Cyandra village is like gems glowing in a cave. It has long been pulling in holiday makers throughout Magelang city and neighborhood coming to it no matter how challenging its route is.
You need to spend about three hours from the heart of the downtown by car. Twenty minutes minus traffic jam is all that you require to get through the hustle and bustle of the city. Once you pass that, the real adventure is about to begin.
As 150 miles lie ahead of you, extra fitness is one sure thing. Another hard ingredient is being totally patient because you are not alone in seeking happiness in the village. Hundreds plan the same in weekends. Whenever extra days off hit, you may take four to six hours to get there. People from even as far as Surabaya don’t mind spending hours on road to quench their thirst of something green and fresh there.
Cyandra is like a magnet drawing more and more newcomers one can’t resist. Its charm has spread from mouth to mouth for the last five years. Once you get there you will go home bringing the Cyandra virus that will infect your relatives, brothers or sisters.
Sumardjan family had been caught by the virus thanks to the bombastic story told by one of their relatives. Maryati, the mother, the financial manager of the family of four, had been begging his youngest son, Adam to lead the trip.
“Because your father has been too old to drive while your brothers and sister are busy with their kids,” the mother said.
“And please, put that books down, Adam! I’m so sick watching you spending weekends reading in the room. Have a life my son! Please, do!”
Since Adam couldn’t stand with his mother’s fuss any longer, he nodded.
“The curse of being the youngest child. You have no options other than staying at home with your parents while your elder siblings can roam around the world,” he said to himself.
Although he is more like a homeboy, Adam still wishes he will leave the house one day like his siblings. Whenever he utters this desire his mother rejects the plan. For her, Adam must accompany her and the father until their last breath.
“Among all my children I trust you the most. After you get married I wish you and your family living here, too,” she once said.
Luckily for Adam, he gets a handsome job nearby the house. He works as a interior designer in a reputable private company outskirt of Yogyakarta. He doesn’t need to rent a house or a room to make him easier to commute because the house is nearer to Yogyakarta than the centre of Magelang.
Adam is an exception among Maryati’s children. The youngest, the quietest and the cleverest of all. While her other kids love going out, making lots of friends, Adam prefers a small circle of buddies. In contrary with his siblings who mostly love music and film, Adam turns to books whenever he is alone. Being in a group of people exhausts him.
Adam excels in everything that he does. If not being the class winner, he snatches a lot of trophies when he represents his schools, from elementary to senior high school in drawing or writing competitions. He garners many admirers from teachers and his peers, girls especially but Adam is Adam. He loves being alone.
Three weeks prior to the journey to the Cyandra hamlet, Maryati had already warned him to not forget the plan. So frequently that he got so fed up. Seven days before the departure Adam instead told her mother what he had prepared so that he wouldn’t hear her fretting.
His behavior hinted Maryati that she had been pushing him too far. It was time for her to stop. So the family set out in stillness. Only the laughter from Bagus’s 2 years-old girl who broke the silence once and in awhile as she was mostly sleeping in the car. The other two were canceling joining because of having other events to attend.
As much as Adam hated this trip, he was making the first move to clear things out.
“Mother, did you bring my favorite snacks? Please bring it here for I start getting bored in this traffic jam,” he said.
Her mother handed him the snack and they both began talking to each other.
“I’m sorry for forcing you getting out of the bed, my son. But I really do want to come to the countryside,” his mother said.
“I apologize for the harsh deeds lately, mother. I hate the thought of getting stuck in traffic jam only to have pleasure. That’s so silly,”
They both reconciled. It was always easy to make amends for them.
Four hours passed. The much-desired village was like waving from afar. Maryati’s heart jumped. She was so excited viewing all trees standing in a good order circling dozens of houses painted in either white or blue.
The houses are put in such a way that they look like colorful boxes arranged from top to down. This has been the most favorite sight among picture freaks. Even from distant, this hamlet has been a very delicate object, the scenery that washed away all the tiredness being four hours on the road.
The family was staying in the hamlet’s most-wanted inn run by the third generation of Waskito family who was earning high respects from other hostel or hotel owners there. To get a room in the inn, particularly during peak season, you must book at least one or two months beforehand. Adam was the one responsible for doing this as requested by her mother.
“My mother always wants the best, the most exclusive in everything. I’m doomed!,” he thought.
Three rooms were ordered under Maryati’s name, Adam got his own. He was happy that though he was in noisy place like Cyandra at times like this, his mother allowed him having some time alone in his room.
Nothing was really spectacular of spending the long weekends here. Taking walk across the countryside, picking up fruits, riding horses were among weekenders’ favorites. Others opted laying mattress or cloths then putting foods, fruits and snacks on top of it. Some call this as ‘a pretty vintage picnic’ or ‘a chic go-together moment’. Then bunch and bunch of pictures in social media.
“How can this be called as recharging your mind? You are here in this peaceful place but your mind is full of updates in Facebook, Instagram or Path? I don’t understand you, people!”, he said.
While Adam was embracing his skeptical side, Maryati and the rest of the company was completely savoring each and every moment. The 63-year old was even busy making new friends with her daughter-in-law every time they went out from the homestay. With such a cute and adorable girl like Amanda at their side, the duo was finding it very easy to make strangers to at least dropped a hello.
Sumardjan and Bagus were trailing behind their women. They both didn’t mind having their time wholly for their wives and kids. “One day you will understand it is worth the joy,” Sumardjan told Adam when his son was rambling about it.
Friday evening went casual with early dining in the inn then exploring culinary stalls all around the village. The home for about 1,000 residents was making it a bit loud in nights. When holiday season is around the corner, around 1,500 people pack the place, 500 of whom are from nearby villages working as seasonal security officers, parking attendants and cleaning service employees. All of them are hectic providing best services for around 1,000 tourists flocking the area.
So you can estimate food areas all around the village are full. Some book seats in advance, others come very early even before restaurants are operational. You still can enjoy the food and the people you bring along though as the air is cool with trees swinging to and fro. Each and every restaurant grows trees and flowers to ensure guests can take delight in eating.
Lucky enough that the Sumardjan family got seats for all of them. The eatery is well-lit, a large part of its two-story bistro is outdoor while the smaller one is in the building. It is just a few blocks from where the family was staying.
Since Amanda was prone to flu, the family opted spending the night inside the bistro. The Sundanese food they ordered tasted so delicious upon their mouths. They were enjoying meal in good mood. Maryati and Adam were looking merry as if they had forgotten their quarrels weeks before the night.
After Maryati finished eating all the meal she withdrew herself to the bathroom. It was painted in black and white with luxurious interior. Upon arriving to the village she couldn’t help but feeling surprised at everything that she saw.
“You can hardly call Cyandra a village. An exclusive resort it really is,” she said.
Though the houses in the countryside are relatively small they are well-built. Colorful tiles, strong foundation and delicate design. Not to mention restaurants which are well-composed.
So when she entered the toilet, she didn’t that shocked at finding she was like into a five-star hotel’s toilet. A middle-aged woman was washing her face then cleaning it up with tissue. She was in a long black dress with hair were tied up.
She greeted Maryati when the latter was just inside the toilet. The woman was looking modest yet elegant and most of all, friendly and humble.
“Do you like the food here, madam?” she asked.
“Oh yeah, I love it. Fresh and tasty, not too spicy. No wonder the eatery is so packed,” Maryati said.
“Do you know who owns this place? I’d love to meet him or her may be,” Maryati added.
The woman whom Maryati was addressing the last question was silent. She was tidying up her hair then putting all beauty essentials into her black wallet. “Hmm.. may be you should ask for the information to the cashier or the security officer. Till then, excuse me,” she said.
The short, ambiguous encounter left Maryati wondering for the whole night. She kept awake at night playing with the thoughts of who the stranger was. She looked classy and rich but wasn’t necessarily beautiful. Her tender words captured Maryati’s heart.
The following morning brought Maryati to the restaurant again. This time around she didn’t come to eat like the night before but to ask for the woman’s whereabout. She firstly interviewed the eatery’s security officers yet none of them had a clue about her. The same replies were uttered by people working in restaurants that stand in its right and left sides. They said they didn’t know such a fine lady was living or working there.
As her efforts were fruitless, Maryati was heading back to the inn before the Saturday morning was still young. “Hopefully neither my husband nor my sons ask why I leave the room early in the morning,” she thought.
On the way coming back to the hostel, Maryati saw the woman she had been looking for crossing the street. Maryati was at first puzzled on what she saw because the woman was wrapped in plain cloth with no makeup. She was looking like ordinary women in the hamlet but her look was still sophisticated.
“Oh hi, mam. Good morning. Do you still remember me? The woman whom you met in the toilet?” Maryati said.
“Oh yes, I still recognize your face. What can I do for you?”
“Hmm.. is it possible that we can sit together and have a nice chat? I have a few questions for you if you don’t mind,” Maryati said.
The woman was directing Maryati walking to a serene location where very visitors were spending the cloudy morning there. Like some who was drinking chocolate or coffee, the woman was buying Maryati a cup of hot tea. The two was sitting in wooden benches looking out a carpet of tea plantation. A number of women were plucking tea leaves, placing them into baskets they were carrying on the shoulders.
“I was wondering why you asked me about the food the other night?” Maryati opened the discussion.
“Are you up to something about me, mam? Just tell me,”.
“I only wish to know who you are since you look different than all women I have seen here. You seem educated and have a high taste. So, who you are if you don’t mind telling me.”
“The eatery belongs to my family, mam. If you were wondering why I was dressed up like a visitor that was because I wanted to know people’ opinions about the food and the service,” she said.
“I have been doing this disguise for years and this has proved making the business running well,” she added.
“Why did you do that? Don’t you have husbands, kids?” Maryati asked more.
“Because I’d love to see guests speak honestly. If I introduce myself as the manager or owner they most likely make up their answers.”
She added her husband had long passed away and she didn’t intend to marry anyone else. Her kids were away with their respective families but regularly visited her with their children.
“So you live alone here?”
“Biologically speaking yes. But people here are like my families. I was born and have been living in this village for the rest of my life.”
Up to this point, Maryati was tight-lipped. She was gazing at the row of people taking selfies in the tea plantation.
“Now you are quiet. What’s the matter?”
“Don’t you feel lonely, mam? They are not your family after all.”
“Yes, sometimes but I have to let them go to find their lives. I can feel their love from miles away. If I die, I’ll be proud with what I do of setting them free because I now believe love can stand the test of time and space.”
The last word left Maryati in stillness. They both parted ways as the woman had to clean up the bistro while Maryati was afraid her family started panicking looking for her. On the way of returning, Maryati couldn’t stop thinking the woman’s point of view. She was too absorbed with her words that she didn’t realize she had been staring at the breakfast in front of her without touching it.
“Mother, are you sick? You don’t like the food?,” Bagus asked.
“Oh no, my son. Lets, lets eat,” she said.
As breakfast was concluded Maryati was approaching Adam who was about to play with Amanda.
“Adam, can we talk?”
“Why, mother? You look pale. Do you have any problems, here?”
“Oh I’m fine, my boy. Don’t worry about me.”
“Adam you can go wherever you wish to go,” Maryati went straight to the point.
“Wait, mother! What is this? I don’t get it.”
“You can work in Jakarta, Singapore or any places you dream of. I’m sorry for keeping you at home all this time but now spread your wings and be free to fly.”
Adam was left perplexed. Not only as she granted his long wishes but also the ways she spoke of; soft but deep.
“My dear mother. Thank you so much but what happens? Why do you let me go, eventually?”
“Because I want you to live your life and I want to take care of myself and your father on our own. I want to be an independent old woman.”
Adam chuckled then hugged his mother.
“Thanks God. You don’t change. Still silly but this time around, on point.”