Hippocrates had a dream theory that the mind received images during daytime and produced images during night-time.
Phantasmagoric is how I would describe my dreams. Usually I do not take naps during daytime but a few days back sheer mental, emotional and physical fatigue made me crash while my laptop and cell buzzed ceaselessly. I was in a sort of hypnotic trance and yet fully aware of the sounds that filtered through the closed-door of my room. The afternoon sun shone brightly and filled my little room with brilliant sunshine and warmth slowly sucking me into a gateway of a private fantasy land. Unlike the known realms of fantasy this one did not have any magical stuff . Somehow I feel that many of my lucid dreams are sequential and bizarre. It seems I am shape shifting into some another being or sometimes I see myself with people who are either part of my present life or past at places known and unknown though I may have known them at some other time. The scary twist comes to a normal lucid dream when your subconscious mind takes control and the dream feels like reality. You can actually feel, touch ,smell what surrounds you. The senses are sharper than normal and visual impact is much more than what it may be in wakeful state. The thin line that separates wakeful state and sleep diminishes and dissolves.
On this day I was taken to an old house. These are the kind of houses you find in old cities. Houses with many big and small rooms, a veranda, a store-room in an old style kitchen, steep staircase leading to terrace. Heavy doors and windows which bring in more darkness than light. Old style flat wooden beds, iron trunks and wooden furniture that makes the atmosphere slightly daunting. There is always fragrance of age, a murky presence of cobwebs and cold feel of stone under your feet if you walk bare feet.
I was in a big room where on a large wooden bed my mother sat but she didn’t look like her. Her physique resembled that of my paternal grandmother whom none of us have seen except in a few yellowing photographs. She wore a soft cotton sari of some pastel shade. Her hair silver streaked with black tied in a loose bun resting at the nape of her neck.
There is a small girl whom I call with my niece’s name but she looks nothing like her. A thin wispy creäture dressed in a frock and leggings. I bring her in and tell the two domestic helps to stay in the outside veranda. These girls work for us here now in real-time. So here is some present merging with past.
The room has another door at the other end leading to a row of dingy , vacant rooms smaller in size. I take the little girl to one of the bigger and airy rooms to wash her dirty face and change her clothes,
She is unusually quiet and obedient. Not her usual self at all.
The scene shifts from these dark interiors to one of the flats I lived in as a teenager. It shifts to my room with again two doors , one leading to the balcony and another to the lobby. The setting is almost the same as it used to be in my time but there is an overpowering presence of an old wooden wardrobe. Heavy dark wood. stuffed with clothes and things with bundles of more clothes and saris and sheets on top. I tell mom to clean her and put fresh clothes which she does. here her real image is clearly visible.
I may be in early thirties not younger for sure.
The scene sifts back to the old room where I put her on the wooden bed with a glass of milk. A modern glass with lid and nozzle, on of those insulated ones.
I go into the bathroom among one of the rooms in the row and come out to find a drunken , disheveled man shouting his lungs out to take his daughter back. I manage to push him out but can’t find the girl.
I call for the house helps but no one is there in the murky summer afternoon pregnant with various smells rising from inside and outside of the house.
I run around in panic constantly yelling for the helpers and the child. I find her sprawled on the floor face down at the bottom of the staircase and in the twilight filtering in from door I see the pool of blood near her head. The house help comes running down the stairs and swears to know nothing about her fall or injury. I turn her carefully . She is unconscious and cold as ice but her heart is beating. I rush inside to pick up my purse and car keys ( By the way I don’t drive) and by the time I return everyone has disappeared. There is a dark pool of red seeping slowly in the crevices of stone flooring . The door is open and swinging slowly with evening breeze. I run around in the by lane but there is no sign of life not even the usual street dogs.
I find the younger house help who tells me that a couple has taken the child to their house in the next lane. (These people are neighbors from where I lived two years back). I rush with her to their home crossing series of old dilapidated buildings. We reach a deep blue wooden door with a huge chain lock on it. I open the lock and step into another dark corridor and set of rooms. On my right is room with curtain drawn. I can hear hushed voices inside and a dim light is visible if you look carefully through the coarse material of the curtain. The gentleman comes out and tells me that the child is still unconscious but the bleeding has stopped. Nothing else can be done for now. I argue that we should take her to the hospital and he looks at me in surprise.
” Which world are you living in girl? There is a curfew in the town since last four days. I am surprised you even managed to get here and did not get shot. The town is shut.” I just stare at him wondering how long have I been cooped up inside the four walls of that formidable house.
As we talk we walk into an open courtyard. His fingers find a switch on the dark side wall and the naked yellow bulb springs to life. He turns to face me and his eyes freeze with alarm and concern.
‘What happened to you? You are bleeding.”
“What? Where?” My hand automatically reaches to the side of my left temple. I feel the sticky liquid run down my fingers. There is no pain, no sign or remembrance of an injury.
I woke up with the feel of blood still on my hand. I realized that my hand was still at the temple and it that semi awakened state I saw the deep dark liquid on my hand, that unmistakable irony smell of blood filled my nostrils. I could feel its sticky texture and how it slowly made its way down to the elbow and down to the floor as I looked at it with astonishment. By this time I was actually awake. The laptop battery had died and the blank screen stared at me from the side of my bed. The sun had gone down and the room was in darkness except for the tube light peeping from under the closed-door. I got up and switched the light on. My legs a little shaky and a definite ache in the neck muscles especially to the left. I realized I was sleeping in one awkward position for more than three hours.
Slowly the sounds had faded and the house had become silent with my mother bent over her book somewhere. I went into her room and into the bathroom. Switching on the light above the mirror I looked closely for any marks on the side of temple but found none. While washing my hands with liquid soap the same feeling of feeling blood between my fingers returned and for a second I actually felt it was blood but it wasn’t.
It is intriguing how I am able to actually feel the wetness of blood and know the right thickness and color of it. It is also intriguing how this is repeated in dream like sequence. This is the second time I bled in my dreams and surprisingly it never scares or upsets me. Read DEATH RED here.