MIDWAY : Realm of dreams

Prerana Dahal:

People relish or loathe dreams depending upon what appears in their vision. A good few regret them because they are short lived; others abhor them for being too long. Crashing down to a razing river from a cliff, or your plane going up in flames or a demon chasing you through the thick forest, all of them leave you drenched in sweat. They call them nightmares. But not eve-ry nocturnal world your mind invokes at the closure of eyelids scares the shit out of you. Many of them land you up in a paradise, a celestial world, eternally blissful, free from worldly pains and worries.

I never know how these dreams come by and dissipate. They blossom in sleep and destroy the tranquillity of our mind. Then I am forced to think, if ever man is free for a shred of a moment when will he be all by himself? They say a human heart and mind is impregnable! How come a dream unlocks the mind and creeps into it? My grandma would explain the genesis of my dreams is the food I eat. You ask her how and she cites and recites umpteen Sanskrit verses from Vedanta. She quickly fetches words from her Vedic lexicon such as Tama, Raja and Sattwa (qualities in increasing order as identified by Hindu scriptures). According to her, Tamasi food and Rajasi culinary habits are mother of nightmares. They go into your stomach, convert into blood and crisscross the mind. And, they play havoc there affecting your physical, moral and spiritual health.

Which category do her Roti and Sabji fall into? Aren’t they fodder for dreams? She says, they don’t because “her fleshy abode is no longer anarchic, it has been thoroughly disciplined.”

Well, did she eat the Sattwic food all her life or the wisdom dawned on her only after wrinkles wreaked havoc on her cheek? Or was it gastro-enteritis or hyper-acidity, the archenemy of the Nepalis, that forced discipline in her?

It took me a while to know that I had stirred the hornet’s nest. She took my words as a red rag to the bull. Granny flew into rage. Her pool of wisdom and tolerance which her Sattwic Bhojana helped accumulate over time, I guess, started caving in. She began to hurl curses on me and launched a tirade against the TV, the society and my parents who she thought shaped my thoughts and infected my mind. I am an incorrigibly ruined child in her eyes. Our evening calmed as her rage subsided in an hour or two. Next day was Saturday and we all huddled up around the dining table including granny. There we had mutton gravy and fish fry and the sour look of my granny.