“What were you doing sist?” asked my cousin, curious to see my hands were drawing in a piece of a paper.

“One day, I am going to have my own magazine. I will draw great pictures and write good stories in it,” I responded. Both of us then chuckled.  I bet my younger cousin did not really get my points at the time. Neither did I actually.

——————-

In separate unknown range of time, I found a magazine for children during my brief visit to my uncle’s house in Ngawi of East Java. The name of the magazine is Mentari ( dunno if it still exists now). It felt like I discovered the best ever toys in my hands. For me it was better than Bobo because Mentari offered a wide range of reading, short stories. Wow! It was the first time I read a good magazine. It prompted me to write a short story after that. At my uncle’s house, I was like in a heaven since his house was full of good reads. I never have such kind of books in my modest house. I thought my male cousin was so rich that he would give the magazine for free for me. But I was wrong. After some minutes of arguing, he agreed to sell the magazine for cheap. And thankfully, I pocketed enough money to buy it.

Finding Mentari in my hometown of Karanganyar was a bit difficult so I ended up buying Bobo. I did not really like Bobo because it provided more on pictures with foreign-like animated ones. Mentari put local taste first. But anyway…I was hungry for kid magazine so one fine morning I forced my mother to accompany me to go to one of the famous bookstore at my hometown. We waited for hours till my mother lost her tamper…then found out that the store was closed.

Well, my mother was mad at me but I did not care. So in a bright afternoon, I persuaded my beloved school gang to satisfy my addiction with the kid magazine. We rode our bicycles some kilometres away. Then yep! I reached the store and bought Bobo. I was so joyful. And my friends were only staring at me. When I told them how wonderful the magazine was, they just laughed. Guess they were surprised to know how crazy I was.

——————–

The other day..I begged my parents to drive me to the bookstore again. Now, I was able to make my father to get me a book on folklores. I wonder whether or not Mentari does still exist now. The bookstore, anyway, has been closed.

——————–

My first love on history came up when I and other classmates of elementary school dropped by at one of our friends. I found some pieces of paper which would be used to wrap tempeh at that time. The paper was about European history. I read it over and over again. My eyes were shining so bright to know that world is indeed so huge, leaving so many things to be explored.

I became much more interested in reading when I received Matra magazine. I had found it not attractive to read until I turned special reports on Vesuvius mountain of Italy. As a kid, I was still grasping with the language it was using but I completed reading it though. I was so surprised to know how the European civilization had been so advanced at that time. Unfortunately, I spent most of my time by reading materials related to the subjects taught at school. I no longer read about history, folklores, short stories anymore. I did not have enough money to buy “entertaining” books. But most of the reason was because my school focused only on those being presented at classrooms so I just followed everything.

I’ll never know I ended up studying English literature. I neither liked poetry or drama but here I was. Think God knows I have to continue what the past offered me.

—————

Its just so weird that I am living the life I once taught when I was a kid. Never thought that all those silly experiences have brought me to where I am now. I am not saying myself as a book worm but reading and writing are my passion. Just realize those small clips from the past then landed me working as a journalist, not far from reading and writing. I have yet to create my own magazine, but I am heading in the right track, I guess. And one day, I will make another blast again…

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