A dream never actually starts at the ‘start’. It always catches you unawares and before you know you are in the middle of it. It is like voodoo black magic spell where you are bodily transferred and thrown in a place, time and a situation-some that are so natural and some that are so bizarre.
Definitely, me in a circus performance is bizarre. A misfit. Never able to conceive myself as a part. I stand there ‘in’ the arena feeling ‘out’ and seemingly noticing all happening as an observer, only to be screamed at and prodded by the show master, “ Hey! Usha ! move on…it’s your part!”, throwing me off balance, hazed and for a moment unsure of what to do. Then a gentle pull and a soft prompt from a girl (my friend?) at my left guiding me and I, doing exactly the same with ease that belies my hesitation and transfix a moment ago. Suddenly all that I could feel and hear is a thunderous applause and the same master curtly commenting,” don’t you dare dream amidst action. Where did your sense go? This, my warning to you. Get serious!”…blah! blah! Blah, under his breath. His grin and bow taken for granted for his and his team’s performance.
Yeah! This is real! Very real! This correction that comes as second nature, these reprimands to which I am attuned so much is very much real!
Now that I have connected with my reality, exactly when did I drift into a deep sleep I am not sure of. But sleep I did only to wake up with a strange sense of experience that shook me despite the familiarity to my real life.
The chase is on. Heart pounding, fear gripping, my mind screaming, vicious curly tentacles of terror curling around my neck making me asphyxiate, yet strangely I am gulping more air and running even faster.
I remember that I have my moments of clarity, as if it is ‘not’ happening to me, when I am able to recollect myself looking back for that intruder, for that man( always a man) with a sinister look and he is always very close for my comfort, yet far enough that I escape his vile grasp. I am also sure of my mind racing ahead of me to look for obvious escape routes.
All this happens so fast that the final desperate move to get out of the situation is too close. I am suddenly faced with a trying moment when my dream actions are so linked with my body that I face a great trial and make frantic efforts to emerge successfully out of the dream and the situation simultaneously.
The strain is evident in both mental desperation and physical failure to do what needs to be done.
Fear grips with renewed vigour and my mind tells me, “Usha, just a single move, one tiny twitch of your hand or leg and you will be saved! Come on! Now! Now! You can do it!…”
My moment of truth looms large crippling me further and with actual fast pacing breath I literally ‘move’ in my sleep and wake up with a start. That move, that life-saving move has come with great effort which resulted in my fast breathing and heavy sweat!
Voila! Both my dream and my escape is complete. I am ‘out’ of danger.
What a relief! My heart actually races fast and takes a while to normalise. Sleep evades me and I chase it now with renewed desperation to get myself engulfed in that blackness that does not scare me instead embraces me and soothes me- the dreamless deep sleep!