Putu gets bumpy day

Putu goes to a village temple. He looks great and handsome in Balinese outfits wearing white shirt, batik sarong, and udeng, the white headdressess. He brings a little tray with flowers and incence. The priest’s bell resonates the entire temple compound. People are coming with faces look calm and solemn. White dominates men’s clothes while women wear more colours.

Putu is thrilled and happy to visit this temple again. He has been  here countless times since he was child. He can see the crowd in jeroan area as he is passing the split gate of the temple.

Offering on dulang

Every shrines are adorned in white, yellow, red, and gloden clothes. Dragon and other mythological guardian statues grin fierce with sharp fangs. Beautiful offerings stand along on the temple’s altar. Assorted fruits and Balinese cakes are mounting on golden carved dulangs. The flicker of incences spread in every shrines and offerings. The scent penetrates nose to relieve mind and nerves of every attendance there. Canangs graced with fresh and colorful flowers everywhere.

Soon Putu finds a place to sit. He is about to start his prayer while people settle before him preparing to pray also. His mind is serene and longing for this holy place to praise mantras for Gods and Goddesses

As he burns the incense with a lighter, a big heavy hand lands on his shoulder. Before he turns to see the face of the person he hears  husky voice, ” How are you Putu? long time no see!”. The man who was his classmate in elementary school suddenly sitting next to him. He is huge like a giant, his tight white shirt chokes his big belly, as if it’s about to burst. ” Oh hi, good good, how are you Gede?”. Putu startles and gets awkward but tries to remain calm. He senses Gede would roast him with burning questions in momentarily.

Next to Gede is sitting his lean beautiful wife and his teenage chubby son scrolling smartphone. Putu smiles to the wife whom is busy with flowers to pray.

” Did you get married?” Gede’s words sting and leave pang in his ears. Putu knew the question will come pretty soon from his friend’s mouth, but he is still not ready for it either. His face turns bashful like ripen tomoto and he replies not yet with a pity chuckle. The giant man is patting Putu’s shoulder with the big hand again. “Come on man what are waiting for? Look! my son is in junior school already.” Gede put a triumph smile on the face watching his friend gets nervous. He enjoys roasting Putu so much.

Putu just nods and forces to smile feeling ashame on himself. He really wants to dash and disappear right away from this place, but he must stay anyway. This talk ruins his serenity. Gede’s words echo in his ears incessantly. He tries to keep calm but hardly to focus his mind to pray.

My growing little garden and the criminal.

My tiny garden is growing. I am so glad what i have been working on is giving a beautiful result. This is my favourite spot in my house now. When i wake up in the morning and open the curtains i am offered this captivating view.

I like morning time, now this little garden spoils me every day and i am so grateful for it. I have breakfast here while enjoying the green and flowers blooming. In the moment later some friends with wings will pay a visit to this garden. Bee, butterfly, dragonfly and even bird are my regular visitors. The bee and butterfly like flying from one flower to another for doing their routine pollenation services. I am amazed how their daily activity is essential for natural ecosystem and human life. Seeing them flying among the flowers is a serene scene and grab my attention

My rose is blooming and striking look in my garden. My effort to water her every day and sometimes talk to her is paid well now. She keeps her promise to give me, bee and butterfly her beauty.

If i recall my choldhood, i can’t believe how heartless i was. I tortured many creatures from bird to insect. My heart was racing when my slingshot hit the bird in the tree. The yellow little bird was spining down and fell to the ground. I ran and chatched it. I was ecstatic holding the hapless bird in my hand. It was the first time i got a bird.

The other crime i committed was to the bees. In my yard flowers were blooming, i did not know its name, they were not big flowers and the shape was like a trumpet with colour of magenta. A little bee was circling and coming inside the trumpet flower. With unknowingly what i did i squished the bee with my thumb and index finger. The bee died. The second bee came and doing the same act, perching on the flower and crawling in. I could see its chubby butt then i clasped the bee again. I pulled my hand swiftly because it was pain. The bee stung my finger. My thumb was swollen a bit and hurt.

The other day i catched dragon fly, i cut its tail a little and i replaced it with grass and flew it away. When i remember those crimes i feel so guilty now. I was a cruel kid who frequently torturing animals. I was really terrifying criminal.

By the way my good friend had given me the seed of sunflowers. He kindly sowed them himself in my garden. They are sprouting now. I can’t wait to see how the sunflowers blooming look like.ūüėĀ

Sunday in waterfall

On Sunday morning i and my friend went to a waterfall in Gianyar. It is only twenty minutes from my house. He really wants to see waterfall and he has been doing research on internet the closest waterfall we could visit.  He is a city boy who is hardly going to nature. It obviously made him so excited

We arrived at the site and stopped our scooter at the parking lot. I could taste the breeze already. A friendly man was smiling at us and suggested to kept our helmets from the rain in his makeshift hut.

I was suprised a little girl incharge in the reception post. She may be about ten or twelve years old. The fee is ten thousand rupiahs it is about less than one Dollar. She collected the money and told us in her sweet girly voice to be careful because the step is slippery. Yeah i could see it and made me alert with my pace.

It was raining earlier this morning leaving the moldy and damp steps that give a little challenge for the visitor who look for Sunday morning outing. These wet  steps warned me how slicky this place was and if I was not careful, i could be rolling down uncontrollably like a hepless log.

My friend was behind me walking like wobbly old man, his chubby posture was not much helping in this situation. He was videoing the area and reporting like a youtuber. I am so amazed how people nowdays  generously  sharing information in social media for the like and possibly earning from it

I help myself being indulged here in this natural jacuzzi. Water was really fresh and clear. The funny thing is I do not go to waterfall often although it is pretty close to my house. It is odd many people here are rarely going to a close site but prefer to drive miles away for a trip.

I was holding my knees while mesmerizing by this waterfall, trees and the rocks in this little paradise. Unknowingly a tiny black dragonfly was perching on my arm. It is wonderful and also scary a little bit in my heart, why? Is this dragonfly owns this place? This tiny guy was not afraid of me or perhaps it was comfortable being so near with me. What i am afraid is the place like this such as waterfall, river, forest and other secluded place, Balinese believes they have the owner, unseen lord, like a spirit or ghost. They could harm us if we are not behave or make damage to their place. so i wishpered asking permission to stay here, i would not bother this place. I just wanted to enjoy this beautiful waterfall.

I looked at my friend whom was still busy with his phone. Nowdays I hardly find people not holding a phone. They are hanging out together with friends not talking each other but they are drowning to scroll their own phone. They are busy to record the moment with photos and videos that would be shared in youtube, facebook, instagram, twitter and other social media but they neglect to enjoy the moment itself with their five senses.

Anyway I am so glad i had been here and immersed myself in this truly nature. I never forget to feed my body with food but most of the time i neglect to nurture my soul. Nature  really has magic to relieve my mind. Many of us have been struggling and squeezing with busy life. The activities of pursuing the goals, the desire to have a better life, the will to possess things, those make us stress  and also drain our energy. We may want to take a halt and slowing down for a moment. Being in nature could be a wise choice to balance our life.

My river is gone

This afternoon the earth is like being cooked, it is so hot. I cannot stay in my room because it’s like I am being boiled here. My room is small and no air conditioning. There is only a small fan to cool me down, it is surely not enough. So I go out walking to the back of my house at the river to get fresh air.

This river reminds me of my sweet memory. It was my pleasure place, I liked it so much when i was child.  At 4 to 5 p.m. was the best and the exciting time of the day. Because I could swim in this river with my friends. We jumped and floated on the water and screamed with so much joy. The water was  clear, we even could see our feet in the river bed.

All villagers went to a river to take a bath at that time. We hardly had toilet. We went to the river to take a bath in the morning and in the late afternoon. We also washed our clothes there. It was the happiest moment for me to hop and crash into the water. It felt so great and wonderful.

There were many trees everywhere. Some of them bear edible fruits like melinjo, banana, papaya, coconut, jackfruit, and many more. I like papaya because it’s big, sweet and juicy. Most of the people had papaya tree at their house.

The river was wonderful and exciting place for me and my friends. But it’s sad now. Many things have changed, the river is dirty and full of rubbish. Many people choose not to go to bath in the river anymore. I really want to swim in my river again. It’s pity. Environment is damage already.

But I still find something to be grateful for. I still have fresh air to breathe here. There are still many trees like these heavy bamboo trees. Oddly I have goosebumps here, I am a bit scared standing here alone by the dense bamboos.  I recall a spooky story of my parents told me when I was kid about gosh. The scary witch who could kidnap me and then brought me to the unseen world that my parent could not find me. Balinese still believe this superstitous till now. I have never seen a ghost actually unless in the movies. But I do not hope to see them face to face. Perhaps I would be faint to see their terrifying figures.

I wish I could turn the time back to my childhood. Jumping and swimming in the fresh and clear river was the experience that i will never forget. Life was simple in the past and most of the people around the eighties were poor. If someone had TV, it would mean he or she was rich. Only one or two people who had TV in my village. Radio was more common and affordable for the villager. I miss my childhood even though life was hard. I had only two t-shirts and pants. Life was simple and lack of stuff but it was not bad. I mean life was modest as a kid, you know if I had 500 Rupiahs ( $ 0,035 ) with me I felt rich. That happened only once in seven months on the festive Galungan day. My father gave me the money that i would spend it for snack and chewing gum.

There are many things that I find in the backyard today, trees, butterfly, wild flower, lizard, and of course the river. I see little cicada too, it is cleverly camouflage on the bark of the tree. I am staying close enough with this creature. It¬†is buzzing in high frequency that hurt my ears. It’s so nice to be in nature. Although this river is not like 35 years ago anymore but it still can give me something to smile about.

Sitting here under the shady tree listening to birds chirping, a spider resting on its webs, the divine shrine is there, they give me sense of peace in my heart. I feel good and happy here. Maybe it’s true when people say that happiness comes from ordinary event which is unnecessarily on fancy things. Like my friend said he has a new car but it made him happy only for one week. Fancy stuffs do make us happy probably not too long.

Happiness according to Mark Manson on his book The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck says happiness is about responsibility and ordinary things like raising children well or maintaining our health by exercising and eating good food. Happiness is a basic thing and maybe not many people think like that. In other word anyone can be happy whatever our life is. Like I am enjoying my afternoon at the river and this makes me happy. The river that is no longer like it’s used to be.

Cluttering my room

Today suddenly I feel that my room is too busy and so many stuffs in here. I’m thinking about to move some of them somewhere but I don’t have place to put them away. I want my room is more simple because I like simplicity. But what about my other stuff because I need them too. so I decide to rearrange my room today.

I burn a lot of calories to make my room right. And I’m thinking where I will put my books, I love them but I want to see not many things in my room for the moment. My cupboard is small so I have to keep some clothes and sheets in baskets. Then I make up my mind only three important things will be in my room, a bed, one cupboard and a table, that’s it. The other stuff like books and clothes that i wear not too often i will store them in the kitchen. it sounds odd or may be danger to keep fabrics in there. But i hardly used my kitchen anyway.

I am sweating and dizzy back and forth from my room to the kitchen removing stuff. But finally my chore is done. Now my room is slightly spacious and roomy. It seems my dog is happy too in my new minimalist room.

I feel hungry my belly warns me. So what do i have for lunch today? I remember a lady near the market who sells meatball on her motorbike. Her meatball is pork and super delicious. I thought I would return in later day. But when I get there she is not around. She must be circeling somewhere to get more customers. Then I go to ACK the local KFC, you know, it’s much cheaper then the KFC. I am happy with that, i get one small of rice, one chicken leg insanely tiny and a glass of ice tea. I can’t complain for it’s only IDR 10500 less then one dollar. Plus in fact it is yummy.ūüėč

Now I’m in my room again lying on my belly on the floor, sensing my renewal room. It feels much better now. I try to write something but it’s very difficult to get inspiration to write. I wonder how other writers could be so prolific, they come up with unique ideas that i never think of and they publish regularly. Last time i read a blogger who can publish every day. It is unbelievable. He must born solely to write.

I hardly find ideas to write, i have writer’s block all the time. I write rubbish every day in my journal. I jot down anything that pop up in my head, even i am reluctant to read it.

It’s six p.m. now it is time for me to get shower and then pray in our family temple. Hoping God will help me with His blessing and open my mind to be more positive with life. My negative thoughts deligently consume my head all the time. I need to get rid of it. I read Buddhism book sometimes, it helps me to calm down. I like Buddhist philosophy, you know it’s about compassion, loving kindness and self awareness.

Nasi jinggo

For dinner tonight I probably have nasi jinggo a dish with small portion. It is rice, chicken, noodle, and a wee bit vegetables. But it is enough for me. Some friends said that I eat so little and need to eat more. But that is enough for my little tummy. My portion may be half of adult have. I cannot eat like normal adult. It is too much for me. Even my twelve years old nephew is eating a lot like his father. I’m small man and eat small too.

Bird and dragonfly

I awoke from quick nap, i am not a big napper actually, i envy people who can sleep for hours at noon. I can’t nap too long although i have a lot of times to do it now.

I look out at the window, there is a bird perch on the branch. It is called crucuk, this little friend usually wakes me up in the morning with the noise but nice chirping in the trees.

I want to get closer but i am afraid to scare it. So i stay idle to watch it. I am lucky it is still there, bird hardly stays on one spot for that long unless it is in the cage. Bird always seems busy and hurry.

I am staring at it i wish i could hold and caress it in my hands feeling its soft feathers. Suddenly there is another bird comes. They must be friend, going out and fly together in the afternoon. Now two of them are roosting there, maybe they chat each other on their own language. Bird language, hopefully it is not much grammar like English.

Sometimes i have imagination how it feels flying and watching life from above, it must be wonderful. A few times i dreamt about flying from one roof to another. I spreaded and moved my hands up and down then i flew. It was magic, yeah in a dream anything could happen, everything is possible like magic. I felt great and astonished flying in my dream, unfortunately it was gone as i woke up.

Then another creature shows up. It is a dragonfly resting on the twig, i am familiar with this one. It is an aggressive creature but easy to catch. As a kid i used to snatch it with small dragonfly as a bait. I tied the bait on a stick of coconut leaf. I swayed my stick around my potential dragonfly to get its attention. Usually this fella would move its head following my bait then the hungry dragonfly would chase and catch my bait. Then i just grabbed it. It was easy and really fun. The pulling sensation of the dragonfly felt so exciting

What a nice memory of my childhood. It was ordinarily beautiful experience. I miss it i miss to be happy with a very tiny joy of life. As i grow older i tend to forget how to get fun in a very simple way.

I do not eat beef because of this.

Do you eat beef? A friend of mine asked me some times ago. I usually say if there is other choices i would be very happy. There are some events that develop my compassion toward this animal.

I grew up seeing cow as a calm big and loll animal. My father had a cowshed for the cow at the back of our house. When i was kid I wondered why cow kept munching even there was no more grass or leaves to eat. Which i know later why this big tummy animal has this unique habit

Once in a while my father brought our cow to rice field to plough. My task was to keep the calf stayed at the stable. The calf was running toward his mother, but i spreaded my hands to hold him back. He was crying and whining because he was left without his mother. it made me sad. The next day i saw him having milk from his mother. He was playing and running here and there. He was happy and so cute.

I was lucky to have a chance to watch as the baby calf was about to deliver in the night. It was amazing experience for me. I can’t remember the detail anymore but i did see little legs came out from his mother. Then the new born baby calf was standing on the ground. He was trembling and breathing for the first time in the world. He was trying to stabelize his four legs. His mother kept licking him. I was astonished by this experience. The little baby was hobbling and awkward.

Maybe those experiences have grown compassion in my heart toward cow. So now when i see cow i just feel love for this creature.

There is another memory that makes me concern about this animal. It was not really good reminiscence at all. I worked in an art gallery that displaying various arts, mostly painting. The theme for that exhibition was due to the terrible Bali bombing 2002. The painter made painting about this tragic event. i had to see a violance video when the painter was dragging the cut bleeding cow head over the canvas painting on the floor. The backsound of colosal music dramitized the video. I was shock, my heart was like sliced. I turned my sight away, suddenly the flash memory of my little calf sparked in my head. It felt really uncomfortable.

That’s why i do not eat beef. I love cow like I love my dogs. As Balinese we also consider cow as sacred animal. Cow is vehicle of God Shiva and priest does not eat beef because of this reason.

I want to have a little garden

My new little garden

This is my new graden. Isn’t that look terrible? I just planted them. I wish i have garden like my friend has. His garden is beautiful. Now i try to make for myself although it can’t be compared to his garden.

This morning I went to get some plants at sellers. I am going to grow them in front of my house. So i can see it every day.

I believe myself as a person who do not have green hands. So whatever i stuck into soil will die slowly and misery. Maybe this is just my own negative suggestion or i am just being lazy or careless. I used to not water the plants or gave extra attention after i planted them

I thought that they would grow by itself without I need to look after them. When my friend sent me photos of his garden, I think it is hardly to have that kind of garden in my house. I do not have that good talent to gardening. He said he had harvested mangos from his garden and they were sweet and juicy. I envy him.

My friend’s beautiful garden

At the first time I heard that we need to love our plants, like talk to the leaves or even caress to make them growing well and blooming and giving us fruit. I thought it was weird and odd. How it is possible. Well they are living things although they don’t speak or move but perhaps they could sense affection and attention like human being.

Ritual on Tumpek Uduh

There is a tradition in Bali to do ceremony to plantation it is called Tumpek Uduh, it happens 25 days prior to the big day of Galungan. Balinese people who have trees like coconut, mango, banana, durian, avocado, and more will make special ritual for the trees hoping they will bear fruit for festive Galungan day.

Canang

Flower is integral part of ceremony to make canang. Balinese people believe that by putting used canang at the root the plants could make them blooming on rahinan days like full moon, dead moon, kajeng kliwon other special days. So then we can use them for ceremony.

Lately the rain falls everyday, so it is perfect time to grow my babies plants. I got some plants from my brother’s garden. He is a good gardener and has green hands.  i really want to have a little garden at my house.

The happiness of life

Putu, my brother and my nephew

Yesterday around three pm I and my family went to a beach close to our house. It was not too many people there because it was still too hot. They wait until the sun less hot to walk on the sand.

We got the shady place to lurk. Putu my sister-in-law’s niece was not patient to go down the water. She is only four years old, little and skinny, but she loves talking and not timid to talk with stranger so people like to chit-chat with her. Sometimes I think she is skinny because she is always talking. Her words often surprise me. She has a little face, a bit bigger than my palm, but she is pretty and sweet.

My nephew and my brother brought their fishing equipment. They love fishing. I stayed lurking out of the sun and watching people. A young couple came looking for a shady place. They were sitting close to me. The husband smiled at me, his wife holding their baby daughter.

They looked so happy. They brought food to eat. What a nice thing to do on the beach. The wife was looking around for used  plastic container for her daughter to play with sand. I guess the daughter is about less than two years old. What a happy couple having a cute healthy daughter. Her smooth chubby cheeks dominate her face. She spooned the sand and put it into the plastic container.

I mused how happy they look, realizing that happiness is easy and ordinary and surely most people could have it too. Either we are rich or not rich. This is how I see happiness when my mind is calm and being gratitude. But it is difficult to keep this thought all the time

I am not denied that I am often amazed by how wealthy people live and dreaming to be one of them one day. Seeing people in malls pushing trolly fully loaded with stuff, or eating in a fancy restaurant and driving an expensive car. They grab clothes without looking at the price, like money is longer problem. But I must think again and again if I just want to buy a book. How I envy their life.

But when I see this young couple on the beach, as if life reminds me that happiness could be owned whatever our life is. As long as we can be grateful and value what we have now. I often hear Balinese say I don’t mind being poor as long as I can smile. I think it’s too naive, to be honest I can’t smile when I don’t have money hehe. I often joke around with my friend, if you have much money your problem solved. Or if you have good looking half of your problem is disappear.

A colleague happened to say that the biggest happiness for her is to see her children happy. She has been working abroad, so she can give her children a better life. I did not understand what she meant at that time, but now I think I know a little bit.

A man I met at work told me once that he worked hard at the office, stressful and tired with his job. After a long day at work and then he went home and found his little son happily screaming daddy daddy…. Suddenly All of his exhausting and stressful faded away. The joy of his son welcomed  him home washed away all of his burden. He felt energize and glad being able to be with his family at the end of the day.

What about me? Could I be happy? I have read book and many articles about happiness. Happiness is a choice. Even though I am single and not rich I could be happy. Because happiness is not a thing, it is a state of the mind inside my head. If I can persuade my thought to be happy I will have it.

Nyepi day

Yesterday on Nyepi or silent day

I should not go out and snapped photo on Nyepi day. Because it is not allowed. There are four prohibitions on nyepi day, no working, no traveling, no fire, no consolation. We stay home and not going out or even we should fasting and reading Veda our holy book. But I never know someone who does all those things obediently except for priest maybe.

On Nyepi day this tiny island is shut down. Everything is closed including airport, no internet and no television.

Nyepi day last year and this year are different than usual. The pandemic has affected the world and also the tradition here. Ceremony in the temple is held in the very simple way because of the virus.

Ogoh ogoh

No ogoh ogoh the giant dolls and sure no way to parade them around the village. It feels sad but it is for good reason

I had been waiting this event so much when i was five years old. As a child i was easy to be pleased with ordinary things. Nyepi brought excitement and fun for me. I kept asking my mother as Nyepi was getting closer. She told me i had to sleep ten times then i would see Nyepi.

On Nyepi day i would awake very early in the morning, trying to hear the sound from the street, wondering whether people went out already. I poked my head out seeing the road that was still dark. Then i heard the bell was ringing from the bicycle.

Around six AM all children were roaming the road, riding bycicle, running around, sitting on the asphalt. Some were drawing on it with chalk and even they play soccer. Fathers were squating and holding their babies while chatting each others.

Canang

My sister went out brought a tray full of canang small offerings with incense that smoked of scent lingering around places. She put offering in the front of our house. Pray to God for salvation and healthiness.

Kulkul

Around the 8 AM the sound of kulkul, the wooden bell from community hall was echoing around village. Alerting people to return home and stayed inside.

Pecalang

Naughty villager like me looked out the street to see the situation. Street was empty. Only pecalang the village security were patrolling on the street, suggesting people to return home.

Around 5 PM the street would be full with people again. Kid, young, adult and old flocked on the street. A group of young boys were walking and joking around sometimes they teased the girls whom sitting on the road.

At the night villager went back home. People had dinner earlier before sunset. No lamp was on at night, the village became totally dark, blackout.

The next morning life returned to normal. People went out doing their life. The engine of vehicles buzzed on the street and the stores open and the planes flew again

It was Nyepi rolling on my childhood, ordinary but it absolutely made me happy. How i miss my childhood, many friends and cheerful.