It's just the time of the year I guess.
|Anna Kendrick in a still from 'Cups'. Why? No reason, I'm just madly in love with her.|
I mentioned a couple of times before that I'm not a people person, I don't get attached easily, and that extends to my family as well. I was always the quiet kid in a family gathering, always tethered to a single spot, which is becoming a sort of a running joke in the family. Don't take this the wrong way though, I love them no less, especially for what happened after this year's Ramadan.
Days before my scheduled thesis hearing a couple of weeks ago, my much older cousin wired me 'some' extra allowance money and asked my father how am I doing with my thesis (I was doing pretty bad, I finished it but it was below expectations and I had to extend my studies for another term). Anyway, the money that was given to me was, I'm pretty sure, quite insignificant for her standards (the cousin in question was female and is a general manager in a very respected telecommunication company in Indonesia and her husband did a project for a South Korean oil company) but it was a pretty sizable amount in my opinion and could at least support me for 3 months if I'm being prudent. I understood completely that she did this as a favor for my father (she was the daughter of my dad's sister) instead of me but I still was the ultimate recipient of the money even though it saved my father a couple of headaches as well I'm sure. This act, to say the least, humbled me. Again I reiterate, I never endeared myself to most of my extended families even though I've actually been trying for the past few years, I always jumped at the occasion to attend a gathering and made an effort to never miss one although I almost certainly ended up being a wallflower (if even a pretty one at that) most of the time.
Anyway, I cried a lot afterwards and it was a genuine cry, not the kind I get after an episode of Downton Abbey (seriously, out of the sisters, does it really have to be Sybil?). It didn't last very long (I didn't let it) and I made quite a lot of progress later that day with my thesis thanks to a reserve of determination I never knew I had (and I seemingly don't have anymore). My father reminded me to thank her later and I still haven't been able to put my gratefulness into words, not even now.
Fast forward a few weeks and I'm already at the house of my aunt (currently the eldest in my father's family, my mother's is mostly Christian) dreading the fateful encounter with the aforementioned cousin, luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at the situation), she had to visit his husband's family this year because she spent last year's Lebaran with us. I felt incredibly ashamed at that point for thinking I dodged a bullet when in retrospect I should've looked forward for an opportunity to thank her. Anyway, I thought that was that, at least I could actually enjoy the rest of the day now but life caught up in the end.
As I mentioned before, Lebaran is traditionally a day of charity, but not just the usual kind of charity. It is also expected for self-sufficient member of the family to deliver 'handouts' to the younger, non-working ones. This is where it gets interesting, since obviously I still belong in the latter group but should actually be in the former by now, I fully expected no 'handouts' this year and I can honestly say with a straight face that I actually haven't been thinking about it at all, I was after all, preoccupied with something else. Of course, families being what they are, surprising you is pretty much their expertise. Yep, you guessed it, I 'scored' some money this year. God, there was only one other time in my life I ever felt so humbled and ashamed before.
I'm going to brag a little bit here but bear with me, with my self-esteem being what they are I think I have the right to play this card.
In my third year of college, something strange happened. As you have probably inferred, I'm a Muslim. That's a lie, I am, to quote Mr. Garcia Bernal (for those of you who haven't watched No, please do so) spiritually Agnostic, culturally Islamic. Valentine's Day was a big no-no for me who spend 9 years studying in an Islamic institution (no, it's not an Al-Qaeda training camp you generalizing prick) where the teachers actually spend the day checking through our bags to search for heathens who's stupid enough to bring chocolates on Valentine's Day in an Islamic institution. I don't think they ever caught anyone but I'm not entirely sure, my memory's a bit fuzzy.
Anyway, on a particular afternoon on March, while I was waiting for a couple of friends after grabbing the material for next class from the photocopy booth, this little girl (I'm not that tall, she's just small) came up to me and actually asked me if she could gave me something and I said yes without thinking
(I was momentarily caught off-guard). She gave me this nice little handmade box with chocolates on it and all I could say was "Thanks" (wait, did I even say thanks? I can't remember). I knew I was a fool back then, but at that moment, I could not find a way to be a different man. It was pathetically pathetic I know and I've replayed that scene time and time again wishing I could at least ask for her name, introduce myself formally and properly thanked her. So whomever you are, wherever you are, thank you. It was definitely the kindest thing anyone has ever done to me. I don't look half-bad if I'm honest but even I never thought that I was capable of evoking such strong feelings of adoration from anyone, much less from a perfect stranger. She was, I'm told afterwards, of the same year as me and she studied architecture. What hits me the most is that she had absolutely no way of planning the moment itself, it's not like I spend my days hanging out near the photocopy booth expecting an army of girls to hand me some chocolates.
So that's it. Mea maxima culpa number 1. I kept the box she gave me for sometime after, just as a reminder that I still have a mistake to correct. Had to threw it away when I moved but I still haven't forgotten about it.
Not the easiest time of the year and I don't see it getting any easier since I had to redo my thesis from scratch and there's a lot of work to do if I'm to graduate this year (if at all).
Oh and they cancelled Bunheads. What's up with that? At least I could watch Matthew Fox on a weekly basis later this year. I just hope this doesn't mean that Louis Canning is written out of The Good Wife.