Apriculous.

April’s mostly about reuniting and catching up with some good old friends. It’s about spending hours and hours talking over coffee and good food, laughing and crying and hugging and wishing each other good luck. It’s about shooting lots of pictures to be shared with my loved ones. April’s also about loads of small gifts and letters and postcards on my desk (mostly owls) – thank you so much! Apart from that, April is mostly about being lazy at home after coming back from a short business trip (that ended up with getting lost in the midst of a national park) and spending weekends working and revising some short stories with my editor. All in all, April’s an awesome month. Sun. Rain. Owls. Home. Good food. Friends. Gifts. Cute things. Best friends. Comfort. Trip. Meetings. You. Loads and loads of you. I’m happy :)

*) The title is a suggestion from Iqbal Corleone.


{1920} Silent Movies

Silent movies are just wonderful. It’s a bit like love in a way, because words can’t describe everything that we feel. Most of the times, it’s more about the butterflies in your stomach when the the palm of his hands meet yours, the flickers in his eyes when he spots you in a crowd, the way he caresses your cheek with his fingers, the way your lips shape a U when you see something that reminds you of him. It’s more about the color of his eyes, the shape of his glasses, the food that he likes, the things that make him laugh, the serious look upon his face when he’s working, the way he treats you…

Models: The Mavericks and the Raconteurs.


Bokeh.

Bokeh (originally  /ˈboʊkɛ /ˈboʊkeɪ / boh-kay, and also sometimes heard as  /ˈboʊkə/ boh-kə, Japanese: [boke]) is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image.

I’ve been in love with those lovely bursts of lights for a long time—even way before I knew that they were called “bokeh”. The term itself comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji (ボケ味), the “blur quality”. The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility. The term bokashi (暈かし) is related, meaning intentional blurring or gradation. The reason why I love “bokeh”? Maybe because it gives the impression of things; seen through a pair of teary eyes. There’s this certain sadness, certain beauty, certain silence… like not fully knowing someone you love. Like being drawn by a secret. Like the curiosity of wanting to see things clearer. But you just can’t. You can’t come closer. Because you’re afraid that reality might turn ugly on you. Because you’ve learned that some things are more beautiful to be seen from a distance. Or maybe you’re just afraid of getting hurt, again.

A short trip to Taipei gave me a wonderful opportunity to capture that certain feeling: like… the feeling of missing someone?

H.


Cards & Packages

I find pleasure in hours and hours of strolling around a bookstore or a stationery shop, buying books and gifts and ribbons and envelopes and beautiful wrapping papers—oh, and of course, cards with neat design and wordings!

When everyone can send you an email, a tweet or a Facebook message in just one click, I find the joy in receiving postcards from friends in faraway places. These postcards will be a bit crumpled when it reach me, but this just adds up to the authenticity of the thoughts, the journey, and the experiences—something that has traveled the distance of hundreds or even thousands of miles. The crumpled postcards are just the best and I love them oh-so-dearly.

There are times when I am in a bookstore or a stationery shop, and I’ll spot a nice card and my thoughts will go to a certain person, a friend, an acquaintance, a colleague, and I will just grab that card and mail it away. I’m not really into sending cards and packages for special occasions in someone’s life. Birthdays, graduations, promotions, weddings—err, no. Not really. What I love the most is just to send cards and packages on an ordinary day. Like a totally random day. And for no particular reason.

A lot like love, no? You don’t have to wait for a special day to show your love, and you don’t have to reason about why you love someone.So, my pile of cards and packages, fly, fly, fly, and fly away. Travel the distance safely, and please tell the people who receive you all that I care about them, I am thinking of them, and I wish them well.


Traveling companion.

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving | Lao Tzu

Ada rencana-rencana yang sudah kita bicarakan. Rencana-rencana yang kemudian berantakan di tengah jalan. Lalu kita menyusun rencana-rencana baru. Daftar yang panjang mengenai apa-apa yang akan dilakukan. Dan rencana itu pun berantakan sebelum sempat diwujudkan. Kali ini, tidak seperti yang pertama, aku agak kecewa. Dan menurutku, tidak mengapa, karena bukankah merasa kecewa itu menujukkan bahwa aku memang manusia biasa. Tidak selamanya aku harus bahagia dan baik-baik saja. Dan mengakui bahwa aku kecewa itu lebih baik daripada harus berpura-pura. Jadi. Aku. Kecewa. Titik. Oh, masih ada koma: dan juga sedikit sedih.

(Aku tidak tahu apakah kamu juga)

Tetapi, malam tadi, sahabatku datang, membawakan dirinya, juga sekantong benda-benda lucu: mulai dari pernak-pernik burung hantu, untaian kalung-kalung lucu, mouse pad yang katanya mirip aku, dan sebuah buku. Jurnal perjalanan dengan gambar kota Bangkok di sampul depan. Tebalnya satu ruas ibu jariku. Entah mengapa yang bisa kupikirkan saat melihat travel journal itu hanya kamu. Aku ingat perjalanan di atas kereta dari Jerez ke Sevilla tahun lalu, ketika aku menuliskan berlembar-lembar surat untukmu. Ya, surat-surat yang tak pernah kukirimkan itu. Lalu aku berpikir tentang rencana-rencana kita yang berantakan, yang kemudian memaksaku untuk mencari tempat lain untuk didatangi. Perjalanan panjang yang akan kutempuh, menyeberangi garis-garis waktu ke tempat di mana tidak ada kamu.

Tiba-tiba meledak gambaran dalam benakku. Aku yang mengisi lembar-lembar travel journal itu dengan sketsa, surat-surat, kutipan-kutipan, puisi dan ingatan-ingatanku tentang kita, guntingan koran dalam bahasa yang tidak kumengerti, ah, dan mungkin peta (aku mudah tersesat dan kehilangan arah), atau nomor telepon orang-orang dan tempat-tempat yang kudatangi. Satu-satunya yang ada dalam benakku adalah memenuhinya dengan cerita-cerita perjalananku. Lalu sebelum pulang, mungkin aku akan memotret semua halamannya dan menyimpannya di dalam folder komputerku, sementara travel journal yang sebenarnya akan kukirimkan kepadamu melalui pos.

Begitu?

Kemudian aku kembali senang. Kembali bahagia. Kembali bersemangat dengan rencana-rencana baru. Siapa bilang di tempat yang kutuju tidak ada kamu? Kamu akan selalu ada di sana: di langit pagiku, pemandangan kaldera di luar kamarku, halaman-halaman buku, batu-batu di sepanjang pantai yang katanya berpasir hitam itu…

Lalu, siang ini, aku menemukan kutipan dari Lao Tzu. A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. Aku ingin melihat hidup (baca: kita) dan cinta (baca: kamu) dari sudut pandang seorang traveler. Untuk mengerti bahwa rencana-rencana—bahkan yang disusun dengan sangat hati-hati sekalipun, bisa berantakan kapan saja. Tujuan akhir kita bukanlah untuk sampai di satu titik, tapi terus berjalan dan mencari petualangan-petualangan baru. Bukankah kita juga pernah berteriak lantang, “We don’t plan! We do things!

Dan kurasa itulah yang akan kulakukan mulai saat ini.

Pagi-pagi, kamu mengatakan bahwa kamu sempat tidak baik-baik saja. Jadi kuhabiskan seharian itu untuk menghiburmu dengan hal-hal lucu yang kutangkap dari balik lensa kameraku. Sampai kamu bisa tertawa lagi dan bisa merasa baik-baik lagi. Lalu kusadari sesuatu. Yang membuatku bahagia ternyata bukan tercapainya impian-impian itu: tetapi mendengar kamu bisa tertawa lagi karena sesuatu yang kukatakan. Yang terpenting buatku ternyata bukan terwujudnya rencana-rencana itu: tetapi kamu.

Iya, kamu.


On Love.

Alain de Botton, 2006 | 240 pages

Ada sesuatu yang luar biasa manusiawi dari On Love. [SPOILER ALERT:] The book tells a journey of falling in and out of love. Dan begitulah yang terjadi di dunia nyata, pada jutaan kisah cinta tiap manusia di dunia. Buku ini merangkum perjalanan itu dengan manis sekaligus getir. Kita bisa membacanya dan mengenali pola-pola manis-getir itu dalam hubungan yang sedang atau pernah dijalani. Kemudian, de Botton membuat kita berpikir. Mencerna rasa pelan-pelan. Mencoba mengerti mengapa kita jatuh cinta.

Dengan gaya bertutur yang santai dan lugas, de Botton mengaitkan masalah rasa dan debar-debar cinta dengan teori probabilitas, beragam cabang filsafat, sampai psikoanalisis. Karakter-karakter yang punya ‘cacat’ masing-masing juga ditampilkan dengan sangat jujur dan apa adanya. Salah satu adegan yang saya sukai adalah penggambaran ketika si tokoh lelaki dan perempuan makan malam di sebuah restoran, dan si tokoh lelaki—melihat sebongkah marshmallow, berpikir:

Love was a sugary, puffy object a few millimeters in diameter that melts deliciously in the mouth.

Membaca On Love seperti tengah mendengarkan kisah cinta seorang kawan lama. Kita tidak menghakimi. Tidak bertanya mengapa. Tidak mendesak. Tidak berekspektasi. Kita hanya duduk di sana, diam, dan mendengarkan. Menunggu. Membuat kita lebih mengerti bahwa sesungguhnya, kita sendirilah yang menentukan kapan cinta itu datang dan kapan cinta itu pergi.


I write because.

I write because I want to remember you.

I write because I don’t want to forget the pleasant feeling of seeing you for the very first time. I write because I want to bring back the butterflies. I write because I can still remember the way you casually said hello and how mesmerized I was with the way you kept your cool. I write because I want to reread our conversation and flip the pages to see how far we’ve come. I write because I want to greet you in the morning and spend time with you in the evening.

I write because I know that my words can fit inside your jacket’s pocket where your palms are resting. I write because I miss you. I write because I want to talk to you at times when you are not around. I write because I want to comfort you and cheer you up, but I can’t fly to where you are. I write because I want to share the highlights of my life with you. I write because I know there are fifty percent chance that you’ll come across it and another fifty percent chance that you’ll actually care.

I write because I want you to know that I’m thinking of you. I write because I want to hug you but I can’t. I write because I see all these beautiful things and all those things remind me of you. I write because it makes me feel closer to you. I write because words are all I have. I write because I can’t get you out of my mind. I write because I can’t get you out of my heart.

I write because you can keep these words even long after I’m gone. I write because one day—whether things will work out between us or not, I’ll put these words underneath your door. I write because when that day comes, I want to show you how much you are loved.


Flow.

Dear H,

On Friday, I met a dear friend, and I told her how good things seemed to flow into my direction very easily lately. I am thankful for that, of course, because a year ago (and the years before that), I found myself struggling to get the things that I want, working real hard to make my dreams come true. Everything came to me with lots of hard work, and at the end of the day I found myself drenched in tears and felt really tired. I told her that since last year, I have been feeling… really light.

Now, I can see myself, realizing that I am not working ‘hard’, not struggling, not fighting—yet things are coming my way, one by one: the things I’ve always wanted, the things I’ve always desired. These things flow into my direction as if someone’s swinging a magic wand. At times it feels effortless, without me even trying to grab them.

My friend told me that maybe that’s the rule of life. That you just have to let things flow and not fighting or struggling with it. The more you let things flow, the more you ‘surrender’ yourself to Life and accept things as they are, the easier life would feel and would be to you. I found this answer both calming and beautiful.

I remember that we said this all the time: if it’s meant to be, it will happen. And I can see how it echoes with the conversation I was having with my friend.

Later, when I got home, I opened my Taoism book and found a quote from Lao Tzu: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them. That only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

Somehow, with no particular reason, I looked up the word “Islam” and realized that the word itself (though it was derived from the word “salaam“: peace and safety), in Arabic, “Islam” itself means “surrender“. There are many ways in which people try to interpret the word “surrender”, but I found this one suits me best: (surrender to) abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to.

In Islam, I believe this could mean “abandon oneself entirely to God” or “give in to Allah“. From a more universal point of view, I see it as “abandoning oneself entirely to Love” and “giving in to Life“.

Tao and Islam. It’s amazing, our ability to find similarities when we’re looking for one, and our ability to spot differences when we’re aiming to spot one.

Love, #me.


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