1 Perempuan 14 Laki-Laki (2011)

“Kita bisa memesan bir, namun kita tak bisa memesan takdir.”
(Kunang-Kunang dalam Bir; p. 7)

1 Perempuan 14 Laki-Laki (Djenar M. Ayu)

1 Perempuan 14 Laki-Laki (Djenar M. Ayu)

Saya mencintai karya-karya Djenar Maesa Ayu sejak saya sudah mendapatkan SIM untuk membaca buku-buku yang rated-R. I love the way she wrote the stories and let my imagination flew away in every sentence that she said. Dan kali ini, terobosan terbaru yang benar-benar berbeda dari karya sebelumnya. 1 Perempuan 14 Laki-laki, mungkin saya analogikan sejenis gang-bang dalam dunia penulisan. Sistem penulisan yang bergantian antara Djenar dan 14 penulis laki-laki lainnya membuat ceritanya berkembang dan berkembang tanpa bisa ditebak alurnya.

Setiap cerpen menawarkan hal yang berbeda, mengadaptasi dari latar si penulis partner sendiri. Menariknya Djenar tetap mampu meramu kata dan menyesuaikan dengan apa yang 14 laki-laki ini ungkapkan. Lihat saja di “Balsem Lavender” dengan Butet Kartaradjasa yang sarat dengan lelucon khasnya.

Sejak lima tahun lalu, semenjak usianya berkepala tujuh dan ompong merata, Mas Gun telah menyandang gelar anumerta dalam perkara ranjang. Lelaki itu selalu gugur sebelum berperang. Memangnya, perempuan doyan berperang melawan mayat?
(Balsem Lavender, p. 108)

Atau, dalam karyanya bersama Sardono W. Kusumo yang notabene adalah seorang penari Indonesia, ceritanya pun mengalir bak ayunan selendang para penari kromo di pagelaran pagi. Semua tentang menari namun dalam sastra.

Aku pun berubah menjadi panggung. Panggung yang menunggu ia mengisi tiap ruang. Panggung yang bergetar tiap kali tubuhnya menciptakan gerakan.
(Ramaraib, p. 25)

Namun adakalanya, cerita malah anti-klimaks sebelum selesai. Itu menurut saya, karena imajinasi saya masih berkutat untuk meneruskan cerita, tetapi malah ‘yah, udahan cerpennya? gimana dengan ini, dan yang itu?’. Tapi menyatukan isi kepala dua orang yang berbeda bukannya mudah, kan. Apalagi Djenar, menyatukan kepalanya dengan 14 laki-laki lainnya. Benar-benar perkasa.

Bukan Djenar namanya kalau ceritanya tidak ‘nyeleneh’. Semua cerpen karyanya dengan 14 laki-laki ini pun mengemas cerita-cerita ‘dewasa’ dan mengangkat tema yang tentunya tidak kanak-kanak. Saya menyukai semua cerpen, tanpa terkecuali. Mungkin agak berat bagi orang-orang yang hanya ingin membaca bacaan ringan, karena walaupun buku ini ringan, namun bobotnya berat. Tapi buku ini mampu memuaskan hasrat saya untuk mengasah kembali fantasi-fantasi yang digelar tanpa kalimat yang eksplisit.

Submitted to “Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013”, hosted by mademelani.

Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013 Challenge

Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013 Challenge

He’s Just not That Into You : The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys (2004)

Why do you have to buy the book that is so obvious? Don’t you understand well when the guy like you or not?
(asked by Mr. I)

It’s stereotype book that make woman even harder to get close. (stated by Mr. A)

He's Just not That Into You (Greg B. & Liz T.)

He’s Just not That Into You (Greg B. & Liz T.)

Well, don’t us (woman) love to make sure things over and over again especially about the guy? I know, it sounds pathetic for a woman to chase her man about his feeling, but woman want the affirmation not confusion. So this book is a good deal for you (girls) to get rid over the floating relationship and determine the border. And this book is really good for you (especially the girls in my BBM contact list with their miserable status’ about hoping their guy came back or being “kakak-adek” relationship). And you will realize, how stupid you are.

There are 11 signs to express that “He’s just not that into you”. Well, from this 11, I just red the 9 of them because another two wasn’t compatible to my culture. The question and answer type is used by Greg to deliver his thinking about how we (woman) have to behave. I just laughed and laughed over any questions that was asked by them and how Greg answered it. He tried to be ‘as polite as’ he could, but somehow, his ‘rude’ way hit the point very well. Meanwhile Liz tried to calm down “the hot debate” by being middle-man and tried to give the “softer explanation” about what her partner means.

I want to tell you the secret of this book one by one, but I won’t. Hahaha.. But, here are several highlighted point that usually happen.

The ‘Maybe He’s Intimidate by Me’ Excuse.

“… a guy will ask out a woman of higher status if he’s into her. He might need a little more encouragement than normal.”

Indeed! But hey, Greg is true. If he has the encourage to do better, any status won’t deter his love. That’s what my father also said to me.

The ‘But He’s Very Important’ Excuse.

“The word ‘busy’ is a load of crap and is most often used by assholes. The word ‘busy’ is the relationship Weapon Mass Destruction.”

Good jab! Many women gave this excuse that her boy is too busy in working, bla bla, have no time to spend time together, bla bla, hard to get reach, bla bla. Well, see the fact that actually “Men are never too busy to get what they want”. So, either you are not the important one, or his activities are important than anything else (I think it’s same, but whatever).

The ‘I Do Not Accept His Breakup’ Excuse

“You can’t talk your way out of a breakup. It is not up for discussion. A breakup is a definitive action, not a democratic one.”

Hole in one! This may be one of many excuses that used by many women in the world who didn’t accept her partner decision to break up with her. She wanted to ask why, what happen, what’s wrong with us. Greg told us to write over what we want to ask to our ex, keep it for a moment, and read it again. How does it sound? :p

Well I mentioned three random excuses from this book. I feel I want to but other copies of this book and hand it over to my-dramatic-status’- girl. It’s worth it to buy it, even it’s not cheap especially in Indonesia currency. This is my own-23-rd-birthday-gift, from me to me.

Oh dear, I watched the movie long time ago. But, that’s good book too. Well, Happy Birthday, cat lady! (delivered message from Mr. N)

Harimau! Harimau! (1992)

Bunuhlah dulu harimau dalam dirimu …

Harimau! Harimau! by Mochtar Lubis

Harimau! Harimau! by Mochtar Lubis

Pernahkah kita berpikir bahwa mungkin sewaktu-waktu kita harus mengungkapkan semua dosa kita dihadapan manusia lain untuk menyelamatkan diri sendiri? Pernahkah kita terfikir untuk mengakui semua kesalahan yang kita lakukan selama hidup kita? Dosa terbesar sekalipun mana mungkin kita ungkapkan, apalagi di hadapan rekan-rekan kita.

Buku ini menggunakan latar belakang cerita yang amat simple, tetapi sarat akan makna kehidupan di dalamnya. Diceritakan petualangan dari 7 orang lelaki yang mengumpulkan damar di tengah hutan. Perjalanan mereka awalnya berjalan mulus, damar-damar berhasil dikumpulkan, mereka juga tidak kehabisan bekal makanan. Tetapi dalam perjalanan pulang, terungkap semua dosa masa lalu yang pernah mereka lakukan.

Sanip, Talib dan Sutan; tiga pemuda yang sudah beristri dan anak. Pak Haji, yang dituakan dalam kelompok ini dan djuga dianggap sebagai orang suci dan bijaksana. Pak Balam dengan perawakannya yang agak gendut dan pendiam. Wak Katok, yang dianggap sakti mandraguna dan juga memiliki ‘kekuatan’ di kampung. Dan Buyung, bujang yang paling muda dan menjadi aktor utama dalam kisah Harimau! Harimau! ini.

Pemeran lainnya dalam kisah ini adalah Zubaidah, wanita muda yang dicintai oleh Buyung. Namun, Buyung tidak pernah mengetahui bagaimana isi hati dari Zubaidah sendiri. Di dalam hutan belantara tempat mereka mencari damar juga tinggal seorang yang sakti, guru dari Wak Katok, bernama Wak Hitam. Dipercaya bahwa Wak Hitam ini memiliki peliharaan seekor harimau gaib. Oleh karena itu, Wak Hitam selalu tinggal jauh dari hiruk pikuk desa, karena ingin terus mengasah kemampuan nujumnya. Siti Rubiyah, wanita muda istri dari Wak Hitam. Meskipun timpang, karena Siti Rubiyah masih sangat muda dan segar, sementara Wak Hitam sudah tua dan ringkih, namun Siti Rubiyah tidak memiliki daya untuk menolak Wak Hitam.

Konflik akan mulai berdatangan tatkala dalam perjalanan pulang, Pak Balam diterkam oleh seekor harimau. Meskipun berhasil diselamatkan, akan tetapi luka yang dideritanya cukup parah. Dalam kondisi kritisnya Pak Balam terus-terusan berkata ;

“Awaslah, harimau itu dikirim oleh Tuhan untuk menghukum kita yang berdosa — awaslah harimau dikirim Allah — awaslah harimau — akuilah dosa-dosa kalian — akuilah dosa-dosa kalian.”

Mereka dihantui perasaan bersalah dan bingung. Di satu sisi mereka tentu tidak mau mengakui dosa-dosa yang pernah mereka perbuat. Sementara di sisi lain, mereka tidak mau mati diterkam harimau yang masih berkeliaran di sekitar hutan. Disinilah mulai muncul refleksi-refleksi dari diri mereka yang sebenarnya. Apakah memang sejatinya Pak Haji yang dianggap suci itu benar-benar orang soleh? Apakah Wak Katok itu memang tidak kenal takut? Apakah Sanip, Talib dan Sutan tidak menyimpan rahasia? Apakah Buyung memang masih selugu yang mereka kira?

Sampai akhir dari novel ini, tabiat asli dari para pemeran dalam novel ini akan mulai terkuak. Melalui novel ini, naluri saya mulai bertanya, apakah begitu buruknya moral kita? Apakah setiap kita memiliki topeng yang kita pakai setiap harinya untuk menutupi kebobrokan dalam diri? Kalau begitu, setiap manusia palsu?

Mochtar Lubis menengahkan semua pertanyaan dalam diri saya melalui wejangan – wejangan dari Pak Haji. Dimana, seburuk apapun manusia, kita tetap membutuhkan manusia lain untuk tetap hidup dan saling bergantung.

Kita harus selalu bersedia mengampuni dan memaafkan kesalahan dan dosa-dosa orang lain. Juga kita harus selalu memaafkan dan mengampuni orang-orang yang berdosa terhadap diri kita sendiri …

Submitted to “Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013”, hosted by mademelani.

Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013 Challenge

Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013 Challenge

Sketsa – Sketsa Umar Kayam : Mangan Ora Mangan Kumpul (1995)

 Mangan ora Mangan Kumpul (Umar Kayam)

Mangan ora Mangan Kumpul (Umar Kayam)

Jauh sebelum saya mengetahui kumpulan kisah banyolan ala Pak Umar Hayam ini, saya hanya mengetahui beliau dari kumpulan cerpen Seribu Kunang-Kunang di Manhattan. Buku itu pun saya dapatkan sebagai hadiah dari acara Pak Putu Wijaya di kampung halaman saya dulu. Dan ternyata, saya lebih menyukai kisah banyolan Pak Umar ketimbang cerpen singkatnya di Manhattan itu.

Mangan Ora Mangan Kumpul (1995) ini seperti refleksi dari kehidupan Umar Kayam sendiri. Tokoh-tokoh utama yang bermain dalam kumpulan cerpen ini, dirasakan amat sangat dekat dengan kehidupan. Seperti pemeran Pak Ageng sebagai main actor, merupakan gambaran dari Umar Kayam seutuhnya. Kemudian Mr. Rigen yang sebenarnya abdi dari Pak Ageng (namanya kece, seperti nama mantan presiden AS Ronald Reagen), Mrs atau Ms. Nansiyem (penggunan Mrs. atau Ms. tergantung situasi), anak mereka Beni Prakosa (yang lahir pada hari ABRI dan diharapkan menjadi seorang ABRI ketimbang kenek kereta karena sering meneriakkan Solo – Plambanan) dan penjual ayam penggeng Mas Joyoboyo.

Kehidupan yang simpel itu, diceritakan secara lebih kompleks dengan mengibaratkan rumah Pak Ageng sebagai sebuah negara. Mr. Rigen sebagai ketua dari kitchen cabinet, sementara Mrs. Rigen bertindak sebagai menteri ekonominya. Lalu kemudian akan muncul tokoh-tokoh pendukung lainnya yang semarak silih berganti mengambil cerita dalam penggalan cerpen-cerpennya.

Jadi, adalah kisah Never On Sunday dimana Pak Ageng tidak bisa berpuasa karena sakit. Mas Joyoboyo si penjual ayam penggeng juga menjajakan dada dan paha yang empuk di depan Pak Ageng. Malu karena tidak puasa, tetapi juga sudah ketauan oleh Mas Joyoboyo ini. Ini potongan omongan Mas Joyoboyo yang mak jleb tapi kocak.

“Saya juga tidak pasa kok, Den. Wong saya mesti menjaja ngalor-ngidul, ngetan bali ngulon, cari makan buat anak ini. Mosok Gusi Allah tidak paring ampun, nggih, Den?”

Saya cuma bisa manggut-manggut tanpa teges, mulutku masih belepotan selei stoberi.

“Apalagi menurut Den Bei Curiga Naraka, sing penting itu batine kalau pasa, Den. Kalau batine resik dan kuat, lha… mbok minum es kopyor ditambah bistik komplit dikunyah nyas-nyis-nyus waktu pasa siang bolong begini ya tidak apa-apa, Den. Mak legenderr… masuk mulut tapi tidak terasa makan. Itu, Den, menurut Den Bei Curiga Naraka pasa kelas paling tinggi.”

Well, I bet you understand this joke. Sindiran halus buat yang berpuasa tapi… atau yang tidak berpuasa tapi…

Lalu, ada lagi kisah mengenai Oleh-oleh yang disinggung sebagai asal muasal korupsi di negeri ini.

Seorang pengamat ekonomi, yang saya lupa namanya, melihat hubungan yang jelas antara budaya oleh-oleh dengan korupsi di negeri kita. Katanya korupsi di negeri kita baru akan berhenti betul, tuntas sampai ke akarnya, bila budaya oleh-oleh sudah lenyap dari muka bumi negeri kita ini. …

Pengamat tersebut sudah tidak lagi melihat batasan antara oleh-oleh dan upeti. Meskipun harus diakui juga bahwa semua yang datang membawa barang bawaannya itu sebagai oleh-oleh . Itu berarti istilah oleh-oleh dianggap sebagai istilah yang netral dan tidak mengundang tusukan perasaan. Upeti jelas membawa pesan : untuk sesuatu ada sesuatu. Sang Bupati taklukan membawa upeti kepada sang raja agar tidak diserang wilayahnya. Sang Bupati sekarang membawa oleh-oleh buat bapak Gubernur? Ya, supaya lancar pembangunan wilayahnya โ€ฆ

Jadi pada intinya, hanya perbedaan di istilahnya saja. Yang satu sebagai upeti, sementara lainnya adalah oleh-oleh. Bermain di denotasi dan konotasi maknanya saja, tho.

Sebagai orang keturunan Jawa, saya tidak terlalu fasih dalam berbahasa. Namun kata-kata pada buku ini meskipun bercampur dengan boso jowo, tapi tidak mengurangi pemahaman saya mengenai maknanya. Ada istilah jawa yang dicerpenkan dalam buku ini yaitu Mikul Dhuwur Mendhem Jero yang artinya memikul tinggi-tinggi, menanam dalam-dalam.

Kisah “Kami Bangsa Tempe” juga unik, menceritakan mengenai rencana Pak Ageng untuk mengencangkan ikat pinggang akibat mengeringnya anggaran rumah tangga pasca bulan Syawal. Disini Umar Kayam mencampurkan istilah-istilah perekonomian dalam bahasa sehari hari.

Bulan Syawal yang panjang belum habis dan Mr. Rigen & staf dengan patuh dan penuh profesionalisme melaksanakan garis kebijaksanaan ekonomi-finansial-budgetair yang telah saya gariskan. Karena keringnya dana tentulah deregulasi juga saya terapkan. Artinya, saya tidak terlalu menuntut yang macam-macam. Namun demikian, justru karena anggaran kering itulah, saya telah menuntut kitchen cabinet saya untuk bisa lebih kreatif lagi. Ekspor non migas juga saya galakkan dan saya tuntut pula kreatifitas mereka. Koran-koran lama. Majalah dan beberapa brosur diekspor Rigen ke tukang loak untuk merentang panjang anggaran.

Di akhir cerita mengenai pengetatan anggaran makan di rumah Pak Ageng, Pak Ageng terkesima dengan kekuatan dari para anggota kitchen cabinetnya yang makan seadanya. Karena dirinya saja makan tempe, bagaimana para abdinya?

Oh, kitchen cabinet-ku yang kompak. Aku tahu sekarang mengapa para ahli ekonomi kita begitu pasti dan gagah mengatakan bahwa โ€œdaya tahan ekonomi rakyat desa masih kuatโ€.

Submitted to “Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013”, hosted by mademelani.

Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013 Challenge

Membaca Sastra Indonesia 2013 Challenge

Auguste Dupin (Detektif Eksentrik dari Prancis)

English Version book, the one that I red is Indonesian

English Version book, the one that I red is Indonesian

Hasil rekomendasi dari seorang abang jenius menjadikan karangan Poe ini masuk dalam daftar belanja buku. Nama penulis seri detektif seperti Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dengan Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock dengan novelnya yang bahkan diangkat jadi serial tv reguler, atau Stephen King; tapi gak banyak yang tahu (atau gue yang telat tau) tentang Edgar Allan Poe yang digadang sebagai Bapaknya Kisah Detektif.

Based on several sites, istilah ‘detective’ sendiri ini mulai terdengar lumrah di kalangan penduduk setelah Poe mulai menerbitkan karya-karyanya. Si tokoh fiktif Auguste Dupin ini sendiri diperkirakan sebagai ‘First Detective Story’ dimulai dari ceritanya The Murders in the Rue Morgue. So, for those who claimed themselves as a detective-story lover, your are nothing without Poe (bit exaggerate) :p

Back to the book. Buku ini terdiri dari 5 cerpen detektif mengisahkan kehidupan Auguste Dupin yang diceritakan dari sisi rekan karibnya si anonymous character (atau Mr. P dalam The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar). Serupa dengan kisah Sherlock Holmes dan Dr. Watson, Auguste Dupin juga tinggal bersama rekannya. Auguste Dupin dan Mr. P ini tinggal dalam satu apartemen yang sama dan berbagi kehidupan bersama. Serupa pula dengan Dr. Watson di cerita Conan Doyle, Mr. P ini juga diceritakan sebagai seorang dokter (dalam The Gold-Bug dan The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar). Well, you learned much from Sir Poe, sir Doyle ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue, mengisahkan kematian tragis seorang wanita dan anak gadisnya yang masih muda. Terdengar suara teriakan dari dalam rumah mereka kemudian tiba-tiba sunyi. Beberapa orang warga kemudian datang menuju sumber suara dan menemukan kedua mayat wanita tersebut, sementara rumah tersebut terkunci rapat dari dalam.
  • The Mystery of Marie Roget, kembali mengisahkan hilangnya seorang gadis muda dan diperkirakan mati karena ditemukan mayat di sungai. Misteri kematian wanita muda yang cantik ini juga disangkut pautkan dengan seorang perwira yang terlihat terakhir bersamanya. Tetapi terdapat banyak kejanggalan dan hal-hal yang penting tidak terungkap.
  • The Purloined Letter, kecerdikan Dupin dalam mengungkap letak surat yang hilang. Semua intuisi dan cara analisa kasusnya serupa dengan bagaimana Holmes berpikir.
  • The Gold-Bug, lebih menceritakan si Mr. P rekan Dupin dalam membantu Will menterjemahkan kegilaannya akan sebuah harta karun yang tak pasti. Tetapi dibalik kegilaan Massa (atau Mister) Will ini, kebenaran terungkap secara mengejutkan.
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, kisah fiktif ini dianggap sebuah kisah nyata karena detailnya pengungkapan ‘fakta-fakta’ tentang Massa Valdemar ini.

Film “The Raven” juga dibuat berdasarkan tokoh fiktif Auguste Dupin ini yang diperankan oleh Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusacks). Better to read this book first before watch the film or we can get the essential parts of the film ๐Ÿ™‚

Kebenaran tidak selalu sedalam sumur. Bahkan dengan merujuk pada pengetahuan yang lebih penting, aku yakin bahwa kadang-kadang kebenaran bisa terlihat di permukaan suatu masalah. (Edgar Allan Poe dalam karakter C. Auguste Dupin)

The Kreutzer Sonata (1889)

The Kreutzer Sonata Cover

โ€œIt is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.โ€

Warning : this book is not recommended for man who will walk in the aisle tomorrow or spell their life-time agreement with his future-woman tomorrow. Any consequences to withdraw your married will be on your own commitment.

This is a controversial novella -well no wonder-, written by Leo Tolstoy more than a century before I was born. I know Tolstoy from his ‘War and Peace’ and one of his quotation that I remembered on that master piece, stated

I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself.
(War and Peace)

Well, put aside my blabbering about ‘War and Peace’, now I move to tell you the story of ‘the Kreutzer Sonata’. I wonder, why did I bought this little novela? Well, the controversial things are stated behind of this book – which stated in Indonesian-, saying that

… perempuan menguasai lelaki dengan pakaian dan segala asesoris mereka yang menggugah hasrat seksual lelaki. Secara kasat mata, perempuan memposisikan diri sebagai objek yang dinikmati lelaki; lelaki yang memilih perempuan. Namun tanpa disadari, lelaki telah terjebak. Berhenti di titik ini, perempuanlah yang memilih lelaki; berkuasa atas lelaki.

Then I picked up the book and queue to cashier. I wonder, what Tolstoy wanted to share to us moreover do my ‘feminist’ side will be disturbed by his writing. In fact, rather than being disturbed, I feel sorry over Tolstoy -or what he called Posdnicheff in this novela.

Main character of this novela named Posdnicheff, an old man who overhears chit-chat among passengers in the train about love and marriage. He gave his opposite perspective towards marriage and the value of marriage sacredness. He argued that

” Dan kemudian apa? Kata Anda pernikahan didasarkan pada cinta, dan ketika saya menyatakan keraguan tentang adanya cinta selain cinta hawa nafsu, Anda membuktikan kepada saya keeradaan cinta dengan pernikahan. Tetapi pada zaman kita ini pernikahan hanyalah sebuah kekerasan dan kekeliruan.”

What was said by this old man wasn’t a bluff. The entire argument was based on his own experiences on marriage. He fell in love, he got married, he out of loved and murdered his wife.

Anti physical contact, Anti-birth control, Sexist and at last (i think) seems to justify murder. Posdnicheff justified his action to murder his own wife as she might have cheated on him – even he didn’t really see the prof at all. Under several circumstances, this book is written really well which can be appreciated as Tolstoy dare to create such contradiction on marriage. Even though several might disagree and censored by Russian authorities.

Started with Posdnicheff little story about his slumber marriage life that was created since he was child;

“.., sejak kecil saya sudah mengimpikan akan menjalani kehidupan rumah tangga yang agung dan puitis. Istri saya kelak adalah seorang wanita sempurna, perasaan saling mencintai di antara kami tiada banding, kesucian hidup di rumah tangga kami benar-benar tanpa cela. Saya berpikir demikian, dan saya selalu terkagum-kagum dengan kemuliaan cita-cita saya.”

Then all of the story flew away on to his teenager life as a well-mannered man, which may you find not so true. That’s the way of he think he was. And finally in his last thirty, he ended his adventure when he met a young lady. He perfectly pictured his future lady to spent his entire life in this woman, but in the end he was wrong. As he said ;

Ya, dan saya juga terperangkap gara-gara baju rajutan, kerangka rok, dan rambut keriting

Well, I can’t easily picture the entire story in short to get the morale. You need to read it first before assumed that is it about anti-feminist, or is it about a crazy man who killed his wife or is it about. What I can say positively that Posdnicheff wanted to us to get the pessimistic side of love and marriage it self before you really fell in. That is why, this book isn’t recommended for those who will getting married soon -afraid that it might increase your skepticism about your future plan.

Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)

Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.
(Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days)

Jules Verne brought me around the World in just three days. It is really fascinating story.

I never red his story before (shame on me), but I already watched a movie which was adapted from his famous writing ‘A Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. Started from my intention to buy a Plato and Platypus book (which I may told to you later on), I ended up with buying another book. Here my little synopsis about “Around the World in Eighty Days”.

—-..—-

Around the World in 80 days coverAll of the story started with a little chit-chat between a group in men the Reform Club – . Phileas Fogg, the main character in this novel is member of the Reform Club, where he stated that he may travel around the World in just eighty days. His friends laughed at his statement and said that it would be impossible to travel in that very short time. Phileas Fogg himself is one of mathematically person, who always ready and counted every possibility that may happen very well. Time-sharped as ‘late’ won’t be in his dictionary. And by saying that he may go around the world even daring himself to be drag in a big-bet with his friends was sound so insane.

“…since to-day is Wednesday, the second October, I ought to be back in London, in this very saloon of the Reform Club, on Saturday the twenty-first December, at eight forty-five in the evening …” (Phileas Fogg)

Then, the world-travelling began. Fogg was accompanied by his new-loyal-but-sloppy servant named Passepartout. His slovenliness sometimes brought me into a burst laugh. For the first laugh, his foolishness began when he and his master arrived in the train station to start their journey.

Fogg : What is the matter?
Passepartout : Why-in-in my haste – my disturbed state of mind, I forgot –
Fogg : Forgot what?
Passepartout : To turn off the gas in my room
Fogg : Very well, young man. It will burn at your expense.

Well, as the long journey already began, I would like you to know their traveling plans. They would travel from London to Suez than Bombay to Calcutta, after that Hong-Kong to Yokohama, continued to the last place which is San Fransisco and went back to London. I managed to find his travel map from wikipedia.

Fogg’s travel map

Many obstacles lie in front of these men. Even-tough Fogg calculated the entire time-consumed, steam, boat or road travel’s time preciously and always followed his schedule; in the other hand, his accompany could not do exactly the same as he was. Passepartout always caught in the minor trouble but can caused a major disaster. Once, he entered shrine in Calcutta without take off his shoes, meanwhile in India culture, shrine is a sacred place. Like I said before, he was sloppy but loyal to Fogg.

It was just a minor, while the bigger hindrance came towards his master, Mr. Fogg. Back to his hometown, Mr. Fogg was actually fell under suspicion on the robbery. A day before Mr. Fogg started his journey, The Bank of England was robbed by unknown and brought almost fifty-five thousand pounds in bank notes. His sudden journey around the world dragged police attention. More over, none really knew what is Mr. Fogg earn for his living, where he was known as a rich gentleman with none around him; except his servant. Fix, the detective from England, joined Mr. Fogg journey unwittingly. He also tried to stop Mr. Fogg’s travel by causing him a problem as much as he could.

Could he able to prove that traveling around the world in eighty days is possible? Could he win his bet, or the most important will be his proud? Is he the robber of the Bank of England? You may find the answer one by one here, in this small thick novel which may not spent you 80 days to travel around the world! ๐Ÿ™‚

—-…—-

I never travel around the world before. Well, the furthest one could be Thailand. And just last night, my genius-brother who lucky enough to travel to Netherlands sent me pics around his hotel. I am overly envy. Pic credited to my genius-brother. Have fun, travel safe!

The Metamorphosis (1915)

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.

(The Metamorphosis: p.1)

Franz Kafka, man behind this book, started his imagination with these very words. He played well with the readers imagination, where he leaved us with clues of Gregor Samsa’s transformation.

He lay on his armour-like back, and if lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and dived by arches into stiff sections.

His many legs, pitifully thin compared to the size of the rest of him,…

…”Did you hear the way Gregor spoke just now? That was the voice of an animal.”

He pushed himself over to the door, feeling his way clumsily with his antennae – of which he was now beginning to learn the value – in order to see what had been happening there.

kafka-the-metamorphosisWell, I imagined Gregor Samsa transformed into a big lice or cockroaches or even sometimes I imagined a new kind of insects. Apart of all, Kafka didn’t want to focus on how the transformation began, why did it happen or else. Here, he wanted to say something in the extreme ways as “How if I became a creepy-creature?”. Where “creepy” may have extensive meaning, Kafka brought it as an animal.

Gregor Samsa was a hardworking-man and one of the main-backbone of his family. He was a traveling salesman who is very committed towards his job. In the story, what passed in his mind on the first time when he woke up is about his job. But then the story goes on where he actually can’t work anymore with those transformation.

The changing of his family attitude’s towards his metamorphosis also quite intriguing. Well, who will accept freely a sudden change from one of family member to be a huge insect? Before it happened, his family is quite a small-happy fam where he has one younger sister named Gretta and parents. After his metamorphosis, Gretta is the first one who brave enough to enter his room, gave him food, cleaned out the garbage and anything. And along the day, Gregor was just crawling inside his room. The warmest of his family is slowly dissolved. As he was locked up in his room and just several times peeking up through small crack in his room to see what happened outside.

With his metamorphosis, he couldn’t able to go to work. None can help his fam’s economy condition. Because of that, his parents rented their rooms over three men. These three man didn’t know that Gregor in his creature lived along with them. Until someday, Gregor was caught inside of his room where he wanted to see his sister whom played violin infront of these three men. Because of these incident, then …

Well, many readers of this book said different meanings and different value. In my opinion, here Kafka wanted to show us how that changing in ourselves may caused a big effect in your family (esp. if you are transforming into a cockroach). Whereby, Samsa’s family can’t stand with this transformation, where they can’t accept the harsh reality. How about your family? If you are the golden kid and the biggest hope of your family, suddenly something bad happened to you, will your family do the same as Samsa’s? Or do they will oppositely support you? None can predict it. Except if you already metamorphosed to be Gregor.

A Child Called ‘IT’ (2005)

For my personal opinion, I hate to read this novel. Bukan karena novelnya yang jelek atau ceritanya yang tidak menarik, tapi karena saya terlalu mendalami karakter dari David atau Dave – the main personality in this novel. As a child-abused victim, Dave has a really massive courage to stay alive. Dari judulnya sendiri pun, kita sudah bisa merasakan “abuse”. A Child Called ‘it’ atau seorang anak yang dipanggil dengan istilah pengganti kata benda dan hewan. Isn’t it insane?! Hereby, I told you little bit synopsis of this novel.

A Child Called It CoverDavid diceritakan adalah anak laki-laki yang masih berusia dini namun mengalami penyiksaan yang tidak terkira oleh ibu kandungnya sendiri. Novel ini menceritakan kehidupan David dari usia 4 sampai 12 tahun, dari mulai masa bahagia sampai masa siksaan yang dirasakannya bertubi-tubi.

The greatest things that the writer did in this novel is, you are dragged to think as a child. Ketika terjadi abuse oleh keluarga inti sendiri, terutama ibu sendiri, seorang anak kecil tidak pernah bertanya mengapa ibunya begitu atau bersikap ingin membalas ibunya. Secara naluri, seorang anak kecil hanya akan bisa menerima perlakuan dari ibunya dan berharap si ibu akan kembali baik seperti sedia kala.

Aku tahu ada sesuatu yang betul-betul tidak beres, tapi aku terlalu takut untuk mengeluarkan suara. Jadi aku duduk saja di situ, memandangi makananku.

Dan bahkan, dari seluruh siksaan yang diterimanya, Dave masih rindu dengan ibunya. Suatu saat Dave berusaha lari dari rumah bibinya, tempat Dave tinggal untuk sementara.

Aku mencoba mengatakan pada Ibu bahwa aku melarikan diri karena aku ingin bersamanya dan keluarga. Aku mencoba mengatakan padanya bahwa aku merindukannya, tetapi Ibu tidak mengizinkan aku berbicara. Aku mencoba mengatakannya sekali lagi, tapi Ibu bergegas ke kamar mandi, mengambil sebatang sabun, lalu menjejalkannya ke mulutku.

Sampai pada titik nadir diceritakan Dave mencari perlindungan kepada ayahnya dari perbuatan ibunya yang semakin lama semakin kejam terhadapnya.

“Ayah… I… I… Ibu menusukku”.

Ayah bahkan tidak mengangkat alis matanya, apalagi menoleh. “Kenapa?” tanyanya.

“Dia bilang, kalau aku tidak menyelesaikan tuga mencuci perkakas tepat pada waktunya, dia.. dia akan membunuhku”.

Waktu seakan berhenti. Dari balik koran aku bisa mendengar napas Ayah yang jadi berat. Ia menelan ludah, lalu berkata, “Ya… kau ah… kau lebih baik kembali ke dapur dan menyelesaikan tugasmu mencuci piring.”

Sosok ayah dalam buku ini tidak mencerminkan sesosok ayah yang harusnya mampu melindungi anaknya dari berbagai ancaman. Sosok ayah David adalah ayah yang tidak peduli dan ingin menghindari dari masalah di rumahnya. Kedua kakaknya yang berusia tidak jauh dari Dave juga enggan membantu Dave, malahan bersikap acuh seakan mereka tidak memiliki anggota keluarga bernama David.

Mungkin sebagai naluri manusia dewasa, kita akan berpikir untuk lari dari rumah atau meminta pertolongan dengan orang luar. Tidak dengan Dave, dia masih mencintai keluarganya sesulit apapun kehidupannya. Dalam novel ini, kita diminta ‘menikmati’ kekejaman hidup yang dirasakan Dave tanpa bertanya ‘Mengapa?’.

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Is it crazy? Dari kisah Child Abuse yang sering terdengar di berita atau dikisahkan di buku ini, membuat saya menyadari ada kalanya kehidupan seorang anak itu kadang tidak adil. I mean, we didn’t choose who will be our mom or dad, or we didn’t bring any bad-luck over our family. Kita (anak) dilahirkan secara suci tanpa dosa, dan kalaupun anak tersebut hasil dari sebuah kesalahan, maka bukan anak yang bersalah tapi tindakan orang tuanya.

Beragam jenis tindakan Child-Abuse, mulai dari penelantaran anak, pembunuhan baik yang sudah dilahirkan maupun yang masih di dalam kandungan, berikut juga para anak yang menjadi korban perang. Konsep dari child-abuse sendiri tidak hanya serta merta dalam fisik, tetapi juga mental mereka. David disini mungkin masih bisa bertahan dan berpikir waras demi masa depannya. Namun berapa banyak David lainnya yang tidak mampu bertahan hidup, atau yang lebih miris, mereka akan berkembang dan menghasilkan David-David lainnya demi sebuah dendam yang tidak terbayarkan? It will be so horrific.

There is no greater evil than those who willingly hurt an innocent child. (Unknown)

Man’s Search For Meaning (1985)

An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.

Man's Search for Meaning CoverThis book actually an offer from my genius brother as a form of compensation. Well, at the first glance I thought “Why I have to read this book? I’m not a man, nor searching for my meaning”. But then, I finally find that this book wasn’t about the “man” as a gender, but as human itself.

Viktor E. Frankl is a Pscychiatrist who endured unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps for years. within this book, I just realize that under certain circumstances, modern-human being could be pressed to be back to their primitive life.

Life of Frankl inside of this concentration camp was never normal. How could you live in a small prison with crowded people inside and even you didnt have any space to lie down? How could you sleep in the night with noisy sound, bad smell and many uncomfortable things around? How can you get energy to march along the snowy day and dig the tunnel where you just ate a bowl of watery soup with 3 beans inside?

That’s how Frankl answer all of my question above. It became normal behavior, even tough in the “normal life” it won’t be normal.

Frankl also tried to explore the three stages of prisoner’s life in this camp as the result of their imprisonment. These three stages are Shock and Denial; Apathy and ; Liberation. I am not trying to explain it clearly, but I just want to tell you the story behind these three stages.

The first symptom or we can called is shock, where the prisoners still denying over the situation. Up until they face themselves in the real life that they are imprisoned. In the time where they saw their families are led off to the gas chamber or crematorium, they will start to move to the second stage.

Apathy, the blunting of the emotions and the feeling that one could not care any more

This symptoms will increase along with the terrible situations and feelings. Frankl explained that for the new prisoners, they will feel so sympathy over the dead bodies who just dragged along the alley where they will be burned. But, time goes by, then the prisoners started to grow the apathy feelings over the dead body or over people who sent to the death. It was just a relieve, where they aren’t the one that was drag over or the one that sentenced to death.

Apathy, the main symptom of the second phase, was necessary mechanism of self defense. Reality dimmed, and all efforts and all emotions were centered on one task; preserving one’s own life and that of the other fellow.

How they can endure their torturing life in the camp? As many as the story that Frankl stated, I personally like the part where Frankl experienced the “sun-light” of his life to face his tough and harsh reality.

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.

What I can say that what he said as “Love” can create like an inner spirit to stay strong and keep doing whatever he has to do to gain certain meaning of life. He saw his wife in his memory, talked to her wife as if her wife was standing next to him. He got a spirit, yet because of he got the feeling of someone still needs him to be alive. He felt that someday he will find his wife and live happily. Or at least, someone out there are waiting him to come back.

โ€œThe truth-that love is the highest goal to which man can aspire.โ€

Last symptoms, the period of following the liberation. Isn’t it will be easy? I mean, we just can live happily ever after after long time of terrible situation inside of the camp. Why it can be so hard, where we can stay live to face the horrible situation, but can we handle the changing situation after that?

Well, as what Frankl explained through his book, it was not easy to face this stage.

But we limped on; time with the eyes of free men. “Freedom” – we repeated to ourselves, and yet we could not grasp it. We had said this word so often during all the years we dreamed about it, that it had lost its meaning. Its reality did not penetrate into our consciousness; we could not grasp the fact that freedom was ours.

The free-prisoners who feel their freedom as they can do anything that they want to do before, as they justified their behavior by their own terrible experiences. Apart from that, Frankl explain the terms of bitterness and disillusionment as the factor that can threatened the character of liberated prisoners. The bitterness – in my opinion- was to explain more about the liberated prisoners mind where he felt that all people around him didn’t feel the exact experiences that he has been pass through. So, if someone from his home country said that “we, too, have suffered”, he felt that all of what the other has been pass through is nonsense.

Meanwhile, the disillusionment happened through the liberated prisoners that thought he had reached the limit of suffering, even felt more suffering in his liberation life. The inner spirit to come home safely when he was in the prison, family who in his own memory will give him courage to finish day after day in prison is already gone. Facing this -even- harsh reality, the liberated prisoners didn’t have any spirit any more to continue their life. To face this hard situation, Frankl turned back himself into the part of spiritual belief.

The crowning experience of all, for the homecoming man, is the wonderful feeling that, after all he has suffered, there is nothing he need fear any more – except his God.