New in Town-1

It's Jakarta

Why does the sky look different? The air is congested with hundred different smells. There a small place to eat next to a big garbage bin. The noise. Why does everyone have to yell? There's a pirated CD shop next to a Buddhist temple. Everyone, even those who are still learning to utter words, speaks up. Craving for attention? Perhaps. After all we were all crying when we first breathed the air.

I stood still. Trying my best to comprehend, to compromise, to understand, to bear with the complexities. 'Reverse culture shock is tricky' the psychologist once told me . I didn't argue. I wanted to. I know he's right. But I won't show it. I'm too old for blame game, even with a city which everyone has a love and hate relationship, even with a country where nothing seems to be working. And I'm too proud to victimize myself.

I gazed around. Trying to feel the rhythm. I had hope, I still do, though it's shrinking, that one day I could dance around with this city, not fight. But I know to do that, I have to compromise, to give up something, or even to give in?? Only, what are the things I need to sacrifice and let go? 'It's gonna be a big adjustment' he said. Is he adjusting too, at this moment? More and more I sense that what this city wants are the things I want to keep for myself.

I forced a smile. Trying to sympathise this city, its people. After all, they're just looking for happiness, for life, for reason to smile. What makes me different to them? It seems to me, every single space of this part of the earth is cultivated. There's a stubborn energy to keep on trying. 'I'm busy surviving, Clara' he said. Everyone is rushing, pushing, aiming, though with no purpose. Some with the power of money are getting there faster. But has anyone ever asked where are we going. What is the destination? Is it where we want to go? Is it where I want to go?


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