Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I’ve never been quick at comprehending someone’s death. When I hear the news of someone dying, it is sad, but I rarely cry. When my grandmother died, I did cry a bit. Those few drops of tears at came at last when I saw her body being lowered into the earth, the place she would rest and her body will wither, consumed by the forces of nature.
I acknowledge death as a phase in the cycle of life. It’s both the end and the beginning. In scientific and biological terms, it’s completely normal and practical. Maybe this is why my mind chooses not to value it as such a big deal. But I do know, from the teachings in my religion, that death is the end of our brief time on earth to finally meet with our creator and enter the eternal world where heaven and hell exists. After we die, we enter a new consciousness in the realm of the afterlife.
I am actually really grateful for this fact. I can’t face the concept of a final end to everything, where someone’s nonexistence becomes adamant. I have faith that my body is indeed a temporary vessel that will, in the end, terminate. But this consciousness – this soul that I call me – is eternal.
Maybe that’s why I’m not very emotional about death. I admit it is sad, not being able to see someone anymore. But I really believe they do still exist. So while I’m in my dimension of time and space I believe my grandmother still exists somewhere, either as an invisible force in the same dimension living things exist , or in another concept we do not know of.
Islamic teachings do describe the afterlife concept as “alam kubur” (the realm of the grave) where we would be asked questions of what we did in life and suffer some of the consequences of those deeds while we wait for “kiamat” (the end of the world). But the specific characteristics of this concept are still debated upon. Some believe that this place exists right there inside the graves, below the earth. Others believe that the place is not within the boundaries of earth, that it takes place in another dimension only Allah knows of.
I don’t really mind where “the place” is. What matters to me is that we still exist after death.
I do miss my grandmother. It’s been about three years since she died. I remember all the stories she used to tell me about her experiences when she was young. She used to have this pretty dress she really liked to wear. She had many friends. She was a strict but loving mother. She was smart and beautiful. She suffered many hardships. She still had to take care of so many problems at an old age. She battled with pride and honor and everyone who knew her admires her patience and strength until this day.
A couple of days ago, on the 1st of Ramadhan, my uncle passed away too. He suffered lymphoma, a cancer that cost him so much physical pain and loss for months. He had to give up his job and a lot of his wealth. He lost the chance to study again, abroad, with a prestigious scholarship. But I never got the chance to be by his side, even during his last moments. Life at campus was getting more and more hectic. I had to finish my final paper and also my exams. The board won’t give you a pass unless it’s for your parents or your guardians. I wanted to go home badly.
My uncle was a great person. He was quiet but had an aura of authority and great dignity. He had a high position at the bank where he worked so he could support his family well, adopting a child from a needy family in the process. He was generous and charitable. He had a great wife, my aunt, who he loved dearly. My family loved to go to their house. There was a big pond where you could fish while enjoying the beautiful garden behind the house. There, we would have barbecues and my aunt and my mom fixed delicious traditional food to go with the fresh fish. Sometimes I went there with my buddies. We were always greeted warmly and we had a great time. I used to sit by the pond, just looking at the pretty colors of the fish while listening to the flow of the water. It was so peaceful. But I heard from my mom that the house might have to be sold because of the medical expenses for his various treatments.
I rarely talked to him. But when he spoke to me, it was always with interest in how I was doing. He asked me how school was, mostly. I used to think that he spoke so little to me because he didn’t really like me. I asked mom about it once. She told me I was wrong. She told me my uncle did like me. I was one of his most prided nieces. He just didn’t talk that much. I wanted to believe her. He was the type of person you really wanted to impress.
I wished I had the chance to see him. I wanted to be a good niece and help him through those hard moments. I wanted show care and at least repay his kindness. But he’s gone now.
I know that my whole family is really sad that he passed away. He was still young for a father and he had a promising career with so many opportunities. But Allah has plans for all of us. Death is but a fate, a matter of time that cannot be shifted from its course.
But I still have not cried.
Sometimes I think, am I really so heartless? I cry over many other things, but why not this? Isn’t the loss big enough? Maybe I have to go home and visit his grave so I can cry.
But I know for sure that he still exists, somewhere. I pray for him everyday, wishing that Allah gives him a wonderful place by His side. I hope he knows his family and friends are thinking of him and praying for him too.
I read, in Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” that there is a special branch of knowledge called “Noetic Science” that studies human thoughts. There’s a proven theory that thoughts have mass and therefore can produce power or force. If focused and concentrated enough, thoughts can have immense power to affect the world around us. I think prayers are concentrated forms of thoughts. Because it has mass, it can move and maybe others somewhere far away might hear them. Maybe he can hear them.
Or maybe my uncle, or my grandmother and anyone who’s passed away aren’t that far away at all.
Isn’t death just a step away from us?
Saturday, August 14, 2010
This game is just for fun. Check this out!
- Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
- For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
- YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
- Have fun!
1. IF SOMEONE SAYS 'ARE YOU OKAY' YOU SAY?
Broken Wings - Alter Bridge
"On broken wings I'm fallin and it won't be long
the skin on me is burnin' by the thirst of the sun
on skinned knees I'm bleedin' and it wont be long
I've gotta find that meaning that I've searched for so long..."
-wuiiiih.... dalem banget-,-" such a lost soul... LOL
2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
When I look at you - Miley Cyrus
"everybody needs inspiration, everybody needs a song
a beautiful melody, when the night's so long
'coz there is no guarantee, that this life is easy
when my world is falling apart, when there's no light to break up the dark
that's when I, I look at you
when the waves are flooding the shore and I can't find my way home anymore
that's when I look at you
I see forgiveness, I see the truth..."
- Am I a compass?? ;p
3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Unforgivable Sinner - Lene Marlin
"You know where you've sent her
You sure know where you are
You're trying to ease off
But you know you won't get far
And now she's up there
Sings like an angel
But you can't hear those words
And now she's up there
Sings like an angel
- haha... I know what I want. Do I like the rebels that much??
4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Wherever You Will Go - The Calling
“if I could, then I would
I'll go wherever you will go
way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go"
- I'm such a stalker...-,-" As if I have nothing better to do, ckckck...
5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
A Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton
"making my way downtown
walking fast, faces passed
and I'm home bound
staring blankly ahead
just making my way, making my way
through the crowd"
- Yup, just streaming through life, searching for truth, no matter how much it takes. I like this answer;)
6. WHAT'S YOUR MOTTO?
Lemon Tree - Fool's Garden
"I wonder how, I wonder why
yesterday you told me 'bout the blue blue sky
and all that I can see is just a yellow lemon-tree
I'm turning my head up and down
I'm turning turning turning turning turning around
And all that I can see is just another lemon-tree"
- haha... this is so random (crazy...)
7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
My Immortal - Evanescence
"when you'd cry I'd wipe away all of your tears
when you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
I held your hand through all of these years
but you still have, all of me"
- awww.... so sweet. Yup, you have all of me guys, luv ya^^
8. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
I Believe I Can fly - R. Kelly
"I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly"
- Ouch, I know I'm the oldest child but isn't that too high a target? you put too much pressure on me folks;) LOL
9. WHAT DO YOU THINK VERY OFTEN?
Like Toy Soldiers - Eminem
"step by step, heart to heart
left right left, we all fall down
like toy soldiers
bit by bit, torn apart
we never win, but the battle wages on
we're toy soldiers...
I'm supposed to be the soldier, who never blows his composure
even though I hold the weight of the whole world on my shoulders
I ain't never 'sposed to show it, my crew ain't supposed to know it
even if it means goin' toe to toe with the Benzino
it don't matter, I'd never drag 'em in battles that I can handle
'less I absolutely have to, I'm supposed to set an example
I need to be the leader, my crew looks for me to guide 'em
if some shit ever does pop off, I'm supposed to be beside 'em..."
- Now isn't that an exagerration-,-" Yeah... we're not perfect...
10. WHAT IS 2+2?
I'll Be Missing You - Puff Daddy
"every step I take, every move I make
every single day, every time I pray
I’ll be missing you
thinking of the day, when you went away
what a life to take, what a bond to breakIll be missing you"
- eh? now this is hard to rationalize, haha... "2+2" hm... family and friends, I guess? Anyone got a better analogy?
11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS?
You'll Be Safe Here - Rivermaya
"just why we're here
could it be fate or random circumstance
at the right place, at the right time
two roads intertwine
and if the universe conspired
to meld our lives
to make us fuel and fire
where ever you will be, so too shall I be...
close your eyes, dry your tears
'coz when nothing seems clear
you'll be safe here
from the sheer weight of your doubts and fears
weary heart, you'll be safe here"
- A tribute to u guys, my best buddies;)
12. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Only One - Yellowcard
"broken this fragile thing now
and I can't, I can't pick up the pieces
and I've thrown my words all around
but I can't, I can't give you a reason
I feel so broken up, and I give up
I just want to tell you so you know
here I go, scream my lungs out and try to get to you
you are my only one
I let go, but there's just no one that gets me like you
you are my only, my only one"
- Pathetic-,-" rather abitious, though (only one?)... haha
13. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Little House - Amanda Seyfield
"to light the night
to help us grow, to help us grow
It is not said I always know"
- Uh... what kind of analogy can I come up with now?? Maybe I want to help people... So humble (hammer). ;p
14. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Not Afraid - Eminem
"I'm not afraid to take a stand
everybody come take my hand
we'll walk this road together, through the storm
whatever weather, cold or warm
just let you know that, you're not alone
holla if you feel that you've been down the same road"
- Am I that agressive? Or are the people I like fearsome?;p
15. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Goodbye My Lover - James Blunt
"did I disappoint you or let you down?
should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown?
'cause I saw the end before we'd begun
yes I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won...
goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend
you have been the one, you have been the one for me."
- Whaaaaat??? wah... bahaya nih... hahaha
16. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Malam Biru - Sandy Sandoro
"suatu malam yang biru tanpa dirimu
berjuta juta rindu ku padamu"
-Yeah... It's a blue atmosphere for all;p
17. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, What a Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
"somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
and the dreams that you dream of once in a lulaby
somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
and the dreams that you dream of really do come true"
"and I think to myself... what a wonderful world."
- Am I "high"? LOL
18. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
My Sacrifice - Creed
"when you are with me, I'm free
I'm careless, I believe
above all the others we'll fly
this brings tears to my eyes
I just want to say hello again, I just want to say hello again"
- Aw... I don't want to lose you... (coward)
19. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Lost Without You - Robin Thicke
"I'm lost without you, can't help myself
how does it feel?
to know that I love ya baby
I'm lost without you, can't help myself
how does it feel?
to know that I love ya baby"
- Hahahahaha... (speechless)
20. WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW?
You Lost Me - Christina Aguilera
"oh, I feel like our world's been infected
and somehow you left me neglected"
- Yeah... you lost me there... haven't an idea what to do now;p
21. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Don't Speak - No Doubt
"you and me
we used to be together
everyday together always
I really feel that I'm losing my best friend
I can't believe this could be the end
it looks as though you're letting go
and if it's real well I don't want to know"
- Really? Oh no...
22. WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Insatiable - Darren Hayes
- I don't wanna post the lyrics for this, it's atrocious... hahaha
Try it guys, I had a lot of laughs;))
Friday, August 6, 2010
There are times when I feel so mellow… Like now, when it’s raining so hard, and there are troubles that keep piling up and I don’t know how to solve them, and who to confide to. Most of the time I don’t confide to anyone. I just keep all the thoughts cooped up in my head.
But I hate crying.
Aside from the fact that it makes my eyes puffy and nose red, crying is a symbol of my vulnerability. All the emotions I tried to hide and keep secret inside of me are suddenly exposed to the world. I hate the fact that anyone has to see me in such a condition. I take pride in my independence and strength, especially as a female (who are considered weaker than males, in the conventional sense). Crying just ruins everything.
But I do cry. As hard as I try not to, I do, sometimes. Lately, I do it more often.
I thought that the older one gets, the stronger one should be. I have experienced things that aren’t easy to go through. I have faced pressure and obstacles. So, now, when I’m more experienced, why cry more?
Sometimes I get teary over little things: a call from my parents, my youngest brother’s voice, nasyid (Islamic songs), Al-Qur’an being recited beautifully, mellow songs, sad novels, drama films, birthday surprises, and nostalgic memories. But the thing that affect’s me the most is the last: memories. There are some memories that aren’t so great, that I regret so much it is painful to think of them.
Yes, I did some things I shouldn’t have done. I feel sinful and dirty. I try to repent, but fail pathetically. Sometimes I feel like I’m in Limbo. I don’t feel alive. The events in life are just a blur.
But someone always wakes me up.
My family. My best friends. And me.
A loving word from my parents can always put a smile on my face, and the happy tears clear the fog that had been obscuring my sight from the blessings I should be thankful for.
A friendly hug or pat on my back from my best friends can bring back the hope that I needed to face the day and continue trying.
And me. Sometimes the small voice inside is heard when everything is quiet, and loneliness gives its hint of despair. It’s rebelling against the strength that wants to crumble down, yelling at me: “Go get a grip of yourself!”
So in the end I will stand up. The tears will stop. Anyway, I do hate crying. If I do, I punish myself by trying to focus on my tasks with intensity higher than before. So at least I become productive^^
It takes more strength to stand up after a fall. And I’m so clumsy, I have fallen quite a lot of times. But I find content in believing that I become stronger every time I get back on my feet.
Maybe, crying isn’t so bad…
But I still hate it!!! No more mellow me please!!!
Aku mencari esensi dari bulan suci. Aku mencari ruh dan semangat dari penantian satu tahun, pulang, bertemu keluarga, berkumpul, lalu bersama-sama meresapi makna bulan puasa. Aku ingin menghela napas lega. Aku ingin meregangkan sendi-sendi tubuhku dan setiap ruas pada tulang belakangku, melumat lama-lama kedamaian alam sekelilingku.
Aku mencari esensi dari bulan suci. Setelah menahan gejolak rindu seorang mahasiswa amatiran, seorang anak mami yang homesick, dan juga sebagai seorang perempuan yang katanya memang lebih cengeng daripada para lelaki (umumnya).
Aku mencari esensi dari bulan suci. Untuk sementara aku telah bebas dari himpitan udara kota. Aku telah mengasingkan diri dari modernitas, hedonisme, dan ironi dunia metropolis. Telah lama kumenanti sunyi. Namun bukan sekedar sunyi.
Aku menanti esensi dari bulan suci. Walau otakku telah sesak oleh pikiran-pikiran “kecil”, dan hatiku terbumbui nafsu.
Aku merindukan esensi dari bulan suci.
Yakinkah itu rindu?
Karena ku tak yakin ia pernah terasa.
Aku mencari udara segar di tempat yang seharusnya menjadi puri ketenanganku, terlepas dari kebisingan realita ala kampusku. Aku mencari penyejuk nurani di tengah manusia-manusia yang sedarah denganku – wajah-wajah yang seharusnya tak asing lagi bagiku. Namun aku mulai meragukan pencarianku.
Aku telah lama mengharapkan perubahan – suatu revolusi menuju perwujudan makna Ramadhan yang hakiki. Aku ingin mencicipi gairah penghambaan untuk-Nya lewat setiap sujud, setiap kalimat dzikir, dan desir dahaga dalam setiap shaumku.
Aku belum menemukan semangat itu di tengah kuliah, kerja freelance, dan rutinitas harianku (yang kuharap bisa membuat materi berpihak padaku). Tak juga kutemukan di dalam jiwa-jiwa mereka yang teramat berarti bagiku. Padahal telah lama kunantikan setiap detik bersama, melepas rindu, sampai aku harus bersabar lagi.
Aku tak ingin lagi sebuah Ramadhan terlewati, tak berarti. Hambar. Izinkan aku mencicipi RamadhanMu, ya Rabb! Berilah aku setitik saja!
Ramadhan itu belum juga "wujud". Sekarang yang harus kuhadapi adalah malas dan bosan.
Ternyata aku malas tarawih karena bosan mengajak mereka untuk tarawih. Tak mungkin aku yang bosan tarawih. Bagaimana aku bisa? Toh kami jarang sekali melaksanakannya bersama-sama.
Ternyata aku malas makan karena aku bosan menyuruh mereka untuk sahur dan makan. Padahal makanan itu selalu ada. Lebih baik kubuang ke jalan agar diambil mereka-mereka yang lebih bersyukur daripada kami.
Ternyata aku juga malas tadarus karena aku bosan mendengar suara-suara dari masjid melantunkan ayat-ayat suci, sedangkan di rumah kami bising dengan film-film atau sinetron di TV.
Sudahlah. Aku sudah jenuh padamu, Ramadhan. Lebih baik kau berakhir saja!
Ramadhan, akhirnya kau akan pergi lagi. Sayangnya, aku tak dapat merasakan kehadiranmu.
Kau memang diobral di televisi, seolah-olah mereka benar-benar menginginkanmu. Tapi kau hanyalah ladang untuk mencari untung. Mereka buat acara-acara atas namamu, mengagungkanmu... Tetapi aku melihat mereka berbuat dzalim kepadamu. Aku melihat tubuh-tubuh setengah telanjang berparade untuk menghabiskan waktu bersamamu. Lalu banci-banci yang berbangga hati atas kebancian mereka yang entah mengapa selalu membuat kami tertawa.
Ramadhan, aku kasihan padamu. Bilang saja kepada Tuhan bahwa kau tak perlu datang lagi! Karena ulah manusia, kami tak dapat mengenalmu lagi.
Ramadhan, tanyakan kepada Tuhan kapan kiamat datang. Agar kau mengetahui sisa kontrakmu dengan manusia. Agar kau mengetahui kapan kau bisa terbebas dari haram yang kami tumpahkan diatasmu.
Pergilah, Ramadhan. Bawalah kenangan tentang mereka yang benar-benar mengagungkanmu. Ingatlah sejuknya rasa syukur mereka yang bersujud bersamamu. Sampaikan kabar baik tentang mereka pada-Nya. Sedangkan untuk kami? Sudah cukup untung bila dapat menyaksikan engkau datang lagi.
Sayangnya, kami tak tahu diuntung.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
In Indonesia, it was okay to be smart and nerdy. If you were smart, almost everyone wanted to be your friend. If you could speak fluently in English – which was something they wished they could do – you were totally cool.
It didn’t take me too long to fit in. I was “the new kid”. I was a like a brand new, flashy, expensive toy and so everyone wanted to be my friend. I was in the top strata. Unfortunately, I still had too much individualism in me. I had the thought ground into me that I shouldn’t expect much from people and the important thing was survival. So it was typical that some of the kids thought that I was a snob. I didn’t always say hi to people passing by, even though I knew them. I didn’t talk too much. I liked doing things by myself. After a while, eventually, I had to adapt because the snide remarks were getting annoying.
So then I tried again to survive to the current conditions. I became sweet and cheerful. I became accustomed to the culture in how the kids avoided being confident because it was often confused with arrogance. Everyone was so scared of being a snob. So everyone was constantly undermining themselves and acting pessimistic, even the smart kids. It was something contagious… I caught it.
I got through junior high well, being the typical good student again. I competed in a lot of competitions just because the teachers told me to. I didn’t have much of a say. Sometimes they came to class, asking for me, and before I knew it that day I was being escorted to a mathematics competition without any information beforehand to prepare myself.
But I did have a lot of nice memories about my friends. I had a gang of 7 girls. We called ourselves “Grup Pelangi” (rainbow group… hahaha) and we were quite popular, consisting of the smartest and prettiest girls in school (it was what they thought. I thought it was an exaggeration.) . It was just like on TV. When we walked, the others stared and made way. The guys liked to flirt with us and some even made bets about who could succeed in asking us out. It was quite silly actually-,-“. Anyway, those things weren’t really important to me. What was special was how we always hung out together, slept over at each others places, shared stories, and even held parties. There were laughter and tears, we had some fights, but they were the main people who made junior high school a nice experience.
In summary, I had great friends. I didn’t have to be scared of bullying at all. I even felt how it was like to be popular. I was on the top of the food chain.
Senior high school was similar, but with a more distinct flavor…
- to be continued -