Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Lelarian di Manglayang


Berpose di Manglayang 

Sabtu pagi di pengujung Oktober saya paksakan mata saya terus melek setelah menunaikan salat subuh. Dengan setengah sadar saya bersiap-siap mengenakan sepatu dan pakaian olahraga. Rencananya saya dan beberapa kawan-kawan akan lelarian di gunung alias trail run. Sebetulnya agenda lelarian Sabtu itu untuk menemani teman-teman lari yang mengikuti BTS trail run di kompleks Gunung Bromo dan Semeru. Beberapa teman saya ada yang ikut 30 km, 70 km, 102 km, bahkan 170 km. Saya sih tidak ikutan even tersebut. Belum kuat dan belum ada niat. Karena Sabtu itu adalah terakhir mereka latihan, saya sengaja ikut menjadi tim penggembira. Rute latihan yang dipilih adalah Gunung Manglayang. Selain karena dekat dan mudah diakses, Manglayang terkenal dengan trek yang menantang untuk latihan elevasi.

Pukul lima pagi saya bertemu dua orang teman saya di Terminal Cicaheum. Kami berencana memulai sesi lari dari Batu Kuda yang merupakan tempat wanawisata. Gunung ini tidak asing karena beberapa kali pernah saya naiki dan kemahi. Letaknya di belakang kampus saya dulu. Terakhir kali saya mendaki Manglayang pada 2016 lewat jalur Barubereum. 
Pengalaman saya saat itu bisa dibaca di sini.

Mendaki Manglayang: 2016 vs 2019

Gunung Manglayang ini gunung yang sering dianggap underrated, sering diremehkan. Padahal pemandangannya cukup indah dan jalurnya lumayan menantang, apalagi saat musim hujan. Manglayang punya beberapa jalur pendakian; yang paling terkenal adalah jalur Batu Kuda (Kabupaten Bandung) dan Barubereum (Kabupaten Sumedang). Lokasi Batu Kuda dekat dengan Terminal Cicaheum, kota Bandung, sementara Barubereum persis dekat Kiara Payung, kampus Unpad Jatinangor. Kami hanya membutuhkan waktu 30 menit dari Terminal Cicaheum untuk tiba di Batu Kuda. Perbedaan yang cukup mencolok dari gerbang Batu Kuda dan Batubereum terletak pada akses wisata. Gerbang Batu Kuda memang dikukuhkan menjadi area wanawisata lengkap dengan area kemah. Area parkir motor dan mobil pun cukup luas. Sementara di Barubereum lebih dikhususkan untuk jalur pendakian. Untuk parkir motor dan mobil di sini cukup sulit. Namun begitu keduanya memiliki jalur yang cukup menantang.


Bersiap-siap lelarian
Setibanya di Batu Kuda, kami bertiga bersiap-siap untuk lari. Sambil pemanasan, kami juga menunggu beberapa teman-teman lainnya yang berniat menyusul. Tak lama kemudian lima orang teman kami datang menyusul. Oh ya, biaya masuk di sini sekitar Rp20.000,00. Sudah termasuk parkir. Kami memulai sesi lari pukul 06.30 dengan foto-foto terlebih dahulu di area kemah dekat gerbang masuk. Saat itu cukup banyak siswa sekolah yang sedang mengikuti kegiatan Perkemahan Sabtu Minggu (PERSAMI).

Puas foto-foto kami perlahan naik dengan mengatur pace jalan biasa hingga lari. Sejujurnya saya lebih menyukai haiking daripada lari di gunung. Saat haiking saya bisa menikmati kondisi sekitar dengan lebih syahdu. Memegang dedaunan dan pepohonan, menatap awan dari ketinggian, dan bertelanjang kaki di tanah. Sementara saat berlari, fokus utama adalah kecepatan dan ketepatan koordinasi tubuh. Walau tak dipungkiri saya penasaran juga mencoba lari di gunung. Saat mengunjungi Semeru, Rinjani, dan Lawu saya beberapa kali berpapasan dengan pelari yang hanya berbekal minimal dan sedang melompat menuruni trek pendakian. Ya, melompat! Di Lawu saya berpapasan dengan pelari yang hanya menenteng sebotol plastik air mineral di tangan kanannya dengan peluh yang mengguyur badannya. Padahal untuk berlari menuruni Lawu via Cemoro Kandang tanpa memanggul tas gunung masih membutuhkan waktu kurang lebih dua jam. Saat itu saya ikut bersemangat mengikuti pelari itu dan hampir berlari sambil menggendong tas gunung 60 L di punggung. Sampai tak lama kemudian pinggang saya kesakitan. Duh, capeknya bukan main.

Begitu pula di Manglayang. Padahal saya tidak bawa tas gunung sama sekali tapi begitu kaki ini diajak berlari menaiki elevasi yang menantang, detak jantung saya melonjak drastis disertai keringat bercucuran. Kadang elevasinya hampir 90 derajat. Beberapa kali jam pintar di pergelangan saya bergetar terus menerus menandakan detak jatntung saya terlalu tinggi. Saya memang mengesetnya ke 171 bpm sebagai ambang batas atas. Sejauh ini saat saya naik gunung maupun lari, jam pintar saya tak pernah bergetar menandakan ambang batas atas yang tersentuh. Jadi memang tidak pernah semelelahkan dan semendebarkan lari di gunung. Kalau sudah begitu, saya coba menenangkan diri lewat napas yang teratur dan mengurangi pace saya secara signifikan. Kadang saya beristirahat sambil menenggak air minum yang saya selipkan di punggung saya. Selain itu peralatan lari yang dikenakan juga tak bisa sembarangan. Khususnya sepatu. Idealnya sepatu lari khusus trail digunaakan saat berlari di medan yang tak stabil, terlebih dengan elevasi. Karena saat berlari menggunakan sepatu biasa, ada kemungkinan besar kita terpeleset dan jatuh hingga cedera. Perbedaan menggunakan sepatu trail dan road sangat terasa sekali di Manglayang. Saat haiking dulu saya menggunakan sepatu road dan bisa ditebak saya berulang kali jatuh.

Hampir 90 derajat kemiringan

Kurang lebih 90 menit dari titik kami berlari, kami pun mencapai puncak. Puncak Manglayang ini tertutup dikelilingi vegetasi dan pepohonan besar dengan ketinggian 1818 mdpl. Cocok untuk kemah karena melindungi dari angin gunung yang menerpa tenda. Setelah istirahat sebentar dan foto-foto, kami berjalan lagi selama 20 menit menuju puncak bayangan dengan pemandangan yang lebih terbuka. Tidak lupa kami juga foto-foto di sana. 


Bersama teman-teman RIOT

Di sini saya merasa diingatkan betapa beruntung bisa tinggal di Bandung yang dikelilingi gunung dan hutan serta alam yang mudah dijangkau dan dikunjungi.

Setelah cukup lama berfoto-foto kami memulai sesi lelarian turun. Tiga orang teman saya ngabret berlari di depan sementara saya berlari dengan hati-hati di belakang. Terlebih lagi kacamata yang saya kenakan suka melorot karena selalu fokus ke trek lari. Walau mengenakan sepatu lari, beberapa kali saya hampir terpeleset hingga akhirnya saya terjatuh ala superman. Saya sempat tertawa karena sudah lama saya tidak jatuh seperti ini. Tawa saya terhenti ketika saya sadar monopod GoPro saya sempat terlempar dan patah. Syukurnya GoPro saya tetap utuh dan berfungsi. Akhirnya saya berlari lebih pelan lagi.

Hanya butuh waktu kurang dari satu jam dari puncak untuk turun ke Batu Kuda. Teman-teman saya yang di depan pasti lebih cepat lagi. Beberapa kali saya berpapasan dengan orang-orang yang sedang haiking. Beberapa rombongan dengan anak dan bayi. Saya selalu kagum pada orang tua yang mengenalkan olahraga fisik dan alam kepada anak mereka sedari kecil. 

Lima menit sebelum sampai di Batu Kuda, saya dan kedua teman menyeruput es kelapa segar seharga Rp5000,00. Dahaga langsung hilang saat meneguk es kelapa yang dingin dengan suguhan pemandangan kota Bandung. Setelah es kelapa pindah alam ke dalam perut, kami mulai berlari lari hingga gerbang Batu Kuda. Kami mampir di salah satu warung dan beristirahat agak lama sambil melakukan pendinginan. Saya dan beberapa teman sempat bersih-bersih, salat zuhur, dan makan. Soto ayamnya lumayan enak untuk seharga Rp15.000,00. Sambil menikmati angin sepoi-sepoi, saya tak terasa jatuh gogoleran dan hampir ketiduran. Tak terasa, jam di ponsel sudah menunjukan pukul 13.15. Kami mulai bersiap pulang dan pamitan satu sama lain. 


Es kelapa segar dan pemandangan Bandung Raya

Oh ya, saran saya lebih baik menggunakan motor karena jalan yang kadang menyempit untuk mobil dari arah yang berlawanan. 
Terlebih lagi meretas jalanan kota Bandung saat Sabtu siang bukanlah perkara mudah. Macetnya kadang tidak tertahankan. Namun begitu, saya sudah kepalang senang karena lelarian di gunung ternyata bisa sangat menggembirakan.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Vomiting Memories


Golden Trumpet (Allamanda cathartica) at my grandma's graveyard, 16 November 2019.

For someone who grew up having not so many close friends, books have transformed into my companions since I was a kid. When I was at fourth grade, I first read Si Jamin dan Si Johan by Merari Siregar at day and night. Between pages I often stopped reading and went to bathroom to cry. It was not that my parents forbade me to cry out loud but I was actually having hard time explaining the reason why I cried over a very sad story. I honestly didn’t know why but the story of two innocent kids intertwined in the most miserable destiny of a dysfunctional family haunted me to the core of my soul and it was easily pouring my tears down.

That moment engraved a deep sense of self-indulgence within me to notice any emotion spiking in myself and people around me. And the more I read, the more I feel resonating with people. It seems like when I read a book, I am diving deeply into someone’s thought or wandering to the corner of their mind. Some other days reading a book feels like listening to a friend sharing their personal story with me. Perhaps it is the most quintessential element of a book, i.e., a multitude of thoughts, feelings, emotions, truths, knowledge, perceptions, facts, stories, fantasies, and memories of someone and of other worlds. When I find a book reverberating with some fragments in my life, my body and mind couldn’t resist responding to it, either liking it or loathing it. Like most things in life that retaliate a moment with a memory, a book has adeptness to strengthen or even amplify the sadness or contentment which lies dormant within self.

For example, when I read Animal Dreams, a novel by Barbara Kingsolver, I was taken to a mesmerizing characterization of a collection of damaged characters. One of which is through Codi who says, “Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to the truth but not its twin.” I was compelled to examine my own perception towards the reality in front of me. And we know better that a memory sometimes can be friendly, sometimes can be vile. Let's take another look at The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers that messed me up emotionally pretty bad, "The heart is a lonely hunter with only one desire! To find some lasting comfort in the arms of anothers fire..., driven by a desperate hunger to the arms of neon light, the heart is a lonely hunter when there's no sign of love in sight."

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Aloneness in Ad Astra


How do you learn to cope with your aloneness? 
  
How do you enjoy your aloneness without turning it into a great sense of loneliness?


Last Saturday I pampered myself with a movie and popcorn. I went to watch Ad Astra (2019) starring Brad Pitt. To contain any overwhelming curiosity, I skipped finding out what was the movie all about. I didn’t peek ahead the synopsis or even the trailer. The only thing that I knew was its title as a literal definition of to the stars. I was simply enchanted by its title and sure that it was going to be a space-themed movie.

For the first thirty minutes the movie was flowing so slowly even though it was opened with a sudden accident in the space. It wasn’t escalating as rapid as I expected, so I thought I was gonna sleep on it. However, when the main character was obliged to save the earth by terminating a spaceship involved on so-called Lima Project and its entirety, I nearly thought the movie was The Armageddon-type movie. Then I was led to another angle to almost believe the movie was about space exploration looking for extraterrestrial life such as Prometheus (2012) or miraculous journey of space oddity such Interstellar (2014). As the plot progressed and the characterization deepened, I was finally convinced that this movie was about neither of what I previously thought. It didn’t follow prior trend of its predecessors and my drowsiness was canceled and I felt intrigued to keep on watching.

Normally space-themed movies elaborate on how humanity stands up against space conquerors, survival on the terror and horror of grotesque aliens, or a fellowship with benevolent extraterrestrial entity.  Conversely Ad Astra serves a basic yet quintessential question in the entire universe:

Are we alone in this universe?

The answer to question above is as simple as either ‘yes, we are alone’ or ‘no, we are not’. Hence, the space exploration. Albeit the simplicity of the possible answer, the movie tries to dive deep on how we answer the question. This movie wasn’t focusing either on the unpredictable menace of alien attacks or merely spoiling eyes with scintillating beauty of the space. It rather mustered its energy on the narration of the story through first person point of view: how a highly trained and reliably calm astronaut could never escape his own memories. The slow pace and its narration clandestinely exacerbated the feeling of unknown that somehow was packed and jostled into something eerily suffocating. The story had successfully made me feel mildly sad with a pinch of piquantness through a contemplation that emotions repressed to appear calm in any sudden calamity will eventually trickle out.

Ad Astra doesn’t follow formulaic success that promotes space resilience and survivability displayed on other movies (Let’s take The Martian for an instance, it is a good movie, albeit predictable), but to survive the mere aloneness inside our mind that can put life in danger. For the complete synopsis and review, you can check Rotten Tomatoes. Here is my two cents on Aloneness in Ad Astra.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

All You Can See is Death

Flying the Amazon fires, "all you can see is death"
Source: Natalie Gallon (CNN)

Few weeks ago when I was in Jakarta for quite some time, I had everyday lunch break with my colleagues; a routine I rarely did. While waiting for my food, I checked my phone and stumbled upon an article covering the Amazon Fires. I held my breath as I looked at the headline photograph: The rainforest being wrapped in plumes of smoke as fires rage across the parts of the rainforest. Realizing that The Amazon has been called lungs of the planet, my lung suddenly was hurting and my eyes watery. I immediately closed article and put down my phone on the table as I knew it was going to trigger a burst of sadness. I tried distracting my thought by touching food served on the table and engaging myself on colleagues’ lunch discussion only to realize that they had been conversing the pros and cons about government’s plan to move the Capital to East Kalimantan and how it would (not) solve problems that Jakarta has been bearing for so long.

I slowly retracted my intention to jump into the discussion and prefer savoring my food while listening to their arguments. Most of their arguments were pertaining to moving the Capital will make palpable distance to their family, tear life they have built here, and only trigger new problems. Until they asked my two cents, “Do you think moving the Capital will serve greater good?”

I tried to quickly compose a reasonable answer but my mind still was on the Amazon. I ended up blurting without direction,

“To be frankly honest I have the least strong stance to utter a valid argument as I am currently not a permanent Jakarta resident and I don’t think I would be significantly impacted much as you guys. However moving the capital would only seem to me to be what David Harvey refers to spatio-temporal fix: solutions to capitalist crises through temporal deferment and geographical expansion. Besides  we are always on a losing side.”

They looked at me in a demeaning way until one popped a question,

“Who is this David Harvey anyway?”

A strange queasiness bloated in my stomach.


Monday, 5 August 2019

Journey to Nothingness



The rustling voice of railroad tracks ground by the train
The sunbeam reeking through the clouds
Reaching window where my head is glued onto
My eyes are gazing out 
Tailing landscapes altering rapidly. 
I am astounded.
It is nearly hypnotizing.

The train moves forwards but my mind strangely wanders backwards. It takes me seamlessly on how I am engulfed on days and nights of mundane routines for pointless efforts of trying to comprehend what every moment brings me to the table of life. Some days I find a thousand kisses so soft that smells like a cotton candy. Some other days I find water welling out of my eyes streaming down to test the limits of the sea that drowns the table.

Certain ripples from reality tick memories of particular place, moment, or person and take me into an emotional submerge on a ripped map of my own heart. They conspire to cajole me into travelling away from the presence and cornering me to exile into the past. The risk of being lost over and over engraves me a deep sense of intricacy. It feels like I am driving fast at a lethal speed and chased by hell only to realize that I am going nowhere.