Reluctantly I sat up. “OK I’ll help you. Can you get me a paper and pencil so I can draw the map for you to copy?”. She ran outside, came back with everything. And so I drew the best I could.
The main street of Mampang. The 7/11 intersection. Toyota Showroom. Daihatsu Showroom. Turning to our smaller street. Our home. The mosque behind the house. And other houses. Done.
Tara drew it all. Then something tickled me. How dry the picture was. Is that all?. Is that the mental map that Tara will have of the house where she grows up?. A mini market, some automotive showrooms, a mosque, and houses and more houses and more roads. Really?!. Somehow, I feel sad. Very, very sad.
I still have the mental map of our family’s first house in Pesing, close to Daan Mogot. There was a huge river behind our house, where we could see fishermen’s ships. And lots of people selling woods and bamboos. The main street filled with big trees. A warung nearby our house that is always filled with traditional goodies. And I could still picture what we did back then. Running around with the kampong kids. Playing hide and seek behind the trees. Screaming when we saw a big lizard walking up from the river. Or a snake during rainy season (hmmm…no this one was not at all fun. I hate snakes).
Then the house where we live now. Back in the 76 when we moved in. The unpaved roads. The dirt road – which would become very muddy in rainy season. So many trees – big and small. A little cow farm behind our house. I could still remember how cold the house would be in the afternoon that we should be wearing our sweaters at 6pm. Playing with the neighbourhood kids amongst the trees. Coming home from school wearing my boots in rainy season otherwise I wouldn’t be able to walk home thanks to the heavy mud!. Searching and eating the little reddish black fruits called ‘buni’ that fell from its big tree in a field next to our house.
How lovely those memories are. And somehow I feel sad that Tara (and her sister later) won’t have such things to enjoy. To be out and about even when we already live in the center of a metropolitan called Jakarta!. Well, Cip will say to me that everyone has his or her own memories and those must be worth treasuring. Tara and Lila will have different stuff. Still, I somehow feel there is something missing…
Oh but it can be me getting old(er). You know, already at the age when those times in the past can always bring warmth in one’s heart. So maybe, at my age later, Tara and Lila can also look back and feel the same warmth. I hope.
Or maybe....they will only remember all the silly stuff we've done as a family....wherever we are, no matter how 'dry' that place seems...
(R I R I)