Starlit Sky.

I find happiness in simple things. Like living in a small town with an 80-hectare botanical garden at its city centre—a sanctuary for more than 15,000 species of trees and plants. It’s a small town with the highest number of rainy days (320 out of 365 days) in Java (or maybe in the world?), hence the title “Rain City” (though for the sake of romanticism I prefer to call it “The City of the Falling Rain”).

But what I love the most from a small town is the absence of tall buildings and skyscrapers, as well as 24-hour  brightly-lit billboards and LCD screens that contribute to light pollution. I love it when the night is pitch dark (as it should be) and the sky is clear; so you can sit down on an open field (or in my case, the empty parking lot in front of my housing complex’s swimming pool) and gazing at the stars.

I could spend hours just sitting there, looking up into the sky, sipping a cup of hot chocolate. My heart twinkles.

A few days ago, going back home at around 11 pm, I entertained myself with the view of the starlit sky from behind my taxi’s window. It was on the highway, the last few kilometers home, with open fields on my left. The sky seemed closer. At the time, I wished I could mail that amazing starlit sky to you, so you could see it in your sky, too.

***

Around midnight, a girl arrived at her home. She dashed in, threw her bags, sipped a cup of hot tea her father had prepared, then snatched her camera and ran to the front door hurriedly, yelling: “Am out to shoot the stars!”—and off she ran to an empty parking lot in front of her housing complex’s swimming pool; still inside her working outfit with blazer and all; then she directed her camera to the sky. She fluttered around the open space, trying her best to capture the twinkling stars. Someone who happened to see her from afar might think she was dancing while looking up to the sky.

***

A few days later, somewhere far away, a guy opened his mailbox and found a tiny card with a handwritten note on it. It said:

Dear you,

I haven’t mastered the skills to capture those stars vividly, yet
(not to mention my improper handling of the camera)—but I hope,
you can still catch the beauty of  those twinkling tiny dots,
if only you’re willing to see this with just a little bit of extra love.

H.


Jatuh cinta itu seperti Polaroid.

Falling in love should be like Polaroids. Instant,” begitu kata teman saya di WhatsApp. Mungkin dia benar. (Setelah saya pikir-pikir, sebenarnya saya juga sudah tahu bahwa saya akan jatuh cinta sama kamu setelah kita ngobrol selama sekitar 10 menit. Well, mungkin nggak seinstan Polaroid, tapi buat saya, 10 menit itu rasanya cukup cepat.)

Tetapi bahkan foto yang keluar dengan suara lucu dari kamera Polaroid pun butuh waktu untuk dinikmati benar-benar. Didiamkan dan diangin-anginkan sebentar hingga warnanya keluar. Setelah itu, kamu bisa senang karena warnanya bagus, atau kecewa karena hasilnya “bocor”. Objek yang nggak ingin kamu foto juga bisa terabadikan di sana secara nggak sengaja.

Bisa jadi jatuh cinta juga begitu. Instan. Tetapi seiring dengan waktu, ada dua pilihan. Kamu bisa semakin jatuh cinta, atau sebaliknya.

Teliti sewaktu memotret dan teliti sewaktu jatuh cinta mungkin jadi sama pentingnya. Mencari cahaya yang bagus dan latar yang sesuai juga menentukan hasil foto Polaroid-mu di akhir hari. Mungkin ini sama dengan mengenal pasangan. Mencari tahu apa yang ia suka dan apa yang ia nggak suka. Melakukan hal yang menyenangkan bersama-sama. Mengobrol berjam-jam dan masih saja nggak kehabisan bahan pembicaraan.

Dan bahkan memotret dengan Polaroid pun nggak bisa menjamin hasil yang menjanjikan kalau pemotretnya “mata keranjang”. Hendak memotret objek di titik A, tetapi malah mengarahkan kamera ke titik B.

Jadi mungkin benar kata teman saya itu. Jatuh cinta memang seperti Polaroid.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Truman Capote, 1956 | 178 pages

Ada banyak hal yang bisa hilang dari hidupmu, tapi tak semuanya akan membuatmu merasa kehilangan. Mungkin ini akan jadi kalimat pembuka yang pas ketika saya meminta kawan-kawan saya membaca karya klasik Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Kisah ini berawal dengan pertemuan seorang lelaki dengan seorang perempuan bernama Holly Golightly. Nama karakter ini pun sudah mengandung semacam pertentangan yang tidak biasa, dan satu-satunya kata yang bisa menjelaskan Holly adalah bahwa ia seorang perempuan yang “tidak biasa”.

Jika di awal kita akan memandang tokoh Holly sebagai perempuan cantik yang dangkal dan sedikit bodoh, setelah beberapa lama kita (sebagaimana tokoh lelaki dalam cerita ini) akan menemukan banyak hal yang disembunyikan Holly di balik kemasan ‘luarnya’. Aren’t we all lonely in our own lonely ways?

Membaca Breakfast at Tiffany’s seperti mengupas bawang. Selapis demi selapis, kita akan dibawa untuk semakin mengenal Holly—dan hal-hal yang membuatnya menjadi Holly yang seperti sekarang ini. It had the same effect like reading your boyfriend’s past, trying to understand why he turns into the guy that he is. Exactly the reason why I just couldn’t put the book down.

Karena bukankah setiap orang punya masa lalu yang mendefinisikan masa kininya?


Fragrance of Love: Catatan dari Kedai Teh Lare Solo.

Semuanya nampak seperti serangkaian “kebetulan”.

Seorang sahabat dari luar kota mengajak saya ‘sowan’ ke sebuah kedai teh mungil di kota tempat saya tinggal. Kedai teh yang belum pernah saya dengar namanya, dan belum pernah saya kunjungi sebelumnya.

Di kedai teh ini, kami berbincang tentang banyak hal, seperti biasa. Dan selagi kami berbincang tentang kamu, pemilik kedai teh itu—seorang lelaki bertubuh kecil dan berwajah ramah, datang menyapa. Ia kemudian menyodorkan sebungkus teh hasil racikannya sendiri, yang disimpannya di dalam sebuah kaleng.

Saya menghirup wangi teh dalam bungkusan itu. Segar; seperti wangi laut dan musim panas.

Lantas, jika kamu percaya bahwa tidak ada hal yang bernama ‘kebetulan’ di dunia ini, maka bukan kebetulan pula jika teh racikan di dalam kaleng itu bernama Fragrance of Love. Campuran dari berbagai jenis teh asli Indonesia dengan chammomile, peppermint, kulit jeruk, dan serai (lemongrass).

***

Nama kedai teh itu Lare Solo.

Kedainya kecil saja, seperti warung-warung teh yang biasa kamu temui di perjalanan menuju Puncak. Letaknya di kawasan Agripark, Taman Kencana, Bogor. Nama pemiliknya Pak Bambang.

“Awalnya saya membuka kedai teh ini karena blog juga. Saya bercerita tentang teh di sana, dan banyak orang yang suka. Jadilah kemudian saya berkenalan dengan kawan-kawan pecinta teh lainnya, dan mendirikan kedai teh ini, kecil-kecil saja,” ujar Pak Bambang sambil menyeduhkan teh untuk kami.

Oh ya, apakah kamu tahu mengenai ‘Jayeng’? Jayeng adalah jabatan non-formal yang diberikan kepada pembuat teh untuk warga. Di setiap hajatan, Jayeng akan menyiapkan puluhan gelas teh untuk para tamu. Mulai dari merebus air, menyeduh teh, menuangkannya ke dalam gelas, memberi gula, dan mengaduknya satu per satu. Jayeng menjadi semacam profesi yang memadukan tradisi, pengabdian, kesungguhan, dan kecintaan akan teh. Ada banyak lagi kisah-kisah menarik seputar teh yang bisa kamu temukan lewat halaman-halaman blog Pak Bambang, atau lewat percakapan santai dengan beliau di Lare Solo.

Dari dapur kecil ini, berbagai macam teh diseduh dan dihidangkan. Ada empat macam teh yang kami coba hari itu: teh tarik, mango sencha, fragrance of love, dan racikan teh peppermint dari Pak Bambang. “Cukup banyak varian teh, bunga-bungaan, dan bahkan peppermint ini masih impor,” Pak Bambang menjelaskan. “Tanah dan cuaca sangat mempengaruhi rasa, jadi walaupun satu varian teh atau bunga-bungaan bisa ditanam di Indonesia, rasa dan aromanya entah mengapa tidak bisa ‘pas’. Misalnya untuk peppermint ini, saya sudah coba daun mint dari berbagai daerah di Indonesia, tetapi rasa dan aromanya kok beda.”

Menghirup aroma dari bungkusan demi bungkusan teh yang disodorkan Pak Bambang ternyata begitu mengasyikkan. Wangi ‘rumput laut’ yang tercium pada berbagai bungkusan teh hijau pun membuat saya ingin membawanya pulang dan meletakkannya di samping tempat tidur.

Untuk 1 teh tarik dan 3 poci teh yang kami pesan, ditambah dua porsi risoles keju dan daging asap, percaya atau tidak—kami hanya membayar 40ribu rupiah. Surga yang luar biasa bagi para pecinta teh, terutama bagi mereka yang terbiasa membayar 40ribu rupiah hanya untuk sepoci teh di Jakarta. Belum lagi percakapan dengan Pak Bambang, yang nilainya melebihi nominal tersebut. Mulai dari mengenal berbagai jenis teh, upacara minum teh di Jepang, racikan-racikan teh yang pernah dibuat, sampai perjalanan beliau mendirikan kedai teh mungil ini, semuanya menjadi teman minum teh yang sangat menyenangkan.

Suatu hari, saya akan mengajakmu ke sini dan memperkenalkanmu dengan sesuatu yang bukan kebetulan itu. Sepoci Fragrance of Love. Diminum hangat-hangat. Kalau kamu bertanya seperti apa rasanya? Aku akan menjawab bahwa rasanya…

seperti kita.

Care for a cup of tea and me? ;)


Marchtography.

Short trips. Lovely weekends. Books. Paintings. Sketches. Taking pictures. Shopping for shoes and blazers. Cute things. Adorable moments. Winter days. Friends. Great laughs. You. March.


liturgi | liturgy

~ liturgi ~

suatu senja, ada upacara kecil pecah di atas mejaku. upacara-upacara sepatutnya sunyi. seperti doa-doa yang ditasbihkan dalam hati. kata-kata merinai di jendela. aku teringat akan candi-candi. perayaan tanpa suara. mantra-mantra yang mengalun diam di antara nyala ribuan lilin. mengingatkanku pada masa-masa yang jauh. sesuatu yang nyaris purba. orang-orang yang menengadah ke langit. merunduk ke bumi. lalu berdoa. karena mereka ingin. karena mereka ingat. upacara di mejaku adalah serupa pengingat tentang dirimu. juga untuk aku yang menginginkan kamu. namamu berjatuhan di atas kepalaku. ribuan keheningan. seperti doa-doa yang sampai ke tujuan. demi kemudian-kemudian dan kemungkinan-kemungkinan di masa yang akan datang, mataku terpejam. bibirku terkatup. hatiku terbuka.

~ liturgy ~

one evening, a small ceremony takes place on my desk. ceremonies are supposed to be still. like prayers, recited at heart. words are pouring down the window. my mind goes to the temples. soundless celebrations. silent chants, flowing among thousands of candlelights. reminding me of faraway moments. something that is almost ancient. people who look up to the sky. bow down to the earth. then pray. because they want to. because they remember. the ceremony on my desk is a kind of commemoration for you. and for myself, who longs for you. your name is falling on my head. thousands of quietudes. like prayers arriving at their destinations. in the name of upcomings and possibilities in the future, my eyes are closed. my lips are sealed. my heart is unlocked.


Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

I’m back.

Sketchbook, brushes and watercolors. A tiny collection, a very minimum supply. But I’m enjoying my time (a surplus of anything won’t guarantee your happiness), making a mess in my room. During weekends, the windows are wide open. The sunlight is pouring in. On weekdays, arriving at home late at night, I’m embracing the light bulbs and the sound of the cicadas. Sitting in front of my dressing table, I’m coloring some of the drawings I’ve made the previous days, while waiting for my hair to dry. The sweet smell of the shampoo is wafting over my head.

I take the luxury of ordering beautiful illustration books, which are so darn expensive. But I am saving my money to get these books onto my working desk, with the same amount of determination that may be possessed by a woman who has been craving for a pair of branded shoes for years. Books, of any kind, have always become my most valuable possessions. Especially when the books are beautifully illustrated!

Lately, sketchbooks and journals of artists and painters draw me in. It’s like peeking into their creative minds and nibbling at it (hmm, sounds zombie-ish, but no, it’s actually ‘nibbling’ in a rather cute way!)

Thus, I’m back with my sketchbook, brushes, and watercolors. Something I’ve given up hope for long ago. But now it feels exciting and dear to me again, all of a sudden. Travel journal catches my heart as it captures three things that I’m so in love with: traveling, writing, and drawing.

So, I’m starting to paint Hong Kong while preparing myself to paint my future journeys.

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary | Pablo Picasso


Wish You Were Here.

The Jakarta sky was shining above my head. It was 2 pm, a Sunday, some time in late December. The weather was hot and humid, as always. I stepped into the outdoors with my shirt, short pants, and flip-flops. I instantly fell in love with the potted plants and frangipanis. The unlit candles, floating silently on top of coconut oil inside transparent glasses. The wooden floor. And the rooftop pool overlooking the city’s tall buildings. I dipped my toes in there. The cold water felt calming, relaxing, and… a bit jellyish, like the feeling you got when you dipped your hands into a bowl full of marshmallows. Therapeutic in a way, that soothing kind of vibe that enveloped you every time you’re thinking of those lovely memories you’ve shared with someone so dear to your heart.

This morning, I stumbled upon a beautiful song called Wish You Were Here by Blackmore’s Night, posted by a friend. It brought back all the sweet thoughts I had that day, one Sunday afternoon, when I was dipping my toes in the cold water, secretly thinking about you and wondering how perfect it would be if you were here with me. To my surprise, I found more songs with the title Wish You Were Here, and they are all so bewitching, I couldn’t help but share it here. From the sweetest tones to the rockin’ style, old and new, upbeat and classic, you’ll be amazed by these:

1. Wish You Were Here by Blackmore’s Night

2. Wish You Were Here by Endah & Rhesa

3. Wish You Were Here by Avril Lavigne

4. Wish You Were Here by The Sounds

5. Wish You Were Here by Ryan Adams

6. Wish You Were Here by Incubus

7. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

8. Wish You Were Here – Bliss [Buddha Bar version]

9. Wish You Were Here – Mark Wills

10. Wish You Were Here – Eddie Fisher

11. Wish You Were Here by Fleetwood Mac

12. Wish You Were Here by Stefani Germanotta


[And these are for you. One song for each passing month. Wish you were here.]


Hong Kong in Black & White

I always love Hong Kong—either for strolling around, shopping, writing and sketching, taking pictures, or simply lazying in an open-air coffee shop, reading a good book—the city never fails me. The people, the weather, the smell of seafood grilled over charcoal, the bustling sound of the crossings, the tramways, the light bulbs… somehow all feels magical and romantic. The city represents everything that’s new and everything that’s old: like the past, present and future, merged into one. It’s also for these reasons Hong Kong came up to be a city with great significance in my book #28Days. This is how Hong Kong looks like from the eyes of the girl character in the book:


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