September 14, 2017 § Leave a comment
Night-times always have been her best friend, when she could picture the world clearer in her mind like the vast sky, try to figure out life and love, the highs and lows, yet still count the blessing in every moment, listen to the nature, pray for goodness, and embrace the scars with blanket of warm acceptance, telling herself that it’s alright not to feel alright because that’s what makes you human.
November 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
I know I’m just an old cat who likes to eat cookies and catch grasshoppers, instead of hunting mice. I mean, what do I know about cool stuff like teenagers as you do,right?
But let me say it this time.
Today, I’m glad you have chosen that sweatshirt (which is my favorite too).
I’m glad you wear those shoes. And I’m glad you take me here with you, to our secret place where we can see the sun begins to set.
I’m glad the way you pick your favorites when you feel down. That’s a smart and brave choice.
I hope you can go through the day–no matter how bad it is.
You will always have my back.
November 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
Hey, what happened with your hair?
Why you never learn how to greet a girl on Skype, Ron?
Seriously, that’s curly! I never see you with curly hair since we’re in junior high!
Oh please stop laughing like that.
Sorry. Is it because of Mark? Or your thesis?
Mark didn’t say anything about my hair. It pissed me off too. At least he could say something about my hair, right? But no, it’s more because of my thesis. It drives me crazy. So yesterday I decided to get a new haircut. A bit too far hair-makeover, don’t ya think?
No, you look fresher. And pretty, really.
Keep on wooing, Ron. By the way, I feel so tired. This thesis-thing has drained my energy. I think my mom was right. I’m too young to chase this ambition. Mysubject is too high. Sometimes I just want to run out of my laboratory and spend the whole day sitting on the couch and watching NCIS back to back—and eating ice cream.
Just calm down, Jess. I’m sure you can do your thesis very well.
Oh I hope so. So, what news are you going to tell me?
My project. The scenario has done. The team is ready.
I want it to be the best short-film ever captured. The film that the audience will think about it years later.
And how do you manage it? Asking Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper to do their perfect acts again?
Yeah, keep laughing at me, the NYU youngest-PhD-candidate.
Hey, it’s not my fault that I’m genius …
I know those words too well, sorry. Now listen, I have found the actress.
That’s another great news!
She is smart. Plain. A bit scary.
Scary? Are you about to making a horror movie or what?
Sort of. A psychological thriller, to be exact.
Now you tell me that! That’s interesting. I can’t wait the premier.
And you know what, I ….
Oh, someone’s knocking the door. Sorry Ron. Can we talk again tomorrow? I have to go now with my friends.
You’re going out? But you’ve just told me that you are tired…
Yeah, but there’s a party and one of my favorite professor would come there, so this is kinda an exception…
What? A professor in a party? That’s ridiculously impossible!
Well, you’d be surprised to see how cool they are nowadays, Mr. Director.
Oh, come on, Jess.
Really sorry Ron, I need to go.
Yeah, okay. All right. Just go and make sure everybody see your new haircut.
He stared at the empty screen. Slight smile was still lingering on his face.
See you again tomorrow, Jess.
September 30, 2015 § Leave a comment
“It won’t be long,” he said to his dog that kept jumping. “You know I’ve gotten used to it.”
It was the third swing he made on that tree—an old big tree that had been a place to play for him and his friends at orphan house since a long time.
His dog didn’t stop jumping, and now yelping as if in sadness.
The boy frowned a bit, “Hey, you’re supposed to be happy. We’re going to have a new swing. This one can bring you to the moon, I promise.”
The boy didn’t know that his dog was trying to tell something. That they had to move to another place, soon. That in few months there’d be new constructions here—like the ones they used to see at the city horizon.
And therefore this new swing would be the last for them.
September 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
There was the house camp—Ben could see the dim lighting at it. Only a
few hundred meters more and he could join the others for the group
So far, everything had been fine. Professor Grimm satisfied with good
deal of potential antimicrobial source plants they’d found in the
woods. Tonight they would compile all samples and complete the records
(and maybe do a little roasted-corn-party to celebrate their
achievement), and then went home to the town the next morning.
Ben checked his watch and guessed that they would be the last pair to
arrive at the camp. He and Riki had explored further along the creek,
and went back when the last light vanished from the sky—but he was
pretty sure their findings were worth it.
It was that good—unless a thing with his research partner, Riki. You
could put two very contrary characters in Riki—intellectual power and
superstitious things. In other words, he was a bad companion to do
research in the field—particularly at nights. Other than that, Riki was
a kind boy and—most importantly—had been his neighbor and friend since
senior high. Still, Ben hadn’t quite adjusted to it. It wasn’t because
he scared, it was because he bored.
“Well, it’s weird,” said Riki, for a tenth time since they left the
creek. “It’s weird that I can’t feel anything. It’s usually stronger in
woods or forests.”
Ben shrugged his backpack and muttered something like ‘oh really’ and
didn’t ask further as he knew very well what ‘feeling’ Riki referred
They kept walking, even though Riki didn’t cease watching their
surroundings with his usual poker face despite the strange silence of
the woods or the cool breeze swaying the leaves.
“Maybe,” Riki continued after a while, “it has to do something with my
granny said last month. I haven’t told you about that, have I?”
Ben sighed and kept walking. “I guess so.”
“So let us check these out,” said Riki, as if Ben loved the idea. He
waved his flashlight up to the sky. “It’s day seven of this month,
“The seventh month of the year.”
“And it’s almost seven now,” Riki pointed the light to Ben’s watch.
“And in case you had forgotten, I’m the seventh child in the family—
well, from both my dad and mom’s. That’s the most important point.”
Ben’s step even slowed when he heard the fact. “Really? You have six
siblings? I thought they’re only four.”
Riki shrugged away his interest and said, “Anyway, my granny said that
there would be something unusual happen to the seventh child in the
family—along with other ‘seven’ things.”
“I’m 25, it’s also seven if you add the numbers.” Riki frowned to
himself. “Don’t you think it’s weird—all those ‘seven’, and the fact I
can’t feel anything—anything at all—in this woods? I’m wondering if
‘loosing my special ability’ is what Granny meant.”
“Yeah,” Ben yawned and nodded to his own jacket. “You can include this
seven, too. From the last season’s Seven League, remember? And
honestly, I think it’s good for you to have such breaks from ‘seeing’
or ‘feeling’, you know, those kinds.”
Riki came to a halt and pointed the flashlight to the number ‘7’ at
Ben’s jacket. “It should be nothing to do with you,” he said slowly,
“because it’s about me. But… who knows?”
Out of a blue, Ben felt something different. The wind grew cooler so
that he suddenly shivered. He turned to see around. Something caught
his sight over the nearest tree, right behind Riki. Ben turned pale.
“Riki,” he squaked. “Are you sure you can’t feel anything—I mean
anything? Like… this sudden-frosty-air, or… something else.” He stared
at one spot.
Riki shook his head. Ben could see he was grinning. “Nope. But you know
what, I think you’re right. It’s new for me—for not feeling anything
like ‘that.’ And I feel good.”
But Ben didn’t hear clearly anymore because memories flashed in his
head—the particular things Riki usually told him when he ‘saw’
something: the cold air, the weird smell, the wisp of mist—which now
floated behind Riki.
The mist had formed a transparent body, and a hollow face.
September 2, 2015 § 2 Comments
August 18, 2015 § 8 Comments
In this environment, there was nothing more interesting for him than a row of three windows on a backside of building at lane 21, WindLake Rd. The flat building was rather old and the smallest around the area.
The fact that he had a vegan customer there wasn’t rare enough to the relationship among the people who lived behind those windows.
The first window on the left was the brightest, in shock purple paint, with super clean-and-white curtains, two pots of roses, and (almost every morning) a cat on the windowsill. Mrs. Elizabeth who lived there had been a loyal customer for his uncle’s Rayya’s Vegan Delivery in recent two years. She lived with Mr. Felix, the cat.
The second window was plain gray. It suited with the green plants and some books that put near the windowsill. The shy girl who lived behind it gradually changed some cute decoration up there. He secretly knew her name from an occasion—it’s Lousiana, by the way—and she was a peacemaker between Mrs. Elizabeth and Mrs. Arundhati—the later was living behind the third windows.
Every morning, delicious smell of curry dish (in every single recipe you could imagine) would spread out the environment from Mrs. Arundhati’s windows. Everybody didn’t mind at all, except for Mrs. Elizabeth, who thought the smell was the main reason Mr. Felix had a bit overweight now.
Mr. Felix did take a journey across the windows every morning, to say meow to Lousiana, and then had luxury breakfast at Mrs. Arundhati’s. And that’s why Lousiana had to calm down the two elder when they shouted each other—out from their windows.
He somehow felt warm to see those kind of interactions every morning. Mrs. Elizabeth reminded him of his killer lecturer at university. Mrs. Arundhati’s cooks had reminded him of Indonesian rendang and how he missed his country. And Lousiana, well, he just loved to see her as a ‘sweet and calm granddaughter’ for both of them. The uniqueness of them never failed made him smile.
Since Mrs. Elizabeth always wanted to take her order from the window (she hated to walk to the front door on the different side), he often had to wait for a while in front of the back fences, with boxes of food in his hands, until the quarrel was over—like this morning.
But this time, his eyes were fixed on Lousiana, who smiled awkwardly at the middle window, holding Mr. Felix. This was the first time they shared a look, and suddenly he felt a rush of heat on his cheeks.
“Boy!” said Mrs. Elizabeth, broke their stares connection. “Are you going to stand there all morning?”
“Ck, I thought you’ll let him frozen out there,” Mrs. Arundhati muttered from her window. “And it’s not my fault that the cat loves me more!” And then she disappeared inside.
He was afraid that the quarrel about to start again, but thanks to Lousiana, who leaned out of the window so she could give Mr. Felix back to Mrs. Elizabeth. Her soft voice seemed to melt the tension, “Bye, Mr. Felix. Have a good day, Mrs. Elizabeth, I have an exam this morning.”
He just stood there numbly, mesmerized by her voice, watching Mrs. Elizabeth took Mr. Felix and smiled to Lousiana. “You take care, too, darling. Good luck.”
He could swear that Lousiana was stealing a glance to him before went inside—because so was he. Mrs. Elizabeth cleared her throat. “So, my meal?”
He startled and walked hurriedly into the backyard to give the order.
“Here’s your tip,” said Mrs. Elizabeth like usual, but to his surprise, this time she hold his hands firmly. “Yoghi, it’s your name, right?”
He looked at her, confused, and slowly nodded. He rarely spoke to her more than about the payment things. “Y.. yes, Mrs. Elizabeth?”
The lady looked at him. “I like you. And I like her. But she is too naïve to fall in love with a bad boy—her schoolmate, I guess. She might break her heart in short time. She will need a good friend to laugh with. Of course for now she still has us, two old grumpy ladies of the world, who makes her laughing all the time with our silliness. Don’t look dumb like that. I know you see us quarreling so often, but we are best friends. And this girl is always between us, she was a natural ‘bonder.’ I love her. Mrs. Arundhati loves her. And I know you’ll be her best friend, Yoghi.”
He was speechless, aware of who’s ‘her’ she was talking about. Mrs. Elizabeth took his hands off and waved a goodbye. “Well, thank you for your kindness all this time. It’s rare to see a boy who can keep his attitude and patience to an old lady like me.”
He didn’t know what to say, what to do, until Mrs. Elizabeth was no more at the window and a voice from the third window startled him. “Is she gone? Here, boy, I’ve been waiting you since yesterday. Take this.”
He approached to the window, and took the plastic box Mrs. Arundhati shoved. From the smell, he knew it was potato chicken curry. His favorite.
“Your uncle should keep his good job with the delivery-resto so that you’d had a reason to come by. I’d love to share food with you—and Mr. Felix, and of course Lousiana.”
Mrs. Arundhati’s eyes glinted when she said the later.
“Thank you, Mrs. Arundhati,” he smiled sheepishly. “Thank you.”
And then he left, with a big grin and warm feeling—the three windows never failed surprising him. Today, its surprise reached another level, which made his day, very much.
August 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
Thanks to my elder son (Nav), I’ve had an exceptional week with robots. His robot team had represented his school to join a mini robot competition for elementary and junior high students in our city (Yogyakarta)—and my new experience with robot had begun. The competition was organized by Taman Pintar (Edu Park), with Macquarie University and Australian Volunteer International (AVI).
Nav is quite familiar with simple programming in computer, but that was his first time to do it with a robot. So he was excited, and so did I. I considered myself lucky to know the first cute robot I’ve ever seen—Edison Robot—which was given to each team. They would use those pretty orange things in sumo competition.
Yeah, right. They should battle each other (and push some obstacles out of arena).
After one day workshop, the students had a week to program their robots and designed the bodies. And not only Nav and his friends, I learnt a lot too in a week.
Like, there were tons of awesome robots battles in YouTube. Like, some of them were no kidding—they crashed to each other, they destroyed each other, they used water or fire to attack, they jumped, flew, flashed. Just wow.
For smaller robots, there were also lots of sumo competitions we could watch. To my surprise, this particular robot Nav used, Edison, was super easy to learn (even for me). We can make programs using drag and drop graphical icons like this.
And they have free downloaded books (HERE).
Anyway, the competition itself was fun, and Alhamdulillah Nav’s team (SMP IT Masjid Syuhada) won the second prize. They were so happy! We captured the moments in some pictures and videos below (Nav and his friends were in green ‘batik’ uniforms).
Congrats to all kids. We sure had a lot of fun!
the team with their teacher
the participants’ happy faces
second winner! (with the students of Macquaire University)
Nav’s Edison robot