Soon - a word full of milky promise. A mirage of a word. A word that weaves a bittersweet beads of dreams.
Soon holidays. Soon the beginning of things. Soon the exercising. the eating right. the writing more. 
Soon more love. Soon a promise. a hope. a moving target.

Soon some magic. Soon and viola! 
He is Seven! A complete rubix cube of maths, music, mythology and magic!

A second grader, full of questions.

From where do babies come from to why don't we use magnets to reduce friction on the roads!?

He loves autumn, toy bikes, his McD burgers, coin and stone collections and wants to visit 
Eiffel Tower, New York City and Hollywood, also Madagascar and Coral Reef! 

How about Northern Lights and stars in the sea, too, Mummy? 

And of course, “Mummy you are my best friend.”  
“But you get upset sometimes, when I don't listen to you.”

He is all wild legs and wilder thoughts. A mix of wonder and science. He wants to be a scientist and a magician. 

This coexistence of practicality and pure magic in his mind right now is what I love most this age.

He is transportable, easily delighted, curious, sensitive, and more or less self sufficient.

Always up for adventure. “Mummy am so excited!” “Mummy, is it tomorrow yet?” 

He has imaginary friends who are ponies and dragons and aliens, 
who want to live with us and be our family!

He never questions the magic of things he believes in, 
despite the constant parody of “why?”, “what?” and “where?”
I kiss him goodbye everyday to the school bus, but he never watches or responds. 
His small little face - all quiet and serious. “Mummy, you know am shy around other people!”

This wild, tender thing I’ve raised; long limbed with silky straight hair 
that refuses to take any other styling. 

This boy. Becoming his own self.

He is a live wire full of electric energy and ideas. He is sentimental and nostalgic and terribly, remarkably bright. And he’s so stubborn sometimes my heart breaks.

After I come home from work, and after all is done, after dinner, after stories, surrounded by the thickness of night - he says “Mommy! I missed you. I’m so glad you came back early.”

Life slips right by.

Under the twirling heavens. The days blooming with twilight, spill into starry nights, turn blue before dawn, then spread the world with milky early morning sunlight.

He almost touches my chin now. An inconceivable fact. Almost every night as we lie on the bed, and read stories, I cannot help but marvel: “you were a baby!”

“You fit just here on my chest. How is that possible?” I say out loud.

And he says, “Am still your baby, Mummy!”

Then curls himself against me, folding himself up small, smaller, 
until contained right there, beside my beating heart.

My wild beating heart just calms itself down, just then!

A very very Happy Birthday, My MagiQ!


Copyright © Neerja Yadav

When I'm Gone ...

In between the time we get back from the classes/chores/movies/shopping, settle the heft of grocery on the counter – his things on the couch, put the kettle on, whip out his chocolate milk – the fragments of salad of stories begin to create a monosyllabic tag cloud.

In between the time I get the dinner ready and finish with the dishes and settle with a cup on the terrace porch to the background of telly droning Ben10 – words begin to drizzle – unfinished sentences, tangential arcs of plot lines, just ideas hurtling down.

Sometimes inside of my head feels like what it must have been at the beginning of evolution – barren - with a lurking promise of things to come.

While I sit swinging absent mindedly – the quiet of within washing over – noticing the way fading sun cuts through the clouds, marking vermillion streaks – there’s an orchestra flirting at the back of my mind. It’s just tinkering around but I know that there’s a musical in the offing – dark or sweet or something on the cusp – we don’t know yet. But, there it is. Inevitable.

In the here and now. It is happening.  The dare is to find the devotion to listen hard, and then to show up at the page.

Nirvaan is in a middle of summer vacation – entertaining himself by weaving scenes with his cars and superheroes and angry birds. Content as a clam.

All morning I work in my home office. The room repurposed as my office. Dad’s room...

Today I bring the angst, the guilt, the silence, my crushed paper ball of procrastination and a mug of coffee with me, enough to keep me fueled through the day. Kent and Linkin Park keep me company.

Then I sit, contorting at ridiculous angles in my chair. One knee up. Then both, perching. Then I’m spread out on the floor. I love the work I’m doing. But then the physics (both the straight and the meta versions) has its own ideas.

My body loves inertia, my mind doesn’t. Not at all.   

I stop.  I simply breathe. Feel the way my shoulders are holding on to the stress of things of recent past. Things this year has been modeled of.  I look up at the way the room looks same and different. I look up and see ‘him’ with his slight (almost beatific) smile playing out from the frame.

And, I stop breathing. 

Outside the window, day turns...

Today it is about noticing small. It’s about the way sun bounces off leaves and railings, slanting sideways through the window, and smell the scent of rain on dry earth as it begins to fall; from the sky. Petrichor.

Today it’s about breathing, until the wood-smoke burning is inside my lungs. Breathing until my lungs get claustrophobic.

For a while I feel as though I’m barely here, barely within my skin. It is the feeling that results from a day of intent focus, and of conversations I have in my head with the people I dream about at night. A certain almost indescribable intimacy, more real than real life.

It’s taken me a while to write because every street, every ritual, every instance of who I am, and who we are as a family and friends has been made new with this loss.

10 days’ shy of a quarter of a year gone by, since we held his hands while he breathed his last.

And then the radial shifts just a bit and right there in full blinding 'glory' - Loss in multiplicity!

A bit like an archeologist, sifting through the artifacts of my 2015 self; I’ve found notes, sometimes full journal entries, like the most distant stars, indicate the faintest outline of my chaotic mind.

There definitely seems to be some method to this madness. Randomly scattered sentences on the timelines of thoughts, like the shimmering Pleiades for me to pursue across my imaginations’ uncharted dark.

And there are other subtexts of these notes; asking me to take a breath and let go. Take a breath and slow down.

Yet I never listened, and followed instead the uncompromising rule of “should.” Pushing far past my limits because it was my default; the only way of being I’d ever known.

Have had the hardest time trying to write about this journey here. Somehow it feels both tender and silly and yes, weak; as though I am in some way admitting defeat.

I’ve begun a hundred posts, only to delete everything and start again. Yet I also feel like sharing this work of reclaiming balance and learning to live less forcefully will be useful. My own therapist, if you will.

Last 8 months were one of the most exhausting, turbulent times I’ve lived through.

I felt like we were all at the fragile surface of our lives; so many of us anyway. Walking on eggshells. Reminded of our mortality, pressed to ask hard questions, reach for new horizons, and confront limitations real or imagined.

Any time could be the last time. The last hello-goodbye. The last drink. The last caress. The last to be biryani dinner, yelling match, email, orgasm, inspiration, idea, breath.

Anytime could be your time. To leave. To arrive. To become. To cease becoming. Any instant could be your last.

Above the sky is blue and cloud-spun and the light is milky. Crows, three of them fight over a piece of food. Each one claiming their space, each one claiming some piece of the other. 

But in the end, just like us, each one will fly away alone... 

Copyright © Neerja Yadav