It’s silence Filling the air, Expanding time that kills With infinity and mystery.
This strand has threaded millions of pearls of breathing taken one by one. This is also a ribbon that goes miles and miles scripted with memories loaded with emotions.
There is one last pearl and there is a period. Only time knows at which point—
Only flowers can fill the gap while waiting. They are food and garnish at the same time, Bride and groom, Prayer and curse, Bright and pale, Symbolised and clarity, Birth and death, Duality in one bouquet.
This lounge feels alive With the flower arrangement sitting at the corner, Silently Accompanying everyone Waiting to depart.
Life is forever, crossing one bridge to another. Alfatihah.
I want to not eat But get full. My palate says “Go talk to the wall”.
My palate is greedy yet very loving and worth loving. It tells me to eat more tasty food although I’m not hungry. In Ramadhan it whispers to me, coaxing me to “collect good-looking food” on the day to reward my good deed through breakfast (ifthar). Damn good influencer!
Dear, Ms Palate. At least please support my weight loss program. 😚
Intoxicated Without drink, just dream of you. Sensing from afar— From a distance it is you. The true you? A perceived you?
I learn about fasting gradually, starting from child’s fasting to earn presents then knowing it as shoum then as shiyam. All refer to the same activity but have different level of loaded meanings. In Arabic when word is added with one letter, the type of word changes, the voice changes and the depth or load of meaning also changes. The word صوم (shoum) has three letters, while صيام (shiyam) consists of four letters. Therefore, the word shiyam has a deeper meaning than the word shoum. There are even some circles that distinguish the meaning of the two words.
The word shiyam means to refrain from things that cancel (eating, drinking, sexual intercourse) performed with good intention, while the word shoum means leaving things that cancel fasting or not talking. In the Quran the word shoum can be found when Maryam the mother of Prophet Isa (Jesus) intended to stop eating and talking after the birth of him. While shiyam can be found as an instruction to do fasting in Ramadhan month.
I wish my fasting flies to the place where even Angel Gabriel (Jibril) can’t go in then my fasting goes back bringing me better understanding of how a human being should serve the living.
Regret and sorry Not easy to feel and say, Yet flushing the guilt. Look! It’s rain water pouring On the roof, sweeps away dirt.
Ramadhan is starting tomorrow, it’s my 38th year in which I do full fasting. I’m so grateful with this achievement. Achievement? Yes! Imagine for one full month during the day we don’t drink, we don’t eat, we don’t smoke, we don’t sex, we don’t let out uncontrolled emotion, we simply hold whatever we normally let out easily with no delay. We are human beings though, we can do all those at night. Ahem!
As a Javanese Muslim welcoming Ramadhan is as special as the fasting itself. We welcome the Ramadhan with a small celebration called megengan which literally means holding (esp. the breath).
In megengan a Javanese family will deliver a basket of rice with dishes to neighbours and extended family members living separately. While each family can choose what they share, there is one must specialty in this occasional delivery so called “apem” in Javanese or “kue apam” in Bahasa Indonesia or Malay.
Apem is steamed cake whose ingredients are rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water, yeast, sago starch and some sugar.
The word apem is derived from the word “afwun” (an Arabic word) meaning apology. Why apology? In Ramadhan when a Muslim is fasting, s/he is not only holding her/himself from hunger, thirst, lust, uncontrolled anger, and exercising her/his integrity; but s/he is also recommended to contemplate her/his own “action records” for the past one year. It is not easy for one to bear the guilt during the contemplation, so it is recommended for a Muslim before Ramadhan to apologise to their family and friends or to whomever s/he did wrongdoing, to ease the contemplation process. As it might not be easy to say sorry through a naked word, Javanese Muslim will include a symbolic apology in the food called apem when they deliver the whole food package. Everyone knows what it is, what it does— it is up to each person whether or not to accept the apology. And there they go starting the fasting month with a light heart to physically, mentally and spiritually exercise her/himself for one full month.
I used to think that that celebration was a waste of food. For one week I used to see sooooo many plastic and bamboo baskets piled up in our dining table and shelves — all those megengan packages which would be eaten just a bit and end up given to our chickens at the back yard. Fyi, the apem is never wasted though as every family has different taste and ways of how to make their best apem – maybe it’s a symbol that everyone is taking the apology seriously. I used to say to my mom that megengan was more about chickens celebrating than human beings celebrating. However after I understand what is symbolised through those simple deliveries, I highly appreciate the way we Javanese hold the integrity through our humble tradition.
I used to tell my mother to not do it, but now I’ve always been a reminder to her to not forget doing it and done it myself although I’m living around those not familiar with this tradition. I normally cook some simple food for the cleaning ladies and the gardeners who are assigned in the block two days before Ramadhan. Unfortunately minus the apem, simply because I am not confident enough to make my own apem. Tried this year though and failed 🙃
I promise to myself that this year is gonna be a good Ramadhan.
Welcome, month of holding, month of exercising integrity. It might not be always easy but doable.
I’m sending out apology to all the people having felt hurt by me. I’m sorry with my heart and soul in naked words. 🙏🏼
Silent nights have come
To sit still and greet the heart.
Please forgive me, Love.
Ramadhan month is almost over. Many Muslim will spend the last 10 days of Ramadhan in the mosques. They focus on the zikr (remembrance) by enchanting attributes of God and reciting the Quran. They call it i’tikaf— literally meaning staying put or sitting still, commonly understood as retreat in the mosque to worship the God recommended at the last 10 days of Ramadhan. How beautiful those nights are!
How lucky people who have the time to spend with themselves and look in to their own inner journey.
I’m not a devoted one so I don’t do the i’tikaf anymore. For retreat I prefer attending discussion or meditation session or just being alone contemplating or just wandering at the nature.
I feel lucky that this past one year has been a kind of long retreat through the working from home during pandemic. I’ve got sufficient time to do what I missed doing for almost the past 12 years in which back to back trips were a cup of tea, and do it slowly with (sometimes not full) awareness.
Cooking own food, washing own clothes, cleaning the whole house alone, running or walking at the river bank, biking around midnight time, painting, singing out loud at lunch time, writing journals and blog, watering my plants and talking to them, and so on…. All thanks to working from home—
Thanks to Life for all those. Thanks for everything.
At the same time I made a series of mistakes to someone. Some things are misunderstood naturally. It’s gonna be ok. I hope Life forgives me and lets my journey be easier.