All for Hindia

Works in Translation


Iksaka Banu, translated by Tjandra Kerton
Published as a part of Myth and History: Writing from Indonesia, Aug 01, 2015

First published in Semua Untuk Hindia as Semua untuk Hindia.

I put the letter back in its original place. A bit of finely shaved bamboo. I imagined the intricate journey this item had taken before finally landing on my breakfast tray at the Toendjoengan hostel in Surabaya last month.

The bearer of the tray, a young Balinese boy, claimed that he did not know where the bamboo piece came from, and immediately clamped his mouth shut. He even refused the five cents that I pushed into his hand.

Anak Agung Istri Suandani, my little sister. There was not actually any secret in that letter, was there? Only you, appearing in the form of writing, and layer upon layer of memories that came back to me after every word I read. But perhaps it would be disastrous were this letter to fall into the hands of the Balinese or the Dutch, who are wary of the possibility of betrayal from either side, as this letter was sent from the Kesiman Palace, but written in near-perfect Dutch by a princess of the palace. By you.

Read the full story here.