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

accidentally - on purpose

On my reading bench, my sighs ring out my desires in the cold December air. The sky is dry and dull. The smell of grass wafts from my nook of a garden. Its greening and inadvertently make me happy. The shadows long in the gloaming.

It’s so easy, to let habit become fact. To let inertia stilt the energy flows. To settle into the way things have always been, even if it no longer feels in balance.


That’s what 2015 was all about.

It’s easy for this to happen especially when you’ve just been waxing and waning on the needs of day-to-day. The bills in the inbox and the dishes on the counter; the laundry in the machine and still your thoughts gravitate to alone-time and time together. Both in short supply.

When it takes all, to not scream with weariness – the seeped in your marrows variety of weariness! And what you do instead is pull out the forgotten cocoa from the pantry, treat yourself to homemade chocolate and get comfy between the warm throw and pillows, with a book.

Too much happened. I joined and quit an extremely toxic organization. I fell in and out of love in several layers. I got a pair of gold fish and lost one. Lost a few friends to their own choice. Nirvaan graduated to a proper school and every morning I break my heart seeing my baby climb the school bus to travel for an hour. I made some bold moves and chastised myself on every other occasion. I finally caught fine lines and immense amount of grey. I was grateful and grumbled too, for dad staying over this year. Home renovation projects. Meeting friends over business trips. Kept the migraine tablet industry going single-handedly. Thinking details. Planning big. Spending all my savings. Rolled my thoughts around like a pebbles in a box. Threw them on the board and I still don’t see a pattern. Or a picture.

I feel like 60 and 16 at the same time. Shattered and resurrected by the same things.

The world makes me claustrophobic and I deliberately lose myself inside, lest I forget to breathe, forget to feel, to listen. It’s harder to bring attention to breath and pulse and heart.

Shall I stop seeking balance? Pull a plug on the quest for peace?

Shall I just let the Universe guide me? Waiting for that stirring of energy. Activation. Motivation.

Copyright © Neerja Yadav