Kuliah Cinta

I walked in, having been dropped off from the hotel to the location. We've been shooting for the past few days at a house somewhere near the forest. The local community has been supportive, and came out in force to watch the shooting in action.

Tonight, however, things have yet to get going. The cranes weren't moving, for the operators weren't around yet. Plenty went back to their accommodations, washing the day's sweat of their backs and recharging their mental and spiritual batteries for the slog that is the night shoot.

Anyways, I walked into the house, with the crew gathering around the assistant director, Kak Amy. Lest it is forgotten or ignored, the crew members are largely students of UiTM, and the senior production members, their lecturers. I settled down as Kak Amy, the first assistant director, continued lecturing to her flock.

“Love is a tricky thing,” she had said. This should be interesting, I thought to myself. “It is a tricky, yet important thing for us to go through. I've never discouraged people from falling in love, and getting together with someone.” She paused, perhaps for nothing more than the most dramatic of effects. “Especially at your age.”

The crowd giggled, yet their attention never wavered. “It is more difficult to fall in love at my age,” she continued, before glancing slightly to her left. “And at Mr. Syahrul's age.”

The giggled erupted into laughters, all eyes in Syahrul's direction. The second assistant director merely smiled widely that cheeky smile of his. I often imagine that smile to arrive on the scene of a kid who secretly took a cookie out of the jar. “Really?” mused the director, Prof Hatta, looking at Syahrul's smile on a later occasion. “I've never thought of that before.”

That smile stretched even wider, as Syahrul proclaimed his innocence. “I think I have a few levels to go before getting to the same stage as you, Amy,” he offered, doing nothing to calm the laughters around. Kak Amy, for her part, smiled back at him, before turning back towards the crowd.

“But you must also be ready to forgive, and to understand even when you're not in love,” she continued. “Sometimes, we feel that our friends, some of them may be close ones, abandoned us immediately after falling in love with someone. We must be willing to forgive precisely because that person is in love.”

I wanted to beg to differ, but for some reason, my tongue was held firmly in cheek.

“When we are in love,” she said, tilting her head sideways before looking momentarily distracted, “it is a wonderful thing. You have finally found someone you like, someone you care about and like to be around. It is easy to forget the other things that goes on in your life. Including,” she suddenly sterned her gaze to the masses before her, “your studies.”

Another roar of laughter erupts, but one which also carried the subtle message that says, yup, you got me there.

“But so long as your studies are OK, then it's OK to fall in love. And we must also be OK with our friends being in love. Now their time, their attention, their love, even, has been taken by someone else.” She leaned forward, clasping her hands together. “And we must be understanding in that respect. Understand that it doesn't reflect on us as friends. It doesn't mean that we're any less valued, or any less appreciated. It doesn't mean that we are no longer good friends.”

“It's just love, and we cannot take it personally.”