Visions in Dreamland

The earliest I remember documenting one of my dreams was when I was 14. I was in boarding school. One of our teachers had asked us to describe a dream on paper. I picked a recent one and did so vividly. She gave me an A+, asked me to see her in her office and told me I’d been selected by God to join the Christian faith and fight against the Anti-Christ. Anyway, because I’d written it down, I still remember bits and pieces of it, and it’s been more than a decade. I remember there being a hole in our dormitory wall. There was a tiger of some sort. There’d been an earthquake, I think. We were all in a big city, and I remember the dream ending with this huge, tall skyscraper, the doors to which were clear glass and had golden handles and there was one word written across them: Excellence.

A couple of years later, when I was 16, I met a professor of history who, I heard, was good at reading hands, talking about personalities and such things. I wasn’t one of his students, but I went with a friend to see him. Their conversation about her dreams and his interpretations of them left me wondering if there was any truth to any of it. The curiosity was enough, I started visiting him too. He was an old man, maybe in his late 60s and he told me a lot of his own stories too.

One story I found fascinating was of his younger days. He must have been in his late teens, and was coming out of a movie theatre, or some such hall, with his friends. A self-proclaimed astrologer-cum-palmist was sitting near the doors and offered to read them their future. One of the friends stepped forward to let the man satisfy himself. The astrologer looked up at him and said, awed, “Hindustan ke baadshah!” Translated, that means: King of India! That person was Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who became the sixth President of Pakistan in 1977. The statement was made by the astrologer before the partition of India.

The professor interpreted many of my dreams. He could even give me a time-frame for the interpretation to be fulfilled based on the time when I’d seen the dream. To help us both I started maintaining a journal which I kept next to my bed and when I woke up after a dream, I would flick the lights on, look at the time and scribble that along with the contents of my dream in the journal. I remembered my dreams in great detail, much to his delight. There was one in particular, not twisted or anything, but which I remember very well because the interpretation had nothing to do with the dream and it seemed a little far-fetched to me.

I was walking down the corridors of the 3-storey building which held our dormitories on the upper floors and a tv room on the first floor, with the dining hall or mess on the ground floor. (That’s how storeys are measured in India; the ground floor is like Floor Zero.) The corridors in the dream were dimly lit with bulbs. My dorm was on the 3rd floor. My dorm was on the 3rd floor. I was wearing a blue sweater, holding a book, opened to some seemingly relevant page, against myself with my arms crossed over its cover. I went down the stairs to the first/second floor and entered a hall to the right. The lighting here wasn’t bright either. The room was made of a dark wood, and so were the tables laid along its perimeter. On each there were glass cases holding artifacts which seemed ancient, or quite old, at least. Among those, there appeared to be a few insects. I leaned in to look at them more closely. They were roaches.

To be continued

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