I Must Be Dreaming


What a strange dream that was.

Do you ever wonder what your dreams mean? Of course you do, everyone does. There’s a whole genre of study devoted to understanding the interpretation of dreams – from the scientific, medical point of view as well as the esoteric, mystical side. One of the most succint opinions I’ve ever heard on this subject comes from my father,

Dreams are the brain flushing out the waste that it accumulates during the day.

Not to say that I believe that. Well, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Belief is always a convenience thing with me.

I have loads of flying dreams, which Freud claims are about sex. Heh. Whatever.

I occasionally dream of thatha (who by the way, passed away 9 years back). I never dream of him dead or even as a ghost…in that, inside my dream I don’t seem to remember that he’s no more. I open the door and he’s dropped into Mumbai for a surprise visit; I’m arguing with him about something; I’ve received a birthday card from my folks in Delhi with (as was usual that time) a folded piece of paper inside it which is a letter from him. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling to be able to say that my grandfather is alive and well in my dreams.

Then there are the dreams of people long past. An ex-boyfriend, a former best friend and occasionally even people I’ve loathed (like the bullies from school…yuurrrggh). Funnily enough in my dreams, I’m getting along like a house on fire with them. We’re usually laughing, talking, partying and having very intelligent, fun, fulfilling times together. Ah, so that’s what the originator of the phrase ‘only in your dreams!’ was thinking. 🙂

Once in a rare bit there’s a dream of something that really did happen in the past, only things turn out slightly differently. Like we’re walking down a road which on wakefulness, I remember having done. But instead of taking a left like we actually did, we take a right in my dream. Of course that’s metaphorical but hey, you don’t really need to know the exact details of my dreams! Come to think of it, it’s not like even I remember them.

I dream the most when I’m going through some intensely difficult times in my life. A family emergency, a troubled relationship, a stressful time at work – these have been my optimal dreamtimes.

Of course I would have dreamt deeply last night. My mother has been hospitalized this week, after all and discharged only to relapse later. All of this while I am alone, facing the maid-from-hell and water problems. But of course. I will talk about this particular dream though.

Last night, my first online time in about 3 days, I looked into Facebook. I was shunning chat requests from friends online because I just didn’t feel like talking. I could probably have spent some mindless time playing Mafia Wars. But instead I chose to go picking on old scabs. I looked up people from the past (yes, yes, I do that. Everyone does.) whom I’d probably not consider adding to my Friends List for various reasons. No ex-es though, that’s been done to death way enough. But old classmates, friends-of-friends, people I met at a party 2 months back who don’t remember me this week (but I remember them because they’re journos and their pic appears next to their column)…that kind of people.

And in this random melee, I found her. She was the stuff of my nightmares. She partly inspired this post (though I also had a more current, more tangible version to contend with at the time of writing). I’ve never met her, spoken to her or seen her in real life. It’s all in the photographs and memories of his memories. At least what he told me about her. I was intrigued by her, then jealous, then resentful and finally just in pain. I have no idea whether there was any truth in what he said, which means I might be pinning all these emotions on a fictitious character. All I know is her name. That’s good enough to locate a person in this Facebooked age. We’ve got a couple of common FFs (Facebook friends). I haven’t looked her up in ages. On a whim I shot off a message to her, introducing myself. No friendship request though. And then I logged out.

In my dream, she said that contrary to what I thought, she knew of me as well. Then we ceased to talk about how we came to be talking in the first place. She made me laugh though I don’t remember what at. All I know is that she was fun. I believe we were having some sort of picnic somewhere and then had to run away or something. Okay, that sounds even sillier in writing than it does in my thoughts.

I told Astra the other day that sometimes a dream was just a simulation of a real world situation, something that needed to be faced anyway. And we could do it in a dream, play around, take a few risks with our imagination too, just to experience what we may not dare to, in real life. How about that? I never considered having fun with someone I might have such an awkward connection with. Whether I do in real life or not, is immaterial. I just know that in my dreams, I did. And in the end, how does it matter whether we played it out in the conscious universe or the subconscious one?

I have to end this on a cliche, I’m the queen of cliches after all.

You may say I’m a dreamer.

You really may, I won’t take offense.

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4 thoughts on “I Must Be Dreaming

  1. Suman August 29, 2009 at 14:43 Reply

    Hey ! I really really like your blog when you write like this one 🙂 In fact, I have liked all your posts except for the ones on NovelRace, maybe..
    Back to this interesting post, awkward connection..yes..but the interest at compare-and-contrast is only natural and who knows whats the outcome of the process..
    I am missing out so much by forgetting all the dreams soon after waking up 😦

    Like

  2. Kk August 29, 2009 at 15:04 Reply

    I’ve heard that dreams are usually centered around events of the past 24 hours that we have shrugged off or ignored as not worth our time/attentions or were just too dumbfounded by to react properly, the subconscious equivalent of coming up with a witty retort too late.

    Hope your mother gets well soon.

    Like

  3. Marcia Dream August 29, 2009 at 21:04 Reply

    “Dreams are the brain flushing out the waste that it accumulates during the day.”

    Actually there is a theory about dreams called the “reverse learning theory” that was developed by Francis Crick (of Watson & Crick DNA fame) and Graeme Mitchison. This theory says that as we learn things, we are constantly making connections in our brains, and as the number of connections grows, our brains aren’t able to work as efficiently. When we dream, we undo some of the connections. Otherwise, our memories would get mixed up and we would have all kinds of strange thoughts and hallucinations.

    So your father was on to something.

    Like

    • IdeaSmith September 3, 2009 at 13:14 Reply

      @Suman: Thank you very much. The NovelRace diaries are probably relevant only to people who are interested in the actual mechanics of writing. To come back to the dream-talk, a lot of people advise keeping a notebook and pen right next to one’s bed so one can capture the dreams one has had immediately upon waking.

      @Kk: Hehehe, love the metaphor you’ve used. And yes, thank you, she is feeling much better now.

      @Marcia Dream: That’s really interesting. So we’re actually unlearning and erasing some part of our memories, a sort of mental clearing the table away?

      Like

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