5 May 2014

Jakarta

Beggars crawled into their cardboard-box houses all in disarray under the bridges of the city I have lived and breathed in for nearly twenty years. Some of them may be praying, may be hoping in the midst of their arduous journey called life, filling their lungs with exhaustion and despair. Their little hearts are disillusioned by their clasps of hands raised above their foreheads; their never-ending teary nights calling out in faith for their fateful future. I remembered watching their seemingly trivial lives broadcasted on television.

There are those who are currently meandering around the city of my love. They strum their guitars, sometimes other ragged musical instruments are involved but most of the time, these people survive with mere claps of hands. Their jarring, barely mellifluous, raspy voices ring against our ears during our standstill, monotonous traffic encounters and even our two-minute traffic light wait. I enjoy seeing how some are truly empathetic and generous to these people, while others remain indifferent, barely noticing the figures that are peering into our cars that cost their fortune. Even one lifetime might be enough for them to afford one. 

How about those people sinking on their feeble legs and bodies on the perimeter of our loved ones’ resting places? In this enamoring city, a week before the fasting season of Ramadhan meant that these people would gather to find any form of fortune while we pray for our loved ones on their graves. The people by the graveyard forlornly wait for good luck, prosperity, happiness, which are some of the idealistic attributes that remain unattainable. Their lives wait upon those selfless beings that would stop and hand them what they desperately need in life. Even so, they wait upon miracles to shower over them.

They fill our lives from day and night; as their existence seem endless in the city I still love. They roam in between the interstices of the cars in the streets and motorcycles, mindless of other people’s criticisms and silent judges.

I loved my city; the smog that exasperates my lungs, the clamoring of masses in daily demonstrations that regularly thump my eardrums, the figures that inundate the streets, the soundless pedestrians during the night, the crannies of the bridges under of where our cars pass, and all the petty yet hopeful individuals that remain unseen within unknown vicinities.

I thought I loved my city the way these people did – but love for me, was not the same for them. It struck me of how petty I am too in comparison to those people around me – that’s when I realized my love for this city would not mean as much to them anyways.