Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Commemorating Dad's Birthday

Friday, July 5, was my father's birthday. He is 78. Happy Birthday, Dad. Alhamdulillah he is healthy, despite his weakening hearing-capability and low blood-pressure. His voice is still loud; he still yells to his grandson, sometimes, especially when my nephew doesn't behave the way he should.

Now, in celebrating my father's birthday, I want to share with you my story about our relationship: my journey with him and my feeling for him. As you will see, it's not always filled with wine and roses ...

Our relationship is like a roller-coaster, with many "ups" and "downs". We disagree upon many things. And he made it worse by treating me like a child! Even when I have graduated from the university! (I still lived with my parents before I got married) --or maybe, it was me that didn't treat him decently?--. When we're in our "ups", I realize that I am still his little girl. But, mostly, I feel he is very feudalistic!

However, above that, my father is a responsible man. I mean, he tried as hard as he could to provide good education to his children. Although, I knew that, he failed now and then. But, all ivory is broken, isn't it?

He came to our school in the reporting day. He paid attention to our results. I realize now, he did all for his children.

He bought us books: children story-books, references, atlas, and magazines, and even comics (manga), in the Bahasa Indonesia as well as in English. He used to remind us to master at least one foreign language.

He made application for us for being library members (I remember "Balai Pustaka" library around the 'Lapangan Banteng' area, and "Depdikbud" library on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan). He introduced us to famous stories such as 'Sendiri di Dunia' (Indonesian translation from ..?.., in the "si Kuncung" magazine) by Hector Malot, 'Puteri Remaja' (translated by Gadis Rasjid from 'Little Women' by Louisa M. Alcott), as well as stories from 'Mahabarata' and local folk-tales. In my 9 years birthday, he brought me to 'Gunung Agung' book-store in Kwitang. He allowed me to choose whatever books I want. And for my 10 years birthday, Mom and Dad gave me 'Layar Terkembang' (by Sutan Takdir Alisyahbana) and 'Siti Nurbaya' (by Marah Rusli) as their presents! Was I old enough (or did I understand enough) to read these adult books? I don't know what my parents' opinion about it. He taught me how to use dictionary and encyclopedia.

He introduced us to the song titles, "The title of this song is 'La Paloma', this is 'Green Green Grass of Home', this is 'Blue Danube', and this is 'Kinanti', 'Pangkur', and 'Dandanggula'".

"Kinanti palipur wuyung ..
Rerengganing prawan sunti ..

He brought us to art performances, mostly in the Taman Ismail Marzuki area. We often attended the Javanese and Balinese and other kind of dance performances, drama, music, painting exhibitions, and also the 'Srimulat' group performances. In those years, the 'Srimulat' group's domicile was in Surabaya.

My father taught me many things; he taught me how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. And he let me learn to drive with his own car! (Can I do the same?)

But, there is one precious present from him that I appreciate it very much and I love it. And he gave it to me since I was born (maybe he prepared it long before I was born?) It is my name: Budi Saraswati. It's beautiful! Thank you very much for giving me such a beautiful name.

Remembering my father in his 78 years birthday, despite our "ups" and "downs" relationship, I can only thank God for the opportunity to be my father's daughter.

And to my father, all I can say is "Bapak, terima kasih untuk semuanya. Masih banyak lagi yang belum aku tulis. Tapi semua kebaikan itu akan tersimpan di hati" (Dad, thanks for everything. There are many, many more things I haven't written down. But all those kindness will be saved in my heart). I believe all my sisters and brother feel the same. "Selamat ulang tahun. Semoga Allah selalu melindungi. Amien" (Happy Birthday. May God bless you. Amen).