still corners

I want to tell you about 3:36 AM, my customary – my signature clock read. The house and the world outside the window, hum with quiet.

I want to tell you about the nostalgia that shrouds you at this hour from your first memory to random office conversations to beer-soaked evenings with best friends to all the random quiet corners of your life.

I want to tell you about this morning, I woke up to the moon playing a peek-a-boo with the tall buildings – like wisp of a presence – letting the ambers of street take over, with a grace of someone who was here when it all began and will be here when it’s all over.

Insomnia teaches you things, you would other wise perhaps miss – the way the streets play host to teeming automobiles and humans of various shapes and stature with same equanimity and stands firm in solitude, the way the sky changes from dark to bright, the way the world begins to swell then with the sounds of birds, the way the water lapping up the harbour front turns from ghostly to benign; the way mystery turns to magic to mundane.

We moved this May. It was a silent brewing storm in more ways than one.

We moved to an apartment with wall-to-wall glass windows, apartment less than half the size of our old home. Where quiet is complete. It took us a while to create home – we are still putting our lives back together. Lived-in beige cream couches, white TV console – courtesy Ikea; photo-memo holders, fairy lights, throw pillows, the cute kitchen dotted with cuter doll-house appliances and Lego strewn living room carpet.

Nirvaan is on the cusp of the tween he is becoming and kid he is. I know this move is good for him – yet there are times – the quintessential parental second-guessing chides. The subtle negotiating of his emotional terrain whilst keeping my natural reticence in check – takes all, some days and then the showering of kisses and the run and tackle whooping “Mumma HUGGGG!” more than makes up for every single moment of privation of the last decade – not just this move.

We went grocery shopping and played at the park in the evening.  We had fruits and veggies for dinner. We have plans to sleep-in and then go to the pool tomorrow.

I hold my breath. And soak in every moment. Alive to each one of them. My time is flying – as it’s wont to do – at this space and speed. Being grateful for pocketful of seconds, I have been granted this time around.

At nights I still get to envelope his 9-year-old small boy fragrant frame, in my warmth; whilst missing the warmth where I could fold myself up like a bird.

It was so incredible and scary and amazing to start, and start again. Becoming too precious about things. To question everything. To commit to something. To love. To fight because you are scared. To find meaning in the scare. To find the right lines, the right tone and colour of moods.

I have faith in the process of making this life work, is showing up, resilience, to inhale the bittersweet of moments and say “I can do this like a rockstar!”

And for the nth time I think – there’s nothing in the world I would trade my life for. 

This is the life I want. A few more steps... 

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

La Vie

Life has a way of stopping you and also getting you to run. Amidst all the best-laid plans – it sneaks up on you.

A month of back-to-back days; without a minute to collect breath – there have been hurriedly written journal entries or notes scrawled in the margins during meetings.

I come back tired these days. Amidst the teeming madness of a big city life – finding the quiet for the core can be a task, sometimes.  So, back in the apartment where the stereo croons something soft changing tempo to imagine dragons to ‘80s disco and back to alternative. My playlist like my friends and living too, is eclectic. I cook – I try and write – I devour books or binge Netflix. Or simply just let the being float in vacuum.

I don’t get much sleep – but that’s always been de rigueur much like my denims and white tee – in dreams where ideas take shape and things are woolly soft or where the anger gets amplified – a narrative happens. A twisted messy glorious pretty narrative. And just like that the ideas begin to converge like iron filings in a slow motion drag to magnet.

Despite myself, the default of curling up with a book, last weekend – went out for a dinner with a set of funny brilliant women. M who is kickass and warm; to be honest she used to intimidate me and then I figured she is a choco-lava cake! ‘A’ who is so full of life – the practical and the practiced too – she could easily be an elder sister, partner in crime and then we have another 'A' who makes you laugh so hard you weep/pee your pants with her straight face anecdotes.

Then took a mid week break to walk down a promenade – watching the sea and feeling the ‘mistral’ blowing through a sunny day. A stroll through a near empty huge shopping mall – catching up on the woman superhero – much slicker than superman could ever hope to be; Captain Marvel! A much needed break to balance out the craziness the human systems become.

I took my notebook with me. And, what I remember is the heat of an azure blue sky and the wind turning up the brolly upside down. The huge warm amber chandeliers and mustard laden burger from shake and shack.

To paraphrase Max Ehrman – Despite all the mess – it’s a beautiful planet!

What I miss is the sweetness of my baby. His fingers; in mine, and his smell – which still carries a hint of the baby boy.

What I remember is this: to show up and show up with the intention. There. Done. The beginning is here.

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

bubble wrap

I feel so unbelievably lucky. Thank you to everyone who helped me on my way - the way to semblance of surety - there still are days when things feel oft kilter - too many things happened, as they are wont to - such is life, right? 

You jump head first and then you negotiate the waves, the crests and the trough, you encounter mermaids and siren songs, you hit walls and mountains too - but you move them, around, step by baby step and you arrive... 

arrive where you are meant to be - eventually... 

and then there are quiet days like these where you find yourself on the couch still unchanged from the day's dust - with a cup of tea and laptop, amidst the ringing-silence of the apartment - where the wall to wall windows look over crescent chalky moon silently competing with skyscrapers with light shows  - the moon still wins by the way...

and you make video calls to friends and family hear the warm voices rooting for you and look at loving familiar faces sat in places you called home and with a small little bittersweet pang, 
you feel... unbelievably lucky, with more on the way.. and take a deep breath and smile...

smile, because the new innings have begun... exactly when they were meant to... 

via web

and as i look up and ahead ... from magical stuck-in-the-ribs goodbyes 
to exhausted work days; it's a starlight of fresh start. and yes, more on the way...

Copyright © Neerja Yadav


veils gliding off the blooms
pulsating hearts of calyxes

jingling millions of flickering whites
stippled on the moonless nights

eyes dripping dream
grins dipped in cream
miles melting away
yet the chasm…

pinch of psychedelic
sculpted into a lil relic

a relic of love
a relic for life…

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

Bliss is an Art - Perfected by Practice

The digits on the cell-phone clock contain a rhythm of seconds in steps and I can feel tiredness seep into my pores like a rising tide. My body sinks into the faded off-white bed sheet, tiredness making my legs at once jumpy and leaden. 

As I snuggle back in the dim lit silence. I watch the digits choreographed in block steps moving forward and listen to dawn gathering. And, watch the white haze on the windows. 

I can feel myself out there somewhere at the peripheries of things, like a jellyfish that is present only in its own pulsing.

The staccato episodes of life that's me - keep panning in and out… there was, me in them and there was me, outside them. A non-judgmental viewer. A viewer who was inevitably taught this:  growth happens when the moments are bitter and slow, when night happens early at the edges of my soul. When breathing keeps getting interrupted claustrophobic thoughts.

And then this happens:  morning comes again. Bright and Sunny!

In my core I have resilience. In me there is a swift restorative sap that tells me again and again to have faith, trust self. Trust intent. The power of true desire. The walk towards 'the north star'

I see myself lately in a different light and recognising this feels a bit like finding a Polaroid shots of me in a shoebox and being unable to place the context or the time in which it was taken.

I have things to work at, in this new inning. Somehow I’ll make it through. 

From one day to next with grace. 

I’ll sip good chai, and make good food and work at being a good mother, a brilliant professional and do justice to all these titles. 

I’ll read poems that fill me up and write more. 

And I’ll wait… till the new me is recreated… and woven into the, me-now. 

A holistic me!

Till then I’ll breathe in the warmth of my son and my dreams... where the difference between being and being together fades.

Happy Happy Birthday, Nee! 

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

defining diffusivity

i sit on the window sill
and gaze out into the night
melting into that distant no-sight
the moon bursts out 

from behind the tattered clouds

Once there was shock
Once there was pain

Now its just nicotine
Now its just rain

Have been soaking in for so long
Now, a point
Where, it can hurt
No more
No more fire blazing
No more comets
tail shimmering
A torn leaf
A damp firewood

Esoteric helplessness
Cursory helps

And the eyelids…with a soundless blink
Spun those yarns… without a drop of ink

The starry heaven slowly make way
To dewfall skies

A few unsure treads, circled my heart
A few tremulous steps, fenced the wall

Lying, thinking
Floating, diving

I tried finding a home
a home for me
searching shadows
in hope for the silhouette

A lone light over the hill
Someone living there still

One more night of erosion
One more night of delusion
I glance through the mirror and tuck myself in.

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

sapphire, silence, sublimity

this poem fell from the sky, 
from the molten sapphire above
this season melted from the snow, 

from the whiteness pure

this journey began from nowhere, to nowhere, with lots in between
the headlines of the 'galaxy times' says: "the time just froze"

no more angular, no more linear, no more constant variable
soft lights, water, music notes, everything that screams romance
everything that’s mush, everything that sells on valentine’s…
it’s 1000 bucks a couple… 120 bucks a shot of ecstasy

fails to move a muscle in me…
diamonds are not for everyone
sometimes a cubic zirconia is perfect

happiness is another noun, felicity being it’s twin
but poor love lost its grammatical position…
something broke and the life fell, pearl after pearl…
lost the day, while trying to catch the twilight
the shadow occupies the senses
eludes the being
myriad falls, sequestered my silence
the pyre of dreams going up in flame
the effusive hush doesn’t make sense, yet…

Copyright © Neerja Yadav

break my heart for you

Voluble death
Voiceless Life
Inability of the night
To conceal the nonexistent
The potency of the dreams
No more leprechaun cohorts
My prayers languishing… gradually
My breath trilling… feebly
My smiles dying… slowly
Angels croon…
Yes, death becomes me!
No more eros, 
No more a sprite sprinkles dust,

Copyright © Neerja Yadav