because there is no blueprint for this...



I wake up to a persistent tinkling of Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive, my ring tone of the moment. 

The room is a tableau of various shades of cold evening grey.

And even through the smoky grey envelope I could see things that are out of place, as if cutting through the sleepy haze… like tunnel vision clarity in sharp focus all things that no longer fit.

I was bone cold when I went to take a bit of a break, and no amount of comforters and wool or chocolate and whiskey could warm the being up… as if the cold is more within than out.

Amidst fragmented sleep, tattered thoughts, splitting migraine and fractured images … sleep did come, slowly anesthetizing. And, now I can’t move more because of the reluctance to let go of the delicious cozy warmth (finally!) and also because somehow I can’t. Glued!

It feels like a break from prolonged fever. It feels like when you've been holding your corner of the world together a la’ the Atlas. The cup you did not let slip. Gently. Firmly. But, yes your heart traveled miles and times and you have wanted so much to just pack and back out but knowing all the same, this too has purpose.

All those moments stacked up, all those turns fitting into a jigsaw of you – this version of you, now and here!
It feels like ending. Not just of year, things mundane. But also of life as you know. You. On this cusp of unknown! Something is about to happen. An air of expectancy surrounds the season

On my way to pick up Nirvaan, I see a flock of pigeons take off from the terrace yonder in co-ordinated choreography. Their flightpath a zig-zag. The light is fading the inky grey makes them look like some sort of shadow show.

Like the birds, I’m treading the line between. Between stasis and flux, between now and what will come next, between here, and wherever there is. There: the future. Tomorrow. The next day.

The world around me is counting down the days until Christmas. I too am counting the days. But I can’t say for what. For certainty. The past few months have felt a lot like sleepwalking through every day.

We get back home. Get our pet lovebirds inside. Make his chocolate milk and my tea together.

And then light up the customary incense, the warm sandal wood scent wafting in its wake and Nirvaan trailing behind me chanting his very own rhyme of “Om Bhurbhuwah….”




Copyright © Neerja Yadav

"hur jag fick dig att...."



I avoided the entire route like a plague, for as long as I could and then suddenly, I took my car for a stroll, at 20kmph in ‘the wrong lane’ – the same where my 20s were on a collision course at 200kmph in ‘the right one’ (??)

The place of my memory was same and different. Like a black and white kaleidoscope the scenes kept unfurling. Not a single nook or a corner is bereft of memories. As I take a left turn, I see the raven haired, saucer eyed, waif like girl laughing her head off UN-self-consciously and bam right on the next stop near that coffee shop, there she is… heart- broken, lost, biting on her lips to hold back the threatening deluge; and now walking out of the apartment building gate with all the false bravado of mid-20s and then its night time, there she is half-mad hailing a cab to get him to hospital on time…

That pagan spirit of that girl and the place still do a slow waltz of Brownian motion in the air and the sunshine bouncing off that balcony… It’s there if you look and hear closely.

It is big, impressive, and really quite lovely in its nostalgia. I can’t help but… hate it.

Maybe it’s for the best. The jagged imperfect perfection of my youth has been razed, but lives on in my head. “If time begets decay, then reverie provides respite, however brief”

The holograms spring back up unbidden as I remember; the feelings come pouring back, pure and unaltered. His eyes almost blood shot sparkle above his perfect nose and lips and I still know how to love.
                                                                                           
It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Too long really to go back pick up the puzzle pieces of whatever came before right now. Now, it is November of 2013 – two years shy of a decade since I moved out.  

It took just one afternoon, packed my things, my love and life and my humble self, up in a suitcase. Just one afternoon to re-locate my entire being. A kill shot, lest I linger and just stick around.  Live the Love.  Love that was tumultuous; ardently passionate, pregnant with juvenile bravado and razor honesty of self.

The light is ample while it lasts. Most days golden with a long slant to the light towards afternoon. The sky is as winter skies are. White on blue! Perfectly fairytaleish!
 

Everywhere the reminder: We are all here briefly, just this one time!  Karma and rebirth notwithstanding!

Dear Silence, fill me up!
 
Copyright © Neerja Yadav

and just like that a power of four!


 “MAMA, not working!” he yells, eyes close, face upturned. “MAMA!”

The way he does when he can’t get anything done all on his own…  

I run, help him with whatever he is trying and cup his soft warm cheeks in my hand and give that instinctive kiss.

“Thank you Mama.” He says this small exclamation of gratitude something secondary to his nature. He grins as I kiss face, and returns happily to playing.

This is what being FOUR looks like.

Lego blocks strewn all over the floor. A huge pail of water to be splashed and wash everything with. All the living room walls a glimpse of modern art. Half eaten chocolate bars, a bag of wafers - a completely unsanctioned snack. And bunch of new words and emotions strung together to make grown-up sounding sentences with!

Every now and then a midst my work, I stop and look at him; this baby of mine, and individual now… and can’t help but marvel… at life, at myself and the way this 3 feet something human has become the artist of my life!

This is the boy/baby who wants to do everything with “Me trying…!” and then also wants to be picked up like a baby!

Sometimes all his tantrums and stubbornness is fine and I am patience personified while other evenings, when I am worn thin after a hard day at work and pick him up from his daycare; and his strong little body is all over the place and I have to set him firmly and he begins to pout and cry… and I know the bittersweet of parenting has only just begun!

Life in its very elementary format teaches you the tenets of philosophies all over the world. The present is what it is all about! Parenting does exactly that! You do not expect or second guess anything; you literally just go by the flow, adjusting course, rolling with waves et al.

The world narrows so much when you’re in the thick of mothering in the first years—-when your kids are small, and then suddenly the aperture shifts, and they’re chest high and learning to read; doing tricks with their bikes, running, skinning, talking, making up their minds.

Best decision ever: to have him.  This fullness and grace of life that I have been granted!

You can hear it: the way autumn is all celebratory. The sky knows and so does the wind. And also, the air is cooler at night, and we close the windows part-way now, and we tuck in bed together wrapped up still like extension of each other and wake up to his slobbery kisses, my hair mussed, my head full of dreams.

September ended and I woke up to brilliant October skies. My favorite time after spring. Just adequately balanced; adequately romantic. Late bedtimes + favorite Pocoyo videos. Books and wine after dinner. Music. Lots of it.

And, September ended and almost time when I stop calling my baby, ‘my baby’

Happy Happy Birthday, Mumma Mi’s Handsome!


Copyright © Neerja Yadav

perfecting the emptiness

Breathe, a simple word. But a difficult verb... 
The name used to be on that page, a smudge next to the others. If you squint your eyes you can almost see it, below the surface. Almost.

My dreams are so very far away, yet i can taste, feel, even smell them. I have a hunger, a desire to reach for them, but my hand falls aimlessly through the stardust they leave behind. Old dreams are fading away, but i will stitch them to my heart to stop them...

A scar on my heart rips open to reveal my emptiness.



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morning

We are all captive to our dreams. Some in ways, different to others.
Some days I'm afraid to go to sleep. Scared of what my mind will bring me.
These days I dream in black, and blue.
In the darkness I am alive.
 
But then there comes morning

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

in bloom

It's night. I gaze at the heavens, the vastness of the stars, the patterns sprinkled in the velvet canopy. I want to bathe in starlight, sprinkle it on my skin, and lock it in my heart. I'll gather it and the moonlight and weave them through my hair.

It takes me longer than I anticipate feeling anything. And suddenly am just tired. The fatigue of living taking over, my whole being. I can’t find anything, even my body in space.

One evening, long time back, while partying, I hit my elbow on a glass top, it’s been paining ever since… the searing variety of pain; it just waves on inexplicably, to a point like I double myself and almost cry.

I have no idea about anything.

I used to cut myself up, as a tween and as a teenager. The cuts making perfect red lines. The jagged lines gaping up just enough to make me quaver but the mind really doesn’t feel anything. I applied pressure and wrapped my wrist in a two white kerchiefs and sleep walked through a semi-tomboy semi-goth phase.

“Awww, Mumma, got hurt??” brings me back to this cherubic big-heart-full-of-love boy of mine! I kiss his rosy cheeks, watch his hesitation and the decision to takeout an imaginary phone and call the ‘doctoc’ and ‘nana’ and ‘soma’ and ‘maasi’ and ‘mamu’ and every other name he remembers!

I walk into alternate time-frames. Trip over dreams/nightmares on adit! Everything is a perpetual, “What is happening…?” self-conversation. Everything displaced, misplaced.

As the curtain on the autumn is about to go up… the sun has begun to slant long and golden and low across the pavement, and makes our cheeks light up.

Also, out of nowhere, amidst all the turbulence of living and happily mothering, love arrives like a gift.

Like a thin silver imperfect but deliciously glowing halo cast out among a stampede of everyday and it makes me giddy to have it now, this whisper, this inkling of what it will be, tucked into the pocket of my heart even as I purge the first 1-year of officiated goodbye! Whoosh. There went the year.

Now we eat waffles and sip on hot chocolates while watching Ben 10 reruns in the last light of evening. We light candles after dark. There’s a pinch in the air and amidst all the life-confusions and awaited longish battles; there still is that bellyache laughter and intended-to-be-quickie-but-culminating-into-sweet-slow lovemaking!

And slowly I am arriving. “Hello, New life!”

Copyright @ Neerja Yadav

"her name is alice...."

I might have to move. After about 3 years of rooted life. Again!

I slowly unpack myself. Knowing fully well; this time, I wouldn't fight. Flow like a river!

The move is what we need perhaps. But, the actual process of moving: walking into the unknown is frightening. And, am just this bohemian at heart!  My uber-sensitive constitution is humming with the vibrations of possible change.  Processing!

The mist sings hauntingly here at night, and it is quiet. In the morning the sounds of traffic rise with the sun. During the day there are mynahs on my terrace. They remind me of my childhood: where my favorite time was to lie down and watch the white fluff of clouds float by on azure blue sky… and watch the mynahs preening. I love their exotic calling during the day.

Nirvaans now forming complex sentences and blocks and communicating everything he wants. He’s fearless and slight of hand, that boy of mine. Sure footed and confident everywhere. He explores. He plays. And is quite headstrong!

He’s got two baskets stocked with knick knacks, balloons, cars, trucks, pebbles, angry birds merchandise.  He sits looking out the windows, thoughtful, full of old soul wisdom.

I readjust the furniture around the house. There is good light in the living room, with French windows perfect for basking.

In the morning when air is still white and untouched by yellow sunlight, we lie in bed, under the duvet; rubbing noses, making pillow forts and playing hide and seek. In the evenings, three of us, talking shop, gleeful, contented.

Unwittingly, I have a completion of a family. Very staid yet special… in that inexplicable way!

Sunrise crisp morning and a huge, pink cumulus right on the horizon, bigger than imagination, wider than a dream. He comes over, carries his coffee mug. We stand looking. Him all dressed and ready to leave and me just out of bed. Nirvaans happily tucked in. He holds me close; presses his lips into my hair. The blue sky getting ready to welcome the sun’s flame.  This view! Him holding me, just tentative, just enough!

He leaves.

Immersed in house chores later, I hear the sparrows chirp and doves call, as if just for me.
It’s these things I’ll miss. The way the sky feels mine. The lived-in aura of this place I call home. The love pad it has become! The way walls sing and play with Nirvaans artwork. The ways there are fairy lights all over the terrace. The way my kitchen is still an echo of my single bachelor days.

Isn't this always the way? The hardest part of change is the anticipation that comes before; the huge fractured maze of what we can’t imagine. Known becomes nostalgia overnight. Not because it is right or true, but because the course is already set. Because the heart knows its way through, each turns familiar and made by habit.


Constant change and continued familiarity! 


Copyright © Neerja Yadav


via web


'the secret life of daydreams'



You spin me right round…(like a record)

-       Dead or Alive


via web


I love badly. That is, too little or too much. I throw myself over an unsuitable cliff, 
only to reel back in horror from a simple view out the window.
 
—Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries



The car window slides down slowly and he simply says “you look beautiful…” ; three simple words and am surrounded by butterflies…(still)… unwittingly I blush… (freak!)

Even with skies carrying on like no tomorrow, even with the endless, endless rain, and grey skies... its summer and its green here…

And in between, there is this golden time. Unfurled shine!

Spring and Purple skies. Torrents. The air hangs heavy. Hair curls. And, I am this close to stop thinking and deconstructing moments and intentions. Inevitably the conflict!

And, I close my eyes…all I can see is the smile! The silence is filled. With just a word.  A noun.

The moon shows its waning face veiled behind the cloud canopy. Things turn iridescent, blushing each time she shows her face again. The gravel glints. Emotions at the surface.

It’s not on purpose.  But everything seems to be suddenly shifting and colliding.

Logic isn’t something you feel until you loose it and everything from the day slides up against moments like this… Irrational and Right!

Everything tumbling to create a bright, discordant geometry in the present moment while the cars light up the eyes… the irises reflecting… images…

Cliff jumping towards the unknown…

There is a voracity and hunger to it that belies balance. It’s no accident we say we “fall” when we are in love.

The hardest thing is to feel the force of stillness balancing the velocity of perpetual action.

I reach out and respond… this feels like a continuation.

Fingers intertwined.

We breathe.

Copyright © Neerja Yadav