The Art of Looking Sideways.

I thought I had forgotten. But it all came back again.
Tonight with the first spring thunder. In a rush of rain.
— Sara Teasdale, Spring Rain

#1.

Kau sudah nyaris melupakan sesuatu yang tercecer dalam sebuah perjalanan. Kau nyaris percaya bahwa kau sudah sungguh-sungguh kehilangan. Tentu saja, kau merasa sedih—tetapi kau melepaskannya pada semesta, membiarkan segala sesuatu berjalan apa adanya. Karena bukankah segala sesuatu akan jatuh tepat pada tempatnya, ketika waktunya tiba?

Lalu kemarin semesta mengantarkannya ke hadapanmu: sesuatu yang sempat tercecer dalam sebuah perjalanan, tetapi tidak pernah hilang. Sesungguhnya ia hanya menunggu waktu yang tepat untuk kembali padamu.

#2.

Ya, tepat dua ratus tiga puluh hari, atau tiga puluh dua minggu, atau lima ribu lima ratus dua puluh jam, atau tiga ratus tiga puluh satu ribu dua ratus menit, atau sembilan belas juta delapan ratus tujuh puluh dua ribu detik kemudian, semesta mengantarkannya ke hadapanmu, begitu saja. Dia, yang kau kira telah hilang tercecer dalam sebuah perjalanan. Yang kau pikir takkan pernah bisa kau lihat lagi seumur hidupmu.

Kau terkejut ketika membuka pintu malam itu, dan menemukannya berdiri di hadapanmu. Kau pun bertanya mengapa tiba-tiba saja dia berada di situ.

“Aku sudah selalu berada di sini sejak semula,” katanya. “Tetapi baru malam ini, pintumu terbuka.”

#3.

Ia bilang, kau sudah menyimpan hatinya sejak dulu. Sejak pertama kali ia melihatmu. Kau tak tahu apakah ia bersungguh-sungguh; tetapi kau senang mendengarnya. Kau bertanya, mengapa kali pertama kalian bertemu itu, ia tidak mengajakmu keluar untuk minum kopi. Ia bilang, ia pikir kau tidak tertarik. Karenanya, ada jeda waktu sedemikian lama hingga ia kemudian memberanikan diri dengan mencoba menghubungimu lagi.

Ia tak tahu bahwa selama ini, ia juga sering melintas dalam benakmu.

Lalu, kau menyadari satu hal. Di dunia ini, pastilah ada begitu banyak orang yang kehilangan kesempatan untuk jatuh cinta (atau sekadar ngobrol-ngobrol sambil menyesap secangkir kopi) hanya karena terlalu lekas hanyut dalam pemikiran-pemikiran dan prasangka-prasangka mereka sendiri.

#4.

Kau meninggalkan pintu dalam keadaan terbuka. Orang-orang bilang kau ceroboh, tetapi kau tahu sebaliknya: kau justru sangat berhati-hati. Kau sudah sering terluka. Kau sedang tak ingin terikat pada apapun, pada siapapun. Dia bisa tetap tinggal jika dia ingin, tetapi kau tidak akan menjanjikan apa-apa. Dia bisa pergi jika dia ragu, dan kau tak akan kehilangan apa-apa.

#5.

Kau adalah cermin baginya, dia adalah cermin bagimu. Di dalam dirinya, kau melihat dirimu. Kau bertanya, jika kau adalah cermin baginya, dan ia berdiri di hadapanmu, refleksi macam apa yang akan dilihatnya dalam dirimu?

Ia tidak menjawab.

Tetapi kau pun tak memerlukan jawaban atas pertanyaanmu itu.

#6.

Kau meletakkan namanya di atas lidahmu, menggulungnya dalam sesesap kopi hangat. Lalu kau memainkannya berulang-ulang, mengucapkannya tanpa rasa bosan hingga nama-nama itu melebur dengan detak jantungmu. Kau merasa seperti seseorang yang tengah bertasbih atau berdoa rosario. Sepanjang hari, namanya masih selalu meninggalkan aroma mint dalam rongga mulutmu dan hangat cengkeh di tepian bibirmu.

#7.

Kau melingkari namanya dengan pucuk-pucuk teh. Carnation. Menyeduhnya dengan air mendidih. Kau membiarkannya mendingin di dekat jendela. Jendela tempat kau sering memandangi hujan itu. Ketika wangi teh meruap di udara dan membuat jendela berembun, kau menyesapnya dengan khidmat. Carnation. Aromanya yang kuat akan menghilangkan after-taste mint dan cengkeh yang ditinggalkannya padamu. Kau ingin membasuh dirimu hingga luruh.

#8.

Kau melihatnya sebagai kawan dalam sebuah perjalanan. Kalian memang tak berjalan beriringan, tetapi kau selalu membayangkan sebuah dunia paralel dalam benakmu. Ada kau di sisi sini, ia di sisi sana, dan seperti adegan dalam sebuah film, kalian sesungguhnya tengah berjalan dalam sebuah lingkaran. Tak berawal. Tak berakhir.

Ketika kalian menengadah ke langit malam dan melihat bintang, kalian tengah melihat ke dalam jiwa satu sama lain.

#9.

Pagi ini, kau ingin mengantarkan kata-kata ke depan pintu rumahnya. Kau ingin menjejali kotak posnya dengan huruf-huruf yang akan beterbangan keluar ketika tutupnya dibuka. Kau ingin memenuhi kamarnya dengan aksara-aksara dalam berbagai bentuk dan warna. Lalu diam-diam kau melumatkan beberapa kalimat ke atas bibirnya: sebuah doa. Agar kalian bahagia, berdua; ataupun sendiri-sendiri.

You can be sad for those left or be thankful for those who stay.

——————————————

*) The Art of Looking Sideways is the title of designer Alan Fletcher’s book that was posted by my friend, Astrid Schwarz.


Minggu Pagi.

Pada hujan dan lagu-lagu yang berputar dari iPod-ku, juga kilasan tentangmu di balik pelupuk mata yang terpejam: kamu adalah jawaban dari doa-doa yang bahkan belum menyelinap keluar dari perantaraan bibirku.

The journey is my destination. Pada sekian perjalanan yang sudah, akan, dan tidak pernah usai, sesungguhnya setiap perjalanan menujumu adalah perjalanan untuk mengenal diriku.


Umbrella

Darling, there’s one thing I’d like you to know, and I am going to say this once. Only once. Why? Simply because I don’t believe in repetitions. Repetitions are dull, boring, and unnecessary. Thus, I am going to say this once. Yes, only once.

My dear, I have been so used to be an umbrella.

You want an umbrella only when it’s raining hard or when it’s blazing hot. When the weather is perfect, you’ll only see an umbrella as a burden; something that will only add extra weights to your backpack or a pointless hassle since you have to make sure that you hadn’t left it on a park-bench somewhere. It may seem that the slightly unfair fact about this situation is such that you can choose whether you’d like to carry an umbrella around or not; but the umbrella can’t choose to be anything else but itself: an umbrella, that will shelter you when you need it.

However, sometimes people missed this tiny bit of something so essential: the umbrella can shelter you only if you have one ready near you, or if you have stored one inside your bag this whole time.

My love, I have been an umbrella all my life, and I have learned a lot about being one. I have learned not to hate myself (like I used to) for being an umbrella, but to embrace this role as something sacred. Something precious. I am now carrying this role with serenity, knowing that being an umbrella is not something hopeless. The truth is that I’m here for a cause. I am supposed to be here, at this particular phase of my life, for you. And everything will take care of itself when the time comes.

However, my darling, I can’t be ready to shelter you all the time if you don’t carry me with you all the time. One day, when it rains so darn hard and you’re about to take me out from your bag, you’ll remember that you have left me on a bench at a train station somewhere when the weather was perfect. Will you regret your carelessness by then? Maybe. Maybe not. Came to think about it, you can always get yourself a new umbrella. But… hey, the rain is pouring now, my dear! It’s pouring even harder and harder, and by the time you get a new umbrella you’re already soaking wet.

Life is fair in many ways, dear, even for an umbrella that cannot choose to be anything but itself: an umbrella. At times, things may seem difficult to comprehend, but I just want you to know all this, my love, and I will only say this once. Because I don’t believe in repetitions. Repetitions are dull, boring, and unnecessary.

Don’t you think?


Kuala Lumpur’s Keepsake.

These past few days have turned to be the most wonderful days in my life ever; a series of non-stop uber-sweet moments full of loving surprises. I feel so blessed; and so loved.

The Reunion

I landed in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday and had a reunion with some good friends. It was a lovely one; as we had the chance to just chill out while sharing stories about our lives—something that we missed in several other journeys we’ve shared before. The moment reminded me (again), to embrace the opportunity to connect.

We’ll never know how much time is left, whether we’ll see the person we’re with at the moment ever again; thus, don’t waste your time to hold things back. Say the things you’d like to say, do the things you’d like to do, like what my best friend once said, “It’s better to live your life in whatever than in what-ifs.”

Malaysia Social Media Week 2012

On Monday, I was speaking at an awesome event, Malaysia’s Social Media Week 2012 at PWTC, sharing the panel on brand and storytelling with Dave Duarte, the Managing Director of Ogilvy South Africa (Dave, you’re the coolest and the best moderator, ever!), Ryan Hayward, the Asia Pacific Product Marketing Manager of Google+, and Willy Lim, the co-founder of NetProfitQuest.

That day, I shared about how the principles used in fairy tales can actually be adopted by brands/companies/organizations in designing their social media activities. Came to think about it, we all love fairy tales, right? It sticks with us until the longest time: the story, the names of the characters, the setting, the illustrations… dissecting fairy tales and learning about each elements inside it can actually help us (well, me) in designing a social media activity that—just like fairy tales, will stick. Something beautiful, simple, and memorable. Something you’d find entertaining to be retold, to be shared…

OK, enough, I’ll write more about this at the Raconteur‘s blog in a few days. At the moment, I’d just like to say thank you, thank you so much, for all the participants of Malaysia’s Social Media Week conference who came to me after the talk; especially those who told me that they have found the inspiration they need in the fairy tale analogy I shared, and gave me some big hugs! It felt awesome! I truly appreciated your appreciation and enthusiasm. I was humbled. Oh, and thank you to the MC, Terence, who was being so sweet in nicknaming me Fairytale Princess :”)

Valentine’s Day

More sweet surprises came over me on Valentine’s Day: from the lovely pink rose and fun karaoke session to Valentine dinner + movies with friends (that was full of laughter!) and some sugary-sweet gift-exchange moments with best friends: I got a dress and a cute owl necklace! *hoot*

Strings

The magnificent closing of these amazing days happened on Wednesday morning, as I reached Jakarta from Kuala Lumpur. My lovely friend, Sundus Rasheed, who worked in CityFM89 radio in Karachi, called me up to get me on-air, live, with Strings—a Pakistani rock band that I love! ^^

Hosted by the ever-friendly Khalid Malik (Khalid, yaar, we’ve never met before, but I owe you one!), I got the chance not only to talk to Bilal Maqsood (guitarist) and Faisal Kapadia (vocalist), but also, being the nicest person ever, Bilal generously offered an opportunity to do an on-air duet with me, to sing one of their most popular song, Mera Bichra Yaar (A Long Lost Friend)! :’O It was the sweetest moment I’ve experienced in my life, ever! *crying* And this is the snapshots of Khalid (the DJ), Bilal and Faisal inside the radio station, when Bilal and I were singing together, via phone :’)

So, today, I can only say thank you—and really, THANK YOU, for those of you who have made my day (and you know exactly who you are). I love you, and I’m so blessed to know you all :’)

- one morning in Jakarta, with a cup of hot coffee and some loving memories -


The gift.

A DANCER.

A dancer discovers music everywhere. He knows that life in itself is an orchestra of nature’s instruments, a collection of universe’s melodies. He sees everything around him moving rhythmically, as if all things have their own cadence.

A dancer knows that this is how life works: it works in a flowing motion. Like a trained dancer, his very own reflex is to feel the beat, follow the melody and move along with the rhythm. He doesn’t fight the music, but drowns himself in it instead, savoring every note with style, as if it were the last few notes on earth. He flutters around with the music of life pulsating in his veins: the excitement, the joy, the energy: the giving away of every inches of muscles, every beads of sweat, every particles of mind.

A dancer understands perfectly that the key of everything lies in harmony, balance, and a splash of spontaneity. He knows that life is the magical tunes he had been carrying in his heart since the day he was born, and as always, he will only need to follow the tempo, surrender to the sensation and dance it away.

A SKY-GAZER.

A sky-gazer knows that looking out into space is like looking back in time. On a starry night, he’s the one who will be touched by the romantic melancholy of how the stars could have actually died a very long time ago, way before its light reached his very eyes.

A sky-gazer, thus, appreciates how his past defines the way he sees the world as he sees it now. He understands the beauty of embracing what’s gone, not to be replaced by something else (because he believes that the things of the past are irreplaceable), but to be carried inside his heart: a keepsake as he walks his way to the future. At times, it serves as a reminder—to live life to the fullest, to not holding back too much; and at other times as a blanket—to keep him warm with loving memories or to snuggle inside when things become ugly.

A sky-gazer knows that looking at the future is like gazing at the night sky. Deep down inside, we’re actually looking back in time to who we were and who we used to be. A sky-gazer receives this knowledge like something that has been written in his DNA: that life always flows to the future carrying everything from the past along, and nothing is left behind.

A LOVER.

A lover loves and nothing else matters. He knows that love isn’t pink; it can be black or white or maroon and other time bluish purple. He accepts the fact that love draws tears as much as it draws laughter, but he doesn’t mind. He understands that roses have thorns, and that thorns have roses. A lover realizes the perfection that lies behind tiny imperfections, the flickers of words beneath those shy-looking eyelashes, the thirst of grape-flavored kisses inside empty wine glasses, the yearning of togetherness beyond every goodbye clenches.

A lover falls for the beauty of an unmade bed and stains of paints on a white fence, the solitude of a buzzing traffic jam and cries of seagulls above the sand, the charm of getting soaked under the rain and playing catch under the blazing sun, the fondness of plunging into a quarrel and feeling the pain of a mistake unrepaired. A lover appreciates sadness as a way to alleviate the beloved’s tears, and embraces happiness as a reason to shower the beloved with marshmallow-tempered caresses and sweet-sugary sentences.

A lover knows that he has no other thirst but to love—even when he realizes that the thirst will never get quenched.

A lover loves and nothing else matters.

———————————–

*) a gift for a dancer, a sky-gazer, a lover, and a very dear friend. Kuala Lumpur, February 2012.


Circles.

Pertemuan denganmu itu adalah salah satu dari serangkaian kebetulan yang berjatuhan di atas diri saya beberapa waktu belakangan ini. Dan saya tidak bisa mengeluh. Semuanya adalah rangkaian kebetulan yang menyenangkan. Yang bertahan sebentar-sebentar tetapi meninggalkan kesan yang bisa membuat saya tersenyum-senyum sendiri selama berbulan-bulan kemudian. Yang membuat saya masih saja terheran-heran karena semua yang ada dalam imajinasi saya tiba-tiba menjelma jadi kenyataan.

Dan kita bukannya terlambat. Saya rasa, selama ini, kita selalu bertemu pada saat yang tepat. Ada saat-saat ketika kamu belum siap, ada saat-saat ketika saya belum siap, tetapi pada waktunya kita selalu berpapasan di tengah jalan. Menyusurinya bersama-sama tanpa perlu berjalan beriringan. Bukankah kamu yang pernah bilang bahwa segala sesuatu akan jatuh tepat pada tempatnya jika waktunya tiba?

Bertemu denganmu lagi menjadi sesuatu yang istimewa, karena saya merasa bahwa sekarang saya bisa bercerita padamu tentang apa saja. Pada akhirnya saya menemukan kamu yang bisa membuat saya merasa nyaman menjadi diri saya sendiri dan mengoceh dengan bodohnya mengenai berbagai hal yang bahkan membuat kamu terkaget-kaget setelahnya. Sesuatu yang tak pernah bisa saya lakukan sebelumnya, ketika saya masih berpegangan padamu erat-erat.

Bukankah ini seperti satu lingkaran sempurna? Hidup mengulang dirinya lagi, dan lagi, dan lagi, dan kemudian kamu tertawa begitu kamu sudah mengerti dengan jelas pola macam apa yang ditinggalkannya. Pada akhirnya, kamu paham.

Dan begitulah. Saya menemukan bahwa ada banyak hal yang ditawarkan hidup ke hadapan saya begitu saja, secara tiba-tiba, ketika saya bahkan tidak meminta atau mengharapkannya. Kemudian saya mengerti. Semua doa-doa saya, bahkan doa-doa yang sudah begitu lama tertumpuk berdebu dalam buku-buku harian saya, ternyata selalu didengarkan Tuhan. Hanya saja, jawaban dari semua doa-doa itu baru diantarkan ke hadapan saya beberapa waktu belakangan ini. Dan semuanya dikabulkan sekaligus. Beriringan. Berselang setiap beberapa hari sekali. Membuat saya ingin menangis dan tertawa sekaligus.

Mungkin selama ini, Tuhan hanya menunggu waktu yang tepat. Waktu ketika saya sudah benar-benar siap. Tidak ada yang terlambat. Doa-doa saya dikabulkan tepat ketika saya sudah belajar melepaskan.


Blue Point.

Not a single day pass without the thoughts of you.
A scenery of beauty is everything you say or do.

Run to the shores—and find me when things got blue.
But bear with me, and my chattery ways of loving, too.

I see the world through you and everything seems new.
Give your dreams a chance, you said, and they will come true.

- Menjelang senja di Blue Point, Uluwatu -


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