building your dream (part 3)

How for would it takes to find something that suits you the most? What will you do when one day you are not certain about which way to take? Is it wise to try anything presented in front of you in a flick of a switch? This is the cliche between idealism and reality. One day i just wake up feeling lost and all alone. Me, a loner? Yes i am. I’m not proud about it but i love having alone times, just sit, contemplating and wandering on my thoughts imagining what life would be like out there, in the great cosmos. My universe is small, i kept it that way. I kept it organize, as long and as best as i can. I love to set my room into a minimal amount of clutter. The quiet spacious room, soft music and meditating.

I finally met someone at high school, i told her my feelings at graduation day and she rejects me, because it was a bit humiliating doing that in front of my classmates and teachers. The grieving goes on for two years when i met and adventurous soul, wandering, laughing and hopping around. We get along very well but she never had the guts to made up her mind. Then came along my high school reunion, my junior at high school, so adorable but she played the ‘survival of the fittest’ game, and i’m done. Some college fling but i’m over being friendzoned and that was it for me. I was nothing more than that ‘nice-guy-finish-last’ stereotype. Just not douchebag enough to be engaging or even challenging. I was like an open book. but then, what’s wrong being an open book? i highly regard honesty even if friends called me foolish for being like that.

Then came her. Well it was that kind of moment like you had it and it just clicked. The conversation was going well as we strolled through the chat for three straight months until i had the guts to ask her out. It’s a sink and swim situation, but the daredevil was strong within me, i just don’t care what she thought of me, as long as i felt right to told her how i felt. it paid off, finally on the second date we was official, changing the relationship status on facebook, well it’s kinda cheesy but i allowed it, besides it’s my first.

Then we had our first fight. It was ugly for me because i made her cry, but the second fight it was also ugly for me because i cried out of hating the feeling to fight with her when i should fought for her. It was our last year in college, and it was crazy. We done outrageous things and made memories. She graduated first and had a job in the city, while i graduated later and decide to help out in my hometown. It was super, our parents had met, nothing’s against us at the moment, well it was finally ‘it’ for me. Hey, what else could i asked back then, sure everyone ‘is’ perfect but flaws makes her real and i love to keep it real, not a romantic guy i am.

Years passed and i sense a stalemate developing in my last months with her. I’m trying my best to stay connected while i’m trying to make ends meet for our future plans. My job wasn’t a walk in a park. Surely working in an office will make you stressful but working  in a family business it will make several days in your months a living hell. You have to maintain A to D when checking up E to H and doing I to Y while not forgetting Z. It was not always alphabetical in order but it was hellish ordeal. Sadly i love challenges so i went head on. There’s something funny back then, she had this tantrums that i can’t figure why, the late phone calls were as good as never, if she doesn’t call first that is, it’s like her job and mine has get the best of her.

After her sisters wedding, comes the sledge hammer. She said it was not going too work out for her, it’s too depressing. I just stood there, hanging my thoughts on the phone, listening to the silent and her crying. I made efforts, truly i did, but she stands on her ground. I finally comply after meeting her in person not knowing what the matter was, but i am so certain back then that it was my fault. “don’t make a harsh decision. You can’t do anything once you realize what you had was gone forever” twas the last words i said to her in the car before i said farewell to her mother. It was a hard time. I try over and over to reason and reconcile by phone, by email, by anything to learn the harsh truth. When something was replaced by another you won’t keep both at the same place, because maintaining both things that has the same function and purpose would be just a waste of energy. Bridges are burned, lines are drew, there’s nothing i can do than to say goodbye. the toughest months began. swallowing the bitter pills of truth. Meditating, submerging myself in physical activities, hanging out, and moving out was the menu. I just lost it back then, along with my confidence.

It took hell of efforts to get back into the game. i wasn’t really sure about what i was doing, but i did it. I moved on. The ambiguity also moved with me. That daring person. At a quite young age, she had an old soul. With ravaging spirit she moves and charge anywhere she can, but we looked at different directions back then, but i like her guts. She’s bold, cunning and yet funny in a unique way. We were told we won’t make it but something pulls us closer, i’m not certain what was it but somehow she convinced me to have a go. So we did it. Slowly i regain my confidence. Slowly i felt my pride was kicking in. I was and still am grateful. I remember we just sat there in the car, just smiling at each other in that hot day, after training. She said that “this is ridiculous, we are ridiculous!” Well they say something happens for a reason, and it’s time for us to find out.” That little smile she made and her eyes somehow mesmerized me, there’s something about her that yet i haven’t found out, but that’s the thing the inner peace i’d missed for quite some time.

What i realize is that we never know what lies ahead because tomorrow is a mystery. I won’t get anything by moping on and on about my past even though i treasured it, but it’s gone, just figments of my memories. I just live on a day by day basis now, deconstructing myself and reconstructing the newer and better version of myself. I quit my job and taking on with the odds that life has offered me. My businesses are going well, i suppose. I’m doing my passion in writing and in silat. What i do now is doing not dreaming. My guru told me this, ” dream is for someone who sleeps, the reality is for someone who wakes up and try to achieve better goals in everyday.” i won’t forget this, “fortune only favors the bold.” Whatever you are facing, just hang on and climb that cliff, because once you climb you only look at the blue sky realizing how high you climb, not thinking how far you’ll fall.

the center of indonesia, before ‘the fall’


are you building your dream? (part 2)

I was raised among the paddy fields. Once upon a time, i never imagined what life would be beyond the Sundanese environment. I also never imagined how does it feel to dealt with people different from my religious view. I only came to mind with what the television has offered me. Sesame Street becomes my daily teacher who taught me about the English language and the contexts i later found in life. Big Bird taught me that it’s okay to be different as long as you appreciate the differences as diversity rather than to dispute about it. In real life, spending my school break with my late grand father taught me about my family and cultural heritage. I learned that i come from a family grown out of agricultural background where we depend our living from nature, from the crops we sow on the farming lands and paddy fields. My grandfather was a farming instructor, and my grandmother was an elementary teacher, both of them are public servants who raised five of their children well, including my mother. I was raised on a diet of rice, cassava, yams, corn and coconuts. These diets helps me understand how to value natural resources especially water. We have grown less crops because lack of water, but i was puzzled how people treated rivers and streams as toilets and waste disposal rather than the source of life.

Religion shaped my thoughts about life. My parents and my grandparents went to the hajj pilgrimage in 1992, it was the same year when the Mina Tunnel incident occurred. My dad always tells the story of how it was a miracle that all of them, including their pilgrimage group can get out from the place alive or how some African man helped my mother by pulling her out of the stampede of pilgrims, saved her from being trampled to death. The concept of miraculous event, the divine intervention, the presence of God lead me to get to know about Islam and what does it takes to be a good Muslim. Taking after school courses about the religion never bothers me, i love reading the good book in Arabic. I was amazed by the stories my ustadz and ustadzah told me after reciting the good book. I was fascinated by the existence of the jinns, angels and demons. Until i encounter a jinn after the Maghrib prayer at my family’s mosque took a shock in my childhood. At that first time i don’t know what to do when i encounter such creature, once i only known from story told by my friends. It was a simple life where i based my assumptions from my religious belief or the belief that my parents taught me.

Finally i tasted “freedom.” After living with my parents for almost 18 years i finally got accepted to college, taking a major in English Literature. I don’t know where i was heading but since living with my parents were quite an ordeal, especially living by the standards of my father. He’s an hard boiled entrepreneur in the hospitality business trying to figure things out himself building a hotel he dreamed about since he went to the hospitality vocational school. I was fed up with who i am under his shadows, doing things under his point of views. As i said, i finally tasted freedom as a college student, meeting new people, expanding my horizons learning how to act in a diverse society, but i never liked the educational system there. I started to wonder what does it worth learning all of these things, instead i learn how to have fun and taking classes for fun also. I was once called “village boy”, they recognize me as a living Kabayan. He is one popular Sundanese folklore character, known for being naive and taking simple solutions at things. He hide his wisdom by showing his lazy nature. Maybe they were right all along, that’s who i am, i’m too easy going, like to take several small steps rather than to take one fast sprint on things.

How can i cope with new environments. I cope by observing. I never forget my roots, my actions always depends on how much my part is needed in a situation, i wasn’t very fond of taking everything under my control, instead i let i flow like the river in my hometown. I took silat, especially it’s philosophy very seriously. I never attack before someone attacked me first and i always take measurements in my steps. Taking too many measurements i suppose, my professor told my that i always over think at things, try to just do or just write what’s in your thought instead of thinking it over and over again. That was the time i learn about the philosophy of jeet kune do, a way without a way, my own way. I applied my own approach on silat and my life, but it turns out it was hard to make a change. Although, isn’t that what it takes to be an altruist?

Paddy Fields

Paddy Fields (Photo credit: Embra)

are you building your dream? (part 1)

build your own dream today or someone will hire you to build theirs instead!” These are the words i read on an internet forum encouraging people who read it to live their own lives instead of living the lives applied by others. Surely having a degree, a nice job with a fair salary, a house, a car, wife and kids are what most of us dreamed of. Is it true? Does that dream implies who you really are? Does that ideal dream will decide how you will raise your child and how you will feed your family? Where does your degree has brought you so far? How if i tell you that this is all just about spending and consuming.

Have you ever wonder what is the purpose of your life? Did you ever think that finally you’ve made it this far but then, there is still a long journey lies ahead of you. Have you ever spend a little amount of time everyday just to be grateful for what you have, the lesson learned, and what lies ahead? Have you ever think that actually you are not living your own life, that you are living everybody’s expectations but not based on your free will? Your parents made you go to that school, take that degree, work on that job and choose that particular spouse to live in that particular house your mom’s always wanted. Decisions are made for you on the workplace, you’re just a human capital for the company, a cog, a part of a bigger machine. Where do you stand as an individual in a society based on a two centuries old system. Do you still feel as a part of an ethnic group, an unique cultural habitat, or a part of a community?

I’m a Sundanese male, born and raised in the land of the deities or parahyangan. for almost two decades I lived in a small town, south from Bandung, the Capitol City of West Java Province. People tend to get out of my hometown as soon as possible and move where the bigger guns are, but not for me. There’s something on the green rocky hills of Gunung Singah, the paddy fields of Sungapan and the creek of Leuwi Munding where i use to spend most of my childhood. The trailways of the ancient Situ Bandung volcano can be seen atop of the hill, to the northern side of my hometown, with the snake-like streams led to Citarum and the green paddy fields that stretched as far as the eyes can see but distorted by housings and factory complexes. This is the place where people are evicted from their way of life, their cultural heritage and their mother tongue.

People went to the cities or produces the basic needs of the people in the cities just to make ends meet they say, but based on my observation, they have meet more than their ends. The metropolitan way of life, the consuming fashion, sewed by the hands of the people here. Rice, meat, poultry and vegetables that raised from farms and fields southern from my hometown. Yet, they gave us indecent shows on TV, factories, mini marts and malls. They give us pollutants in our air, soil and water. Where are we, Sundanese people is going to “live” and thrive as a part of a large nation of Nusantara?

English: Dam in the Citarum river Nederlands: ...

English: Dam in the Citarum river Nederlands: Foto. Stuw in de rivier Citarum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)