I have a dream…
No, I’m not quoting Martin Luther King Jr, I really do have one to narrate here. Not in the dream-I-can-fly way, no. But in the successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep way. More a nightmare then a dream, but a dream nevertheless since nightmare is a sub classification of the term dream.
It’s peculiar how we forget most of what goes on in the dreams that we dream at night , I sometimes wonder if Luther King was actually really about to tell us about a dream he had just had last night but then forgot it as is often the case with dreams and instead said, “Eh! What the pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys does It matter anyway, I’ll say something about these blacks being persecuted instead…”
Far fetched, but Possible.
Now as a genuine blogger I’ve always believed in presenting the kind reader with proofs, citations and references to prove my work’s credibility. Therefore here’s the photographic proof:
Photos are the courtesy of:
“The Firm With the Camera That Only Captures the Color Black and Its Shades Limited © “
If you find it difficult to memorize, you can remember their name through this easy abbreviation:
“TFWCTOCCBISL©” for short.
They were the only ones covering the Civil Rights movements because their camera wouldn’t cover anything but blacks.
So before I forget mine, I’d prefer to pen it down specially for your ennui.
The vividness and unambiguity of the account that follows may cause you to speculate over the level of authenticity that I’m writing this with and whether I have intentionally blurred the line between fact and fiction for the sole reason of spicing things up for the reader’s interest. In my defense I will say this: dreams are beyond words, they are beyond language and description. They cannot be classified, nor can they be proven or determined in the exact fashion they happened, even to ourselves. They remain as vague as a childhood memory and as strong as a poet’s passion. Therefore, to reproduce them on page one finds himself in need of filling up the missing links and gaps, as dreams do not care to do that for you. They are a fragment of real world mixed with the continuous subconsciousness stream of thought, free from sense, rationality or logic. A dream exists as a reality that is unmaterialized yet perceived. Thus, I have tried to minimize any holes that might exist but it is still flabbergasting how easily, how fluently I can recall every minute detail of it. Perhaps this is because I narrated the dream to my younger sister as soon as I had got out of it…
Yes, I say ‘got out of it’ because it was not a normal dream you simply wake up from, it was inception: a dream within a dream within a dream which is within a dream which is inside a bucket full of dreams and then some.
Exaggerating? but just you wait.
I don’t always have such complicated Memento/Groundhog Day style multi layered nightmares, but when I do, I have them. I have had about three such dreams to date, and all of them in the past few months. The one I’m about to tell you about, if you would be kind enough to bear with me, is the first one I experienced. I call it and its kind “revertigo dreams”. This is because of the way they tend to revert back to the same horrific point at which I wake up, or so I think. Confused? So was I. I’ll explain i.e. tell, first let me show you the Revertigo Dream. Or in other words
“Do you need me to elaborate? Or can we just crack on?”
-Sherlock, Robert Downey Jr.
It was the spring break, the spring was nowhere to be seen in the sense that it is meant to be, which we derive from poems, movies and songs: No rainbows, butterflies or chirping birds. No sight of Wordsworth’s Daffodils or the “O Blithe new comer!” cuckoo’s voice in the serene valley. But all that mattered was it was supposedly spring and for it we had a break from school.
On that eventful night, the moon looked down upon the sleeping city of Lahore. The stars formed a canopy above and conversed in a heavenly language which descended sleep upon all beneath. Somewhere in the heart of the city of lights, a labourer rested his head upon a stiff pillow, ready to let his turmoils and trials fade away into oblivion. His freckled countenance spoke Dylan’s words, “ Let me forget about today until tomorrow…”
In some other part of the city a worker at a quiet, deserted patrol station leaned backwards in his chair and gazed longingly at the cat which snoozed peacefully nearby. He turned to the sky; it was lit with moonlight but he was in darkness.
And somewhere in this city of dying dreams and rising hopes, somewhere in this slumbering city bathed in the pale moonlight, a lean figure of a sixteen year old movie geek sat hunched over his laptop in a dark room. Half lying, half propped against the bed, his handsome little face was illuminated with a conundrum of ever changing mix of colors and shades being cast upon it by the motion picture playing on his laptop screen. He was known by the noun Usama Lali. And he was me.
Due to the over accumulation of the guests my house’s levee was about to break. I had therefore gone off to my little sister’s room to sleep. So I was there on the bed, she was sleeping. On the floor was asleep our maid. When you enter the room through the door, the double bed lies to your left, a wall size window in front, and a wooden cupboard and bathroom to your right.
After watching the screen for hours, I began to nod off, no longer able to concentrate upon the moving objects synchronized with sounds that were supposed to make sense. So I glanced at the watch and it announced the approach of 4am. I put away the laptop and decided to hit the pillow.
I lie awake. Something is amiss. I twist and toss in my bed, unable to attain that bliss which leads to sleep. You never know or remember when exactly do you fall asleep, but it isn’t going to be anytime soon, I think. I look down the length of my body, I can see my toes.
The night has grown still.
Suddenly I hear someone crying. A soft, muffled sobbing. I look around. Or is it something. My heart is gripped with fear I cannot explain. With doubt I cannot believe. With the sense of evil I cannot understand.
I locate the origin from which the voice is emanated. It is coming from behind the curtains. My only solace lies in the hope that it isn’t from behind the curtains but behind the window. It is funny how you would prefer to have even something so ineffective as a sheet separating you from your fears then nothing. It’s just how brain works, it needs hope.
I get up. My feet move towards the curtain and slowly, as though not moving at all I pull apart the curtains.
The night has become frighteningly still.
The crying has therefore become terrifyingly loud.
I see a face, covered with hair. Brown hair. The figure is like a cat, it sits in the back corridor right on the other side of the window and it looks up at me. And it shrieks.
I find myself in daylight and in the back corridor, it seems different, somehow more spacious. But the face is gone. Vanished.
My eyes part. I sit up in my bed. I’m afraid. I crane my head to search the room for something, something I don’t know exactly. Finding nothing, my heart pacifies. I swing my legs off the bed and make my way towards the washroom. I’m sitting on the commode when I hear something.
My heart pauses. My eyes widen. Someone is crying.
I rush out of the washroom. I’m determined it’s a cat or something and that I am going to wake up my sister so she witnesses this too. I am trying to stumble through the dark towards the bed when I hear someone scream in my feet:
“Blood! Blood! Everything is in blood… Bloodied bodies. Baths of blood!”
I look down. I’m looking at the face of my maid, a girl of about ten. Her eyes are open, her eyeballs rolled upward to reveal the whites of her eye. She judders, she shivers and she screams of blood.
My sister starts screaming now. She shouts about blood too. The maid’s feminine shouts have turned into that of a man’s, so that a man’s voice is talking about death.
Everything in the room is screaming. Screaming at me.
And they talk about blood and death and murder.
I can smell blood, I can taste its rusty taste in the air.
And out their in the night, the hairy face is still crying. Louder then ever.
I run to the room’s door and pound it with both fists. There’s no sound, it’s all mute. You sometimes become so scared that your own voice may scare you, or it might not escape your throat at all. The door is that scared too.
I fly open my eyes. My heart is pounding right out of my chest. I cannot breath, I cannot be more afraid and I have never been so skeptical about my sanity. I have lost track of reality. I do not know what’s a dream, what’s a hallucination, what’s a hypnotism and what’s a reality anymore. All I know is I’m stuck.
I slap my face. I literally pinch my legs till it hurts unbearably. I go to the washroom and splash water on my face. It feels so wet, so real. This cannot be a dream. It is really not. In fact I’m up now and have discovered I really need a glass of water down my parched throat.
I’m going through the gallery, past the other two bedroom doors. The house is silent. Dreadfully silent. Almost too silent.
As though through intuition or that peculiar sense which tells you someone’s watching you from behind and when you turn someone actually is, I sense something in my house this night. I sense loneliness and I sense evil.
I open one bedroom door, vacant. I open the other, no one’s there. I go back to my sister’s room. My head is screaming by now, it is screaming for my sister and maid to be in the room. It is screaming that it wants to believe it isn’t insane. It falls silent.
My sister’s room is empty.
I find myself standing in front of the freezer, in the kitchen. I open its lid and bend down into it to fetch water. I see a pile of decapitated hands, heads, fingers, legs, stomachs. They are packed up, and frozen. They have turned bluish white. But the heads still look at me.
And now I see blood and death and murder.
I sit up in my bed. I look at my sister, I look down at my maid and I look at the curtains. I was awake. No, I really was. But I must say I did not think so. After being to the 3rd level into the dream, anyone would think the same. For a long moment I lay there thinking if I was really up. Fearing the crying sound, fearing the maid’s talking in sleep might start the gory talk again. I was seriously concerned about my sanity! But that was it, I had finally woken up. I made a surprised sound, more intentionally then naturally, to signify my getting out of the revertigo dream. My sister asked what was the matter, and I narrated the entire dream. And then I very cautiously and fearfully went to a thankfully undisturbed sleep.
Believe this or not, you must agree this is too incredible to believe. My astonishment at this dream could have been potentially fatal, I really could have died during the sleep if that would’ve continued. I believe so. There’s only so much a mind can bear. If the mind believes it is dead, it becomes dead. And my mind was too troubled that night.
Wikipedia tells me it is a condition called “false awakening” during which a person believes he or she has gotten up and entered the real world and is going about their daily chores while he/she is actually still in the dream. But my case was a repetitive reverting to the point of waking up from a nightmare and then the cycle started again. It is too troubling.
But here is something strange, I swear this is what just happened: I asked my sister what happened that night and she says she remembers me going to the washroom and coming out of it to find a cat meowing outside the window in that chilling child-like cry of its!
I don’t know what was fact and what was fiction anymore. That spring night, as it was, was not tranquil for every troubled soul alike. The city had slumbered, some peacefully and some perturbed and I happened to be among those perturbed. Dreadfully perturbed.
And somewhere far away in the very city, that worker at the petrol station smoked his last cigarette and finally sighed triumphantly. His night shift had ended.