Pusing, di Satu Tempat

Sudah pukul tiga suku, pagi,
mentari belum naik lagi,
ibu, masih menari dalam mimpi
tentang syurga, tentang hati,
tentang ayah yang berdondang cinta
entah ke mana, entah di mana.

Book Review: The Travels of Marco YOLO by Marco Ferrarese

“Don’t try following my lead, for my trails have already been burnt.”

It is rare that you find a book with its writer’s personality so clearly injected in every page. In just the first few pages, it already felt like I’d met Marco myself. The Travels of Marco YOLO is a travel log but unlike the typical kind you find in most travel literature.

First, can we take a moment to appreciate the title of this book? Marco freaking YOLO - that has made me L-legitimately-OL too many times since I first got this book in my hands several weeks ago. A millennial joke - and a slightly dated one at that - yes, but I appreciate a good pun any day of the year.

Described as fiction, I spent days trying to differentiate between Marco YOLO and Marco Ferrarese but I could never draw a solid line between them as I could never figure out where one ended and the other began. Ferrarese draws inspiration from his own travels and it was only two-thirds into the first essay - around the time Death appeared playing bluegrass on a banjo - that I realized that this was not an entirely literal register of his travels. It bothered me more than I was capable of understanding, not being able to discern a distinction. So then I made the hardest decision a Scorpio like myself could ever make and decided to let go, let Marco take me where he saw fit. This wasn’t my world, after all. This was Marco’s.


Nostalgia is a funny word,
an ugly word even, the kind
of ugly you don’t notice right
away - only in small, recurring
doses - the kind that gets
harder to look at day
by day.

I’m not one for regrets but
if I was, I’d regret all the times
I’ve chosen memory over change.

BOOK REVIEW: Jungle Without Water and Other Stories by Sreedhevi Iyer

I wouldn't have thought it possible to relate to stories on immigration and migration, for the most part, because I haven’t experienced anything like it myself. “Jungle Without Water” is, by leaps and bounds of nonchalance, a surprisingly relatable, illustrative and thought-provoking read. I mean, I’m not claiming to know a lot about the Indian community and how they live and see the world. But there are aspects in these stories that gave me an insight into their feelings and thoughts as I read this collection with curiosity. Some of the issues tackled are race, identity, and prejudice.

Standouts for me have to be the title story; “Jungle Without Water”, “The Man With Two Wives” and “IC”.

“Jungle Without Water” is a about a boy who moved to another country to pursue his studies and is constantly searching for a place to pray in his new home. It reminds me of being homesick that one time I traveled to Australia (surprise surprise, the country the boy migrated to is also Australia) and was constantly searching for food that tastes like home. I had clung to food as an anchor for who I am and where I am from, and in the same way, that was how our protagonist felt when he eventually got to a Gurdwara—everything feels and tastes almost the same, but not quite. Supernatural elements are peppered throughout the story and connected to the spiritual act of praying. Without actually invoking it, the narrative tiptoes around the question of whether a place of worship matters or if it’s more about becoming more at one with God and one another.


It was my mistake,

I thought that if we looked
like #goals and talked
like #goals, that it would
negate how it felt on the

looking out from the inside
I see all these hungry faces
and I want to scream - I’M
HUNGRY TOO - but no one ever
hears me over the double taps
on our new desperate plea - OH
how can I tell we’re meant to be if
my Instagram doesn’t notify me?

Girls Hate Other Girls

It’s a fact. Girls hate other girls. We hate girls who are more confident than us. We hate girls who threaten us. We hate girls who don’t give a fuck about us. We hate girls we don’t understand. It’s basic human instinct to be suspicious of things that are foreign to us, things that we don’t quite comprehend. It’s self-preservation at its least necessary. But our lack of empathy for our own kind can be boiled down to our lack of acceptance of ourselves.

But instead of acknowledging our own personal issues, we create pseudo-feminism. We preach ‘keeping it real’ while getting self-gratification from pointing out which of our friends photoshop their asses on Instagram because it’s easier to look at a screen than in a mirror. We call out ‘loyalty’ when our friends date our exes; despite there being future happiness for the two of them, despite knowing full well that things didn’t work out with us either way. We claim ‘class’ as we trash talk the girl who wears too short of skirts or dated one too many boys because it’s easier to criticize someone else’s way of life than to admit that we are not all that happy with our own. We make ‘women supporting other women’ into our brand; denouncing all haters and shade throwers while having no qualms about throwing the shade right back whenever it suits us because it’s not really about anti-hate, it’s about anti-anyone-who-notices-my-weaknesses.

Hikayat Mustafi dan Kacang Ajaib

Mustafa terkenal di kampungnya sebagai seorang pemalas. Kerjanya hari-hari hanya tidur di atas bukit sehingga petang. Telinganya juga sudah lali dengan cemuhan orang kampung yang saban hari tidak henti-henti. Begitu juga dengan kedua ibu bapanya, setiap hari memaksa dia untuk mencari pekerjaan supaya dia beroleh jodoh dan meninggalkan rumah. Namun, Mustafa hanya memekakkan telinga sambil tersenyum.

Satu tentang Mustafa yang ramai tidak tahu, ketika kecilnya, dia berjumpa dengan seekor bidadari ketika mengejar layang-layang di atas bukit. Bidadari itu cantiknya seperti musim bunga dan harumnya seperti keseluruhan bunga di dunia dikumpulkan menjadi satu.

“Kelak nanti engkau dewasa, aku akan menjadi isterimu, dan kita berdua akan hidup di atas awan, bermandikan air hujan yang turun dari pelangi. Engkau binalah tangga untuk ke awan agar aku tahu kesungguhan engkau wahai bakal suamiku.”

Demikianlah janji sang bidadari untuk Mustafa. Sejak dari hari itu, hidupnya hanya berfikir tentang bagaimana dia harus membina tangga untuk mencapai awan. Sebab itulah dia menghabiskan hari-harinya hanya di atas bukit.