Mario Kusuma : What to Do When Words Can’t Speak

“I’m not good in doing small talk, and I prefer to have a deep conversation where we can exchange our ideas about an issue. I need to feel that I’m going to form some kinds of connection through the conversation. However, not so many people are willing to spend their time for it, and I think it’s fine. Everybody has their own perspective.”

In an early day of 2017, I finally have a chance to visit Karawaci; a very pleasant area in Banten, Indonesia. I could spend my whole day sitting there by the window and just looking to its beautiful scenery, but my curiosity for Mario Kusuma’s story woke me up from my reverie.


Things such as emotion, affection, and love are moving so intense within Mario’s life. Instead of having a small talk, he’ll prefer to have a deep conversation with you. And when he can’t find words to fill the silence between you and him, he’ll show his tangible act of kindness by cooking, drawing, or even playing some music for you.

When he opened the door for me, I could see some red scars on his wrist. “It was burnt by hot oil,” he said. “I’ve been interesting in food and cooking since I was in junior high. I often watch Asian Food Channel back in those days,” he laughed.


He’s currently studying food technology major in Karawaci. “It’s still a new major in Indonesia and only few people know about it. I think it’s interesting how I learn about various food characteristic in this major.” Moving to Karawaci and being far away from his parents makes Mario cook even more often. “My friends usually come to my place, and we’ll cook then eat together. It makes me really happy when someone eats my cooking. I feel really appreciated by it,” he said happily.

Sometimes, Mario also randomly sends a recording of his piano or violin playing to some of his friends. Without any word, or explanation about the classic music recordings, Mario let the music speak by itself. “I choose music as my tool to interact with people, to build chemistry with them,” he said.


“When I was in 4th year of primary school, I told my parents that I want to learn music. I ended up learning to play guitar for two years, violin for seven years, also piano to support my violin playing.” For some reasons, Mario picks violin as his favorite instrument. “I find it interesting because Violin is a moody instrument. It can produce a different kind of sound in different weather, and the sound tends to be different if you don’t use it for a pretty long time.”



Right now, Mario’s also trying to explore about drawing by doing live sketching or portraiture of his friends. “I think it’s amazing how someone can make art just from pencil and paper, and it seems interesting to try.”

Cooking, drawing, and music are things which Mario does to show his affection toward his closest ones. Sometimes, he finds it pretty hard to put his feeling into words, so he converts it into acts. And as a normal human with bunch of emotions, Mario also hopes that people would do the same for him. “I need to feel affection from my closest ones. But I also understand that it’s pretty awkward for eastern people to show their affection for each other,” he said. “

However, converting feelings into acts isn’t always an easy thing to do. “I do appreciate little things people do for me, yet I become confused when trying to show my appreciation. I want to reply their kindness, but I don’t know how to do it.”


Mario sees love and affection as a very substantial thing in his life that it really affects the way he plans his future. “I’m not seeking attachment with somebody such as marriage as life goals,” he said. “But it’s just my current plan. I haven’t spared my time for somebody special because I have to develop myself first.”

“I often find my opinions are different with people my age. But after marinating it in my mind for a while, I believe there’s no such opinion which is absolutely wrong, and none of it is absolutely right. It’s just how it goes.”


It is just how it goes, and I’m really interested in the way Mario elaborates his feelings and emotions. It takes courage to say your words, but turning your words into action is another thing. I see Mario as a living proof of the cliché “talk less do more” slogan, and our talk that evening complemented the beautiful scenery of Karawaci. I got back into my reverie for a while, until dark slowly came, and it asked me to start thinking about going home.