Monthly Archives: September 2011

Pepe and The Flying Balloon

Pepe and The Flying Balloon is our Fifth illustrated edition this year. I created this piece after Tulisan’s workshop at Kampus Diakonia Modern. It is a place full of hope and inspiration for the children of the streets. I highly recommend for anyone to visit KDM. They appreciate your contributions and volunteering efforts. Find out more at http://kdm.or.id/

I hope you enjoy this new story. Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya


PEPE AND THE FLYING BALLOON, by Melissa Sunjaya

Once upon a time, there were two little mice who lived an adventurous life in the heart of Jakarta. Hiro and his wife Sur had always been a hard working and courageous duo. No matter how tiny they were, both their hearts were set in rescuing the abandoned children of the streets. Sometimes they slept under the rooftops of big houses, where they could steal some foods for these children. Other times they spent the nights in a clothing factory, where Sur would sew little scarfs from the left over materials. But of all the places they had trotted, they spent most time under a bridge of the vintage train station at Kota – the old town – where about twenty to thirty neglected kids sought shelters for the night. It had a nasty and damp atmosphere, but under this bridge was where they experienced the deepest emotion of humanity. As the children slept, Hiro would discreetly wrap their neck with the scarf that Sur made and placed the food next to them. None of the kids ever found out who their secret guardians truly were.

Many nameless children with mysterious stories came to this dark corner. After a while, some would leave where destiny took them next. A few suffered tragic ends. One day, a shaved head child came limping to this place. The dark, thin, and flat chest body suggested that it was a boy. Yet, starring deep into the child’s large almond eyes, Sur knew this poor soul was a little girl. Her expression buried a mix of rage, fear, and long sorrow; but her eyes held the burning flame of Srikandi’s spirit – an ancient Javanese warrior goddess. Acting like an angry boy was her means to survive the abuse and violence of the streets. It seemed that she had been running for hours from something. Her lips were pale and cold. Her body was shaking from exhaustion. She fell into a deep sleep inside the torn packing box Hiro got from the factory. There was an intensity on her face, and Sur fell in love with the girl’s fighting spirit.

Sur sat down next to her and started to sew a tiny doll while humming an enchanting lullaby. This loving mouse had a miraculous power when she sewed. Every stitch she made was performed with a solemn wish for the child. As she completed the doll, there was a falling star from the blue sky above them. It broke into tiny fireflies which came glowing around this wishful doll and blessed it with a smile. Sur named this doll ‘Pepe’ after the label printed on the box in which the little girl slept. When she carefully put the doll inside the child’s embrace, an air of joy filled the girl’s face as if she had just entered a magnificent dream. The cluster of fireflies twinkled above this girl and lit an image of what seemed to be her dream.

In her dream, this little girl found herself running through a mystical forest. She was wearing a long cotton dress with huge bouganvillea flowers painted on it. There, she met Pepe – a sparkling and witty doll with a warm human heart. Pepe loved jazz and played trumpet like any other crazy musician. The music he played casted a spell that turn some dreams into reality. He listened to her stories and made her laughed, something that she had not been feeling for a long time.

The little girl gave Pepe a big hug and said, “I have been chasing the horizon endlessly, running from the monsters that kept haunting me. Destiny has brought me to you, so that for a few minutes of my life I could discover warmth and tenderness. Please take me away from this dark place so I can stop running. I wish to fly and be in a world where I can stop pretending and be my true self.”

Pepe held her hand and looked deep into her teary eyes. As he whistled a melancholic melody, a striped balloon magically appeared. She climbed and sat on top of it as it slowly raised to the sky. With a small kite to navigate the balloon, they followed the wind which carried them from the dark forest, passed the mountains, above the cities’ sky scrappers, and through the clouds. From up above, she saw people living different lives. Some enjoyed a more fortunate moments, while many others had to face a more traumatic and challenging fate than hers. Yet, even the fortunate ones felt lonely and suffered deeply in their soul for they chose to see their lives from only one point of view. She found that she could paint her life in any colors she wished and draw her own horizons without having to reach out for them. Sorrow and monsters existed only in her minds, not in her reality. It all depended on how she would look at them. And now seeing it from a new perspective, she felt better.

She was on the top of her universe when Pepe gave her a sudden warm kiss, flew away and disappeared behind the moon. Her funny valentine was nowhere to be seen. The balloon drifted down at a speed she could not control, her breath was thin and the world was again a fearful place. She collected the remaining courage that she had, took a deep breath, and slid away from the top of the balloon. Her white cotton dress served as a parachute so that she could gracefully make her landing. As she touched the ground, the little girl woke up from her sleep and found herself holding unto the little Pepe doll that lied in her embrace.

PEPE DAN BALON UDARA

Pada suatu hari, ada dua ekor tikus yang hidup berpetualang di tengah kota Jakarta. Hiro dan istrinya Sur adalah pasangan yang pemberani dan giat bekerja. Walaupun tubuhnya kecil, hati mereka tetap teguh menyelamatkan anak-anak jalanan yang terlantar. Terkadang mereka tidur di bawah atap rumah yang besar, tempat mereka mencuri makanan untuk anak-anak itu. Mereka juga suka bermalam di pabrik pakaian, dimana Sur dapat menjahit selendang dari sisa kain yang ada. Tapi dari semua tempat yang telah mereka jelajahi, mereka paling sering berada di bawah jembatan stasiun Kota Tua. Di sana ada sekitar 20 hingga 30 anak terlantar yang mencari tempat berteduh pada malam hari. Tempat itu kotor dan lembab, namun di bawah jembatan inilah mereka menemukan rasa kemanusiaan yang paling dalam. Saat anak-anak ini tidur, Hiro diam-diam menyelimuti leher mereka dengan selendang buatan Sur dan menaruh makanan di samping mereka. Tidak ada yang pernah mengetahui siapa pelindung mereka yang sesungguhnya.

Banyak anak tanpa nama maupun latar belakang yang jelas datang ke sudut gelap ini. Setelah beberapa lama, sebagian pergi kemana nasib membawa mereka. Sebagian lagi mengalami kisah yang tragis. Suatu hari, seorang anak yang rambutnya dicukur habis datang dengan tertatih-tatih. Kulit kusam dan tubuhnya yang kurus menyerupai anak lelaki, namun saat Sur menatap bola matanya, dia tahu bahwa anak yang malang ini adalah seorang gadis kecil. Wajahnya menyiratkan kemarahan, ketakutan dan kesedihan yang panjang, tetapi matanya memancarkan kekuatan Srikandi – seorang dewi ksatria dalam kisah Jawa kuno. Dia bersikap seperti anak lelaki yang pemarah untuk dapat bertahan dari siksaan dan kerasnya hidup di jalanan. Sepertinya ia telah melarikan diri dari sesuatu. Bibirnya pucat kedinginan sementara tubuhnya bergetar karena kelelahan. Gadis ini tertidur lelap di dalam kardus bekas yang Hiro bawa dari pabrik. Ada ketegangan di wajahnya, Sur pun jatuh hati dengan semangat juang gadis ini.

Sur duduk di dekatnya dan mulai membuat sebuah boneka kecil sambil menyenandungkan lagu pengantar tidur untuk gadis kecil itu. Tikus penyayang ini memiliki kekuatan ajaib ketika ia menjahit. Setiap jahitannya dilakukan dengan harapan yang tulus bagi anak itu. Ketika Sur menyelesaikan boneka itu, sebuah bintang jatuh turun dari langit biru. Bintang itu terpecah menjadi kunang-kunang kecil yang datang mengelilingi dan menganugerahi boneka itu dengan sebuah senyuman. Sur menamakan boneka ini ‘Pepe’ yang diambil dari tulisan di kardus tempat gadis itu tertidur. Ditaruhnya Pepe dengan hati-hati di pelukan sang gadis, dan tiba-tiba sentuhan kebahagiaan memenuhi wajah anak itu seakan dia sedang memasuki mimpi yang sangat indah. Sekumpulan kunang-kunang berkelip di atas kepalanya dan membentuk bayangan mimpinya.

Di dalam mimpinya, gadis itu berlari di hutan yang menyeramkan dengan menggunakan gaun katun panjang bermotif bunga bougainvillea. Lalu ia bertemu Pepe – boneka jenaka yang berkilau dan memiliki hati manusia. Pepe menyukai musik jazz dan bermain terompet seperti musisi hebat lainnya. Musik yang dia mainkan mengeluarkan mantera yang dapat mengubah impian menjadi kenyataan. Ia mendengarkan cerita gadis itu dan membuatnya tertawa, sesuatu yang telah lama tidak dirasakan gadis itu.

Gadis kecil itu memeluk Pepe dengan erat dan berkata, “Selama ini aku telah mengejar kaki langit, berlari dari raksasa yang menghantuiku. Takdir telah membawaku kepadamu, supaya untuk beberapa menit di hidupku, aku bisa menemukan kehangatan dan kelembutan. Kumohon bawa aku pergi dari tempat gelap ini agar aku bisa berhenti berlari. Aku ingin terbang dan berada di dunia dimana aku bisa berhenti bersandiwara dan menjadi diriku sendiri.

Pepe menggenggam tangannya dan menatap matanya yang berkaca-kaca. Sembari menyiulkan melodi yang sedih, sebuah balon bergaris tiba-tiba muncul. Gadis itu memanjat dan duduk di atas balon yang naik perlahan ke angkasa. Dengan bantuan sebuah layang-layang untuk mengarahkannya, mereka mengikuti angin yang membawanya dari hutan rimba, menyeberangi gunung, melewati gedung-gedung pencakar langit, dan menembus awan. Dari ketinggian ini, sang gadis melihat orang-orang menjalani kehidupan masing-masing yang berbeda. Beberapa menikmati masa yang menyenangkan, sementara yang lain harus menghadapi nasib yang lebih buruk dan menantang dari yang ia alami. Mereka yang lebih beruntung pun merasa kesepian dan jiwanya menderita karena memilih untuk memandang hidup hanya dari satu sisi. Dia sadar bahwa sesungguhnya dia dapat mewarnai hidup seperti impiannya dan melukis kaki langit tanpa harus mengejarnya. Kesedihan dan raksasa yang menyeramkan hanya ada di dalam pikirannya, bukan sesuatu yang nyata. Semua bergantung dengan caranya berpikir. Kini setelah melihat dari sudut pandang yang baru, dia merasa lebih baik.

Sang gadis sedang berada di puncak dunianya saat Pepe memberi kecupan hangat, terbang, dan menghilang di balik bulan. Kekasihnya tidak terlihat lagi. Balon udara itu turun begitu cepat sehingga dia tidak bisa mengendalikannya. Napasnya tersenggal dan dunia kembali menjadi begitu menyeramkan. Dia mengumpulkan sisa keberaniannya, menarik napas dalam-dalam, lalu meluncur dari atas balon udara itu. Gaun putihnya menjadi parasut yang membawanya mendarat dengan anggun. Saat dia menyentuh tanah, sang gadis kecil terbangun dari tidurnya sambil menggenggam Pepe yang kini berada di dalam pelukannya.

My daughter Miya contributed her sketch for this edition. I used her flower doodle as part of the bouganville flower print on the little girl’s dress.

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The Stories Continue

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We have been going through a very thrilling couple of weeks. We are preparing our first boutique at Darmawangsa Square and we are very excited for that. Pepe is also another thing that we have been very excited for, the doll has been posted at all our sales point and our team would surely be more than pleased to let you know the story behind the cute hand-stitched doll made by the kids at KDM.

With all the different projects we are running back and forth from, it is always a nice treat like some pleasant review at our friends who visited us at Tirtayasa. We love it when the stories continue, like this one from Olive. Olive came on our Batavia Hotel Launch, last July 28th. We remember she told us she was lost on her way to Tirtayasa, and was not sure that the house was where Tulisan is at.

And there was also Desy, who wrote so eloquently about her visiting time at Tirtayasa. She was stealing time in between her day schedule, and we’re glad she had a great time at our place.

A quote about Tulisan from Fenny, “It’s about beautiful prints in your daily life…”. And it is stories – that is again be shared – that made our days printed beautifully here.

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