definetely indian (sharp noses, beard, and more identifiably… the sikh turban), some were chinese or korean or japanese. and i was sure that some people were indonesian, from the way they look and the way they looked at me or my paper. really… how am i supposed to know how this looks like?? and i also witnessed something interesting when i was so desperate and sat on the floor… a guy suddenly knelt down and put his head on the floor like one of the islamic prayer poses, as if kissing the floor. i was so shocked, i thought he fell! but he was actually honoring a person, a guy in white who wasnt too old. that guy in white only smiled, touched his back, and didn’t seem arrogant. a boy also bowed down.

boredom struck me again. so i went up to the departure floor. took the escalator 4 times (twice only bring you to the skywalk to the car park). it was more crowded, a lot of people sitting on the floor. but i have to admit that the terminal does look modern and beautiful (though lacking indianness). it was 12. i decided that if arrived by the airline at 11 (there was one from bangkok arriving exactly at 9.30), he would have reached the hostel anyway. so i went to the pre-paid taxi booth. the guy talked to me in hindi. again i have to come back to reality.

first-time seminar in india

namaste! good morning! assalamualaikum.

so, i came to a seminar. not really my kind of topic, but anyhow i was there. i was invited my my hostel-mate Aftab to a seminar on Islamic finance on Feb 3-4, 2010 at India Islamic Cultural Centre in Delhi. we went by a bus provided for us at our campus.

there were great speakers. but mostly they are political figures, on the first day. chief minister of some state, former justice, and the presidents of the organizers (Indo-Arab Economic Cooperation Forum and Institute of Objective Studies). i enjoyed listening to a topic that is not exactly my specialty. you know, to broaden my perspective and my general knowledge. the last speaker honestly concluded « ok, after hearing all the speakers before me, I just realize that the (economic) crisis is not over yet. Rather, we are heading to it ». As I was mostly asleep during the presentations, I took off quietly after the tea break.

I sent a text message to Aftab. But he called me and said something, as I couldn’t hear him clearly because I was on an auto-rickshaw, maybe he wanted to introduce me to someone, maybe he just wanted me to stay for the non-veg lunch. But I really had to go, although not that early, because I had to be at home. A guy from Malaysian airlines’ partner will pick up my damaged baggage for repair (I thought they’d just give me a new one. But OK, this is India) at 3 o’clock. So I went to Sarojini Nagar Market first, buying something that I really needed, like cute shawl, t-shirt and pants, and « window-shopping » or tent-shopping, especially for bags and shoes. 😛

I had to tell him that I could come again the next day, which I regretted so much since I had 3 classes and I missed classes the whole last week.

So I came there again. This time it was nicer. I learnt about the economy, the stocks, islamic banking, backdropped by justice and morality. The chairperson of the session was very strict in preventing the speaker to pass the given time limit (so that we’ve not starving). In Indonesia some banks have even opened sharia-window. And also sharia insurance products. But in India, we have to be extra careful in using Islamic terms. It is about to start, the application of the system.

I met some people and even got pictured with Umar Chopra 🙂 I took off with some students by public bus and made it to the final class of the day.