Saturday, February 26, 2011


It was at the dinner after work. I was with some friends, and I don't know how it was started, but suddenly we were talking about the sakaratul maut

One of my friends told us that he had to witness the last minutes of his mother's life. It wasn’t until years after that that he realized, that it had left him with a trauma. The fact that he had been faced with the situation where someone meant a lot to him was in a critical condition, and he didn’t know what to do, has left him with a question that he has not been able to deal with until now: how could he be so ignorant and not realizing that the time was close for her mother. 

He said if he’d only known, he would’ve asked or led her mother to recite some prayers. If he had known, he'd stop searching for the signs of hope and would focus more on guiding his mother embracing her last moments. If he'd only known, he'd been able to help her went through her last minutes with grace.

I think all of us have our own ‘if only’ moments about losing our loved ones. Some of them are probably too devastating that we don’t want to share it with anyone. Most of the time, we don't face them and deal with them. We even refuse to consciously acknowledge them. But they're there. They live, in the darkest corner of our mind. 

My most devastating ‘if only’ story is quite similar with my friend's. 

I witnessed the last seconds of my father’s life. He died in my arms. I saw him taking his last breath. I still remember how it sounds. And I completely remember how I became absolutely calm and rational. The wheel in my mind effectively turned to process one information, one necessary, urgent information at that time: what to do after this. Starting with finding a doctor to confirm his death, letting the neighbours know so they can help me notifying the mosque so that the mosque can make an announcement, making phone calls to some close relatives, and, of course, arranging the chairs in the room before anyone come.

Years after that, those are the memories that I can recall. The shock after finding my father died, and the sudden switch of emotion. After that, everything was fast forwarded. And then it was life as usual.

I didn’t remember helping him saying his last pray, or anything of the sorts. I remember trying to find any signs that he was still alive. I remember trying to give him waters. I remember trying to feel the pulse in his hands. I remember the slowly creeping realization when I felt his feet were already cold. I remember when I finally closed his eyes with my fingers. 

And of course, I'd have to deal with my 'if only's. 

A few minutes before my father died, I was trying to avoid him. Simply because I was sleepy and not in the mood of talking to anyone. I was in my room and pretended I didn't hear him when he's knocking on my door, asking me to accompany him for dinner, a thing that, if I'd only pay more attention, was very unlikely to be expected from him.

If I'd only known that it was close, I'd be more behave. If I'd only realized that the time was near for him, I'd do something else. Anything else, instead of trying to bring him back to consciousness by giving him water. Not that I have any reliable and competent reference on that either. 

Thinking about it now, I consider myself (slightly) luckier than my friend. At the very last seconds when I realized that my father was in sakaratul maut, I managed to guide him to recite astaghfirullahal'adzim and tauhid. Were those the correct and proper prayers to recite for such occasion, I didn't know. I also didn't remember hearing him following and repeating what I said. I don't think he did. I just hoped that with the last amount of consciousness that he had left, he'd heard me. Somehow I thought that would be enough.

It's still a devastating moment for me. Losing your loved one always is. And it doesn't just fade away in times. Most of the time, it stays. Sometimes because it was a huge loss for you, sometimes because there's just too many if only's to deal with that it doesn't run out after years. 

Ten years have passed since my father died. And I'm not getting any wiser about it. I can accept the fact that his time had arrived and he's in better place now. But I can't stop thinking, even until now, that if only I could do things differently. 

There's this saying about don't take your loved ones for granted. A conversation with the friends I mentioned earlier had bring a whole new meaning to it. As usual, wise words are wise words and we understand the meaning and we understand the importance of the meaning. It's just that we don't understand it that much, not enough to actually do and committed to it, until something happen and the understanding was finally forced upon us.

I just wish that one day, when I have to lose the person I love, I'll be wiser. 

Pinggiran Jakarta, early in the morning

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Color Pencil Puzzle

Now I'm a happy loner :)

Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sepotong (sepotong) percakapan di Sabtu siang

Apa yang tercecer dari pertemuan dengan @gitajamil dan @ninayaw minggu kemarin.

Mari menulis cerita.
Cerita apa?
Maunya cerita apa?
Cerita, errr, dikejar anjing?
Kok Cikejar? D-i-k-e-j-a-r.
Oh iya. Gimana dong. Masa dicoret?
Kasi garis lurus aja di sebelah kanan huruf C-nya.
Ah iya bener. 
Mudah kan solusinya. Garis lurus.
Jadi ya, di sekolah kamu akan ketemu baaaanyak masalah. Nah, kamu akan bisa menyelesaikan semua masalah dengan mudah. Ingat, solusinya: garis lurus. Itu adalah solusi untuk semua masalah.

Menulis puisi "Dikejar Anjing"

In case you're wondering, akhir 'puisi' ini adalah: "you may kiss the bride". And don't ask me why.

Ok, pilih topik kita hari ini. Hosni Mubarak, Hosni, atau Mubarak.
Kenapa tentang dia?
Karena katanya dia turun berok.
*gigit menu*

Itu loh, tadi dia katanya mau bikin cerita tentang kitten.
Kitten? Kitten itu kan kitty yang puppen.

You know, life is about making choices.
I know. Making choices, about choosing.
You're right. Choosing choices.

Ah, gue mau aplot emplat foto ah nanti.
Iya, kan aplot. 

Arthropoda itu kan binatang berkaki delapan. Seperti laba-laba gitu.
Loh, kalau kalau yang kakinya enam?
Apa ya? Emang ada?
Ada kali gue rasa. Namanya arthrominusdua

*bermain tebak gambar*
Ini gambar apa hayo?
Depannya M.
Jadi apa dong?
Ih kan cuma beda nyet sama bil aja *kecewa*

*bermain mencari gambar*
Cari gambar yang depannya dari huruf H!
*gak ketemu juga*
Apa dong jadinya?
H-uruf cina!

Ini Gemini kan?
Iyaa, yang murah-murah aja gue sih
Berapa emang murahnya?
Dua juta.
Dua juta jreng? Bukannya lebih?
Gak jreng sih.
Jreng kok, kalo lo belinya bawa gitar. Bang, beli BB bang. Jreng. Dapet deh dua juta.

*bermain menanyakan pertanyaan dalam bahasa Arab*
Man ismuki?
Ismi Gita.
Sekarang giliran aku. Man nabiyyuka?
Huaaaaa kok pertanyaannya begituuuu!!!!!

Oh well, thanks for the Saturday afternoon session guys :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

It Doesn't Match My Profile Pic

My FB profile picture is me with my daughter. My Twitter avatar is my head shot. And the reason I’m telling you this is because, it sometimes get in my way of updating my status, or tweeting something.

Have you ever been in such situation where you feel the urge to post something, especially when you’re angry or laughing over something?

I often find myself in that situation, having the urge to post something I thought of as funny or upsetting. Sometimes it is really funny or interesting. Sometimes it is really upsetting or outraging. Sometimes it is really important that I think people need to know about it. Sometimes, it is really nothing, but I just need to vent, thinking that this is my social media account so why can’t I use it the way I want to? Why should I care of what the so-called social media experts say about using it to share useful information and not throwing waste in the virtual world? What was it they say to get a solid, loyal crowds as your audiences?

So. I’d start typing on the status box, next to my avatar/profile picture. And there’s when it happens.

In some occasions, I find myself staring at the words I’d just typed, side by side with my avatar/profile picture, realizing that something is off. The pic and the words, it seems like they belong to two different worlds, and seeing them on the screen side by side is simply, umm, not right.
This is happen not only to stupid or silly things I want to say, but also to some (supposedly) useful information I want to share.
I actually find this rather annoying. The potential of mismatch between my profile pic and the things I want to say. Your profile pic, and your words, they are supposed to say the same thing, aren’t they? In some occasions, I was forced (by my unreasonable thinking of matching everything I said with my profile pic) to change my profile pic, for a day or two, for the sake of matching it with the words I want to put as my status/tweets.

This writing, for instance. I wouldn’t post it in my twitter next to my current avatar (that would be me wearing purple headscarf, happily smiling).

Why? Because this writing feels like it’s written by a grumpy old man, pulling a long face, joined eyebrows and lines on the forehead.

I’d have to find the right profile pic to be displayed next to this link so as not to confuse people on understanding the real personality behind the writings. Who is the person writing this unimportant post? With my current avatar, I’m sure they’ll ask themselves, 'A smiling girl? She doesn’t seem to be this grumpy. This is odd.'

But if they find the post displayed next to a picture of me with a long face, joined eyebrows and lines on the forehead, they won’t be confused. A friend told me once, that the expression I wore in the picture was an expression of someone asking to be slapped on the face. Such expression will perfectly match this post, I suppose.

So, here it goes.

The proper profile pic

Extremely Difficult

Thursday afternoon, the Chinese New Year.
I was trying to get some me time; write some things that have been occupying my mind in the past few weeks, watch some movies that have been stuck in the shelves for the past few weeks, or simply sit and drink my coffee.
So I woke up and cleaning up the house as usual. Expecting to have some quiet contemplation moment in front of the computer screen afterward.
The house cleaning process which was scheduled to be completed not more than 30 minutes continued until about 1.5 hour afterwards, constantly disrupted by small requests from Mom and my daughter to do this and that, repair this and that, and also breakfast.
After breakfast, I made some coffee and sat myself on the chair, facing my laptop with high eagerness.
My quiet moments, finally.
But not yet.
Mom had this idea of going to the mall to repair her glasses. And my daughter thinks it’s a good idea. Because she wanted to have some ice cream. And a new note book. Or bracelets.
About an hour of debate (with me persistently sitting in front of the laptop), it was finally decided that we are going to stay home, and buy the ice cream from the store nearby.
Of course, my daughter’s nagging didn’t stop there. She insisted to get her ice cream, like, there and then.
And while it was continuing, Mom asked me to cari uban.
I refused politely, telling her that I got some things to do. Obviously, with the laptop open.
I think she was a bit upset but I tried to ignore it. I’ve been waiting for weeks to be able to have some quiet moments without being disrupted by any unwanted visitors or phone calls (yes, the last several weekends were full of never ending knocks on the door, children coming and going, phone ringing from time to time, from morning till late in the afternoon).
This weekend, all the relatives are on vacation. No children howling about. No non-stop ringing phone. I couldn’t be possibly let this one perfect holiday go.
I think I’d just decided to stick with my laptop and tried to make some letters appear on the computer screen, when it was suddenly time for lunch. Which was then followed with my daughter’s afternoon nap. Where I’d be needed to tuck her in her bed and accompany her until she falls asleep. Because she refused to be left alone. And would not let me read or write anything (because if I do, she’d do the same thing instead of sleeping). That, would take about half an hour.
When she finally fell asleep, my Mom had already fallen asleep to.
Some quiet moments in one quiet afternoon. Finally.
I sat in front of the TV, and start typing.
But I forgot that the second generation women in the family were not taught and brought up to live normal and enjoy their lives. A life worth living is a life where you suffer through it. Never ending house chores and lack of sleep is the most quoted example. Sleep, is not only a waste of time. It’s a sin when you do it in the middle of the day for more than 30 minutes.
Not long after I found something to write, my Mom woke up. And amazingly, while most normal human waking up feeling lightheaded and a bit dizzy and require 1-2 minutes to fine tune their coordinates with the world, my Mom (and most of the second generation women in my family), wake up, with a clear sense of objective, what to do right after they wake up. Clean this, clean that, and sorts.
So there was my Mom, waken up in full consciousness, heading right up to the fridge, and attempted to take off the waste water container.
I wondered whether she’d been dreaming of cleaning the fridge in her sleep to have such firm sense of objective right after she woken up.
She said she needed my help.
So I helped her with the water container and sat myself again in front of the laptop, when my daughter’s suddenly cried and called me from the bedroom.
And I know that my quiet moment has ended.
So that's what became of it.
Quiet moments.

Pinggiran Jakarta, 6.30 pagi hari

Discovering Me

I love the smell of jasmine tea.

image taken from Google
I’m actually a coffee addict. But I think, just like another form of addiction, the smell of coffee always triggers an urge for something, a feeling of craving for something, which, sometimes, can be annoying. Especially when it’s not fulfilled. While tea, is very comforting. Calming. Soothing. The smell of peaceful and pure air. I’m exaggerating, I know.

I love the sound of rain.

*image taken from Google
I’ve always been in love with it actually. Especially when I’m wearing sneaker. You’re probably wondering what does a sneaker have to do with rain. I’d say a lot.
For one, I won’t be able to enjoy walking under the rain if I’m not wearing sneaker, because I’d be distracted by the muddy road.

I love being alone.

Lhokseumawe end of '09

But of course, I hate feeling lonely. That’s, uhm, one of the contradictions that you will find almost anywhere in this world, so, don’t bother to complain.
In fact, I am addicted to silence. I feel like I never get enough of silence every time.

I love strolling along the side walk.

photo taken from Google

Well, actually, I’d prefer strolling on the beach. But let’s just be realistic. That would only be less than once a year of chance. So no complaining. I can enjoy the Jakarta side walk pretty much.

I love books.

I kind of agree with the saying that book is the new boyfriend. I love them because they never talk back. They tell a story. Take you into the world of dreams. They leave it to you the decision to be rational. Or not.
That’s pretty much the idea of having a boyfriend, huh?

I love beach.

And the sight of the sea. Just the sight of it. No I don’t like the sea. In fact, I maybe hate it, because I can’t swim. I think it’s one of the example of the ‘love and hate’ thing. You love something you don’t want to have anything to do with. Sort of.
Ok, what else do I love?
What else do (I think) you need to know about me?
Oh, right, of course.
I love you. (Yeah, I think I do)
Not that I really know about you. And not that I really know about love either. Or whatever this feeling called.
I’d just say I love you, and hope that if one day you get a chance to read this, you’ll understand what I’m trying to say. And discover who I really am. Whenever it may be…

Tuesday night, somewhere in my la-la-land

the green tea jasmine

Like I said here, I am actually a coffee addict. I love coffee as it stimulates my brain and in the same time give me this soothing effect.
Later on I learned that soothing is not exactly the correct word. A cup of coffee in the morning before starting my work gives me the assurance that I will be ready for anything. Come what may, I’ll be just fine because I have a cup (that could add up to two or three) of coffee with me.
But there are particular times, when I prefer tea.
I think tea has the real soothing effect.
Anyway, I went to grocery shopping with my Mom a couple of weeks ago, and I found this:

I always love the smell of green tea, and jasmine tea. And since this one is green tea jasmine, i thought, why don’t I give it a try? Not-so important information yet I think I have the obligation to mention here, I was actually intended to buy the Twinning chamomile tea. But it’s pretty expensive. At least it is for me. Yeah, I know that for this chamomile tea, it’s really worth the price. But I ended up not buying it and took the green tea jasmine instead after doing some reasoning which involved a calculation of household expenses and the sort.
What? For a pack of tea? Which, actually, really worth it? Yeah, I know, but when you’re a mom, such behavior is understood J
The package says that it is made from real green tea, not extracted. I don’t know much about tea makings and sort, but turns out this Tong Tji green tea jasmine is nice. It smells good, and it gives you the soothing effect needed. Some people probably say it is too fragrant. But for me that’s what I love about tea. It has to smell good.
There is the possibility that I was influenced by my currently-mellow mood. I don’t know, but I think, just like hot chocolate and blues, mellow mood and tea get along very well. And yes, that, is a subjective-far-from-scientific conclusion which should not be quoted as a reliable and competent reference, but yes, you may try to test it and let me know if you have finally proven it true.
I still want to buy the Twinning chamomile tea. I’ve promised that this time I will allow myself to be selfish and set aside some household calculation. But I also have decided that the Tong Tji Green tea jasmine will surely be in my monthly grocery shopping list.

Me and the so called digital habit

Okay, I figured that this 2.0 era has started getting in to me.

I have a feeling that lately everything is 2.0. You don’t just call people or send them SMS. You mention them in twitter to make sure they receive your message. You leave a post on their FB wall, because sometimes, people check their FB more often than they check their message box.

And of course, you don’t just (or perhaps you no longer) write in your diary or personal journal. You blog.
People seldom joke about if only they can undo the mistake they’ve made. If only life is as simple as that. No regrets needed. Just one click and everything will be just fine.

Believe it or not, the thought crossed my mind several time. Unconsciously, every time I made a mistake, there’s this voice saying to me: okay, let’s just undo whatever it is that you have done and start all over again. Am not schizophrenic or anything, but I guess that’s what happen when you spend almost half of your waking hour using computer.

I spend about 7 hours of my time in front of the computer every day. So I guess it’s not really surprising isn’t it when whatever you do with the computer finally becomes not only a habit, but also affect your mind, the way you see things, the way you do things in real life.

The latest symptom I had was when I was writing on my personal journal. Yes, I keep a journal. Not a diary because they say diary is for girls. Since I’m an adult (*cough), I think personal journal would be the best to keep.

Anyway, at that time I realized that I kept thinking of clicking the save button every now and then. I was in the middle of moving my pen on the paper when this thought crossed my mind: Okay, let’s just click the save button before something happen and you loose this one and a half pages of writing. Of course I wasn’t really clear what it was nagging in the back of my mind at the first time. But after two or three times, I started to feel annoyed by this familiar feeling. After almost an hour of writing, I’d finally realized that it’s exactly the same feeling I have whenever I’m working on a work documents. There’s this subtle urgency to keep clicking the save button every 15 minutes (even though I have actually set the automatic save to 1 minute), or every time I have completed one paragraph.

Of course, such unconscious feeling should be harmless. I mean, compared to our familiarity with the existence of the undo button? Living with a mindset that you can always undo your actions (while actually you can’t) would be dangerous.

It’s harmless, but nonetheless unpleasant.

I tend to build this imaginary wall between the 2.0 world and the ‘ancient’ world, represented by everything not digital, including writing in paper personal journal, using pen. The 2.0 world has its own characteristics, and one of the most improved aspect is time-related. Speed, real-time, all unlimited.

While in the' ancient' way of living, patience is the most explored aspect. You wait for things to happen. You wait for the postage to deliver your mail. You write patiently, pages per pages. And yes, you have to write carefully, if you want your sheet to remain neat and clean. Erasing will be a hard work. And cause some irreparable damage: torn paper, dirty sheet, dirty fingers, etc.

Hence, my annoyance of this mixed up feeling.

It’s a bit annoying when you try to take yourself out from the high-tech world for a moment and retreat to the time when everything is simpler and slower, you find yourself disturbed by this nagging urgency that actually belong to the 2.0 world. It feels, so, uhm, otherworldly, you know…

The Legal Alien

Yeah, well, this back and forth process is quite annoying actually.
It is to me. Let alone the readers, if there's any :D
Anyway, just like I always said to my self, my life is like a book. Moving from one chapter to another.
So here's to my new playground here
Because am leaving some things behind.
Closing some doors and throw the key away.
Preparing my self for another journey.
I believe I am no longer mist covered now. But I know I'll always be that 'alien'.
Not that I mind, either :)
And why bother telling everyone about it?
Not that I am that famous.
I think this is part of the 'sharing your dreams to the others'. To me, it's part of my reminder mechanism. That I have a promise to fulfill.
To my self.
Oh, and also, to a very dear friend, that has forced me into this promise-making situation :)
You'll always be my devil's advocate :)

Well, this'll probably be blank for some time (pretty much representing my situation now).
Please bear with me :)
Some quiet night, pinggiran Jakarta

Feb 27, 2010

My Not So Secret Identity

What is in a name?

I could just continue the cliché with another cliché to answer, that is: a lot or nothing at all.
But let me share the small confusion I’ve been experiencing in digital world.

I had never really thought about it before. My first encounter with the digital world had been on creating email, and thinking about the email address had not been something important (at least ideologically and professionally) back then. Since my real name has been in use, I ended up with an email address that I don’t want to use now (yes, the email account had been abandoned for years, and yes, the ‘name problem’ had played an important role in it).

Years later after creating the email, my conscious started to knocking on my brain and asked me to think about how to solve the problem. Well, it became a problem when I was about to finish my college and preparing to join the working force, becoming one of those smart, educated, sober, no-weird-ideas- professionals. Having written a number of applications letters and crafted a CV for couples of time, I started to realize that my email address might become a problem. How would I enter the professional world with an email address that sounds like those Japanese cartoon characters?

So I signed up for another email account, hoping that I would be able to make myself sounds professional this time by having my real name as my email address. It didn’t work. Simply because I have this too common name. There are probably thousands of people in Indonesia – not to mention in other parts of the world – having the same name. And I suspected at least half of them had already signed up for an email account with that name. And surely some of them had failed, just like me.
I learned, ever since, to take the matter more seriously.
It should not be a big deal probably, if only the company I am working for does not embrace the digital world so fully. But it does. And I am actually very glad, as it gives me tons of opportunities and chances to learn, much more than I can get from other company. But along with the huge chances and opportunities, came the rules and regulations.

Understanding too well of the gaps and weaknesses in the digital spheres that might lead us to trouble, our office strongly recommends us to use our real identity to engage in the digital world. We are required to be honest and reveal our true identity when engaging in any online activities. That includes the company we’re working for, and the client we’re working on (if we are doing a certain campaign using our social networking accounts).

As far as I know, using your real, full name is the simplest yet important way to indicate your honesty and professionalism. People will easily recognize you from your real name. And they will at once understand that you’re not some pseudo personalities who cannot make up your mind of what to do and what to be in the digital spheres. I completely have no objection in using my real name in any of my online presence. The problem is I can’t. Because my name has already been taken. Years ago, I suppose.

I cannot use my full name, as it will violate the unwritten rule in the digital world that your id should be easy enough to pronounce, and short enough to remember. And no, I cannot use my initials because it sounds just impossible. I have to create a user id that is not my name, but somehow still resembles my name so that people will automatically relate the name to me, and most important is, sounds professional.

I succeeded in some accounts, where my name had not so much been taken by everybody else, so I can still have my real name as a user id, with little variations of punctuation mark as far as the accounts allowed them to. In other accounts, however, I have to be satisfied with other names that don’t even close to my name.

You can argue that there might be a creativity issue there. But when your name is a very common one like me, I am sure you know what I mean. Even creativity doesn’t seem to be working. At the end of the day, I would just have to be satisfied with some words, other than, and not even close to my name, to be my user id. Just like the one I have now.

I don’t want to be secretive. I am not a fan of the pseudo personalities scattered in the digital spheres. I know the limit of private and public in it very well, that is, nothing actually private there, even in your own blog. So I know exactly what to say and what not to say to stay safe and healthy in the digital spheres. I have no interest of sounding mysterious. I want to be honest and reveal my true identity. Only I cannot do it with my real name.

Now does it make any sense at all?