I Dream of NYC.

I dream of NYC. My teen years and way into my college days were filled with romantic comedies set in this city. I have loved listening to the big band version of Sinatra’s ‘New York’ ever since my dad introduced me to his music which included Barbara Streissand, Andy Williams and Nana Mouskouri. I have always been fascinated with lights. Be it natural lights in the sky or man made lights in buildings and skyscrapers. My idea of a perfect date is just driving through city traffic listening to whatever’s playing on the radio, or simply walking home hand in hand underneath the city lights.

The Big Apple they say: is not as pretty as it looks on your smartphone screen. People get bullied in subways just for being Asian (insert any race here). You shouldn’t touch the subway handles or train bars because they’re full of germs. Alleys hide criminals. You will never survive wearing that hijab on your head. Sirenes go off 24/7. Finding work is brutal. Street corners reek of urine. Where are you going to stay? You know it’s hard to even get a visa to the US. But hopefully not, considering you’ve pledged allegiance for 5 years of your childhood.

I know plenty of fellow Indonesians have chosen a life abroad. Where almost everything makes more sense than here. Especially now, with religion becoming more of a lifestyle than a way of living. Where you are admitted into family group chats full of hoaxes and hatred towards a certain community or religion or people who have an opinion different than them. The group chats you end up muting year after year. Where the education system is fucked up, because it changes with every presidential cabinet. Where the majority of the parliament is out to get haram happiness.

I know how tempting it is to live a life in a kingdom far far away. What an adventure it may be. But the thought of not being able to see my family not even once a year maybe kills me. Before, I thought it would be rad just to escape it all. Find the love of my life doing what I love as a living until I become an old wrinkled raisin (coz I’m sweet like that). But then, they would simply know me as Binda Dian who lives in NY. I can’t watch Gita, Nizam, Prisha, Gaza and Nadine grow up. I can’t be there to hug them when they miss me, or when I miss them. I can’t explain why life is sometimes unfair. I can’t listen to their stories.  I can’t be a part of “the village” that nourishes their souls. I can’t be their friend. I definitely don’t want to feel helpless when I know one or both of my parents have fallen ill. I definitely don’t want to be 24 hours away when Allah decides it is their final day.

I guess. NY might only live in my dreams. In my art. In my books. In my heart. Like a fairy tale land.

Because right now. My life. My loves. Are right here.

Sendirian Aja, Neng

Illustration by @harigelita

This is day #322 of my #uni365project, where I draw every day for a year. The idea is to make drawing and art something I breathe on a daily basis. It is not easy. To be honest, I am lagging by around 15 days. So, if I don’t catch up, by day #365 which falls on April 5th, well… ermm.. nothing will happen actually. Only the fact that I am a human being with my shortcomings. However, I’ve been trying my best to keep on track and I have been feeling the burn and the benefits.

You can see here.

My art on day #1


I had no sense of pallettes, what I enjoy working with, what my style was.

Now, lets take a look at:

My art on day #322

cafe morning (2)

Practice does do you good. Daily pratice especially.

Will I continue to write? Of course!

Will I continue to draw? Absolutely.

Because 2 in 1 shampoos sells easier than a shampoo and conditioner sold separately. IYKWIM.



Ribet? Ngga juga.

Bumi berputar. Masalah datang dan pergi. Dan kita, manusia, hanya bertahan hidup dari hari ke hari. Apa yang telah dipunya. Apa yang belum dipunya. Jangan biarkan keduanya memberatkan pundak. Apa yang telah dipunya, syukuri. Apa yang belum dipunya, doakan. Selesai. Lalu kerjakan apa yang bisa dikerjakan. Yang membawa kesenangan bagi apa yang dipunya dan membuka peluang bagi apa yang belum dipunya.


Ngga juga.



Sad Girls by Lang Leav – A Book Review

What would you do if you fell in love with a boy whose girlfriend you “kind of” killed, when at the time you were already in a serious relationship with the boy next door?

A tall story meant to spice up a gossip session between close friends was overheard by an outsider and caused a snowball effect until someone got really hurt and decided to kill herself. Which unfortunately stands as confirmation to the said lie.

Poor Audrey told that lie.

At the funeral, she met the dead girl’s boyfriend. Both experiencing similar shock, went on an all night drive simply to accompany each other and, well I dunno, ease the burden? Instead, they connected on almost every level.

A simple recipe for disaster, no?

Actually, yes. But most of the story was predictable. The storyline was basic. So I was just reading with not that deep of an interest. Unlike when I read Leav’s poetry. She has a way with words. In her poetry human interactions wrench your heart and makes you wonder how deep is one’s loves to be able to concoct such words, such analogies and stir up other people’s heartache from their depths?

To sum up Leav’s first novel in one word I’d probably use the word “safe”. She played by the book. Obeyed all the plot rules. Abided to her title as the thread that binds the whole story. Almost all girls/females in the book are sad people.

The ending, in my opinion is what makes this first novel quite exceptional. An honest, realistic and simply human conclusion.

If not a 4 out of 5, I would have to give Leav a 3,5 simply because I know this is just her first, and I believe she has plenty of other stories waiting to be told. Hopefully, she will learn to get out of her safety zone and write novels like she writes poetry.



Sebuah Prolog

Kuburan di belakang sekolah – kata Adi, kata Myle itu samping, kata Pak Rustam itu depan – selalu indah menjelang Magrib. Saat semua murid bergegas pulang ke rumah masing-masing. Di mana makan malam menu komplit sudah tersedia.

Adi bercerita kalau Ibunya suka mengajaknya dan dua adiknya makan menu komplit setiap Sabtu dan Minggu, dari resepsi ke resepsi. Adi baru tahu kalau ibunya tak pernah diundang ke satupun resepsi yang telah mereka datangi ketika mereka berbalik pulang saat ada sebuah alat pendeteksi bom di pintu masuk disertai pemeriksaan undangan yang tidak ibunya punya.

Beberapa bulan kemudian, Adi membaca di koran bungkus buncis, kalau resepsi yang gagal mereka susupi adalah resepsi pernikahan cucu mantan presiden. Presiden yang meninggal, dengan meninggalkan tanda tanya dan keberatan banyak orang.

Myle menyela, "Percuma kaya kalau tidak bahagia. Kalau ada orang-orang yang tercuri haknya." Tangan Myle mulai ke kepalanya, Adi menarik tangannya. Menahannya di atas pangkuan Myle, di atas meja kelas yang mereka duduki menghadap kuburan dan matahari yang terbenam di depannya, di belakangnya kata Pak Rustam, di sampingnya kata Myle.
"Cantik-cantik kok pitak." tegur Pak Rustam.
"Pak Rustam, botak tapi ngga cantik-cantik." timpal Adi membuat Myle tertawa. Pak Rustam juga.

Pak Rustam mengangkat kepala dari pekerjaannya dan menoleh ke arah siluet perempuan yang duduk membelakangi matahari terbenam. Rambutnya yang panjang dan awut-awutan seolah membara memerangkap sinar senja. Menciptakan halo di sekeliling kepalanya. Sekeliling titik botak tempat ia mencabuti rambutnya saat gelisah.

Di pangkuannya seekor kucing mendengkur pelan, kucing yang ia namai Pangeran Adi. Adi, murid tak berpunya yang sebelumnya mendapat uang tambahan membantu Pak Rustam menyapu seluruh ruangan di lantai 2 Gedung Barat setiap sore. Adi yang memilih meninggal lantaran tak tahan dibully,

"Salah, aku gak bunuh diri, aku memilih jadi kucing." Adi mengeong membela diri. Myle, mengiyakannya dengan menggaruk leher Adi dengan penuh sayang.

Pak Rustam menertawakan nasibnya harus berkawan dengan dua makhluk astral selalu yang datang menjelang Magrib, selalu di ruangan ini. Seakan ingin berbagi kehangatan yang mereka punya dengannya. Dan lucunya Pak Rustam selalu mengatur agar jadwalnya sesuai dengan jadwal mereka.

Dream-O-logue 26072017

We were outdoors, me and someone couldn't make out who it was.

But wait, first it started out like an action movie. I was running away from someone on a emergency staircase, working my legs till I got to the bottom floor which was a supermarket.

A group of young delinquents have taken over the supermarket and were having anything they wanted. Busting open the cash registers, drinking all the cola their stomachs could handle. Hoarding the expensive chocolates. I pretended to be one of them simply because I'm chicken like that.

Suddenly the scene changes.

We're outdoors in a backyard of some school. There was going to be a spectacle. A launching of a satellite of some sort. We sat on some used newspapers talking and drinking coffee, enjoying the atmosphere. A whole bunch of youngsters were out there with us too.

The night was cool. The sky a purplish orange just the kind I love.
We were talking when, the satellite took flight. Funny looking thing. Like a building. Just as it got to it's curve peak, it began descending. Everyone, held their breaths, as if praying, "No. Please. Don't fall."

But no.

It fell.

A huge explosion followed after.

The night turned all sorts of red. Debris flew our way. But it was all so pretty, I just kept taking pictures with my cellphone. Debris caught in flames flying towards us. Faint and bright. Faint and light.

You had to drag me to the school building. Where everyone else was escaping.

The night, ended with remorseful beauty.

And I woke up. Again.


Simple Chewy Choco Chip Cookies 

A very nice treat to ease your PMS, because chocolate calms you down.

1/2 mug gula pasir

1/2 mug gula palmsuiker

1 bungkus blue band sachet (200gr)

Telur 1 aja.

(Mix sampe fluffy)

Masukin telur.

Baking soda 1/2sdt

Baking powder 3/4sdt

Extract Vanili 1 1/2 sdt.

Garam secubit karena harusnya tadi pake unsalted butter (Uni pake margarin murah Hehe)

Mixer lagi.

Tepung serbaguna 1 3/4 mug (mix lagi)

Masukin choco chip 1 mug.

(Tadi Uni ganti colatta 1 bar dipotong dadu 0,5cm)

Added walnuts segenggam (optional)

(Jangan mix, aduk sample rata aja pake spatula).

Masukin freezer biar enak bulet2innya.

Mentegain loyang.

Bulet2in segede bola bekel kecil. Kasih jarak 3-4cm.

Panasin oven 160derajat kalo di oven Uni gak tau Celcius atau apa Huhu..

jangan kelamaan. Masih agak putih, dikeluarin. Soalnya kalo kematangan, pas dingin, keras doi.. :(

Jadi deh chewy choco chip cookies ala ala.. selamat mencoba..Note:

Colattanya pilih yang dark choco, enak ngimbangin manis doughnya..

 Tokyo Dini Hari

Tak seharusnya saya berada di sini jam segini. Jika Saito-san sampai tahu, saya bakal diceramahi panjang lebar esok hari. Soal keamanan, tanggung jawab perusahaan, compliance dkk. Tapi, saya bosan memandang tembok hotel lain dari jendela kamarku yang kelewat mahal itu. 

Ini musim gugur, musim favoritku. Meski lebih banyak beton daripada pohon, sejuk udara dan sudut tenggelam matahari menghasilkan tarian pulang awan-awan yang lebih genit dari biasanya.

 Kalau dibolehkan memilih, saya inginnya ada di kantor Osaka, biar bisa melipir ke kota kesayangan. Naik kereta terakhir ke Utara dan “terpaksa” menginap di sebuah ryokan untuk bangun dini hari dan berendam telanjang di bawah bintang-bintang. Sampai pohon-pohon yang hitam oleh malam, dibangunkan pagi. Sarapanku semarak warna-warni musim gugur.

Tapi ini business bukan pleasure, elingku. Kurapatkan parka kembar yang kita punya, menuruti langkah kaki. Sesekali angin mengelus pipi. 

Dengan kamera milik adik, batere full, batere cadangan, kartu memori tambahan, dengan kagok aku mencoba memerangkap Tokyo malam itu dalam megapixel-megapixel memory. Ratusan foto, bahan mainan bila rindu Jepang lagi, nanti. 

Toko-toko di Shinjuku sudah tutup dari 4 jam yang lalu. Orang-orang kantoran mulai tumpah dari bar-bar dan tempat-tempat karaoke. Wangi parfum campur sake. Mereka saling menggiring masuk taksi-taksi yang siap menampung. 

Aku belok melewati kolong stasiun yang tak jauh dari Harajuku. Kubayangkan bunyi “teketeketeketeke” tiba-tiba mengikutiku dari belakang, Ayat Kursi mempan ngga ya kira-kira sama makhluk jadi-jadian di sini? 

Naik tangga, turun tangga, mencari-cari cahaya, keindahan-keindahan yang tak lazim, menyalakan mata hati. Mencari. Menjepret. Kembali mencari. Kembali melangkah. 

Aku hanya ingin, apa yang kulihat, kamu juga lihat. Meski tangan itu takkan pernah menemukan tangan ini dan dahi ini akan selalu membayangkan lembut rasa bibir itu.