Kedatangan

Posted in Life on August 28, 2011 by Galih Sakti

Hanya gelap yang terlihat ketika ia mencoba menangkap bayangan yang berjalan menjauh dari tatapan. Sosok itu pergi membawa kebenaran dan juga kesejatian. Semakin jauh langkahnya terdengar, semakin berdegup jantungnya terasa. Aku takut, katanya dalam hati. Aku ingin lari, namun ia tahu ia tidak bisa. Kemanakah, hati dan pikiran seseorang pergi ketika mereka merasa benar akan sesuatu. Disembunyikankah kedua kemuliaan manusia tersebut sewaktu tuhan menciptakan mereka? Ataukah mereka selama ini bersemayam dalam kegelapan dan tak akan muncul lagi?

Selamat datang di dunia, anakku. Sayup ia dengar suara asing di dekatnya. Berbisik dan bergetar, suara itu, ia pernah dengar dahulu. Ia selalu nikmati alunan nada-nada rindu yang terserap ke dalam dinding-dinding pembatas, merembes dalam kalbu. Suara itu kini begitu dekat, namun terasa asing sangat.

Ia tidak tahu bahwa hari-hari yang ia miliki akan penuh dengan kepahitan dan lara. Namun ia merasakannya. Gelap sudah tidak selamanya, melainkan datang dan pergi silih berganti. Tetapi derita dan kesedihan tercium bak busuk yang menyeruak lepas dari bangkai. Bahkan darah pun tercium begitu segar di tubuhnya, merah dan penuh pesona.

Kuberikan kau nama, anakku. Kuberikan kau tempat bernaung. Kuserahkan padamu kehidupan baru.

Betapa mewahnya. Sebuah nama yang turun dari makhluk yang menyayanginya. Seteguk dua teguk pelepas dahaga, dan tak terhingga banyaknya kasih sayang, namun juga identitas baru yang merantainya dengan tak kenal ampun.

Ia meronta seketika. Namun tubuhnya tiada bergerak. Sulit, sukar dan seperti tidak jelas bagaimana caranya. Siapapun kamu, aku tidak ingin punya nama ini. Aku tidak ingin punya identitas ini. Jangan tandai aku, karena sebelumnya aku bebas. Aku ingin bebas lagi, aku akan memilih. Biarkanlah. Dan bayangan gelap yang sebelumnya dekat denganku, tolong kembali. Dan ia menjerit. Menangisi nasib.

Kau boleh menjerit, kau boleh menangis liar. Tapi jangan kau kutuk diriku. Sebab kami telah menunggumu, kami telah menantimu, dan mencintaimu. Siapapun itu yang pernah bersamamu dahulu, tolong lupakanlah. Sebab kau kini bersamaku.

Ia tampak indah dalam deritanya. Bersinar di bawah cahaya dan air mata. Perlahan ia terima suratan yang tertera untuk dirinya. Ia adalah sesuatu yang diberi makna, dan dengan demikian akan berperilaku sesuai dengan apa yang makna tersebut harapkan darinya. Dihirupnya udara, dan dirasakan degup jantung yang terdengar membahana. Aku takut, katanya lagi. Tapi aku tahu, aku tidak bisa lari. Aku kini terbatas dalam ragawi. Kaki kecil nan rapuh ini tak akan bisa membawaku pergi. Aku harus tinggal di sini.

Ia terbatas dan tak terbatas sekaligus, ia bisa berlari jauh, melompat setinggi mungkin dalam batinnya. Walau kemudian ia akan terseok-seok untuk menetak kedua telapak kaki di atas bumi sambil berusaha berdiri. Ketika suatu saatnya nanti, ia akan mandiri, ia belum tentu berpaling ke lain hati. Karena ia punya seseorang yang ia hutangi.

Aku akan berdoa, untukmu dan untukku. Aku akan selalu merindukanmu, ketika gelap tiba dan ketika ia memudar terganti cahaya. Kuberikan padamu secercah makna, yang akan kau bawa. Kukalungkan padamu beban dunia, sebab inilah tempat dirimu bersemayam walau hanya sementara. Kucintai dirimu hampir selamanya, sampai saatnya aku meregang nyawa dan kumulai jejak-jejak langkah baru dalam dunia yang bertambah tua.

Ia-pun mengerjap. Air mata mengalir perlahan, detak jantungnya terasa dekat. Nyata. Hangat. Bayangan itu sudah sepenuhnya hilang ditelan gelap. Kesejatian, pikirnya, bisa dicari. Makna, selaiknya diberi. Ketika saatnya tiba nanti, ia akan mencari butir demi butir hati dari segala cerita yang pernah ia resapi. Namun sebelum hari itu tiba, ia akan beristirahat dalam lindungan ragawi yang terasa seperti jeruji. Dan ia tahu bahwasanya, ia tak sendiri.

Goodbye Sadness

Posted in Life on January 7, 2011 by Galih Sakti

It was a usual afternoon. The sky was bright, the road was full of cars. I was on my way to meet old friends, driving alone. My car won’t play my iPod, for it has been broken for months. So I played a usual tunes with CD. It was an ordinary day, nothing suppose to be special about it.

What made that day unusual, was the fact that I am going to leave Jakarta on another week. To be honest, I already passed my sorrow and confusion, and I have achieved my happiness with accepting the fact that I am going to spend my next four years on something awesome. I am going to achieve my dreams, and I am grateful for that.

But apparently, being grateful and happy are harder than it seems. Do not get me wrong, I am happy, very happy on my soon-to-be journey. I am going to spend my 3 -4 years ahead on San Francisco, one of the most beautiful modern cities in the world (so people said) to learn filmmaking. I am going to sketch and paint everything. Victorian houses, roads, foggy valleys, bridges, doors, parks, artists and poets. I will probably write my stories inside those little eclectic cafes, in the middle of those jazzy tunes and artistic looking beggars (okay, I made that last one up). In short, I will experience a marvelous time and I believe on that.

So why, why on earth that all of sudden on that supposed to be usual day, I felt a sadness in my heart. It was uninvited, of course, and also inevitable. I was listening to the same tunes all over again when I choked myself, felt like it was hard to breathe. And just like that, I can feel a warmth on my cheek. And the road was somehow blurry, and my heart was pounding like I was in a deep heart-broken moment. I was crying.

I did not know why it happened. Did I still sad? Did I still worry for the fact that I had never left Jakarta for my whole 26 years? Did I somehow too afraid to lose and miss my parents, my dearest friends, my whole life?

Whatever it was, I do not want to be sad all over again. I want to leave you all, my friends, happily. I want to believe that we will meet again somewhere, someday soon. I might had never seen and met some of you in person before, but it is still hard nonetheless. The fact that I was struck by a sudden heartache in the middle of the road has only reminded me that I have to be my best on my journey out there. It might not be as easy as it sounds, but hey, this little guy will do.

So yeah, it might not be a usual afternoon at the end of that day. My cheeks were still warm, my tears soaked, my eyes were red, it felt like I was suffocating, and the road was blurry still. But hey, my friends, I will see you at the end of the road. And I will promise you that I will smile happily like I used to be.

If you see me somewhere someday, maybe inside those warm coffee shop, sipping my usual black coffee, under those hippy lamps on my favorite places, please pat my back. Say hello and I will show you my adventure. Our adventure.

Thank you for everything. Until we meet again.

Footless Dancer

Posted in Life with tags , , , , on August 29, 2010 by Galih Sakti

I was discussing random things with my friends, Puti and Dimas, on last Saturday. We were sitting in a very nice lounge-resto, the latest hip place in town everyone seems to visit nowadays. It is weird, that inside those flashy surroundings, between a well designed restaurant, under that concrete mall structures, we could talk about many fascinating things; things that exist only in our wildest imagination and deepest thoughts.

It has been a long, long time, since I had encountered an honest good talk with someone. The idea of having good friends has always been characterized as difficult and pricey, especially nowadays. That night, we were talking about lot of interesting stuffs and topics.

In the middle of our illy coffee, hot chocolate, coke and cakes, a topic about creativity risen. As overrated as it may sounds, creativity still has its spot as an interesting, mysterious subject. (Well, at least for me.) And it was not until Puti said that a person’s creativity could depends on their freedom. Or something like that. Sorry, I kinda forgot the details.

Let’s say, if any person has a difficult environment, like if they have been kept or imprisoned in a certain boundaries and rules, chances are they are going to be a very creative person. More creative than, say, free people. ‘Free people’ that can do anything anywhere. People like us.

I could not help to think about my most favorite writer in the world, Pramoedya Ananta Toer. The name also came up in our discussion, of course. But it does not until several hours earlier, when I came into bed and ready to sleep, I started to wonder about him. About his miserable life, about his magnificent works, about his creativity. Pramoedya was imprisoned without trial in Pulau Buru (Buru Island) on 1965, due to his allegiance to Partai Komunis Indonesia (Indonesian Communist Party).

Buru Island is no way a proper place for an artist, let alone a writer like Pramoedya. It was hell and a statement of anti-human. But weirdly, it was in this dreadful dungeon that Pramoedya gave birth to his masterpiece, the most beautiful Indonesian literature ever written: Quartet Pulau Buru (Buru Quartet). It was even more amazing that at Buru Island, Pramoedya was forbidden to write anything. The island is simply a ghetto, a place where a prisoner is nothing more than an animal. They treated their cons with no respect, embargoed them to create anything.

Ironically, Buru Island is a place where the tetralogy, the masterpiece, were born. They were not created with a typewriter or pencil and paper – the government were forbid him to write anything, remember? – instead, Pramoedya told the story to his friends, the fellow prisoners in Buru Island. The masterpiece was born from his mouth, verbally. It was simply amazing and unbelievable, for a forbidden writer to create his beloved stories simply by telling it.

The theory fits on every level. Pramoedya is a perfect example, about an artist that creates his best works when he has nothing at all. Pramoedya suffers like a dancer whose foot had been amputated, yet the government forgets that he, is a maestro nonetheless. They could ‘cut his hands’ but he still has his tongue.

We ended our conversations past midnight, and I started to think about Pramoedya four hours after that. I have my own notebook, a bunch of free time, an amazing environment, yet I used to feel that somehow I lack in creativity. It is so hard to be productive on your ‘creative way,’ even though you have everything in front of you. Pramoedya, however, is the exact opposite.

I have my feet, yet I cannot dance. Well, maybe I can, but I can not do good. Not yet.

Randomly Rambling

Posted in Life on July 4, 2010 by Galih Sakti

I might be getting into the unusual zone with this post. I used to do some chit-chaty, rambling on something abstract and sometimes doesn’t make any sense at all. However, there are lots of things happened involving people I know recently that makes me think, especially about a concept that we used to know as ‘criticism.’ Apparently, although I’m living in an era where criticism is something that considered necessary, yet it’s still hard for some people that I know – especially my fellow Indonesian – to take criticism with a clear mind.

People love to criticize, yet in my opinion, they don’t really know what they’re talking about. Looks like every one is trying hard to be smart these days. While I think that it’s always a good thing; trying to be smart, but it would be nonsense if people do it for an affirmation from society purpose only. You want to be smart because you need to be one, not because you want people to look you up as a smart-ass. I used to rant about these every-one-is-trying-to-be-too-genius things on my previous posts, but it is not until now that I found this phenomenon is getting more serious and ridiculous than ever. I’m not saying that any individual should keep their curiosity and stop asking questions. In fact, I love it when someone is putting aside his/her prejudice and try to see new things from a different possibility.

Some society, even the one who got labelled as a civilized, are having no clue about things that they used to criticize. They simply having no clue, let alone understand the context. Looking at these kind of debate is like sitting in front of two persons talking with different languages, without an ability to understand the opposite. No one understands another. The other typical scenery is while one person understand the other, the other is having a difficulty to understand the opponent, yet this obtuse one has a strong faith that he/she is the one whose opinion is right.

To criticize something, means that one must grab certain knowledge about something itself. The knowledge could lay on any level such as basic or advance. It also could be about everything: movies, books, politics, laws. Simply anything. The other important element about critics is that critics doesn’t have to be skilled on subject they are criticizing, they just have to know the ideal knowledge about that subject. For example, if someone is trying to have a good criticism about music, doesn’t mean that he/she has to be a skillful musician. But, he/she must know or at least familiar with the knowledge about how a good music should be. Then again, to say that a person can’t make a criticism in music because he/she are not having a proper skill to play music is simply wrong. How many times had you heard people complaining about critics with statement like,

‘Well, they don’t know how hard it is to play guitar, they can’t even play a simple notes yet they have some strong criticism about … (fill the blank with a band or a song), therefore, they’re not qualified as critics.’

Or maybe this one,

‘Making a movie is not a piece of cake. These critics who hates this movie don’t know what are they talking about. I believe none of them are capable to make a short scenes, yet they talked like they know everything.’

The truth is – this is only my opinion based on my experience and knowledge – to be a good critic, you aren’t required to master those hard skills, but you need to have a proper knowledge about an ideal state in order understanding things you’ve been criticizing all along. In other words; you don’t have to be a good director to be a movie critic, nor that you have to be a marvelous musician to criticize some music. What you need to have is a knowledge about an ideal movie or music in your mind. And that is what critics meant to be: to deliver an ideal opinion about something, to make it constructively stronger, hence to improve something to be better from time to time.

That said, being a critics is not easy. Sure, it might be something considered as easy, especially when people judging critics as persons who have an advantage on their idealism. Being critics seems like you would never violate your own values, because you’ve been build your work based on your values.

Now if we take a peek on critics culture on some society, (I’ll take Indonesia as an example, since I’ve been living here for all my life) like I said before, some culture is currently having difficulties to handle criticisms. Not only that they can’t accept criticism, but also they don’t know how to criticize. If you imagine it as something that is complicated, it because it is. It’s hard for some Indonesian to take criticism, yet it’s very easy for them to criticizing in a very wrong way. There are some elements that have to be considered when you attack someone or something, and when those who attacked by criticisms are defending themselves, the other party should respect that, but doesn’t mean that they stop criticizing. In an unhealthy scenery, people are getting offended easily once they got criticized. Sometimes it’s not even about them, but their favorite football team or their favorite movies for example. A good, reasoned arguments is crucial on every criticism. Without them, you’re running in circles. You’re doing nothing except wasting your time.

It’s complicated, but it’s fixable. I’m not saying that I’m the only one who acknowledge this thing. In fact, I feel like I have to learn so much to take criticism and to deliver a proper one. The biggest problem in our society as we know it, is an immature culture consisting about our fear to the unknown; to some knowledge that might rip our beliefs; our blind possessions to something uncertain; and our tendency to defend something we love without analyze it first.

Spinning

Posted in Culture, Life on June 6, 2010 by Galih Sakti

Mevlevi Dervishes, 1887

Being a five years old have always been a unique experience for everyone. When I was in this state, I have a lot of habits that made people raise their eyebrows. To be honest, I always remember how people judged me as ‘boy who has a lot of weird habits’. That includes talking to myself; have an excessive, annoying amount of questions regarding to god; ‘reading’ people’s palm just to say something that I actually forgot now, counting ceramics as I walked in a public pavement, etc.

Among other things, one that I remember vividly is about how I whirled, spun my body as fast as I can, until I lose my awareness. I used to do this, especially in a wide, spacious area where I could spinning myself without disturbing any living things. That, by some people, was categorized as a weird habit too.

Well, it might be considered as a ‘weird habit’ since I brought them with me until I sat in 5th grade. That means I was a ten years old when I stopped doing that routine. You’re not a little kid anymore when you sit in 5th grade. You might be still a little kid for everyone else older than you, especially your parents, of course. But your very self began to think that somehow, you’re growing too fast for you to handle. That you’re changing and no one could stop that. I felt it when I was a ten years old. Strongly.

I always did my spin routine with my eyes closed, yet my head were pointing up. Sometimes I opened my eyes – usually when I spun at the open space – just to savor the color of the sky and how it turned like you were making a mixture of colors. It was always beautiful. The most magical thing when it comes to spinning my body, was how weird yet wonderful I feel about it. It was liberating, relieving, and most importantly; ecstatic.

Yes, I’ve always been ecstatically aware whenever I spun my body like crazy. Or maybe I’m not aware? Maybe I’m not in my conscious when I did that, I don’t know. The only thing that I’m sure of, is how weird yet amazing that is too let your body spin as fast as you can. It felt like you’re being raised from the ground. You were thinking that you fly.

And that, is apparently what our fellow Mystics were practicing. You might identify Mystics by more popular adjective: Sufi. Since these Mystics are somehow having their special approach to find god, hence their rituals are unique and different. Not all Mystics are practicing and doing this whirling routine, but some of them, particularly Turkish and Persian Mystics are devoting themselves into this ritual. Dated back from 13 century AD, this beautiful ceremony was a part of Jallaludin Rumi’s teaching. A famous, notable Persian Mystic himself, Rumi is a brilliant person whom vital teaching is about loving god, which also means, loving yourself.

To love god you need to set yourself free. But to set yourself free, doesn’t require you to ‘leave’ your body entirely. You just need to take it to another level. You need to raise your spirit so you could experience any magical feelings that you might savor. To whirl, is only one from so many methods.

Now, this Mystics might did a lot of illogical things, too weird for us to comprehend. But I think these guys are honest with their love of god. They do what they think would suffice to feel any wonderful, loving feeling that for some of us are just beyond imagination.

How many of you are feeling ecstatic when you pray? I myself never felt it.

Now, how many of you are feeling ecstatic when you play some music, when you sang, when you dance, when you paint?

When you spin?

We have a lot of methods when it comes to getting closer to our god. Rituals are things to be considered, although some of us are believe that they’re an obligatory. Those ‘vital’, ‘necessary’ rituals might be are as important as they called it to be, but don’t you think that it would be interesting for us to consider another methods to love our god?

No, I’m not asking you to spin your body in public out of nowhere nor context. No. I was trying to remind ourselves about how honest we used to be when we were a kid, and how hard our environment had became to our spirit and imagination. We literally killed ourself, once we put that ‘essential’ rituals into a mathematical value involving sins and virtues.We start losing everything important and gaining some cruel, primitive, uncivilized perspectives about our own religion, and our god as well.

Next time when I want to remember my god, I’ll savor myself into anything beautiful that comes in my way. That ‘weird habits’. The sound of a beautiful song; the joy when I fell asleep on a very comforting bed; an exploding, delightful feeling when you’re happy and all you want is hugging every single people that you meet; an awesome, amazing mixture of the skies with its blowing wind when you spin like a crazy five years old kid…

A Red Umbrella

Posted in Life on June 2, 2010 by Galih Sakti

His name is Alun.

Of course, It’s not his real name. Since this story based on an actual event, I’m trying to make it subtle and leave the real name behind.

Alun is one of my closest relative. We were growing together in our neighborhood, he’s a 19 years old boy now. He and I used to have a very different value when it comes to any single thing. I myself used to have a perception that Alun might be the shallowest and the crudest kid of all our big family members.

It was, until I spent my latest holiday with him. Just the two of us.

It was unplanned. The actual scheme was to spend the long weekend together with my family: my dad, my mom, and my sister. Alun was invited after, when my parents feel that it would be nice to add another person to our little party. Turned out, my parents and my sister couldn’t make it. So it just me and Alun. Just the two of us.

Let me tell you a little bit about Alun. Like I said before, I always judge Alun as a shallow and an annoying boy, and he showed this unconsciously. It’s not like he wants to appear annoying and shallow. He just expressed it naturally.

He never read, let alone write. He loves police cars and everything that goes with the uniform. He used to opened his car’s window every time he noticed a sirens coming, just to hear of its sound. He loves any movies involved any guns and war (by the time the movie showed some decent, sophisticated conversation he would likely to fall asleep. Happened all the time). He loves tacky music, cheap, easy listened music, one with any ‘love’ word on it. A depression, ballad tunes would amuse him easily. He always get the wrong messages when it comes to anything. Movies, books, even comics. (Once, he laughed at the very wrong scene when we watched Kick Ass at the theater. The scene supposed to be deeply sad and touching, but he laughed. Hard.)

I myself, never thought and don’t want to have a thought that somehow I’m not like every one else. I don’t wanna people to think of me as a cultured person, an artsy fartsy, an annoying ‘indie’ boy (which, I believe no one is actually think that I’m an ‘indie’ boy). That said, I don’t feel like I want to have a nice, sophisticated labels around me. But come to think of it again, maybe unconsciously, I want people to see me the way I told you earlier. Maybe I was thinking too high about myself, I judge people easily and automatically labeling people who has a different interest to me as crude, stupid, shallow, uncultured, mainstream, uninteresting, you name it.

Alun, is a kind of boy I easily labelled with predicates as I wrote on the last paragraph above. This labeling and judging is going into an even worse state with the fact that Alun has a trouble when it comes to behaving himself. He used to be the ‘naughtiest, misbehaved, difficult son’ in his family, the black horse that no one is actually appreciate.

Isn’t it hard, especially for me: the guy who think too high about himself, to accept him and see the different side of Alun?

Turned out it wasn’t that hard. It was easy and happened very quick.

By the time I arrived at the international airport Adjisucipto, Yogyakarta, Alun picked me up using his dad’s car. He was coming from Jakarta to Surakarta (a neighbor town separated about two hours from Yogyakarta) by train several days earlier, straight to the Hotel where his dad worked, and he picked me up at the airport as planned.

I didn’t told you before, but I have a little ambitious goal within this travel: I want to draw as much as I can. As you may foresee, it took a LOT of efforts and time to travel with a certain kind of style. You have to take a long stop on every interesting part whenever you visit something, just to take a draw from it. It’s not a picture, it’s a drawing. So, yes, I was worried that Alun would be bored to death, when I forced him to wait every time I saw an interesting object.

But I was wrong. Alun turned out to be helpful all the time. He drove me to any place I wanted, without asking anything in granted. He helped me took bunch of pictures using my camera, simply because I was too busy to sketch yet I didn’t want to miss any single good views. He was even protecting me and my moleskines (the sketch book) with an umbrella when I was drawing Bank Indonesia at Yogyakarta. It was raining all of sudden at that time and I was panicked because I hadn’t finished my drawing. Alun opened an umbrella, sat beside me and said,

‘be cool, Mas Galih. Keep drawing. I had you covered.’

It was a slap in the face to me. A hard one. This is a boy that I always looked down for whatever he did.  A boy that I easily judge and addressed by every awful labels. A boy that sometimes I used to compare with me, just to find how lucky I am to not be him. And there he was, opening an umbrella for me, waiting patiently for something that he might be didn’t understand; me drawing a building.

I was babbling a lot about how important a travel companion, especially ones who have the same travel value like you are. In my case, the ones who are okay with me spending minutes drawing something interesting. On a more pretentious words, the ones who share the similar traveling culture with me.

Alun is not having the similar traveling culture with me. But that’s why he stand out at the end. He might not understand the context nor the reason behind my so called traveling culture, yet he helped me a LOT. With his loyalty, with his nice gestures, with his time and his car accompanied and drove me to whenever I wished to be.

If we were reversing role, there’s no way I would help him doing something that I don’t even appreciate. Hell, I even loathed his hobbies and taste (even though I never said it out loud), let alone I waste my time while I’m traveling.

His name is Alun. Still not a real name, and I thank him deeply for what he did to me. Not only because he helped me on making my travel sketches happened, it’s also because he showed me something valuable. Something that not only I hadn’t seen on him before, but also something that I might not have.

Huzun

Posted in Books, Culture, Life with tags , , on April 29, 2010 by Galih Sakti

I can feel sorrow in the air.

Can you feel it? It was a gloomy feeling, surrounding you and your environment. I tried to called it a ‘melancholy feeling’, for the words might be easier to us to comprehend. Although, it might be more than that. You’re not melancholic all the time. It was a state that come and go, depends on what is happening with you. Huzun, on the other hand, is something that you and other people feeling about a place, space or anything. Huzun is special because it is communal.

The word Huzun is Turkish. Derived from an Arabic word: Huzn, - which has a similar meaning: sorrow - it had been used by Orhan Pamuk to describe his beloved city Istanbul. Istanbul, Pamuk said, was once a center of the earth, the brightest star in Europe, the most beautiful ‘crescent’ of all, the most sophisticated city with a stunning civilization.

The Ottoman Empire used to rule Turkey and its colony, after they took it from their fellow Greece empire, Byzantium. Istanbul is Ottoman’s, and so do the entire Turkey. The Ottoman times is the days when Istanbul reached its supremacy, economically and culturally.

500 years since Sultan Mehmed II, whom they called the Conqueror, established Bosphorus as a place for Turkey, the empire was converted into republic. Everything had changed, from the intricate and beautiful form of calligraphy (changed into latin alphabet), to other things like the prohibition of harem and Darvishes.

According to Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul had lost its beauty and uniqueness ever since the republic era comes. It was still ‘unique’ for foreigners, of course. But there’s something missing. Something had been taken, and it changed everything. Can you imagine yourself, walking in a city full of an ancient buildings, grandeur architecture. You’re walking in the work of art. Yet, they reflect sadness and poor. Istanbul in Pamuk’s childhood time (c. 1970) is a city that is confused with its own identity. The era of Ottoman Empire has gone, now they’re living their modern times. Too bad, the so called ‘modern’ turned out to be another hard challenge.

So that’s it, the Huzun. The communal sadness everyone felt in Istanbul. Huzun formed a sorrow everywhere, anywhere. A constant melancholy every people feel in a ruined ancient city.

Weirdly, I feel it too.

I’m not an Istanbul citizen. I live in Jakarta, the city I used to call ‘a bloody town’. If you are familiar with Jakarta, physically and spiritually, there might not be any chance that you would address this city as ‘beautiful’, or ‘once was beautiful’. Jakarta is, well, Jakarta.

But it was something unusually beautiful about this city. So many little things that make you smile, laugh, think, or wonder. A beautiful sunset, a clear blue sky on an unexpected season, a breeze of summer wind between humidity, a children smiling and laughing when they flew their kites, a very bright afternoon sunlight that fallen through a train’s window. We can easily find a poetic moment in the middle of polluted air.

Maybe, just maybe, I love Jakarta so much it hurts me to see this city fallen apart. Maybe, unlike Pamuk’s huzun to Istanbul, my sorrow and sadness is not communal. But I believe that it can’t be only me, and so it isn’t melancholy. There’s a hidden huzun in this bloody town.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.