What's in your dreams
What’s in your dreams?
There were white clouds all around, fluffy, soft and shiny clouds. The sky was blue, the sun shone warmly and the wind gave a hint of chill as it trickled every leave and played with every feather. Ravi was walking past a bed of magnolias in full bloom. Strange it was, as right beside them, there were the gladiola flowers and next to these was the chine rose bush. How can it be true, thought Ravi. “All these flowers in the same season?” And what about the Morning glory creeper? The violet flowers stood in contrast to the yellow ones from the bougainvillea. This was a park with all the beauty of nature in full feature. Not to mention the butterflies and the moths, which were so vividly colored that they seem to come out of the paint bottles after having a bath. The water in the stream that cut the garden in a twisting and twirling fashion was glowing in the sunshine. Ravi touched it. It seemed like flowing silver. The drops in his hands shone like diamonds, brilliant and transparent. But, what was Ravi doing here? Was he waiting for someone? The reason was just ahead of him. Right next to the bed of roses, there stood a figure. A figure so tender that the rays of the sun hesitated to touch it, they just bounced back creating an aura of yellow light. Her skin was a fantastic shade of lightest brown with a tint of pink on her cheeks and her hair was so black that they stood in the deepest possible contrast to her skin. She wore a blue ribbon on her hair to tie them at the back of her head and the twirls were hanging down form her face giving a look of slender wine creepers. She was looking down gazing the dewdrops as they sprayed upon her ankles as she walked. She was strolling on the grass clutching her dress on the sides so that it did not touch the grass. Ravi could see her toes while she walked gracefully on the green velvet of that grass. Who was she? Why would she be oblivious of Ravi’s presence? Was she for real?
The picture seemed to be too perfect to be believed in to and too beautiful to be forgotten. Ravi had dreamt of this since long time now but had never told anybody about his dream. Every morning he woke up and thought hard if he had seen her face this time and the harder he would try, the faster the dream would go away from his memory. He felt amused. The next morning if he did not try to remember the dream, it would reappear after a few days but with different colors and shades. He was very amused. He was fourteen years old and he had dreamt of it since so many years now. “Funny” he thought. “We dream of what we do not have or can not have and yet, we dream. We know that it is not real, we know, it is not funny either. It is all that our mind tries to show us when we surrender ourselves to sleep.” This was a quote written over a paper card pasted on a wall of his room.
And of course this was not the only dream he would have. This was the one, which recurred those few days when he felt really alone for the day had not gone his way. He had horrible dreams as well. So scary that he would pray for the dream of the garden to come back but it won’t and the horror continued till he would jerk himself awake. His parents were a bit worried about his dreams though. He had been referred to a child psychiatrist when he was just seven. He used to scream at nights and had stood awake often when he was younger. He had got from bad to worse when he turned seven and then was he referred for professional help.
He did not clearly remember what he had told to Dr. Suman during those visits, but he clearly remembered something she made him to remember. He still had it written on a chart paper with his paintbrush and it hung on his wall beside his paintings and other posters. “There are demons and angels everywhere and you are lucky to see them in your dreams. No body else has seen them as you have and no body will. Do not fear the demons. Smile to them and they will vanish. Love the angels and they will love you back. Sleep with just one thing on your mind, that in this realm of god the beauty shares the universe along with the beasts.”
He was a very quiet child, as his parents and his teachers knew him. But, he loved games and that was the only time his friends saw him act in a way as if he had been freed from some shackles on his mind and body. He would run very fast, scream happily, laugh aloud, celebrate his victories and his failures with equal intensity and had a lot of fun. But, he was mysteriously quiet in his class and his room where either he would be found reading books, mostly study material or watching and reading his favorite cartoons. His parents used to get worried, for his love for the cartoons was unending. The TV made it worse. He would watch nothing else but cartoons and fantasy movies. They were afraid that he was living in one always. Though Dr. Suman had assured that he was a bright and good boy and nothing seemed wrong with his liking of cartoons and storybooks. But, even as he had grown up now, his liking towards cartoons had not decreased at all. He had of course added a few things to his hobbies, cricket being one of them and painting being the other. But, he hated traveling. His parents had to almost wrestle him out of his room to go out. But when he was out, he used to enjoy the gardens, the flowers, the trees and they used to get confused if he was in his elements or not. He loved food though, be it anything. From the most unheard of dishes to the most mundane ones, he used to like them all. His mother was satisfied for this reason for he never had major food tantrums as his younger brother often did. But, in this also he favored sweets and anything that would be containing ghee.
The day was cool and he and his brother were walking down the street in the morning for school. His brother was one and a half years younger than him and had a nature in quite contrast to his. They still had no major issues between them as siblings except when Ravi would be very upset over something. Today, it was just like any other day, with both of them going to the school. Yesterday, Ravi’s English teacher had asked his class to submit an essay on any issue they would like. This was a part of the preparation for the next month’s essay writing competition. Mrs. Rajan was his English teacher and he liked her very much. He was not the best at English but She knew that Ravi could write quite amazing things but it was depending on his mood and the day. Ravi had been praised a lot by many of his teachers for his exceptional works in many subjects, though momentary. They believed that he was holding back something, and if he really was, they had not figured out what. He was an enigma for them and his friends.
Amazingly enough he had no enemies as such and no dear friends either. He could be spotted with anyone and had not shown particular liking for any other person except his English teacher. He treated her with great respect and that amazed her also. Her son Shyam was also in the same class as Ravi and they were ranked one-two every time in each exam. They were great competitors and friendly as well. Ravi always outperformed Shyam in the annual exams year after year but he never showed a superiority trait. He still was the reclusive commoner. He never topped the section and was very much different than the other section rankers, who were dominating and brilliant in multiple aspects. Ravi was never like them, yet every one wished for him to achieve higher goals. He would do something amazing one instant and then the very next second, he would look so ordinary and calm that nobody would believe this was the same person.
Ravi walked to his classroom as he greeted teachers and friends with a smile and a blush. He took his usual seat along with Aniket and Rahul and everyone took out their books and notebooks for their first lecture, which was on English literature. Mrs. Rajan was their Class-teacher also. The students fell silent and arranged themselves behind their benches neatly as she entered the room for morning roll call. One by one they answered their call and Mrs. Rajan started rubbing the black board with the duster after it was over. She wrote on the board “What is in your dreams”.
“Students. Today we will read an article, which appeared in the Nature magazine in the 45th issue printed on 21st October 2000, titled ‘How Can dreams help us’,” she said as everybody took out notebooks and pens. “The piece is written by a famous psychologist Dr. H. D. Douglas, M.D., Ph. D and post doctoral specialization in neuropathology. He has written this beautifully and I have chosen it for you because our next chapter in the curriculum is about a mentally challenged individual. How many of you have read the chapter before hand?”
Several hands went in the air. “Good” she said “Now, your job is to read this piece carefully because it not only gives the author’s views on dreams, but also some aspect about general psychology. Remember that the figure in focus in the next story is not born with the disability but got in to such a situation after a personal loss and most probably due to the shattering of his dreams. Please understand it and if any difficulty, ask me. So, Murti you could help me in distributing these photocopies of the article and you too Geeta.” Mrs. Rajan gave a bunch of photocopies to Murti, who acted to show as if the bunch would sink him and the whole class laughed, as did Mrs. Rajan and she said still smiling “Come on, I know it is heavy on your mind.” And the class started reading the papers. After about fifteen minutes, the class was directed to quietly discuss the matter within their groups. The air was filled with murmur and an occasional cough or a giggle made the atmosphere a good discussion platform.
“Now, I want all of you to take down a homework note” spoke Mrs. Rajan and a few of the heads were shaken in disagreement as few voices pleaded for none. “Oh dear students! It will be fun and you must have done it many times. Have you ever played a game called Do or Dare?” she asked.
“Yes” came a coherent reply.
“Then it is like dare. All you have to do is write down any of your dream and narrate it in front of the class. See, it will be interesting to know the extent of your dream power as well as narration power. Make sure your dream is for real.” And everybody gave a perplexed look. “What I meant was please do not fabricate your dreams. Be true to your self and write down a dream that you would like to share with your friends. God knows some one will fulfill that dream. All you have to do is ask for favors to the right person.” And the class switched to silent mode. Every body was thinking hard to write their best dream possible so as to impress others.
“Do not bother your self now, my dear ones. Open chapter number 21 and start reading the next story. The exams are a week away now. Come on. Quick.” Said Mrs. Rajan as she walked past the benches to check if somebody had turned up without the textbook. Of course as always there were three students without the textbook or without the class notes book. As usual again they shared the books with their neighbors.
That evening after returning to his house, Ravi was very silent. He was thinking about the dream, which he could share with his friends. He did not wish to share the dream about the girl in the garden. It was his personal best he could ever dream of. The other dreams were neither as extra ordinary nor as beautiful as that one. But, all the others were like fast-forwarded disaster movies. Someone falling from a high rise building, someone getting killed in a car crash, Someone getting mugged, someone very ill and lying on the bed with people around sobbing. He could not do anything to help any one of those and still he felt their pain. He wondered if he would tell any one of those scary dreams. His friends will call him nuts and may be a freak. Only Dr. Suman knew of all his dreams except of course one- the girl in the garden. He had that dream since so many years now but had never got to see the girl’s face. It was a mystery and he had a theory that since he was not able to discover the identity of that girl, the dream was recurring. But he would wait. He would wait until some day the girl would notice him and try not to fade away in the fog as she always did.
“Are you listening? What is the matter with you? Are you mad? I bet you are. I wonder what mom will say to this one,” His brother was screaming at him when they reached their house and he saw Ravi standing still in the middle of the street and staring at the evening sky and apparently not even listening to his brother’s cries. Their mother had come out to see what was it all about. And she saw Ravi in the same position. The after a few seconds Ravi looked down and smiled.
“Hi mom. How are you?” Ravi said as he entered the living room and his mother followed him.
“So, young man! What was so amusing about the sky today?” she asked taking out the lunch boxes from their school bags. She was used to such stuff and had told Shekhar, his younger brother, that whenever such things happen, not to tease or coax Ravi. But, Ravi would not be worried about anything else whenever he was in his enchanting dream world. His cricket coach had scolded him several times for daydreaming and missing catches in the field or getting out after a fantastic innings on an easy ball. But, Ravi was listening to all that was what the other people hoped. He would be just smiling weakly and would be dreamy eyed. He freaked out so many of the people because of this. But, other wise his behavior was harmless and the teachers were told in private by his parents to kindly ignore these slightly eccentric moments.
Some teachers had even accused that he made a mockery of them at times. One such case was when he was in fourth standard and in a science period, the teacher got angry at him as he was sitting on his bench very clearly day dreaming about something. The teacher shouted at him and told him to stand up.
“Stand up. Straight.” She had said. He stood up lazily still in his trance.
“What did I just tell in the class? You were not listening at all. Come on. Tell me the definition of a constellation. And if you do not you go out for the rest of the period Answer me quick.” She demanded.
“A group of stars that form an interesting pattern can be called a constellation, ma’m” he answered in one breath and stood there very calm and cool as if nothing had happened.
“And what distance is Alpha Centauri from earth?” she asked tentatively.
“About four light years away, ma’m,” he answered coolly again.
“How many planets does the solar system have?” she asked in a softer voice. She was actually impressed with that answer.
“Nine planets. Ma’m and they are trying to find the tenth one.” Ravi said.
She did not expect all answers. And he was correct too. “Where did you read that? These are the most amazing answers I have ever got from a student who was caught sleeping. OK. Sit down and at least show on your face that you are paying attention” she asked him softly and the class was stunned too. They had just started the chapter on the universe and these answers were on the next few pages.
“Where have you come from Ravi?” she asked him again as she sat down. And Ravi was too busy with his school bag.
“RAVI, I asked you some thing!” she demanded, a bit shocked now.
He dropped his pencil as he stood up and spoke fast “Sorry ma’m, I have come from Pune”. This meant he had listened to the question but did he choose not to answer? This was troubling her. She asked him to sit down and the class went smoothly thereafter.
After the class was over, she called Ravi to come with her. She was puzzled and could not hold her amusement any longer. This was his second day at the new school as she found out and his father was on a transferable job. He moved with family every two years from one place to the other and as of now, this was his third school since first grade. His results did not show anything serious though. He had been in top three ranks every where.
“Why did not you answer me the first time Ravi?” she asked him after the class was over as they walked on the lawn. Ravi was his reserved self.
“I heard you ma’m but I thought you were talking to some one else.” He said and looked down.
“I want to ask you this question since yesterday.” She continued as he watched her excited face “You have written in the yesterday’s test that the dew drops are the condensed clouds and that the fog is the cloud itself.” She stopped for a while and chuckled, as did Ravi. “Your English is exceptional but of course, the answer is not.”
“Ma’m. I was scared that I had to give a test without reading a line. But, I remembered reading a storybook and in that it was written that the clouds had come down on earth and nothing was visible. I thought the fog is the same and the rain comes from the cloud, so I thought why not the dew drops?” he answered and she had a good laugh.
“All right. Off you go. Read science books and not stories for exams, OK?” she waved as he waved back.
So, now today he had to write about a dream and he was thinking hard as he did his homework for math and science. He left the dinner table early and did not say a word for the rest of the evening. This was normal for his family and they did not bother to ask him. He slept without writing his piece. And the next morning he woke up early. He started writing down very fast in his rough notebook, which he had kept beside his pillow yesterday night. His mother was curious.
“Again left your homework incomplete? At least brush your teeth. What is so much to hurry about?” his mother said as she made up the bed.
“Mom! Let me right down about my dream before I forget it. I will brush OK!” Ravi spoke as he wrote.
“What ever. Can you narrate it to me after you are done writing it?” she asked. Of course, she did not expect any answer and she went on with her work waiting for his reply.
“Sure mom. But, only when I return from school.” Ravi answered and his mother was amused for he answered very few times to usual queries.
He finished his piece and got ready for school in record time. There was this noticeable excitement in his behavior and that made him look a very different person altogether. He just seemed completely normal. His mother did not ask any more questions that morning as she knew, it was better to keep Ravi in his own world. He and his brother set out for school walking down the street and were talking to each other. This was a rare sight and his mother was really amused. She called upon Ravi’s father “Come here Shashi. Quick. You might be missing one of the wonderful moments of our life.” He rushed to the window where she was standing looking at their children, who were now almost dancing down the street, presumably chatting and having fun.
“What is the matter with Ravi? He looks…umm…I would say different.” He said and took her into his arms. “Quick. I need an explanation.” He said looking into her eyes.
“Well. I do not know really. He woke up early. He was writing down very fast in his rough notebook. When I asked him, he talked to me. I was amazed and did not believe what had just happened. He never replies the first time. And not only did he reply, but he got dressed up in record time. He was writing about some dream he had the night before.” She told.
“Well. I would only hope that he enjoys his day today at school. I have never seen him happy since so many years, may be eternity. He looks a changed person. Good for him.” He said as he started eating his breakfast. “Did you get any information on what he saw in his dream? You know, I am curious. Because he mostly does not tell.”
“Well! Surprise. He promised that he would tell me about it when he gets back from school.” She said and they both smiled. They were in a way relieved for only once in a while Ravi would have a pleasant dream. They were happy for him for today, he had laughed and smiled and talked freely. The next half an hour or so, they sat down on the table remembering all the moments they remembered from Ravi’s troubled past. They somehow believed that today was the day when he would be free from all worries.
Ravi waited for the English lecture. Everybody had written down his or her dream and was excited to tell every body else about it. But, they were guarding their secrets till the time would come. Ravi was no different. The whole class erupted with cheers as Mrs. Rajan came into the class with a doll dressed as a fairy. The period started with the roll call and then one by one they started narrating their dreams. Some chose their nightmares, some others told about the fantastic scenes they saw, some others described dramatically their heroic tales while some one even told of a dream in which she was the queen of a distant land. There was pin drop silence when people described about their chilling nightmares, and a laugh riot when some one would describe about their fairy tale adventures. Now it was Ravi’s turn. He had never told about this dream to anybody. Not even to his parents or his doctor, Dr. Suman. Every body was eagerly waiting for this as well. They wanted to peek in to his mind. It would be an eccentric adventure of a brilliant mind. They expected his dream would be about technologies, unheard of, unseen of and yet very much there. All went silent as he clutched his notebook and came to the front of the room to narrate his story.
“Last night I had a dream. And why I chose this dream in front of the other more vivid ones is that it was the final of a series of dreams that I had since many years now.” Ravi said as everyone listened eagerly.
“I am standing in a garden, a garden full of all the beauty in the world, the flowers of all colors waving to me as they sway with the gentle breeze and the butterflies of all sizes, some bigger than ever seen and heard before. Is it some place on our earth? I bet it is. I walk past the bed of various flowers and wonder what I was doing there and the answer is there itself. A girl is walking across the grass just beyond the bed of roses. Her attire is divine and very white. The rays of the sun are making it glow as they bounce. Her hair is deepest black and unbraided. It flows freely as the wind teases them except at their base where they are tied with a blue ribbon. She looks down usually in all past of the dreams but this time she is smiling at me and perhaps waiting for me. I smile back and walk towards her. Dew drops sprinkle at her ankles as she walks clutching her dress with both of her hands. She is very pretty. We sit on the bench just beside the bed of roses. She is smiling at me.
She said, “You see me here every time but you never talked to me before? May I ask why?” She has a pleasant quizzical look in her eyes as she looked in to mine.
I said without knowing why I said, “Yes it is rue that I see you every time I come here. I thought that you would not listen if I called you. I thought you never notice me. But leave all that. I have so many questions for you. I suppose you have some time for them?”
And she giggled. “I know you questions and the answers too”
“OK! What is the first answer then?” I said suddenly, truly surprised.
She leaned back in the bench and said, “This is where you live most of your time, your dream world. Every thing here is the creation of your mind. Do you know why you created this?”
I thought for a while and said “Not really. But can you tell me?”
“Yes I know. You want this in your real world. You want the things your way, as you know that they are not always. So, you create them here. And when you get bored of the real world you slip in here and lose your self. But according to me that is running away.” she said with a wry smile.
“How can you say that? You do not even know me. You have misjudged me for sure.” I said rather discomforted and I folded my hands and puffed up my cheeks.
“See!” she said as she had a muffled laugh seeing me like that, “You are doing that right now. When some body questions you, you fold up and retreat. You do not think and answer. And that is the reason why you lose out on your life every time.”
I was listening and she was correct. I have been doing this for so long now. Running away from people, from worries, from problems. I could solve very few of them. The rest are still there to be solved by me or someone else, but why not me, I thought.
“But, how come you know me so well! May I ask who are you?” I regretted the sentence as soon as I spoke. It was very direct. “I mean, it is amazing that you seem to be so perfect, so beautiful and so kind to me. Why?”
She smiled again and said, “Still could not get it dear! I am you, one of your other selves. Do you remember your other dreams? The various people you become, the various characters you assume and the various forms you take? I am one of those. So, do not be surprised if I know so much about you.” We sat in silence for a moment. I could remember myself assuming the form of a dragon, an elephant, a famous cricketer, a wealthy rich man and what not. I was mental, I said to myself and smiled.
I gazed upon the beauty of the garden once more and reveled on my own creations. The colored fountain at a distance was truly brilliant. I looked at her and said, “Now that we are friends, can we meet again in this world or some other?”
She replied as she got up, “Yes we will. And I will wait for that moment. But, do not forget to meet the other parts of you. They will be missing you every moment. And, as for some advice, stay more in the real world. It is also as beautiful as it is here. You just have to be at the right place at the right time. Bye.” And she gave me a warm hug and went away slowly walking past the rose bed as I looked upon until she vanished in the fog. For the first time I had seen that garden without her. It looked very pretty indeed. I wanted to stay but then, the alarm clock started to ring and the garden faded away.
The whole class was stunned. They looked at each other for more than a few seconds. Ravi closed his notebook and went to his bench. No body uttered a word. Mrs. Rajan was also thinking, very hard, on how to react. Someone started clapping and then every body joined in. It was a bizarre dream but the narration was so amazing that every one was stunned. They cheered for Ravi for more than a minute with claps and slaps on his back. Mrs. Rajan too clapped and did not stop the students.
“What we heard just now was one of the most amazing dreams, about self realization that anyone could see. And the narration was so gripping that I felt as if we all were there when Ravi was sitting in the garden. He took us all there, on a journey. And did we enjoy that?” She asked to all of them. Was it a question? Every one was first taken by surprise. Then every one answered quite loudly, “Yes madam we did.”
“And! Who is next on the list? Kanishka. Come on. It is your turn now.” Mrs. Rajan said and amid claps Kanishka, who was the class topper for past four years, came forward to narrate his story. Mean while Ravi was busy with his notebooks and pen and presumable again half lost in his daydreams. Mrs. Rajan was not worried at all.