And then I hear sirens wailing…

I think I understand
a little bit of my Grandma,
today.

I think I can imagine
a little bit of what went through her head,
today.

You see,
yesterday a bomb went off in our city
shootings occurred
people were hurt
people were killed

I was nowhere close, but,
I heard sirens
I saw police cars
I saw armoured vehicles
I saw armed soldiers
I saw security guards on alert

I was shaken…

What does this has to do with my Grandma?

To understand my Grandma,
you have to go back to history

My Grandmother is from another era,
from a time where
girls from respectable families
were not expected to be anything but a wife and a mom.

But my grandma,
She loves studying
She loves school
She wants to continue her studies
Her family marries her instead
To a good man from another respectable family
And, by all account
She was a good wife
and a wonderful mother
who has the misfortune
to live during turbulent times
in her country.

Starting from the communist uprising
who cheerfully killed her uncle
in front of his family
Her uncle, who was killed due to his position
which was exactly the same position,
that my Grandpa held.
Great.
Of course, the Dutch were still there too
to add to the fun.

Eventually, my Grandpa join the fight against the occupiers
So off they torched their house,
leaving everything behind
As Grandpa goes deep into the jungle
Grandma moved to a safer place,
with several children in tow.

Oh there were other instances
like the part where my Grandma has to feed people in military gear
not knowing whether they were nationalist army
or the commies
Or when they were interrogated for hours by the Dutch,
as they suspected, my Grandpa was a spy
(he was)
Trying times,
to say the least.

Fast forward to the Sixties
They have settled down in Jakarta
with the promise of peace and prosperity
now that we are a free nation

But alas!

The red bunch decided, hell no!

So one night,
multiple gunshots were heard
Grandma thought, Oh no. Not again!

Grandpa, who’s now in the police force,
immediately donned his uniform,
weapons at the ready,
bade my grandma good night
and disappeared into the dark

Grandma quickly put the kids to bed
Lock the house
turn off the light
and goes to bed too.

at some point,
Grandpa returned
safe and sound

Morning came
wakey wakey!
Everyone got up
except one

at some point,
the heart of the house
stops beating

It was too much
for her gentle heart.

So yeah,
yesterday I got a glimpse
of what that night would be like

It was only a few hours, yet..

I can’t imagine
going through it for years
being on constant alert
particularly when you can’t see who are the enemy
and who are the allies

Oh Grandma,
even today
some people are just not happy
seeing peace reigns
The difference is,
yesterday,
people are sick of it.
We are sick of attempted terror.
Live is already hard enough here
we don’t need additional hardship
just because some random people thinks its glorious.

(No, it is not jihad to blow innocent people)

I hope it doesn’t happen again
I’d like to think we’re stronger now
I’d like to think we are badasses

We are coping,
the best way we know how
though jokes, laughter
and by just keep on living
because we have to
and because it does

So good night Grandma
Jakarta is still on high alert
But life goes on

because we’d rather celebrate life
than to cower from life

Give us strength
Give us courage
Give us love

See ya later Nini!

Lebak Bulus, 150116

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