Stars and Silence

A Story about Night sky and Silence in the island of gods — Bali Nyepi Day

Monday, 7th of March 2017 . It is still raining and Bali wore a wet dark grey suit complete with its rain eu de perfume, just outside my office across the hallway framed with wave shape window the rain poured down gently , no thunder no wind just water drizzling effortlessly from the sky, evening came and the drizzle stops this was the day before silence in a hotel by the pristine Jimbaran bay.

That night me and my two co-workers went to Kuta to watch the annual Ogoh-ogoh competition, it was so crowded sea of people surrounding the stage, this night is also called Pengrupukan night a night before Nyepi where Hindu people in Bali do rituals to ask the devil ( Buta Kala) not to distrub them during the day of silence. Panel of judges sits below a white tent as the announcer called the contestants one by one to perform. Each contestant represent different banjar, where each of them has to perform a theatrical act along with their Ogoh-ogoh, some of them are humongous , some use mechanical structure to create special effect and some are cool looking Ogoh-ogoh with details and lighting effect.

Female dancers from one of the groups // Humongous Ogoh-ogoh of Garuda fightning a demon

Its two hours before midnight and we decide to call it a day, took a quick stop in an almost closed mini market with their windows covered with black tarp, preparing for tomorrow , we bought some drinks and we chat on top of our motorcycle as we finish our drinks and go back to our hotel and call it a day. The festive atmosphere in the night starts to fade away, the Ogoh ogoh parade are already finished, people starts to ride back home in the nearly dark city, lights starts to shut off as if the city was about to shut down for a good night sleep, this is where the day of silence began.

Morning came, the air was still with the wind blowing from the air conditioner being the only sound in the room , my roommate already woke up and went ahead to his office. I took a peek from the tightly closed grey curtain, Bali wore a bright blue suit with a tiny cloud pin on its chest today, it was very quite outside no roaring sound of scooters nor cars, no noisy sound of nearby construction, nothing except the rustling sound of the trees, birds chirping from the distance and the gentle blow of the wind. I Took a shower and get ready for the office, the splashing sound of the water breaks the almost complete morning silence as I walk to my office, followed by the distance chatter and laughter from the pool area. All In-house guest are required to stay inside the property for the next 24 hours, the Lagoon Pool area are filled with guests sun-bathing, children playing in the pool merrily splashing with each other, some of the adults just floats effortlessly on top of their bright colored floaties facing up-wards with their sunnies on.

I spent the whole day doing my paper work and helping the pool associates handling guests request, towel counter, doing several activities to keep the guests entertain during the day without having to go outside. I occasionally went to the rooftop area gazing to the blue ocean gently gently washed the white sandy beach, a couple of white fisherman boats floats following the rhythm of the sea, unmanned. The sound of the sea and trees rustling their leafs compliment each other as if they were talking to each other and waving to each other.

As the sky shows its orange and lilac hue, guests starts to leave the pool area and went back to their room preparing for dinner at the restaurant, meanwhile front office associates with the help of other associates starting to call guest rooms kindly ask them to make sure their curtains are tightly shut so that no lights are leaking outside of their rooms or the Pecalang (Bali Cultural Police) will come and give us warnings. During day of silence, Balinese Hindus are not allowed to go outside of their house, no lights/fire can be litted and loud noises are also prohibited, this rules also applied to those outside of the Hindus to follow and respect the tradition. In the case of Hotel, Resorts and Hospital , they are allowed to not follow those rules as long as they keep it inside their property, that is why lights showing off to areas outside of their property are prohibited.

Guests already finish with their supper and went back to their room, we also finished on making sure that leaking lights are kept as minimum as possible the hotel was dark, I was walking to the lobby from my room when I realize this is the night where the whole galaxy will show itself above the Island of gods.

I saw my coworker standing by the panoramic window by herself heads looking up, as I get closer to the window the sky slowly shows itself behind the ceilings, I froze on the edge of the lobby floor by the panoramic window, heads up , shivers runs through my body, all the stars you can imagine glimmering in the sky showing off their lights , its like the hotel became a planetarium itself.

The view of the resort and starry night from the lobby panoramic window

After a moments looking at the glimmering sky from the lobby I went to the rooftop, it was almost pitch black when I walk out of the elevator with green emergency exit light being the only light in the hallway, I walk to the open area to see a better view of the sky, it was amazing, silhouette of trees and neighboring hotel blending in with the gleaming night sky, that night the air were still and calming as silence took over the night. A sense of fear yet amazed took over me for a second, reminding me of how small we are in this universe but then I felt grateful and blessed that I can experience this serene night in peace and tranquility. The next day, sound of daily routine took over silence, but that night I sleep with stories to tell, a story about stars and silence in a small island blessed by gods.

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