Once upon a time, there was a guy named Bandung Bondowoso. We shall call him Hunk. And also during that time, there was a gal named Roro Jonggrang. Let’s call her Babe. Of course, Hunk wanted to marry no less than “the” babe. So he went to Babe’s dear dad and impressed the living lights out of him that by the end of the courtship (you really have to court the parents, and not the object of your demented affection), dear dad said “alrighty!” plus thumbs up with a wicked wink in one eye. Pissed because Babe really thought Hunk was not so much of a hunk as he though he was, she cooked up something for the dreaded marriage to never happen. She put on her mesh+organza clothes, puckered up her lips, crushed an onion and slathered the dang thing all over her eyes, and went up to Hunk.
Babe: Hunk, if you really want to marry me… Like, really really really want to marry me… Build me 1,000 fabulous temples *let’s see if you can do that you a**h***!*? AHERM!
Hunk: Of course Babe! Anything for ya! I should get started now…
Babe: Oh, by the way… I would really really like it, if you can finish my fab temples by tomorrow. Say, before the break of dawn *let’s see if you can do that you a**h***!*? AHERM!
Hunk: Phooey! Consider it done!
Actually, Hunk wasn’t all that manly. He just had special powers and can conjur magical creatures. And so to prove that he had the balls to build the 1,000 fabulous temples, he called up his magical friends and they were able to build 999 temples. As they were building the last one, Babe got all gaga. She ran around town like a headless chicken, waking up all the women in the village and and started slave driving them. Scared that Babe might kill someone because of this amuck, the ladies did what they were told and started pounding rice. On top of the frenzy, the roosters began to crow. The magical creatures though that the dawn was breaking so they decided to leave Hunk all by his lonesome. Poor Hunk got disappointed because he was just one temple short of getting it on with Babe. And when he found out that it was Babe who actually tricked him, he went berserk and turned the lovely lady into stone.
Hunk turned Babe into the thousandth temple. Congratulations Einstein, now go find yourself another wife…
One thing that I loved about my travel to Indonesia was my way of blending in. Yes, I did the most hideous thing and pretended that I was a deaf relative of my guide who came from Jakarta. I got there via motorcycle. Me sitting behind my trusty guide was, for me, the coolest way to get from one place to the other. I was a natural. And I would have paid 11USD had I declared I was foreign. But because of my great acting skills, I paid half the price.
The feeling was surreal as I entered the complex. The temples seemed to float in clouds, and I was there, floating towards them. My love for Hindu literature surfaced as I went from one temple to the other. Babe, or rather Roro Jonggrang’s temple is said to be the main temple dedicated to Shiva. And the two temples that sandwich her are the temples of Brahma and Vishnu.
I’m no fan of love stories, but the legend of Prambanan added to the mystery that is Prambanan itself.
And so the moral of the story? Never trust your magical friends… They are just figments of your imagination…