mosaic of me

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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

Love - you can do nothing about!

In my mind I always imagine, the words – that’s what I do, when I experience, I imagine how the world can be distilled into words, how the moments can be memorialized into mismatched metaphors, my mind jotting down side notes, sometimes a whole paragraph. Sometimes just a bunch of mental Polaroid shots.

Fatigue has been a part of me, it seems like forever… yet I never allow myself to listen. I’d tell myself— I just need sleep. I need to be out and take Nirvaan out too; and then I’d ignore it entirely and keep right on pushing.

And in keeping with the push, we (my brother and sister) text-ed and decided we want a family vacation. Vacation. On papers! For going back to this place I called family home for most part of childhood is anything but that!

Family, that inexplicable thing that it is. The people that make us, fiber and bone, but also the ones from whom we learn the earliest perceptions of ourselves.

They are the mirror house, some show you small, some really distorted, some bring out an unearthly beauty and some make you look like monsters.

Our lives, witnessed in all its stripped-off-glory and vintage tint.

We try to find our connect and it’s not difficult, conversations happening between the indecision and decision of what to make for dinner; between the meltdowns of one 4 year old, the nap times off kilter; the first next generation at this family home, everyone trying to dote on him; while he tries to find his balance, his space; struggling with dehydration. 

Between waking up and going to sleep in an unfamiliar place, all of us talking at once.  
Both my siblings and the both the cousins have their stories. We weave and get woven into the narrative. Not being the audience. But a part of the yarn.

Later, much later, after the dust of storm of a new person becoming a part of this family settles down, after my dad’s failing health has been inventoried and cheering him up is done; and my sister comes back with us to my place; before she leaves again.

The youngest leaving the nest, farthest. It’s just the two of us flipping through channels or folding the laundry or sitting down with tea.

I stay up late, talking with her. She tells me stories, filling in the patchwork of her life that’s being spent away from all of us. We talk.  A couple of sisters; who still argue, have disagreements; she fiercely loving my son, almost as fiercely I love her. We could just well be soul twins

Perhaps, we are.

After I drop her off to the airport for that goodbye, which is harder than it looks.

What I learn from the trip and the visit is to just be there, side by side. To hold my arms open wide. To apologize without the friction of ego. To wash the dishes, and then to wash more when they get added to the sink. To offer my hand to mum and aunt and counsel to cousins and to move like water between the moments. As always.

The whole time I was with family and then alone with her, I could feel both the déjà vu and the surrealism of the stories that we’re living.

The stories that are part of me. The stories that I make a part of.

Copyright © Neerja Yadav