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
July 28, 2015 § Leave a comment
that there will be time in your life, when you’ve like just enough about good and bad, about pleasure and grief, about wiseness and carelessness. Just hope it won’t be late, it won’t be too old, it won’t be too long to realize, for you to bring out the good of you, the core of you, the pureness of human being, that being honest, being content, being love yourself like you love Allah, is the most beautiful feeling you have. That nothing in the world happen without He Knowing, without His Will.
And because of that, at the moment that nobody know when it’s going to happen—you will see around you differently.
The stories you read, the songs you sing everyday, your favorite books, inspiring people you meet, bad guys you see, beautiful person you glance, wonderful hearts you watch, tragic moments you feel, the anger and fear you hold, the mistakes you’ve made, the smile of your children, cold raining days you get through, horrifying times when you meet your enemies, love and hate you experienced, the kindness of your best pals, the look of yourself at the mirror…
You will face them all in new perspectives, new experiences, in a whole different you—more positively, more beautiful in every way, more appreciate, with braveness in a subtler way …
You will be amazed to feel how simple things giving you so much energy, so much optimism, so much calmness, to overcome anything before you. Since one moment of time, at one particular second, you know that you are going to try and always will try. You know that you have the quality to survive, to keep the good things in you, that you will chose as a special human being and you have that ability. You will not disappoint your future, just for the sake of the goodness itself, for the sake of love itself, for the sake of gratefulness itself. Because it is the way your world should be.
And for that most wonderful moment, you only have one thing to say… Alhamdulillah—All the praise belongs to Allah.
July 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
there was a story about a boy who often looked sad. among his friends, he was the youngest. the smallest. the skinniest.
he was the last player that everybody wanted in a soccer team. he always crossed the finish line in running races as the last kid (meanwhile the others had returned to the start line and drunk their iced lemon tea). he couldn’t quite follow the guessing games. and he could only sit on the river bank when his friends swimming happily in the water, because he hadn’t learned to swim.
and then one day something happened. a cat, belonged to one of his friends, was lost. everybody searched for the missing cat. finally someone heard the cat’s voice, deep inside a rabbit burrow.the cat seemed to enjoy being there, but of course she had to get out.
nobody could get into the hole but the smallest and skinniest boy. he crawled in and took the cat out.
‘wow,’ said the cat’s owner, hugging her cat cheerfully. ‘you could be a master in hide and seek. thanks!’
the boy stared at his friend for a moment and slowly his face brightened. ‘and i thank you, too.’
since then, the boy had well-known as a cat savior, and built his career in hide and seek—not to mention the other games among his friends, soon.
July 13, 2015 § 2 Comments
She was quite known at school, that time–spending almost all the time with the other cool students (the jocks, the geniuses, the cute ones). She wasn’t as beautiful or smart as the other girls in the group. She was the lowest in many levels (kids POV) in the group. But there was a clear fact that they loved her so much, and took care of her.
It made some students-outside the ‘cool’ group–had wondered what’s so special of her to become one of them.
I found the answer before the graduation, three years after I knew her–from afar, because I was nothing such cool person like her and the gang.
She approached me and said, “Hey, happy birthday!” and gave a present–a pink photo album. “We’re going to have a blast graduation party-and great photos! This can store our memory.”
I didn’t have any idea how she knew my birthday date! Yeah, we’re friends, but not as close as to know each other personal stuff. So her action was one of my fondest memories–the pure attention from a ‘cool person’ for a’total stranger’ in the tough teenagers’ world.
No wonder everybody loved her. She was the magnet of the group, she poured laugh, smile, and caring to the others. She made people feeling better.
And then… almost ten years later…
she didn’t survived in delivering her first baby. It was the very sad moment of everyone who knew her. There were so many people praying for her at the funeral. I was one of them. We all shed the same tears.
Her name is always in my mind–and so that’s why I used her name in a simple picture book that I wrote: Emma’s Shoes Day–my first attempt to draw and write a story using photoshop to the final touch.
I want to remember her as a sweet and cheerful little girl, who always makes the others feel great. This picture book is for free.
CLICK HERE TO READ OR DOWNLOAD ‘EMMA’S SHOES DAY’-PICTURE BOOK.
I hope this picture book will do the same thing as what Emma did, bringing smile and happiness to the others.
No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted –Aesop
July 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
He stared at the ball—the look of his face was irritated, almost mad.
In a split second he kicked. And kicked again. Another kick. Harder. Faster. Until his feet felt burnt and his body shook. The ball was still on its place, but the wall near it now was badly stained. Maybe the last BIG kick would collapse the wall, and then perhaps the rush feeling to beat THAT kid could subside…
He still remembered how the jock of their school mocked—for the hundredth time— ”Seriously, what exactly are you doing? You better play throw-and-catch, not soccer, knucklehead. Go with your baby-friends. Or you want to make us laugh after the play? Sure, then stay. We’d love to see it.”
He would never forget how then the other kids laughed at him crazily. He wanted to beat the jock so badly. He wanted to give him learn. He dreamed to make him beg. Which was impossible, because he would die first. Nobody had ever tried to fight that brutal-bulldozer.
Tears had filled his eyes… he abruptly wiped it. He hated the horrible-mixed-feelings like this even more than just a jock mocking him. He was tired of it. It didn’t feel right. He. Was. Tired. Of. It.
The warm breeze touched his face, now he let the tears down. He stood, just hoping this lonely spot of wall would silent forever like this—to let his anger disappeared.
He couldn’t remember how long he had been standing in silence when he heard the walking steps—not too loud, but in a hurry. And then he heard a thump, right behind the wall he stood by.
Someone—he guessed—slumped his/her body to the ground, and then sobbed. For a moment, he forgot about his problem and stiffened. So, someone else did feel bad today. What should he do? He could just leave and let the girl (from the sob he heard) had her own time. But where did he have to go to?
Suddenly, the sobs stopped. “Who’s there?”
He felt like his heart jumped to the throat. How on earth could she know that he was here?
“Sorry,” finally he managed, talking to the wall behind him. “I… didn’t mean to overhear you. I’ve been here… few minutes ago…”
Another long silence. He was about to go when she said, “I can hear you sniff too. Sorry.”
He glanced to the wall again, surprised, and embarrassed. But strangely, it felt rather relieving too, when he didn’t hear any hint of judgment in her voice—only understanding.
“My brother did cry too last week, here,” said the girl again, a bit wobbly. That explained much about the understanding.
He hesitated, but then replied, “I think… I’m better now. Poor wall. I kicked a lot.”
There was a weak laugh behind him. “Yeah, poor wall,” said the girl.
He glanced again, only to face the wall. “You kicked it too?”
“My brother and I… wrote a lot. You know, bad words, wise words… but mostly bad ones.”
He smiled. “I never thought to look at the other side of this wall.”
“Don’t!” said the girl hastily. “I mean, don’t read it until I go. It’s just… you know…” Her voice sounded sad again.
He didn’t say a word for a moment. Yeah, he understood.
“He’s going better,” the girl said again. “I mean, my brother. I need him to… go through… so, yeah… well, actually, we’re twins.”
“You’re lucky,” he heard his own voice as if it came out from far away. “My best friend has moved out.”
Both of them sunk into silence again.
“You’ll find another one,” she said again behind him. He was astonished to realize how clear he could hear her. He smiled to the trees across the street, “I hope so.”
“We have this cat named Park. She is ugly—a trouble maker in our neighborhood, mind you—but she’s my bro and I savior for bad days.”
“Well,” he thought about it. “I think a pet is a good idea.”
The sun was going higher and he felt the pain was only left in his feet—not in his heart.
He sighed. “Well, I guess I’ll let you write. I have to leave now. And… err… thanks anyway, for… the talk.”
The girl didn’t respond it immediately. But then she said, “Thanks to you too. I haven’t written anything yet, but I feel much better as well.” Another silence and then, “Have a good day.”
He put the ball, looked at the wall, hesitated to ask her name, and then decided not to do it. A twin girl and boy with a cat named Park was enough for now.
Finally he said. “Bye. Have a good day.”
A good day. A new friend to talk to had made it.
May 19, 2015 § 4 Comments
It was so nice that a few days ago I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award and the Real Neat Blog Award by the talented one Daniel of The Oddity Writer (please visit his blog and enjoy a lot of nice reading stuff).
Thanks so much, Daniel. I’m so honored to be included in your list of nominees, and so sorry for being late writing this post 🙂
So, there are some questions from Daniel I need to answer, here they are:
1. What is your fondest memory? One of my childhood memories. When my best friends and I put all our dreams and stories on the papers (say, the role plays we did after reading great books, the old bread factory in the neighborhood, the ponds in the little wood), kept them in a big plastic bag, and then buried it under a big tree. It was wonderful, right? So I tried to encourage my kids and their friends to do the same, having a treasure to remember. And all they said was: “But, Mom. We already have lots of treasures! In the Minecraft world!” Oh, well.
2. Who or what motivates you to do your best or to be the best you can be? My family, especially my kids, and good friends who always believe I can do more and more.
3. Talk about your personal strengths or your personal weaknesses?
Sometimes it’s hard to manage so many duties to do on the track, but I know I will make it.
4. How has your writing or WordPress influenced your life? Huge. I couldn’t thank you all fellow bloggers enough. WordPress community helps me to keep writing and believing in myself. The ideas, the friendships, even the dramas, I learn a lot from them.
5. How did you pick your blog name? The easiest way to name a blog, with your own name 🙂
6. Do you have a favorite book? Well, it’s more than one, actually. But this time I’d like to pick a book series that have given me so mixed feelings—sad, happy, worried, thrilled, even haunted. It is a Japanese manga (comic) entitled ‘Hadashi no Gen’ by Keiji Nakazawa (or ‘Barefoot Gen: Life After Bomb).
It consists of 20 books (Indonesian edition), about the journey of Gen and his family during the war. See here in google books: http://bit.ly/1Fm5edS
7. What word of advice, what moral or message would you give you followers? It’s a wonderful thing that we can communicate and feel each other by writings.
And I’d like to give either or both the Versatile and the Real Neat Blog Award to:
1. Donna (http://alittlebirdtweets.com)–find her great flash fictions and book reviews.
2. Sophie (http://sophiebowns.wordpress.com)—nice stories from an aspiring writer.
3. Lisa (http://lisajaynemurray.wordpress.com)—always love her lovely illustrations.
4. Julie (http://juliepowell2014.wordpress.com)—with the beautiful photos and the stories behind them.
5. Audry (http://anutritionalmakeover.wordpress.com)—great photos and recipes for your healthier life.
You guys are awesome 🙂 . And it’s free for you to decide delivering these awards to the other fellow bloggers, answer the questions (I borrow yours, Daniel, I hope you don’t mind 🙂 ), and make your own nominees.
So, thanks again, Daniel, and I just want to say thanks to all of you who also taking the journey with me. Have a great day!