On the night of January 28, 2011, I received a heartfelt email from this unknown. Her name is Rassi Narika. She wrote:

“… I was reading an article of you about how you love details, and how you have grown to deal with stencil sets, vintage, and again details. You revived what I thought I should do in life, and this time I promise myself I’m taking the action to make it. Over the past couple of years, I have been exposed to the beauty of living in Indonesia. We’re a contained, beautiful chaos with the mixture of people, problems, and unsolved issues. Yet, I always found myself amazed that I always found warmth at every corner. I love to write journals and found myself ecstatic every time I have to choose a new one. I would have to start doing the selection process of my journal to suit the mood and quality of life I want to portray. Just like you made your dream, I want to have mine. I want to have my little book shop where people can come and find themselves playing around to feel the warmth of being there and knowing that the journal will contain the life that they have. So be it if it’s going to be not as easy, I want to live it to share it. Thank you for sharing Tulisan. You have no idea how relieved I am to feel my dream again…”

Her email moved me, so I invited this girl to meet. We clicked immediately as
if we were blood sisters from the previous life. So in return to her kindness,
I asked her to write a short story based on my last illustration edition in 2010
‘Mrs. Picklenuts’. So here is what she did in 30 minutes:

by Rassi
Narika – Jakarta, 4 Feb 2011

Mrs. Picklenuts was the lady who lived on the corner of the street. She told me the story of an arrogant king who would walk naked down the road with an invisible robe, and of how an Asian tribe would lengthen the neck of their ladies for the sake of beauty. As she hugged me that night, she said I was beautiful even though my neck was short.

She taught me how to make a cup of tea taste just right. A tip of a teaspoon of sugar was what she recommended. “We need to taste the bitterness just enough before you could recognize the sweet. Only when you acknowledge both feelings, you would learn to respect.” She took me gardening every spring and let me gather some wild flowers for her living room. For her, these cast off blossom which no one wanted were still a beauty, nonetheless.

Growing up required too many things to do and friends to catch up with; and putting wild flowers together is no longer on my list. Now there are no more stories being told after last winter when she left, I was not there and I missed her. Today I put together the first bloomed flowers of the spring and wrote a note with no story.

……………………the end……………………

We welcome Rassi as a new member of Tulisan family. She spends her weekend
contributing short stories for Tulisan’s limited edition illustrations.

Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya

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