actually, I prefer coming of age stories

This one might start off a bit weird. Last week, I got the chance to talk about quarter life crisis in a webinar. It was the first time I got to speak to a large audience after I graduated, and (not so) surprisingly I felt like it was harder to bear. I mean… the title behind your name holds another responsibility. It’s like… you’re somehow considered an “expert” in a way once you got your degree. You sound better than an undergraduate student, and you need to take responsibilities of whatever you speak out in public (until this moment, I still can’t fathom how people are able to easily speak about anything even when they’re not knowledgeable enough about it. I mean, I’ve studied for 4 years and I just feel dumber every waking hour… and I always feel like I need to watch out more of what I say and make sure I say the legit stuffs). So, in order to tackle these feelings, I dig more about quarter life crisis. I browsed and read some journal articles–I haven’t done that voluntarily in a while and honestly it felt great??? (no judgement here… just the love of learning kicking in HAHAHA)

Honestly, this quarter life crisis topic hits real close to home. And that fact surprisingly doesn’t make things easier for me. I thought, since it’s relatable for me, I’d be able to emphatize better with the participants, thus I’d be able to convey the message better. But really… it didn’t happen that way. It felt hard, maybe because it’s happening to me, and it’s not a nice feeling. Recalling all that stuffs makes me want to run away from them. But it needed to get done. And I got it done!

It took me a while, after reminiscing about the series of events that happened to realize that quarter life crisis itself kind of reminds me of another similar topic: coming of age. This thought came after I watched My Girl (1991) just recently this week. It’s been on my watch list for a while and I’m glad I made myself watch it (I’m not a big fan of movies. Weird, I know). I love it. I don’t know exactly why. I think it’s partly from the 70s setting. Or maybe from the wholesome friendship between Vada and Thomas J., since I’ve always found the concept of different sex friendship interesting (and perhaps, the possibilities around it as well). Or maybe… just largely the idea of coming of age which is the main theme of the movie. These kinds of movie don’t necessarily need a “main goal” to propel the story, they just go with the flow. We’re basically just brought to witness how the main character’s life unfolds, with several important moments highlighted, some character development, and that’s that. And I was highly entertained by it.

Now that I think of it, I’ve watched quite many coming of age themed movies. I greatly enjoyed The Baby-Sitters Club (2020) and I think it’s cool that I managed to finish watching an entire series. I enjoyed Umi ga Kikoeru (1993) too. And I’ve also told the world several times that I loved Little Women. It’s funny when I realized I actually enjoy watching the conflicts and whatnots of being a teenager, since being a teenager means dealing with some seemingly very childish issues. And I don’t like facing childish issues. Of course they’re considered as childish once you’re an adult; when you were a teenager, those were a big deal. Don’t forget about the angsty stuffs you used to get yourself in too, the whole nobody-understands-me drama.

I think, coming of age stories are also seen differently across cultures. When you take a look at Western movies, coming of age is mostly described as a phase when one transitions from a child to a teenager (or maybe this is just my references). The first of many things–menstruation, childhood sweetheart, loss, etc. While Japanese movies (and manga) usually center around the dynamic of high school life. You’re a teenager already, and you’re faced with many things as you walk into adulthood. Another distinct feature is that, the Japanese media usually portray teenagers learning about life by themselves–taking notes from their friends, mostly. Whereas the Western usually involve adult figures (or familial figures) who will “guide” the character throughout their journey. Maybe the difference is due to the different age range as well, but I think each of them is an interesting take on coming of age.

The real question now; how does quarter life crisis remind me of coming of age? They’re two totally different situations. They obviously happen at different times in your life. But I think, both of them are comparable in a way. Both of them involve a certain degree of crisis. It’s just… the way things rolling out that are different. Coming of age is more about exploring more possibilities in your life. It’s about learning to deal with something that’s once strange to you. You’re confused, but you’re excited. But quarter life crisis is… pure crisis… it’s more about feeling trapped and scared of what’s yet to come. You’re somehow less excited about growing up. You’re being hit by the bitter truth of reality. And often times, you don’t want to take that dose of bitterness in life.

Another difference… just like what I’ve mentioned before, coming of age stories usually have these “adult figures”. I like to refer to them as “cool” adult characters who seemed like they never forget how it’s like to be a teenager so they can gently knock the window through the main character’s heart. This could be anyone–their parents (if they’re lucky enough), weird neighbor, teacher, trustee librarian, some random person they meet during the weirdest time in life, or in some cases, their soon-to-be stepparents. This “mentor” figure would usually help the main character to deal with life. While during quarter life crisis… you’ll usually struggle alone. Or with your friends (so it’s troubled people helping out other troubled people HAHAH). Well, you might learn something from… the Internet. Or somewhere else. But you have to get it by yourself, you can’t really have someone to be there and teach you about life and boom, suddenly all the problems seem so far away. That’s one very realistic way to see adulting, I think.

I know many quarter life crisis themed movies and series have started to emerge. I’ve almost never watched them, actually. And to be frank, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed watching something about quarter life crisis. I thought I would enjoy it, though… or at least, I would benefit from watching it since most of the time, coping with this so-called early adulthood crisis is really hard and I feel like I need a hand. But instead of doing that, I find comfort in coming of age stories. I wonder if I’m actually regressing to a previous stage in my life to cope with this crisis…

I honestly still think it’s weird for me to choose to run away from something that’s relatable. Maybe, I learn that relatable things don’t always comfort you, sometimes they attack you (since they’re too close to you). Even when it’s uncomfortable, it’s not that it’s unmanageable, though. One of the major takes in my previous webinar is that quarter life crisis can be seen differently. Crisis can actually play the role as a trigger to make you reconsider things in your life, thus motivating you to rethink your decisions, as well as getting you to learn about yourself more. Crisis can be a waking call. Quite the same thing happened too during your coming of age, but perhaps, quarter life crisis is just less exciting. It’s okay to lose excitement (it sucks anyway!). But it’s manageable. And the choice is all yours.

(I’d still choose coming of age stories, though. I’m not still really sure why, but at least I know they’re more fun.)

P.S. I haven’t written anything in a while, so it’s hard to get these out of my mind. But this actually feels good.

as I grow up, I realize that actually I don’t identify myself as Jo March, but…

I grow up reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. It’s one of my all-time favorite series (yes, it has several installments!); for me, it just gets better every time I read it. It feels like I always learn something new about the universe. I don’t experience this kind of feeling often, I think… the last book to ever give me this feeling is Totto-chan: The Little Girl at The Window (Tetsuko Kuroyanagi). And I can’t recall anything else, honestly.

I don’t think I read the “original” copy, because mine is a graphic novel version (it has both narration and comic inside) crafted especially for children by a local publisher, and of course has been translated to Bahasa. While for the first sequel, Good Wives, I managed to get a copy that is quite close to the original one, even though it’s translated as well. And lucky me, for the two last sequels, Little Men and Jo’s Boys, I got the original copies (in a much, much, cheaper price as well…)! I’m still finishing them, so I don’t have much to say about them, but as far as I know, I’m enjoying every pages of it.

I think, it’s really understandable that as a teenager, almost everyone thinks that out of the four March sisters–Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy–they resonate the most with Jo. Well, I too, was a part of that almost everyone. And it wasn’t a hasty decision. We used to share the same fondness of literature, despise for traditionally feminine clothes, wish to defy almost all societal norms that require us to behave in such constructed manner that is not-so-like ourselves, hate of small talks, level of egocentricity, idealism, and the list can go on…

Jo March is obviously the main character of the whole installments, and I’m fully aware that she is crafted to represent, to embrace all the qualities many young women (especially, the target readers of the book) have, which they are not really comfortable in expressing vocally since most of them are against the traditional gender role. And as I know better about the author herself, she was also said to design Jo’s character mainly based on herself (well, all of these kinda make sense, right). But, what I didn’t really notice back then, is how Jo tended to overshadow the other March girls. How many of Jo’s antics were depicted as understandable and reasonable, and how it seemed like only Jo’s ideas matter, just because they are revolutionary, they are relatable for many people. If you only read Little Women, most likely, these are the image of the other March sisters that you have in mind: Meg, the one who choose to stick to the traditional gender role, the mature one who’s down to marry for the sake of love and be a good housewife; Beth, the quiet music prodigy who’s always selfless for everyone, the one who’s so weak that she seems like she’s about to die anytime; and Amy, the artistic yet childish one, the one who’s heard less compared to her sisters.

These judgements were swept off once I stumbled upon Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women (2019). Many praised it for being able to break down all the stigmas we used to have regarding the other March sisters. All of them are seen more humane, as their motives for doing what they believe in are presented really well. You can actually relate to everyone. Meg’s dream to settle down as a housewife matters too, because it’s her choice. And she owns up to every consequences that are born from the decision to solely marry out of love; she thrives from overcoming all the obstacles in her marriage with Brooke (this is depicted largely in the latter books as well). Beth is not just a “supporting character”, as she is a keen observer, she makes the family sticks together, and all of her decisions are based on very thoughtful considerations. And Amy–oh my God, she has a major character development! Contrary to the popular belief, Amy is actually one of the most mature sisters. She knows what she wants, and she’s willing to pursue it, but she realizes that she has to be realistic as well. She calculates everything, she blends well with the society (because she knows that it’s one of the way for her to be able to live comfortably, realistically), she’s basically the epitome of a balance between idealism and pragmatism (at least for me, haha). I love that here, every March sisters get their own spotlight. Because they all deserve it.

And that being said, I strangely relate to Amy more than Jo these days. Well, I think I’m both Jo and Amy, HAHA. It’s undeniable that Jo and I share many traits and quirks (it’s even funnier that we both pursue our passion in education, as Jo is shown running a school in the latter installments), but now I realize that I start to live my life more like Amy. Which is not a bad thing at all. I learn that doing small talks and trying to fit in the society isn’t the same as not being true to ourselves; it’s just how we put ourselves together, how we treat other people with respect as part of the society. After all, we’ll always need other people, eh? I also learn about how we need to be more realistic at times to make all ends meet, but at the same time, we don’t wanna lose all the fun (of pursuing our dream) as well. Or to put it more bluntly, Amy reminds me of how we need money to be able to live comfortably HAHAHA.

I think, Amy is for my more realistic take on life, while Jo is for a part of myself who wants to stand up for everything I believe in, and for (how I wish I’ll always have) the burning passion in doing things. And both Amy and Jo are living their own happy, fulfilling, and overlapping lives (as they’ll always be sisters, and as Amy ended up marrying Jo’s bestest best friend Laurie), which is also one part of myself that longs for that kind of life.

Aaaand… It’s a bit unrelated, but while we’re at it, let’s also talk about Laurie! I’ve always had this interest towards the “best friend” trope (or maybe, the “childhood friend”, or the “best friends become lovers”, or whatever) in books and movies. So naturally, once I learn about the dynamics between Jo and Laurie, I have always been more than excited to see more developments from them. I truly root for them to be together romantically, as Laurie has consistently shown interests for Jo throughout the story. At some point, he even proposed to Jo, to which Jo said no.

I have to tell everyone that I was really upset about this. Like, heck, you guys are best friends, you understand each other the best, so you guys should’ve been compatible af! You guys can settle down into a long lasting relationship with the person you can give your absolute trust to, but you choose not to. And I really didn’t understand. As far as I remember, in Good Wives, Jo said that she denied the proposal because “Laurie and her are too similar in many things, so they don’t fit to be together”.

I still didn’t understand. I also didn’t understand why Laurie married Amy instead. I opposed their relationship, with the utmost distaste, back then (I sound like a hardcore fan, but I think I really did).

But I start to understand more of why they “just don’t fit to be together”, as I approach the end of the installments. Well, they sure feel it’s always nice to be around each other, but that only, doesn’t make them compatible for each other, in terms of romantic relationship. Sometimes what’s needed is a complementary role, which they don’t have in many things. Another good example would be this one. Jo has always been said to want someone who can always challenge her beliefs, while with Laurie, with whom she shares many same ideas, the relationship would be just lurking in her comfort zone. Which is the opposite of what she longs for. And even though them being strikingly similar, they still have disagreements upon many important things, some of which could affect how they pursue their marriage life. Or to put it shortly, just having different values in life.

Sooo I get over my heartbreak. And actually, seeing how Jo and Laurie interact as they progress in their own lives gives me another insight. Of how their love for each other is the kind of love that… transcends. Throughout their lives, they stay real close to each other and give supports in whichever way they prefer. They (or maybe, just Laurie, I don’t know) simply learn to choose what’s best for themselves, rather than submitting to a mere desire to be involved romantically. They (again, maybe only Laurie) learn that they have a choice in love. In the end, Jo married Professor Bhaer instead, which was a choice she made because she thought they can actually complement each other.

I learn a lot from this, too, as I have always been a hopeless romantic who dreams to live happily ever after with her best friend (HAHAHA). I learn that it’s okay to not end up with the person you enjoy being with the most, because you know yourself better. You know what or who can bring greater good for yourself, that can suit your needs more. I also learn that you can love someone in many ways, even the most unthinkable ones, and that you shouldn’t be only fixated to the idea of romantic love. That every kind of good love is worth celebrated. And this just shows how Jo’s character development is also my character development in… some ways (I truly can’t separate her from my coming of age journey, thus I can’t choose between Jo and Amy).

Yeah. Now I really think I’m both Jo and Amy. And I still really think that Little Women just gets better every time you think about it, for as I come to know each March sisters better, I learn about myself more.

(star-crossed) lovers

“Hear, hear. I really care about you. I love you, but there’s no more beyond platonic love.”

“How is a platonic love supposed to be?”

“I want to be the one cheering you the loudest in the front row when you finally get that award. I want to always help you with all the resources that I have. I want to do active listening whenever you need to ease that burden of yours. I want you to be happy. I want you to lead a fulfilling life. In some years in the future, you could be talking about how you’re about to marry your dream girl–after all these time!–and I still want to listen to that story.

And if those aren’t enough, I want you to be okay. Just okay would be great.”

“And sane,” you chuckled.

“Sane definitely means okay. But I don’t know if that also means not lonely.”

“Huh…”

“Since we’re in to this depth already, wouldn’t you just tell me how you feel about me as well?”

“Are you that curious?” you smirked.

“Yeah, what would sound better than confessing your feelings in a quiet place like this, beneath the starry night, and with just the two of us? You won’t be here every day.” You laughed.

“Well… okay. I think I love you, too.”

“As in…?”

“As in… the kind of love that makes you want to do romantic things.” Here it goes again…

“Are you sure you don’t just… like me, in a way where you also want to do romantic things with me?”

“How would that be different, though, like and love?”

“I could dream of doing romantic things with anyone I’m interested in. I could do that with my young lecturer who actually has married with two kids but not everyone knows about that. I could do that with my favorite Mr. Darcy, the one who starred in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film. Well, since I like them. I wouldn’t give out anything to be in that position, but I would love to be in that position.

While loving, it takes all your heart out. And you don’t ask for anything in return. I can’t love, I can’t care about everyone.”

“And you care about me?”

“Yeah, dumbass. And because I care about you, I want you to rethink again what you really mean by your way of loving with romantic tendencies. You can dream about that with as many girls that you want, just like how you used to do.”

“Hey, I’m not a person like that!

…Uh, maybe you’re right. Maybe I am.”

“You’re really annoying.”

“But you love me this way, don’t you?”

“You’re really annoying.”

“The most important thing is that you love me.”

“When you die, from whatever causes–be it your stupidity or other’s stupidity–I will write a very short obituary of how you were annoying in your whole life. Then I will wish you to rest in peace.”

“That would only come from someone who loves me.”

Tentang Atheis

Beberapa hari ke belakang, novel Atheis karya Achdiat Karta Mihardja ini jadi commuting friend gue. Gue cuma berpikir daripada gue main HP di kereta dan buang-buang kuota, mending perjalanan masing-masing setengah jam itu gue pakai buat kegiatan yang lebih berfaedah alias membaca (kalau dilakukan rutin terdengar sangat ideal ya, sayangnya gue lebih sering tidur berdiri daripada beneran baca kayaknya). Sebelum Atheis ini, commuting friend gue adalah Chinese Cinderella (Adeline Yen Mah).

Gue nggak bisa jelasin betapa senengnya gue pas nemu novel ini di antara selipan buku-buku bekas lain di Blok M Square; gue sampai lupa pernah sebegitu pengennya buku ini! Gue pertama tahu Atheis itu waktu SMA karena sering disebut-sebut berdampingan dengan karya-karya terbitan Balai Pustaka lain seperti Salah Asuhan, Sengsara Membawa Nikmat, dll. Kalau nggak salah ingat, dulu kayaknya sempet ada terbersit pakai novel Atheis juga buat referensi tugas kuliah tapi nggak jadi karena kurang relevan (tugas apa ya coba, jangan-jangan matkul Agama WKWKWK) (dulu gue pernah bikin tugas Agama terus referensinya malah dari buku filsafat, anaknya emang kadang gitu). Akhirnya gue baru berkesempatan buat baca buku ini sekarang.

Kalau orang lihat sampulnya mungkin bakal sedikit curigaan karena font-nya yang “seram”, ditambah lagi ada bercak-bercak darahnya segala (biar apa? Entah, hanya Tuhan dan desainernya yang tahu). Sering juga novel ini disangka buku nonfiksi. Terlepas dari seberapa provokatifnya sampul dan judul novel, let me tell you something: this isn’t (just) about being an atheist.

Ketimbang menghasut orang untuk jadi atheis, novel ini mengatakan sesuatu yang berlawanan; kalau orang harus beragama. Lebih spesifiknya, dia cerita tentang salah satu fungsi agama, yakni, sebagai kontrol sosial. Nggak semua orang punya cukup akal sehat untuk dilepas di masyarakat tanpa pegangan. Percayalah, di novel ini mayoritas karakternya menyebalkan dan hampir nggak berhak diberi simpati… Bahkan karakter utamanya sekalipun😂

Masuk ke bagian spiritualnya, novel ini menyoroti perkembangan karakter tokoh Hasan mengenai pandangannya terhadap Tuhan dan agama. Selama baca, gue cuma bisa menyimpulkan isi novel dalam satu kalimat, gini deh jadinya orang beragama nggak pake mikir. Salah satu basis agama adalah kepercayaan, tapi logika juga main peran di sana. Oke, kalau logika terasa terlalu scientific, kita pakai istilah pemahaman, deh. Ada alasan tertentu mengapa harus begini dan begitu dalam agama dan kita butuh pemahaman buat bisa menjalankannya dengan baik. Apalagi saat kita mencoba berdakwah atau mempertahankan ideologi kita. Kita mungkin tidak akan pernah bisa sepenuhnya sampai pada pemahaman dari sudut pandang Tuhan sendiri, tapi setidaknya kita paham betul mengenai apa yang selama ini kita jalani.

Masuk ke struktur, hal yang gue suka adalah pembukaan novelnya. Novel langsung dibuka dengan gebrakan bahwa tokoh Hasan dikabarkan meninggal, lalu tokoh Kartini menangis karena kabar tersebut. Siapa Hasan? Siapa Kartini? Saat kita membaca lebih jauh, perlahan diungkap bahwa Hasan adalah orang yang sangat religius-konservatif sementara Kartini adalah perempuan liberal yang radikal. Nah, jadi Hasan bakal jadi atheis atau gimana? Gimana perkembangan karakternya? Mengapa Hasan meninggal? Rasa penasaran ini terus mengikuti gue sejak awal cerita (dan sukses membuat gue menamatkan cerita).

Kalau dari segi bahasa, novel ini masih ditulis tidak sesuai dengan kaidah PUEBI yang sekarang. Gue rasa, ini termasuk salah satu faktor yang bikin gue bosan di awalnya, soalnya jadi bertele-tele dan bikin pusing. Tapi makin ke belakang makin seru, klimaksnya dapet banget. Selain itu, gue suka pemilihan katanya yang seringkali malah bikin gue ketawa. Ada bagian ketika Hasan dan Rusli (yang oleh Hasan dijuluki si atheis) dijamu oleh Kartini di rumahnya dan mereka makan sangat banyak. Achdiat menulis, “yang satu makan seperti kaum proletar sementara satunya makan seperti fakir miskin yang tidak diurus”. You can guess which one is which 😂

Selesai membaca Atheis, gue bergumam pada diri sendiri kalau ini adalah “buku yang baik”. Sepanjang tahun 2018, gue cuma bilang seperti itu ke novel Semua Ikan di Langit (Ziggy Z.). Sama-sama ngomongin Tuhan, cuma yang satunya lebih abstrak aja hahaha. Gue nggak pernah tahu butuh buku semacam ini, mungkin gue baru sadar setelahnya kalau gue memang butuh “kenalan” lagi sama Tuhan.

Selain mengenalkan, novel ini juga memberi tamparan telak, sih. Gue rasa juga bisa diaplikasikan ke agama secara general meskipun konteks di novelnya adalah agama Islam. Jadi, mungkin ada baiknya dipikir lagi, selama ini kita beragama hanya sampai di ujung lidah atau sudah sampai ke pikiran?

tale of uncertainty

just when i think that
crystal clear state of mind
and understanding
will put things at ease

the Universe slows down
to make sure we get things
on our hands
but grants us with nothing
figured out

so, I allow fate to take me to places
and surprise me with
another possibilities
“the Universe must be joking,” I once said
but honestly, I don’t mind
and I laugh along

for the first time, uncertainty
feels
bearable
to me.

permisi, saya mau menari dengan kamu

Iseng-isengnya Gita & Handaru ep. 1
(interpretasi dari lagu berjudul sama oleh Hidego Handaru)

Nona, bagaimana kalau satu dansa selepas kelas sore nanti?
Sebab saya lihat wajahmu tak terusik
meski bergerak kaki tanpa henti
Tak perlu gaun dan sepatu rapi
Cukup telanjang kaki
Dan sebuah tempo di sanubari

Nona, katamu tak perlu ada musik berdendang?
Ujarmu, Tuhan bertutur lagu lewat binar bulan
dan remah bintang
Maka, kalau malam sudah menjelang
Siapa lagi yang bisa larang
kita berjalan seiring di jalan lapang
Berhenti di bawah lampu taman
lalu saling merengkuh pinggang

Nona, kalau malam sudah usai
Apa semua jejak,
gerak,
dan pijak
akan jadi masai?
Atau kenangannya terburai?
Tukasmu, masih ada hari esok,
lusa,
dan seribu tahun lagi
Maka, sekali lagi saya bilang permisi
Bersamamu, saya ingin menari

 

 

2 a.m. talk

“Halo?”

“Tumben lu bangun jam segini. Apa emang nggak tidur? Atau mimpi buruk?” cerocosnya.

“Nggak sih… kebangun aja,” ujarku sambil memijat kepalaku sendiri. Beberapa kali malam mengetuk benak yang kutinggalkan saat lelap dan beberapa kali pula aku jadi terjaga. Tapi, ini adalah kali pertama aku tanpa pikir panjang memutuskan untuk menghubunginya dini hari.

“Oh, gitu.”

“Ngapain lu bangun jam segini?”

“It’s indomi o’clock,” tukasnya santai. Jika lebih serius mendengarnya, memang ada sayup-sayup denting garpu pada panci dan bunyi air yang menggelegak berbuih-buih.

“Jam 2 pagi Mbak, bukan jam indomi.”

“Jam 2 pagi di waktu gue sedang membuat indomi. Alias jam indomi. Fair enough.”

“Buset, perasaan baru dua hari yang lalu makan indomi.”

“Ya… nggak papa!” sambungnya dengan suara tawa. Ia terdengar malas mencari pembenaran lagi, namun di saat yang sama mengakui bahwa makan mi instan terlalu sering memang tidak baik.

“Kalau ngekost jadinya every time is indomi o’clock, ya.”

“Nggak, lah. Lu kira gue maniak indomi.”

You sure sound like you are.”

“Hu-uh, terserah, deh.” Aku dapat mendengarnya mematikan kompor, lalu menuangkan isi panci ke atas mangkuk–atau piring. “Bentar, ye.”

Sesuai katanya, aku menunggu. Mendengar ia berjalan, meletakkan mangkuk–atau piring–di atas meja, lalu menarik kursi. Sejurus kemudian, terdengar suara lain, sepertinya suara suapan mi ke dalam mulutnya.

“Enak, ya?” godaku.

“Banget. Eh, sori yak, nggak bisa bagi-bagi. Daripada lo dengerin gue makan doang, mending lo cerita apa, kek. Gue dengerin deh, sampe mi gue habis. Sampe gue ngantuk juga kalau perlu.”

“Berarti cerita gue bikin bosen, ya? Bisa sampai ngantuk,” selorohku sambil memutar otak, mencari sesuatu yang dapat kuceritakan.

“Nggak, suara lo meninabobokan soalnya. Hahaha.”

“Yee. Dasar. Ngomong-ngomong, gue nggak punya cerita. Lo mau denger gue main harmonika aja, nggak?”

“Dengan senang hati.”

Aku meraih harmonika yang kusimpan di laci mejaku. Sebenarnya, sama sekali tak terpikir olehku untuk bermain harmonika, namun tiba-tiba ada serentetan nada yang mengusikku. Sambil mengepit instrumen itu di mulutku, aku meletakkan ponselku di depan mulutku lalu mulai bermain.

“Gimana?”

“Kayak jingle susu murni yang  suka lewat di jalanan, hahaha!” tawanya.

“Kurang ajar,” tukasku masam.

“Nggak sih, sebenernya nggak kayak jingle itu. Gue cuma bingung aja harus mendeskripsikannya gimana. Soalnya… aneh, ya, aneh. Aneh kayak rombongan sirkus keliling di dongeng-dongeng, jam tua yang berdentang tiga belas kali tapi hanya di waktu tertentu, halaman-halaman tersembunyi di deep web… ya… aneh, The.”

“Oh ya?” aku tertawa kecil mendengarnya. Ia selalu punya cukup banyak metafora untuk menggambarkan situasi apa pun; cukup banyak untuk selalu membuatku tercengang akan seberapa liar isi kepalanya.

“Ya…” Ia tertawa mengekor, sepertinya tak yakin harus tertawa karena apa namun ingin tertawa saja mendengar tawaku. “Dari mana tuh memang, inspirasinya?”

“Dari beberapa saat setelah pembicaraan kita berlangsung.”

“Ooo. Berarti, kita aneh, ya.”

“Itu pertanyaan atau pernyataan?”

“Pernyataan,” tawanya.

“Ya… mungkin itu ada benarnya. Tapi gue lebih suka bilang kalau kita hampir selalu terjebak dalam situasi-situasi aneh. Buktinya, keseluruhan isi pembicaraan kita sekarang aja aneh.”

“Tapi lo menikmatinya, kan?” godanya. “…seperti gue menikmati menjadi aneh bersama lo,” imbuhnya lagi.

“Tentu, lah. Siapa bilang gue nggak suka?”

“Memang ya, Tuhan bekerja dengan cara yang aneh. Dia menjadikan keanehan sebagai hal yang melekatkan kita.

Yang mana… aneh juga, tapi surprisingly, I don’t mind. Oh, look, the abundance of ‘aneh’ here.”

“Ya. Gue menikmati setiap situasi aneh bersama lo, Stara.” Aku senang menyebutkan nama depannya dan selalu mencari momen yang pas untuk mengatakannya.

Ia tertawa terbahak-bahak. “Me too, Artheo. Me too.”

Panggilan masih tersambung, namun kami diam selama beberapa saat. Setiap kali hendak berbicara, yang mampu keluar hanya dengusan yang berujung tawa.

Akhirnya, ia buka suara lagi, “Theo, lu bisa main harmonika pakai hidung, nggak?”

JKT48 for dummies

 

Ketika kemarin gue cerita lagi nonton teater JKT48 (dari sini kita sebut “teateran”), orang-orang pada heboh bertanya. Sebenernya nggak tau juga antara mau ngehina gue atau emang penasaran, tapi intinya penasaran kan? :)) entri ini gue dedikasikan buat semua orang yang mau tau sebenernya apa yang terjadi saat lagi teateran, entah nggak bisa ke sana karena jauh atau gengsi.

Pada dasarnya gue nggak pernah menganggap wota (fans JKT48) itu jijik atau gimana soalnya sahabat gue (cewek) sendiri itu wota. Waktu SMA cuma suka latah soalnya ada temen gue (sorry, Jal) yang suka diceng-cengin karena wota sama temen-temennya yang lain. Itupun yang dikatain dia doang. Nah, sejak gue kuliah dan ketemu lingkungan yang lebih open minded dan judgement-free, gue jadi seneng mengeksplor hal-hal baru (tentunya yang tidak membahayakan). Gue juga ketemu sama seorang temen yang kebetulan ngerti banget tentang JKT48 (bahkan dia dulu sempet ikut audisinya), jadi pandangan gue terhadap JKT48 semakin berubah. Gue percaya semua orang punya dan butuh media katarsis dan kalau memang teateran adalah katarsis mereka, who am I to judge? Meskipun semua hal yang berlebihan ndak baik, hehe. Jadilah, kemarin gue ke sana dalam rangka nyobain katarsisnya temen gue.

Tadinya dia mau beliin gue tiket pakai akunnya dan bayar pakai poin (sistemnya kayak beli saldo), tapi karena dia udah beli duluan, akhirnya gue harus beli sendiri. Dan karena gue baru sampai di fX jam lima sementara ticket booth udah buka dari jam tiga atau empat (I seriously forgot), temen gue yang luar biasa ini berjuang membelikan gue tiket (gue yakin semua usaha itu sebenernya propaganda buat menjadikan gue wota, thanks) (gadeng). Jadi sebenernya, mekanisme pembelian tiket on the spot itu adalah siapa yang mau nonton, dia yang harus beli tiket sendiri. Lo harus nunjukin muka lo sendiri beserta tanda pengenal lo di situ. Nah, temen gue ini entah gimana caranya menang berantem lawan mbak-mbak ticketing-nya dan berhasil mendapatkan tiket buat gue (meski pas nyampe, gue langsung diseret buat nunjukin KTP di loket). Terharu…

Acara mulai jam 19.00, tapi di depan teater udah mulai padat dari jam 18.30. Mengapa padat? Nah, di sini serunya. Jadi, di setiap tiket itu ada yang namanya nomor bingo. Nomor bingo gue kemaren 1, tapi bukan cuma gue doang yang nomornya 1. Temen gue dan beberapa orang lain juga nomor 1.  Jadi kayak rombongan. Di layar LCD, ada pengundian nomor bingo yang menentukan urutan lo masuk ke teater. Semakin cepet masuk, semakin bisa milih kursi. That’s why kesempatan duduk yang beli OTS sama kayak yang pesen online. Ini juga menjelaskan mengapa ada orang yang udah pesen online tapi harus berdiri (meski ada yang emang lebih suka berdiri), itu karena nomor bingo mereka dipanggilnya belakangan.  (ya, jadi sekarang kalian bisa membayangkan rombongan yang teriak-teriak pas nomor bingonya dipanggil duluan) Ngomong-ngomong, tiket teater ada yang warna biru dan warna hijau. Biru itu khusus buat laki-laki, kalau hijau yang campuran. Pas nomor bingo diundi, yang dipanggil pertama itu yang tiket warna biru.

Oiya, ada baiknya kalian menyimak obrolan gue dengan temen gue.

“Ini kita mau nonton apa, sih?”

“Nonton apanya?”

“Ya ini. Tim KIII.”

“Iya Git, jadi hari ini yang tampil tim KIII.”

“Terus BELIEVE ini apa?”

“Itu setlist-nya. Kayak kumpulan lagu. Satu setlist ada sekitar dua puluh lagu.”

“Oh, gitu.” Dan temen gue terdengar kayak dia mau membocorkan semuanya tapi merasa kalau itu harusnya dibiarin jadi surprise aja.

*

Pas kita di dalam ruangan, gue baru tahu kalau ternyata ruangannya relatif kecil. Bahkan, nggak sampai sebesar aula gedung D Psikologi UI karena jarak kursi penontonnya rapat. Panggungnya juga nggak terlalu tinggi, tapi dari posisi gue duduk pun semua member masih bisa terlihat wajahnya. Di depan, ada layar yang menampilkan video klip lagu-lagu terbaru JKT48.

Gue dan temen gue duduk di tengah agak ke belakang di barisan kursi hijau. Menurut temen gue, di depan kita ada keluarganya salah satu member (Ayana, kalau nggak salah). Gue juga mengamati bahwa banyak banget laki-laki paruh baya kantoran (terlihat dari batik mereka, karena kemarin hari Jumat) di situ. Selain WNI, ada juga beberapa orang Jepang (yang juga om-om dan bapak-bapak). Kata temen gue, orang-orang Jepang itu dulunya fans AKB48 dan saat ketemu JKT48, mereka cocok sama performance-nya. Nggak hanya laki-laki, ada juga perempuan yang nonton. Salah duanya ada di belakang kita dan berisik banget. Pas oshi (member yang difavoritkan) dia muncul, dia teriak-teriak. Pas member yang dia nggak suka muncul, dikata-katain. Oh, dan mungkin kalian bertanya, mana lightstick-nya? Ternyata, pas gue ke sana yang bawa lightstick cuma sedikit. Gue kira sampe heboh gitu kan lautan lightstick (mungkin itu di konsernya).

Oke. Berikutnya, yang gue tahu adalah layar tiba-tiba digulung ke atas lalu terdengar suara salah satu member dan SEMUA ORANG TERIAK, di situ gue mulai panik dan merasa “gue ngapain di sini”. Lalu member tim KIII bermunculan di atas panggung dan semua orang mulai nge-chant, meneriakkan nama oshi mereka, dan menggoyang-goyangkan lightstick. Gue nengok hanya untuk mendapati temen gue langsung terbawa nge-chant juga, di situ gue mau nangis. Sumpah, dia nge-chant nggak seheboh rombongan lain tapi kayak ada di dalem dunianya sendiri gitu. Dia bisa nge-chant sekarang :’)

Dan buat kalian yang bingung chant itu bunyinya gimana, ini ada cuplikan chat gue dengan temen gue.

Gausah ngajak-ngajak 😦

*

Teater JKT48 adalah pertunjukan yang sangat intense dan melibatkan berbagai gerakan high-impact. Tiap mereka tampil itu bisa ngebawain tiga lagu sekaligus sebelum satu-satu member undur diri buat persiapan lagu setelahnya. Staminanya hebat banget! Gue ngeliatin temen-temen gue latihan hampir tiap hari pas produksi teater musikal dan, ya… kira-kira se-intense itu latihannya. Terus, habis beberapa lagu pertama, ada sesi MC (ngobrol-ngobrol syantik dengan member) yang dimaksudkan sebagai transisi. Gue salut banget di sini, konsep ini membuat penonton nggak “dianggurin” cuma karena mereka mau istirahat. Dalam sesi MC ini, mereka keluarnya gantian perbaris. Oh, dan tim KIII sendiri isinya sebenernya nggak cuma enam belas orang. Tapi, yang tampil di setiap pertunjukan memang hanya enam belas orang. Jadi kayak digilir setiap tampil. Menurut temen gue, hari itu banyak member top yang tampil.

Berikutnya, setelah semua member keluar dari panggung, mulailah beberapa member bergiliran masuk untuk membawakan lagu-lagu unit (lagu yang dinyanyikan sekelompok member). Kalau ditanya, gue suka apa enggak lagu-lagunya? Pada dasarnya gue menikmati semua lagu yang menurut gue enak. Jauh sebelum JKT48, gue udah suka lagu-lagu Jepang karena progresinya unik. Lagu JKT48 sendiri adalah adaptasi dari lagu-lagu AKB48 (yang menjelaskan kenapa lo akan menemukan lagu-lagu berjudul aneh semacam Fortune Cookies yang Mencinta atau Musim Panas Sounds Good). Menurut gue lagu-lagunya cukup enjoyable, terlepas dari seberapa aneh liriknya. Lagu favorit gue kemaren adalah 7ji 12fun no Hatsukoi alias Cinta Pertama di Jam 7 Lewat 12 (thanks to kemampuan terjemahan dan ilmu wota temen gue). Di antara semua lagu, cuma lagu itu yang berhasil bikin perasaan heartwarming pada gue.  FYI, temen gue itu hapal hampir seisi setlist. Gue udah cukup banyak facepalm ngeliatin dia nyanyi.

Mari kita lanjut. Oshi temen gue sendiri adalah Cindy Yuvia atau Yupi dan ternyata, Yupi ini termasuk top member yang digadang-gadang di tim KIII, salah satunya karena fans-nya banyak. Buktinya, dia selalu ditaruh di tengah.  Selain Yupi, ada juga Ayana dan Shani (hehehe gue paling suka dia) yang masuk top three member tim KIII. Bisa terdengar, pas mereka sesi MC, banyak yang pada teriak-teriak. “Shani kawaii!” atau “Shani, daisukiii!”

Meskipun Shani banyak yang suka, dia masih belum pernah dapet peringkat di Senbatsu Sousenkyo (SSK). SSK itu adalah ajang voting member terpopuler tahunan dari seluruh generasi. Member-member yang ada di peringkat 32 teratas berhak untuk jadi line up lagu terbaru JKT48 (peringkat 1-16 disebutnya “senbatsu”, kalau 17-32 “undergirls”. Masing-masing dapat lagu sendiri, biasanya sekali rilis ada dua lagu yang line up-nya dari hasil SSK). Semua member punya kesempatan yang sama buat menang SSK, meskipun dia generasi baru tapi udah menonjol dan terkenal, bisa aja langsung menang SSK.

*

Seinget gue, dari keseluruhan pertunjukan, cuma ada sekitar sepuluh menit saat panggung bener-bener kosong. Di situ semua penonton pada teriak-teriak, “Ankoruuu! Ankoruuu!”

“Ankoru apaan?”

Encore. Itu maksudnya kayak ‘we want more’ gitu.” Ya Allah, baru masuk udah disuruh naik lagi:(

Dan di akhir pertunjukan, ada yang menarik. Ada sesi pengumuman dan apresiasi MVP, di mana orang yang menjadi MVP akan dipanggil ke depan lalu diajak bincang-bincang lucu dengan member dan diberi kaus JKT48 bertandatangan seluruh member dan pin oleh oshi-nya. Yang bikin gue syok di sini adalah kenyataan bahwa MVP itu orang yang udah teateran selama seratus kali. Ada juga MVP 200, MVP 300, dan seterusnya. Saat ini gue ngetik ulasan di laptop usang gue yang udah gue pake dari kelas 6 SD, kalau ada yang bisa MVP 200 berarti dia bisa beliin gue laptop baru:( Temen gue sendiri baru teateran sembilan kali dan kemarin adalah pertama kalinya dia teateran nggak sendiri.

Selesai pertunjukan, ada sesi hi-touch. Yaitu, semua penonton tos sama member yang tadi tampil. Lalu semua penonton pulang dengan senang dan kalau gue, pulang dengan kepala penuh…

*

Saat membahas konsep teater, gue nggak akan menyinggung tentang sisi psikologis member karena menurut gue… itu konsekuensi menjadi idol di dunia hiburan. Itu tuntutan pekerjaan, mau nggak mau lo harus give the most out of you. Meskipun begitu, gue berharap para member selalu sehat secara jiwa dan raga, apapun yang terjadi. Oke, jadi, gue bakal ngebahas dari sisi penonton saja. Penonton awam yang pertama kali dateng, lebih spesifiknya. Menurut gue, teater JKT48 ini adalah sebuah kearifan timbal balik. Ini adalah wadah di mana fans merasa sangat dekat dengan idolanya. Seperti mengajak orang-orang buat jadi wota dengan ungkapan “idolamu sedekat ini, loh, denganmu!” Ruangan yang kecil juga membuat penonton merasa ada di kursi VIP, kalau lagi di konser-konser besar. Pantes aja orang-orang pada nagih mau nonton ini, di sini penonton merasa diapresiasi dan disambut. Mereka dapet pengakuan di sini yang merupakan salah satu kebutuhan manusia. Di sisi lain, pertunjukan ini juga mengingatkan member untuk tidak lupa diri karena apa yang mereka capai sekarang juga berkat dukungan dari fans mereka. Kita sering mendapati entertainer yang sebenarnya bertalenta namun bersikap angkuh sehingga banyak orang membencinya. Nah, JKT48 berusaha membuat kesan sebaliknya, bahwa setiap member punya kewajiban untuk menghargai fans mereka. Menurut gue ini menarik.

Pas kita di lobi, gue bertanya ke temen gue. “Sebenernya, apa sih yang lo rasain tiap abis teateran?”

“Ya… seneng aja. Nggak nge-recharge energi, sih. Tapi bisa meringankan beban pikiran gue.”

Di sini gue nggak men-encourage orang buat mencari katarsis dengan teateran juga, tapi kalau kalian suka menghina, saran dari gue sih, pikir-pikir lagi, deh. Coba nonton dulu atau ngobrol-ngobrol sama mereka yang wota. Gue rasa, kebanyakan orang yang memandang negatif itu sebenernya menggeneralisasi kalau semua wota pasti fanatik, padahal kenyataannya ndak. “Kayak gue dong, gue kan wota yang beradab,” ujar temen gue saat gue protes di belakang gue ada wota yang bodyshaming member (apa coba yang mau di-shame? Badan udah bagus-bagus kek gitu!). Temen gue ini emang wota, tapi dia masih punya kehidupan lain di luar sana. Kalau dia jadi fanatik pun pasti gue tampol juga biar balik ke kenyataan. Poin gue adalah segala sesuatu harus dilakukan sekadarnya aja.

Jadi, my verdict? Sebagai seseorang yang menikmati musik Jepang, gue sih enjoy teateran. Tapi, dari segi opportunity cost, nggak worth it banget menurut gue. Dengan opportunity cost sebesar itu, banyak hal-hal bermanfaat dan nambah wawasan lain yang bisa gue kerjakan. Tapi gue nggak menyesal udah nyoba teateran. Still, a fun experience indeed :))

 

P.S. Kenapa nggak ada foto pas mereka tampil? Di dalam ruangan ndak boleh foto 🙂

P.P.S. Buat temen gue: jujur aja gue takut kehilangan lo yang dulu pas lo ngaku wota tapi ternyata lo masih orang yang sama… cuma wota. Kemaren adalah attempt gue buat memahami mengapa lo bisa jadi wota dan iya, sekarang gue ngerti. Makasih ya, udah mau gue recokin selama teateran. Keep doing good. Stick to me till the end, would you?