Tegal is The Place Where I Want To Be: A Memoir

Muhammad Iqbal Nuruzzaman180410160033

Tegal was a location that most people don’t know about. But for me, Tegal was a place with a lot of sweet memories. The reason for the way I love it so much goes back to when I was just 9 years old in 2006 when the first time I was hunting in my hometown one day when I was just 9 years old. It was Monday morning and I was just eating my breakfast with a traditional food, that is Bubur Sumsum. The taste was great, the sweetness of the food being combine with other ingredients like coconut milk and rice flour. Overall it was great but a minute later my uncle asked me to go hunting with him, the location was at “Bojong”, it is around Tegal but it was pretty far.

Before hunting, my uncle asked me to invite other members because he thought more people made hunting much more enjoyable. Well after his suggestion without a second thought I invited my cousin and my siblings. There are roughly around 8 people including my uncle. At 6.pm we left our house. The reason why we were hunting at 6.Pm because my uncle told us that animals or even predators like tigers, eagles, owls and even snakes are nocturnal animals. Most of them come out at night because they want to avoid predators that come out at daytime or for a predator who came out at night, because at night because these animals have much better chance to hunt their prey.

We traveled for around 8 hours around the mountain such as Gunung Jati, Slamet. While we chatted with each other, for some reason my uncle told us a horror story about many things, because of it we were a little bit scared to continue our journey to the hunting area. After 3 hours of driving and when most of my friends are sleeping my mind had many questions and without a second thought, I asked my uncle about animals or creatures that were most likely found in the forest. Because of I kinda worried about our safety then after I asked him about it, his answer was ”don’t worry about it the location is divided into 3 zones and the place where we will use is a location where there are fewer predators than the other zones”. After saying that I was a little bit relieved.

But then I asked him another question and that was what kind of animal we will find at that zone “well there are many of them such as deer , snakes, rabbits, boars and also tigers”. I was surprised after he mentioned tigers in thoat sentence, he said it like it was nothing. But then he just laughed saying that he will protect us with his life if such a thing happened because in his 20 years of experience meeting such beasts are very rare. Because tigers are endangered animals and it was protected by the government. Because of that we will have a small chance to meet them, the chance of meeting them is almost zero but it doesn’t mean we will not see them. Even though my uncle and I had a long conversation my body is pretty tired after having such a long journey, without my conscious I fell asleep.

But all of a sudden the car stopped and my uncle told us to rise up from our sleep. It took quite a while for us to wake up but my cousin named Rendy and my uncle are preparing my uncle’s equipment and that was his sniper and ammunition. The gun he was using was a gift from his father when he was just 18 years old. The gun itself was made by Japan in world war 2, it was pretty old for me but my uncle took good care of it. If I remembered it correctly it was an Arisaka rifle. After preparation is complete, my uncle took us to camp where he can register for hunting. It took 15 minutes for him to finish registering after giving the payment then we are off to the forest. But without our awareness our number has increased because my uncle also invited 2 of his friends to protect us, the reason was that my uncle doesn’t want to risk us getting injured.

30 minutes later we had arrived at our destination, it was really dark and there were only 3 flashlights that we could rely on. Then my uncle and his friend prepared by loading their weapon. Now the gun had been loaded and they were ready to hunt, but first, they needed to find their prey. “There is an owl over there” after my uncle said those words he then took a stance and tried to lock his target. His friend gave us a chance to shoot the target. My uncle also gave us a chance to shoot his prey. Before we shot the target my uncle told us about the recoil of the weapon. Not all of my cousins and siblings had the chance to use it because some of them are too young to use it. Then with my uncle’s command, the three of us pulled the trigger. The recoil of the gun was hurting our shoulder, even my older cousin was crying because of it.

But my uncle asked us to quiet down because he doesn’t want us to attract any other predators. After the situation had become quiet he and his friend took the prey. I got an owl, my big cousin got a lizard or some people might call it a “Biawak” and my other cousin had a “hare”, the sensation was amazing. Capturing my first ever prey was great that I can’t even put it into words. Then my uncle asked us to take our prey and go camping because my uncle and his friend had some business to take care of. We arrived at our camp with the help of the security there.

It was 3 pm then when my uncle arrived at our camp with a huge boar on his back. “Well guys it is time to enjoy our prey, let’s cook it”. My cousin and I started to remove the bullet from the animal. My uncle and the rest of his friends took the rest of it, he told us to take a rest at the camp. Next time I knew, it was already morning and my uncle woke us up. “Hey, breakfast is ready”. We jumped in excitement because we were already hungry. But I was surprised after seeing the food. There is owl soup, Sate “Biawak” and other is fried hare. Of course, the main menu was a roast boar with peanut seasoning. Well, I asked him if it was ok to eat it, the reason was in Islam there are strict rules about eating pig or in this case boar. But my uncle just told us as long it was not giving you any type of sickness than just eat it, also he told us we don’t bring enough food from our home because most of our food was already eaten when we were at our journey to Bojong. All of my cousins were afraid to eat it but for me, it was something I found curious so without a second thought I ate it. For me it was tasty, it tasted just like a regular meat you found in cow or buffalo but it was much juicier. Well after a long adventure it was time for us to go home. for me, it was a pleasurable experience more than I could hope for. Before we went home my uncle told us to keep a secret about our experience with our parents. Especially me who he knew what type of parents I have, he knew how religious my parents were. After accepting his request, we started our way home. that was one of the best experiences I had in my entire life the thrill, sensation, fear and many more. It was something other places can’t offer that’s why Tegal holds a special place for me that I will treasure in my heart forever.

Photo By: Tegal By Warta Bahari/Bojong Tegal by Kamal Fuadi

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