The old man selling old books

Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Last night in Jogja, I happen to crossed an unusual corner is a street in Senopati street. That corner caught my attention and intention to turn around to the exact same spot and stopped. I spent someone looking at what books this old man has to sell. In the middle of it, I asked some questions starting with "how much is it, sir?"

He replied "ten thousand" while organising the books. Again i asked, "and this one?" I showed him the 1991 business english book. "Five thousand" he answered continuing his book organising.

Mesmerized by this old man's vibrant energy against aging muscles, i paid fifteen thousand while saying, "I'll take both, fifteen thousand ya?" He softly answered yes.

That yes brought us to a longer conversation with this old man named Zulkifli from Aceh.

He opened this kiosk back in 55 seeking more than twenty thousand books. And he is miraculously eighty six years old. But still doesn't need ginko. (But remembers everything like an elephant) rides his old motor bike. Passionate to work against his cataract. He had seven children but none continued his business. His wife died tens of years ago. "sir, why still work at this age?" Grandpa Zul smiled and said, "i work for entertainment, better than staying at home burdening my children"

I insisted, "but it's tiring to go on a motor bike, open kiosk, close it, plus it's old at night".

He replied "love your work, son. Even hard, it will feel light... To work is to worship god"


I smiled and bid farewell by kissing his hands. Tears flooding my eyes as I walked to my car.

Grandpa Zul, what i gave you was too small, I only hope it made you happy. And yet what you gave me was beautifully great!

Unggul Santosa, May 4 2016. Ig : @petrichor218

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