May 20, 2019

Mariam

Bukan purnama. Tapi langit entah kenapa begitu cerahnya malam itu. Pohon angsana kekar melentingkan ranting-rantingnya, memanfaatkan angin yang menderu-deru.
Dari balik pintu kayu reyot, terdengar suara perempuan tertawa. Dari seraknya, jelas ia sudah tua. Atau karena merokok saja kerjanya.
Lalu, menyusul suara tangis bayi.
 
 
“Perempuan anakmu ini Lastriii!! Hahahah cantikkk diaaaa!”
Di tangan perempuan itu, seorang bayi. Merah, berkilat oleh cairan dari tubuh Ibunya yang sempat bersumpah “Mau mati saja akuuu!!” dalam sakit mengejan selama hampir lima jam selepas Maghrib.
“Heh, heh, Lastri. Jangan jadi mati! Cantik anakmu ini. “ Kata si tua lagi, sambil mulai sibuk membersihkan bayi cantik itu. Air dalam baskom sudah lima kali diganti. Kain pembungkus si bayi segera dililitkan setelah bagai ahli, ari-arinya dibersihkan.
Tangis bayi masih menggelegar, mau menyaingi angin yang mulai ribut-ribut diluar.
 
Lastri, perempuan yang baru melahirkan tadi, berusaha duduk sekarang. Kelaminnya masih perih, keringat juga belum sempat terbasuh semua.
Ibu tua mulai mengayunkan si cantik dalam buaiannya yang renta, namun kokoh. Seperti pohon angsana diluar tadi.
 
“Namanya… Drupadi.” Bisik Lastri. Tangannya yang ramping dan berwarna gading meraih sebatang rokok di meja kayu sebelah ranjangnya. Bokong Lastri bergerak-gerak diatas ranjang,, menggeser alas tidurnya yang basah oleh darah, lalu menendangnya ke ubin kuning. Dengan tangan satunya, Lastri menarik sarung bersih yang disiapkan Ibu tua disisinya. Multi tasking. Perempuan ahlinya.
 
Ibu tua menoleh. Rambutnya yang berwarna perak tampak mengilap karena ia pun bermandi keringat. “He? Biar banyak suaminya, begitu?” terkekeh, diletakkannya si bayi dalam keranjang. Sudah diam dia sekarang.
Menyalakan rokok, Lastri mendengus. “Cuma empat, atau lima ya? Brengsek semua.”
Tanpa bicara, Ibu tua mengangkat baskom dan kain basah yang ditendang Lastri tadi. Keluar sebentar lalu kembali dengan segelas air yang segera disambar Lastri.
Jendela kayu dengan kaca buram bersuara berisik. Diluar hujan.
 
“Makin lamalah si bidan sampai…” Ibu tua bergumam, matanya melekat pada bayi cantik dalam-dalam. Menghirup baunya yang baru beberapa saat saja terkena udara bumi. Dan mungkin sedikit asap rokok Lastri.
 
“Sampai sini, tinggal menjahit sobekkanku dia. “ Lastri mengepulkan asap dari mulutnya, berbentuk lingkaran-lingkaran asap itu karena Lastri memonyongkan bibirnya yang selalu tampak seperti diberi gincu. Rambut hitam jelaganya digelung diatas tengkuk, menyisakan sedikit anak –anak rambut yang membuatnya semakin cantik.
 
“Tidak mau kau gendong dulu bayi ini?” Ibu bertanya.
Lastri diam. Memandangi hujan yang mulai pasang gigi.
“Apa warna matanya Bu?”
“Hitam, persis matamu. Tapi sedikit sipit.”
“Kulitnya?”
“Masih merah. Belum bisa kulihat.”
“Heheh…lucu.” Lastri bergumam. Tapi tak kunjung menoleh pada si bayi.
 
Bayi cantik mengeluarkan suara kecil. Seperti anak anjing yang sedang mendengkur, lalu merasa tak nyaman. Mungkin tahu, sedang diperbincangkan.
“Oh, jangan Drupadi! Betyeba! Namanya Bestyeba saja!” Lastri menegapkan duduknya, tetap tak beranjak dari ranjang.
Kali ini, Ibu tertawa. Bersamaan dengan hujan, yang dengan gagahnya mengundang petir.
“Kau ini! Supaya bisa menggoda Raja?”
Lastri ikut tertawa, bertepuk tangan gembira karena merasa idenya brilian.
“Hebat kan! Anakku menjatuhkan seorang Raja!” tangan Lastri terbentang di udara kamar yang dingin itu. Bangga sekali dia.
 
Diluar, terang yang tadi sudah benar-benar pergi diusir hujan. Gelap malam sekarang. Tapi, Angsana masih menari. Dahsyat goyangannya rantingnya kini. Seperti penari mabuk dalam sebuah pasar malam.
Lastri merintih kesakitan lagi, menyerapah karena bidan belum juga datang.
Lelah juga, melahirkan ditemani Ibu tua yang sibuk komat-kamit baca doa lintas agama, yang karena tak satupun ada yang benar ia imani, doanya tak ada yang berujung amin.
 
 
“Atau… Mariam?” Lastri berbisik. Ia menggeserkan badannya mendekat pada Ibu yang duduk disisi ranjang. Seperti menyampaikan rahasia besar, alisnya diangkat perlahan.
Kali ini, Lastri tengah menikmati batang rokoknya yang kedua. Dadanya yang membuncah tampak basah. Ibu tua melirik.
“Kau susui dulu ya, Las? Sebelum bidan datang?” ada sedikit permohonan dalam suaranya yang biasa lantang. Entah lelah, bisa juga sedih.
 
Mata Lastri yang bulat nampak berkilatan “Benar kan! Mariam saja namanya. Supaya kelak, ia akan melahirkan juruselamat!”
Ibu mendekat. Mengusap kening Lastri.
“Drupadi, Betsyeba, atau Mariam… tak mau kau lihat dulu sebentar?”
 
 
Keduanya bertatapan dalam diam. Dua tangan Ibu kini memegangi kepala Lastri, memandangi mata indahnya dalam-dalam.
Lastri membalas pandangan itu. Sama tajamnya. Tapi sebelum Ibu bersuara lagi, ia mengepulkan asap rokoknya ke wajah Ibu. Lalu tertawa kecil.
 
 
Suara ketukkan di pintu menolehkan kepala keduanya. Bidan datang. Bersamanya, seorang wanita ramping berambut sebahu, dengan gincu merah jambu.
Tanpa banyak bicara karena sadar terlambat, Bidan mempersiapkan diri segera. Wanita bergincu, terpaku diujung kamar, dekat jendela.
 
 
Lastri cepat mematikan rokok, lalu bersiap membuka kakinya, supaya diperiksa.
“Namanya siapa bayimu ini, Lastri?” Bidan bertubuh tinggi besar itu memecah kesunyian. Setelah memeriksa dan menjahit Lastri, perhatiannya kini jatuh penuh memeriksa si bayi.
Lastri diam sejenak. Memandangi bidan dan Ibu tua bergantian. Lalu pada wanita bergincu merah muda yang kini tampak sedikit gemetaran.
 
 Dalam rintihan, pengaruh bius lokal, dan lelah yang tiba-tiba mendera, Lastri mendesah “Belum ada.”
 
Ibu tua meraih bayi, yang lalu sejenak dibuainya dengan penih kelembutan.
“Biar, orangtuanya saja yang nanti memberikan.” Kata Ibu.
Hampir menangis kali ini, Ibu bergincu merah muda mendekat, meraih sang bayi yang disodorkan Ibu tua dengan gemetar…
“Tidak apa… saya mau, Lastri yang memberikan nama…” katanya.
Terpesona, dipandanginya sang bayi dengan penuh cinta. Cinta yang kepenuhan. Betapa baiknya Tuhan! Kini ia memiliki seorang bayi, kini suaminya akan mencintainya, kini rumah tangganya tak akan pernah terancam hancur lagi!
 
 
“Lastri, jadi siapa nama bayi ini?” tanya Ibu tua sekali lagi.
Hujan berhenti. Angin masih berderu, walau lebih ramah kali ini.
Sambil berbalik badan, Lasti menarik kain menutupi tubuhnya sampai ke kepala.
“Mariam. Namanya Mariam.”
Semua sunyi.
Lastri, dari balik kain bersuara lagi.
 “Supaya sama sepertiku nanti. Hamil tiba-tiba tanpa disetubuhi lelaki!“
 
 
Sebelum Ibu angkat bicara, hendak keberatan, Lastri membuka kain dari bagian wajahnya dengan gerakan tiba-tiba. “Baaa!!”
Tertawa dia. Kuat sekali.
Matanya yang seperti telaga, kini berkilatan. Seperti petir yang sudah pergi tadi.
Tawanya tak kunjung berhenti kali ini. Geli, marah, membahana penuh gelora. Badannya berguncang disetiap lengkingan.
 
Ibu tua terpaku.
Ibu bergincu merah muda kembali merapatkan tubuhnya, dekat pintu dia sekarang, memeluk sang bayi erat-erat.
 
 
Bidan tetap bekerja dalam diam. Kali ini membasuh luka-luka pergelangan kaki Lastri yang terus menggelinjang karena tawanya. Memberikannya obat dan pelembab, sebelum esok, kaki jenjang itu kembali terbelenggu dalam pasungan.
 
 
Hujan sudah benar-benar berhenti.
Angsana tak menari lagi.
 
Pinterest Unknown
 

Mar 26, 2019

Run the world (Girls)!

Here's a post I wrote for What's New Indonesia:

Have we overused Beyoncé’s song the past few years when talking about and creating campaigns for International Women’s Day? What other options can you think of? The late Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”? Or Bob Marley’s “No woman, no Cry” that has been misunderstood as Sir Nesta meaning without women, there will be no more sorrow?


Songs or no songs, we take pride in this special day that is celebrated in many countries around the world.

International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. It is a day when women are recognized for their role, work and achievements regardless of ethnic, national, cultural, economic or political differences. The month of March itself is recognised as Women’s History Month in the USA.

Here in Bali, Indonesia, we too have been celebrating this estrogenous day. Hotels organise activities to voice the objective of the day; from holding leadership seminars, to fun workshops ending with a spa treatment. Other companies treat their female employees with special perks like a movie day out. Social media has been raving about the topic, connecting communities to support each other’s work in facilitating women’s success. The #WomensDay hashtag goes viral every year and the annual campaign theme continues in popularity throughout the year.
But it’s not just about creating trending based content.

  • The annual International Women’s Day campaign provides a year-long point of reference and direction for women, offering a framework for uniting global activities aimed at improving gender parity.
  • If we look closer it is also about women realising their true power, and raising the bar higher for themselves. It is a moment to talk to our daughters so they know they can become astronauts, play soccer, and that it is not weird to like both dance and karate lessons.
  • It is an opportunity to seek out ways to help sister women, and children, who may not be as exposed as we are, when it comes to education, healthcare access, or career options. It is a day to also be thankful for the sister women before us who fought a likely harder battle so women can now vote, become president, run a marathon, or simply write this editorial and feel all giddy about all the future possibilities for our daughters.
  • Most important: So that all the time and effort we put into this annual occasion be a part of our natural daily routine and activities.
  • About staying true to ourselves, and simply… just.be.kind
Moderating for Celebrating Women Event at Westin Nusa Dua

Overhyped, or not – Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, and Bob Marley’s melodies – we pledge to still be talking about the phrase “Independent Woman” until it becomes as absurd as “Independent Man”.

It is no coincidence that the word feminism is still the most looked up word over the past year.

PS: At time of writing, all the aforementioned songs were booming in this writer’s office.

Jan 8, 2019

Janji Pertemuan dengan Dosa

Mungkin sejenak saja akan aku luangkan
waktu untuk bersapa denganmu malam ini

Di tengah keramaian atau di pucuk sepi yang gamang



Mungkin hanya jentikkan jari saja

Yang akan melegalisir perjanjian kita

Mungkin lembaran kertas yang sering membuat mata hijau itu

akan sekali lagi menganggukan kepalaku



Lalu kau akan bergerak lebih cepat

mengancingkan kemeja setelah terlebih dahulu memutar kedua bola mata

mencari-cari celana yang entah kenapa mendadak berkelana di bawah ranjang sana



Kau pikir alasanku cuma satu

lambung ini terlalu sering mengilangi perih dan asam

Atau aku hanya sekedar rindu hidup dengan harta yang gemilang



Padahal dari setiap janji pertemuan dengan dosa yang kita tepati

aku bukan hanya mendambakan peluk dan keringat

yang pasti akan kita hasilkan...

Bukan hanya itu



Supaya kau tahu,

Aku mulai melengos cemburu kalau kau bicara di telepon dengan orang-orang yang memang ada dalam kehidupanmu

Aku hanya diam, pura-pura sibuk menghitung uang

Padahal telingaku sibuk menguping pembicaraan



Supaya kau tahu,

Aku mulai ingin kau tetap ada disini sampai timur menampilkan matahari

Bukan hanya karena aku sudah hapal dengan makan malam kesukaanmu

Tapi karena aku mulai membayangkan seperti apa wajahmu di pagi hari



Jadi, buatku ini bukan lagi bisnis semata

Karena aku telah melanggar peraturannya yang paling utama

Walau aku tau aku akan tak bisa mencintaimu dalam kenyataan



Aku punya lebih dari sekedar cerita tentang pendosa

Percayalah


(2009)

Oct 21, 2018

Cut Here

Here's a confession. 
I have made two play lists the last five years of my life and they are:

1. Songs I want to play on my wedding day
2. Songs I want people to play on my funeral

The first list is kind of basic and the second one is downright creepy?

I have been keeping that secret until earlier this month, a good friend and I talked about mental illness and how Mental Health Day allows to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.  Or simply, to make discussing it a normal thing to do.

"It's real." my friend told me. And I nodded.

It was quite a heavy conversation, and two of us agreed on a few things that shall not be written here. I dove into the conversation talking more about mortality, and how I, too, have visioned my own memorial day. It did not shock her when I said I have made my "Songs I want people to play on my funeral." (she's made her own!), so I went on telling her some of the songs I like. Maybe you want to have a look to.

So, some tunes on my wedding songs list are: 
Be my Baby (The Ronettes), Here comes the sun (The Beatles), God only Knows (The Beach Boys), Fool for love (Lord Huron),  If I fell (the Beatles), Wouldn't it be nice (The Beach Boys).
On a less happier day: Beautiful (India Arie), Iris (Goo goo Dolls), Just Breathe (Pearl Jam), Change the world (Eric Clapton), Love of my life (Queen), Cut Here (The Cure).

There, I said it. 
Well, almost all of it.







Aug 19, 2018

New Career Path. The Ups and Downs

A study in 2008 found that 80% of people over 45 years old consider changing careers, but only 6% actually take the leap.

I was "only" 36 when I had that stinging urge and I took that shaky leap just earlier this year, after around a two year long contemplation.

Now, entering my six months' leading a small communications agency that I've co-founded, I am only starting accept these adjustments below:
  • I no longer afford my monthly expensive manicures. Well, I can. But since the company's revenue is not "there" yet, I do not feel like I have the right to enjoy what I am making at the moment.
  • Business owners advised me to "Give it a year or two." when it comes to feel a bit more settled. Like, you'll sleep better, the money starts to come in smoothly. At first, I was like "Whoa that is a long time." Bu, actually, no. My business model is quite unique and can actually be considered safe. I did not have to put a huge capital. So a year should be fine. Now, I do not mind the wait. The sleepless nights on the other hand... Eugh.
  • Extra time? Not really. I promised my friends that I will be able to hang out with them more. But look at me now. I just cannot stand the idea of not using certain hours of the day not trying to make money. Because, every second counts. Also, I have one employee. Yes, that is enough for you to feel the kick on your ass every morning. Just one employee.
  • Every six months, I would usually do a spring cleaning on my closet. Any piece I no longer like, I will gladly give to colleagues, cousins, or anyone. Now? My next spring cleaning is in three weeks and I am thinking of tagging those pieces with a price. It sounds horrible to me... But, well, I myself would buy from someone's closet without thinking that they are mean. So why not?
But it's not always hard and annoying and or budget related. There are so many things that I am so thankful of:
  • Marilyn's condition is deteriorating.  Last June, her last seizure was so rough it took her six hours to recover fully. It is hard to not worry about money (her medicines, lab tests, therapy, neurologist), but if I am given the options to go back to my day time job or to work harder with this new start up while having the freedom to take care of my baby, I know I will never second guess my path today.
  • I have the liberty to decide on who do I want to work with. Or not. This is a bit tricky tho, because at the back of my mind I always want to say YES to every single opportunity that comes my way. But turns out, I cannot. Why? Because time suddenly valued way higher than it used to be. And values are timed more for me these days. One example here: I have a skeptical views on overpriced charity dinner, so when an organizer seeks for a possibility for me to work on their campaign.... I refrain myself from taking the opportunity. How to sell something you do not believe in? Or, when an owner of some fancy establishments in Bali showed up two hour late on our first meeting, why would I even bat an eye for the next one?
  •  I feel much more empowered. Representing your own label somehow gives you this enthralling feeling you never thought you have. My past working experience are amazing and I am glad that the corporate discipline I gained is really helping me to stay on my new ground.
  • My horizons are changing. I am meeting people from different industries and with different background. Most of them making me feel like I have not learned enough. And that... is a good feeling to have. 
  • Fun facts: I cannot get any work done before I put my red lipstick on. Haha!
Via Pinterest


Jun 6, 2018

Lingkar Liyan

Ada banyak asa yang masih percaya bahwa Indonesia terlalu indah untuk dibiarkan terusik oleh radikalisme.
Ada banyak yang bertalenta, dan mau membuktikan bahwa kejahatan yang terorganisir, akan bisa dikalahkan oleh kebaikan yang dipersatukan.

Kami, sebagian kecil dari asa-asa tersebut.
Tunggu cerita dan kegiatan kami selanjutnya ya!

Lingkar Liyan

Who Someone Really Is

Kindness, baby. Kindness.

By Marie Andrew

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