Stories

i know I’ve been quiet here.

it seems all of summer and the monsoons alternated between being filled with sun-drenched hopefulness and raining-on-my-hope-parade deluge.

there were days where time bookended between morning and evening was like treacle and then days when it supersonics into oblivion

retrospection, introspection and enough of all kinds of inspection... just less of recording... for posterity, for sanity even

and then all of a sudden paced days make their appearance and i look forward to simple routines and rhythms... and just like that its fall

and my baby is a seasoned kindergartner, his body suddenly that of a little boy’s, lean-muscled and strong. him. a willful little being.

the days just blur and the nights just descend without the preamble of evenings, bedtimes thwarted and Saturdays being lolled about in bed, in making a mess of comforters and pillows, in jumping up and down and in kissing and tickling.

am grateful. am incredulous. am just basking in the pure love of everyday.

 
Most days, the minute I lie down, post all the toddler stories and in-bed shenanigans, post all the last minute bathroom visits and water bottles and checking for monsters, post all of my own idiosyncratic rituals... when i lie down... the words rise up... right when i neither have my notebook or iPad or the laptop even phone is a distance away... right when there are no means of catching them... like fireflies they flutter aglow... their blinking... my personal Disney fairytale... and i slide in sleep... only to surface up to blurry wakefulness to see the stories play out, projected on my conscious, the fantastic nightmares or bizzare or the unseen faces and unknown, unthought of scenarios of doom and gloom... before launching into a court room kinda debate for and against my own sanity and paranoia

Death. Mayhem. Injustice. And me amidst it all. A silent spectator. Sometimes highly troubled. Other times just watching. Looking for signs of feelings, all these feelings must bring in. The dissection of meta-feelings, the deconstruction of mind function of a sleeping being. 

All of this before the neon blue of digi clock says: 5:00 AM

My dad has been unwell for the longest time now.... last month... there were times I was on the verge of being certain that he would probably not be with us... to the edge and back... time and again... it was like each day... the graph wasn't looking very healthy constant... spikes all over...

and unbidden the memories... of him being this tallest person, a giant of a man, and me on his lap, in his arms... sleeping and when i wake up, i see the ground beneath moving and realise that he has been walking home with me asleep... my first memory of height and motion...

him being angry on some or other mess we kids had made. him being goofy with mom, him with this deep deep laughter and booming voice, him talking to us especially me as equals while discussing the fine points of mythology or politics or philosophy... i had a brush with Charvaak before i picked up Enid Blyton..

happy him, sad him, angry him, elated... dad! that word contains all of our broken and blessed childhood... a majority stakeholder of the people we (my siblings and me) now are

most days happen now in a rush of hours, and the stories only happen after: between sleep and waking. They happen in that slender gap between now and unconscious; in that groove where memory opens up wide, and the past hurries out dancing as it does.

i haven't found it in me to tame these stories yet, they are too big, too overwhelming

these are the stories that ride in on the edges of the hours, like leaves caught in the forever whirl of a river

Copyright @ Neerja Yadav

mosaic of me

via web





Ma left this morning, and while she stays over.. its almost always my teenages revisit – the angst, the bile, the ridicule and inexplicable resentment… it  is when she leaves;  the absence is acute.

How could you be nostalgic about things you have never had? The cozy yellow warmth of the family evening? The huddled up winter afternoons of banter and chatter? A general familial bonhomie?

Those run of the mill naïve things of human social existence? The absence of it all? The acuteness amplified to the degree of pulling you in a black hole?

Its afternoons like this, when even the skies perhaps get muddled up and do a trapeze from the summer solstice point - the wind almost autumn laced; that his being at school too is like a dredging up nostalgia.  

As if his infant, toddler, teenage and adult selves have converged in one; stand there stroking my 60 year old hair – “Ma, it is all fine!”

How a certain distant car sound, someone’s kitchen at work, birdsongs – all medley into the montage of those fragmented, pebbled moments of long time, even life time’s ago!  I sit quietly and reach into the old forgotten jacket pockets…. Feel the shards of all the assortments … not always my own.   

Some of them (okay fine, most of them) are the ones… when on just an afternoon like this…I quietly tucked myself up in invisibility cloak … being an audience to someone else’s drama/moments/cheer/grief; an outsider – yearning to be part of those stories.

And just like that, my pockets began filling up, now the shards still sharp, some blunt… but all of them still there. A good memory is a blessing; they said? Yea right, you don’t know half of it.

Sometimes I think I can smell my long lost lives, perhaps am a part of Narnia or Neverland? How about Hogwarts? I just have to close my eyes and see the wild wind swept long curls, braving the cold and happy(?) as a clam in one of those mansions in the pages of faerie magazine. As real as me here and now; sometimes more!

Empty feelings magnetize to an old couch and slowly, meditatively I sink into self. Narcissa really!

I have always had dreams which have this sense of fantastic, other worldliness about them; the sky, the places, even the people and upon waking whatever it were about, feel close all day. Touch of it seeping into the bones with almost improbable sense of intimacy.

There is always a story building up somewhere inside, the idea, the plot-line, like pitter-patter, sometimes a sentence too, maybe a dialog – a book waiting, bidding its time.

The trick is to collect them all and construct something. The challenge is to show up on the pages

Outside the window, day turns to dusk …

Copyright © Neerja Yadav