Saturday, April 14, 2012

Nostalgia

Today I had a dream. The setting was of a long time back, sometime nearly 4 years ago. The dream wasn't one which would bring a grin, for I wasn't pacified but persevering in adverse conditions sitting in front of a pile of books, rejecting social life accepting the role of an outcast. It wasn't a pleasant dream, but somehow I didn't get entirely depressed as I could sense my projection in it had a dream itself. I tried harder to go a level deeper, and guess what I was successful. In the next level of dream, it was again me but this time surrounded by people and indeed with a grin on my face. People seemed to be congratulating me for some reason, for I had cleared some exam and was being admitted in an institution which they called was everyone's 'dream'. So I wanted to enquire if it was indeed a misleading dream, and successfully I delved another level deeper to enter new surroundings altogether.

I was uncomfortable, the setting was eerily familiar- I knew if I would wake, I would find myself in the same surroundings but I didn't dare wake up for the dream was too powerful. I was speaking to a new group of people- laughing with them, being laughed at, sharing some joyous moments, playing games and it seemed as if I had entered the idyllic world. But somehow the urge to delve deeper had entered me, and I couldn't let the dream stay where it was- such has become the habit of my life: I can't let it be, always am striving for more. So it was. The new scene was again depressing, as I was confronted by people writing stuff on blackboard and threatening us to study the same lest we (I and others from the previous dream were still together) would face grave consequences. Euphemisms were used constantly as the word "importance of learning" was repeated many times but somehow a voice continued to suggest another meaning, that I was mishearing earning as learning and this was the purpose of this scene. To get closer to this voice, I dreamt a little harder and guess what- I had went down another level.

This scene seemed terrible- the worst indeed. I wished I could get out of here as soon as possible, but failed to see how. Somehow the question on whether the voice meant earning or learning still persisted and moral conflicts had dragged me to rebellion where I had convinced myself it couldn't mean both- it was either. While I chose to believe the louder voice, which reemphasized learning by shutting down the inner voice the headache seemed to grow worse as I seemed to be losing on the other front, and indeed it was only one of the faces from the previous scenes who steered me past it into a more cheerful background, which would be my next level of dreaming indeed. The conflict persisted but I seemed to have chosen one firmly, was still with the same guy and more cheerful. The rebel hadn't died, he had just taken control over. There was a sense of purpose in it and I somehow sensed the smile and cheer was deceptive so allowed myself to go another level down. This scene was the most fickle- I never knew whether I was happy or sad. At one time, I could be rejoicing and frustrated, cursing and dejected the next moment. Deals were being struck in my background, I didn't seem to understand the meaning. Euphemisms were at work again- "reward for work" but as I had convinced myself earlier I chose to go with what was said loudly. Some 'posts' were at offer, I lost out. It pained- immensely and I didn't know who to go to. Belief in established systems and everything around crumbled, as helplessness soared. 'Dreams' were shattered, and it was inevitable proceeding to the next level.

Luckily my projection in this dream seemed alien enough to the precedents, moving around care-free working here, there and everywhere with almost new-found purpose in life. One would have described this as Shakespeare's '4th age'. But looking into this boy's dreams, certain scenes flashed reminiscent of previous scenes- the confusion, the dilemma, the heartbreak and the purpose to find answers to them. This me seemed entirely changed from the previous versions, but the core hadn't. An eerie observation which I kept repeating and I could affirm with my eyes was the gender bias in the scenes which kept flashing. Not a single figure from the fairer sex was visible, and my craving for the same could be felt- sometimes low and sometimes high to the point of desperation. However I walked the lonely road, with the fierceness looking for something until the dream took me somewhere completely different.

There was only expression which could describe the mood here- bliss. It seemed of remote resemblance to any of the backgrounds I had encountered in the previous dreams. The signs were written in a different language- neither English, nor Hindi but some European language and the whole culture seemed so welcoming and joyous that as the dream ended I was on the verge of tears, tried to hold on to it but realizing I have to let go as the dream proceeded, back into familiar territories. Some seemed hostile, some the same but I definitely had transformed. Perspectives had changed as well, and although the phase of 'deals' returned once again, and I seemed to be in the middle of things again with capricious emotions I didn't seem heartbroken till the end. Maybe I had become more sporting. And now the dreams focused on a different surroundings, with a limited number of people rather than changing faces as it had been till now- the ones who I had seen in those initial layers of dreams with whom I seemed to be relishing moments. There was an amicable environment of friendliness- lighter moments, little-less worries. I seemed to have hardened, maybe disillusioned as well. Dilemmas such as learning & earning which had haunted me either seemed to matter no more, or I had already transcended to the dark side accepting the answer as earning. That's what my dream told me as I kept on moving deeper into the brain of the protagonist. I seemed to be holding something in my hands with the words 'Grade Sheet' with numbers written on it- the ones in the latter part clearly seemed greater than the initial ones but with the overall numbers low. A bit of indifference had taken me over and being alongside the faces seemed to give comfort, making me less fragile. The surroundings kept changing to some markets, places like the one I lived in but the board at entrances read something else, all united with the word 'College' and 'Delhi University' (in most of them).

Some passions were born, some evaporated but I couldn't hold the dream for any longer as the surroundings changed again, in a cooler place where the breeze swept past my face all day, all night and for the first time I found myself 'what they called earning'. Some new faces were seen, times were joyful- as new scenes kept flashing constantly with me trying out various stuff from climbing high rocks to drinking weird stuff and acting strangely following it. There was a lot of laughter, and when it seemed eternal joy the dream silently shifted itself (as it had developed its habit by now without requiring any efforts from me or disturbing my sleep). The scenes I saw now were almost tickling my memory seeming matter of days before, as I sat stupidly and constantly in front of a machine- seeing the faces of those I was so familiar by now (even in this dream) in a virtual form and also of many more girls on the screen than I had seen in the previous layers. Most of the questions I had challenged myself with- the dilemmas- had inclined to the other side of my previous conclusions. I awaited the end of this dream almost to take me into a new land called "future" -which though in my sleep I could sense being a futile purpose- but the drive in the protagonist was too strong. And in the next few layers, as they transitioned smoothly I could see my attire changing wearing overcoats and speaking in distinct mannerisms to strange people, who somehow I seemed to almost pray to in those moments.

And then came a moment of unknown elation when someone out there offered me an "opportunity to earn", as the venues within my dream seemed to be changing with drinks flowing, me behaving strangely seemingly too happy until a moment when I started realizing the sun was about to rise, my dream was about to break. And I started to close my eyes tighter, and valuing those faces (barring some) around me since the beginning of my dreams. It wasn't always happy from here as well, as I encountered the scene of someone writing on the blackboard once again and it wasn't the dilemma which haunted me this time, but the mere prospect of going there again, appending numbers to the 'grade sheet' but the indifference encompassed me again, as the moments with the machine increased as well as those with others.

And this was the second time since the beginning of the dream when I wanted to keep holding to it, but this time it wasn't just moving onto the next layer but it kept growing hazy until the shock of it ending from the too many layers was felt. The dream had ended, I sat awake on my bed feeling uncomfortable it had ended and I was about to transition into that place in the dream called 'future' leaving aside all this, but was somewhere content to know I had it all bottled in the form of a dream- I had just dreamt some invaluable memories and when I would feel alone, closing my eyes could again taken me through this long and winding road.

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