It was 07.55 when I tapped my ID card at work. I usually arrive early. Yes, early. I'm working in an agency where people could arrive at least 10am, yet they would spend quite late at work.
Anyway, nothing was suspicious.
Not until a shocking gigantic sound came to our ears a few hours later. Funny, I've been the one who's always worried with such sound in the office, fear might it be a bomb. Previously, in my one and a half month working in that office, it was whether sound of thunder or something from the construction area nearby. That morning, my colleague also thought it was thunder! But we realized, the sky was clear.
I didn't move until somebody said it was a bomb a few seconds after. The first explosion. We ran towards the window but the smoke was gone. Everything was ok. The person who said he saw an explosion suddenly wasn't sure of what he just saw. We sat back at our seats and the second explosion burst out. There, we started to worry. We ran back to the window yet everything down there seemed to be normal, seen from 26th floor.
The people around the Sarinah wasn't running away, freaking out or something. Like everything was normal. So I thought, maybe it might be an explosion from Burger King's kitchen, despite my colleague said that the explosion he saw was in front of Starbucks. And then I thought again, if it was indeed a blow from the kitchen... how could the sound break so loud?
I took my time to type fast on Path when my colleague tried to search the news about it. That explosion was brand new, of course there's nothing about it on the net. No one answered me on Path for some time.
Some colleagues started wondering, asking someone to find out. I made a few steps back from the window, just right before the third explosion came visible to my eyes.
That's it. I usually don't scream, but shits in my head defended themselves to let out. I remembered someone yelled out to evacuate. I ran to my desk, packed everything quickly while telling my friends not to forget everything behind at work. When we were getting closer to the door, one of the bosses said to me, "Stay inside, it's happening down there, you'd better stay inside. There's a shooting downstairs, you don't wanna go down."
Some people were already near the elevators, I screamed asking them to come back inside. I didn't hear anything but the explosions, so I was shocked too that there were shootings already.
So we stayed. We stayed altogether in one point. The building management officer spoke out an announcement, saying that we should stay inside. Let's say, we're trapped in the office.
Definitely, it was ISIS. Or their previous look-alikes: JI, Al-Qaeda, HT and all. Yet, some part of me still hoped that it could only be a drill. It wasn't. My journo friend said that it was a terrorist attack. Confirmed.
I told my friends about it and the news came up.
We went to the restroom together, and the fourth explosion came. That was nightmare. Suddenly I felt like I lived in Iran or Syria. The big main streets with the coolest places and skyscrapers in the city turned into war zone. As it has been the fourth one, we thought there would be more and we didn't know where. Our office building could be next. And we couldn't leave.
All I cared was I needed to tell my family that I was okay so they wouldn't be worried. I hate it when they worried. My mom was sick since last week, she's not feeling that well. I was afraid this news might frighten her and trigger her pain. I made the call, trying not to panic so I would sound convincing enough that I was okay. I wasn't. My hands were all trembling when I made those calls.
My XL was dead. Kinda hard to made a call straight from my cellphone. I also rushed to contact my brother and sis-in-law who worked in Thamrin, too, with land phone on the desk. I cancelled my meetings and stayed calm.
After calling my mom, another explosion. The fifth. I didn't take the time to get closer to the window to look. The sixth...
Hours there of despair. I wasn't afraid if I have to die on that day. But I was afraid if I might get hurt... living and keep remembering the public distraction of an on-going issue. Just because of it, people died. Innocent ones. Of course, I didn't count the terrorist who died during the attack. Let them be.
Looking for the bigger picture... The spin doctors made a huge success with a handful of ammunition for the day: The hashtags people debated (instead of spreading the right information and verifying the rumors), the public watch on the spot, and the fashionable cops.
People also compared the incident with the one in Paris. Definitely not the same. Indo were debating Indonesians posting 'Pray for Paris' and the French flag applied on their profile pic when it all happened, which for me, it's something normal. As I see it as a way to deliver condolences despite the distance Indo and France had. But this is Jakarta. These peeps are in the same city. And they're debating the hashtags while I was burning my head in composing the plan to escape. I just wanted to be at home.
The incident left me curious.
How on earth it could happen...
How people dare to do this, letting some people who know nothing to die intentionally just to cover things up. I noticed a few illogical clues. I'm writing this, not in the mood to accuse. However, I was surprised on how many people ignore it and CHOOSE to get distracted, even worse, claiming the hero on wrong people and pointing it out as cynicism to be critical about this.
Some people who were consumed with such things... had less sympathy. Well, I can't blame them. I can't blame them for not being there and realizing the absurdities. Instead, they would love to joke (or brag) on 'bravery' of civilians who enjoyed the violent drama, live...only a few steps away.
Anyway, at least I know who were truly cared about me on that day. People who had me on their mind when the incident made the headlines. Thank you! I'm deeply touched. It's always nice to know that people care.
As a person who work in Communication industry and taking classes on Terrorism Studies, I am sure this incident is definitely a set-up. It had been practiced many times previously. By who? Just find the spin doctor....
And it made me realized, we're all Jon Snow. We know nothing.
Last but not least...
Dear Spin Doctor, whoever you are... Yeah, you won. But I'm not afraid. One day, I'll do the same thing to you.