Sunday, January 23, 2005

Homegoing for the "Monk"

Homegoing for the "Monk"

Perhaps it is not surprising that my first business trip for 2005 is to Jakarta. Actually it was quite unexpected; I only got confirmation last Thursday to be here for this coming week. I had originally planned to be in another country...but I'm certainly not complaining.

It's good that I finally get to be on the road again; being on the move all the time actually makes me more productive. Why? Because every journey is a fresh start and we usually get a fresh spurt of energy everytime we begin something. As long as we know how to harness this impulse of energy to the maximum, we get a lot of things done.

This time I decided to stay at the same hotel which I had called home for two years. Since leaving Jakarta at the end of 2003, I had chosen to stay in other hotels, usually in Tanah Abang or Kota, on my business trips, I suppose I wanted to see Jakarta from a different perspective. But I found that my old hotel still gives me the best deal. Feeling a bit nostalgic for my "second home", I decided to stay there again.

I was quite happy to see some familiar faces here when I arrived; Diki, the bellboy was smiling broadly when he saw me. Diki got married in 2003, while I was still staying here and now he already has a five-month old baby. He used to stay in a rumah kos nearby, but he told me that he commutes daily from Depok now.

In the lift, I bumped into Intan, my cheerful and bubbly little Sundanese room attendant. I have not met her for a long time because she was on maternity leave during the tailend of my stay here. Now she's back to work; I asked her: kerja di lantai berapa sekarang? Intan used to take care of all the rooms on the 7th floor, where I stayed. She told me that she's in charge of the mini-bar now, and is not assigned to one particular floor. Putar-putar, she said, with the characteristic twirl of the Indonesian tongue. I suddenly realized how much I've missed her cheerful voice greeting me every morning.

I have also forgotten how small the rooms are in the hotel. But it is sufficiently furnished, cozy and has a good view of Jalan Wahid Hasyim; when I was staying here, I had never been happier. I spent many quiet nights here writing proposals, building presentation slides, preparing lectures and marking exam papers. I used to think of it fondly as my monk's cell. (Strange thought I must admit, for Jakarta is the unlikeliest place for a monk to live! )

When I had to shift out from the place, I was surprised at how many books and other pieces of junk that I had accumulated in that tiny kamar. Took my some time to pack and discard away all the junk. I gave away my bulky items such as DVD player and mini compo to Wiwik and Ditje. I also had to use Setiawan's garage in Pondok Indah as my warehouse for a while. Took me a couple of trips before I managed to transport everything back to KL.

It's not going to be a long stay this time but I'll make sure that I get to catch up with every one of my friends in Jakarta. And hopefully I'll get to see Nilam and Sukma too...

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