Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dream A Little Dream With Me Part 2

I tap my feet when I’m nervous.

Just because I try and give it a rhythm, doesn’t mean that those around me like it, most of the time, they dont.

On those occasions where I can’t make noise, I tend to move my fingers as though I were masterfully playing a piano while I watch the tendons across my wrists move in tandem.

But on some days, no matter how hard I try to distract myself, nothing seems to work.

That was exactly how I felt at my first job interview waiting all by myself inside a board room.

The carpet on the floor muffled the sound my feet were making as tried in vain to find a position that was comfortable in my chair.
Almost immediately after I settled in, the door opened.

Dr. Singh didn’t seem very impressed as I stood up to shake his hand, nonetheless, I didn’t let that assumption cloud my excitement.

He didn’t say anything as he glanced through my CV. 

It was just one page, remember, this was the first time I had ever applied for a job in my whole life and I was fresh out of college.

He then took the spectacles off his face and placed them on the finely polished teak wood table next to us.

 “Why did you become a doctor”? He asked me, stroking the beard on his face.

I smiled, this was a question I saw coming and I gave him an honest answer.

“For me its all about the people sir, the physician-patient connection can be so instantaneous and real….”.

I have to interrupt you there George. He said cutting me off in the middle of my sentence.

"More than anything else I like keeping things simple and straight".

"This job won’t be suitable for you".  He concluded within 100 seconds of meeting me.

We briefly shook hands again and he walked out of the room.

It took me a while to get a grip on the situation. 

A hundred things went through my head in that moment, and I was left wondering, "Wait, what on earth just happened here"?
Ojal Sinha first walked into our classroom on a very sunny afternoon in June.

I remember it well because during recess that morning Sunil was pointing at a helicopter in the sky saying – “Look Thomas, its so close”, and then the bright sun hit his eye.

He was peeing on a eucalyptus tree when that happened so I didn’t offer him any of my sympathy.

If you were paying close attention to what was going on inside, you would’ve heard a deep collective sigh.

That sigh I mentioned originated from at least 30 boys in my 5th grade class. 

She was the newest, cutest addition to Air Force School Jalahalli east, and watching her walk into our lives in slow motion was so much better than the history lesson Mrs Banerjee was trying to give us that day.

I could swear Pramod’s face looked like he had just seen an angel, and he was drooling all day.

To be fair though, he was always drooling, so I’m not so sure if Kishore getting upset at some drops of good ol' pammu’s saliva falling on him was warranted or not.

Whatever maybe said about Pramod, he was the first one courageous enough to declare his love for Ojal and he decided to demonstrate it by writing the three most beautiful words in the world on the last page of her English notebook.

What he wasn’t ready for was the fact that along with Ojal the universe had decided to gift the young men in class 5A a new English teacher, one who had 2 very distinctive features.

Firstly she had an obsessive quality of looking at the last page of all our notebooks, in her own words the last page was where ‘all the action was at’.

Secondly, and may I humbly add - most importantly, she was Ojals mother.

None of the 54 students in my class knew that the best way to make a young boy un-profess his love for a girl was to wring both his ears 1080 degrees in the clockwise direction.

At the end of the day Pramods ears looked as bright red as a tomato and his face was white as a ghost.

When I saw him last he was a little short of hearing, but I don’t blame Ojals mom, Pramod loved putting things into his ear in his spare time.

Maybe it had something to do with being a teachers child but Ojal was always well dressed.

Her shoes looked brand new every morning, her school uniform was always perfectly ironed and one feature that stood apart from the rest was how her hair was always neatly braided with a red ribbon right at the end.
In my previous blog post I wrote about a dream I had 2 weeks before Christmas last year, when I woke up that morning, I couldn't really shake it off.

I thought about it, long and hard, especially trying to figure out the man on the right.

Why did he look so familiar, and why couldn't I recognize him?

I’m not sure if it was hearing from Sunil again a few days later, or taking my own glasses out and placing them on a wooden table at work, but suddenly all of it made sense to me, even the red ribbon.

Both men I saw in my dream were reflections of two very different versions of me.

The man on the right represented the me who got everything right in his life. All the doors he knocked on opened, every decision he made was correct, he didn't make any wrong turns or get any bad breaks, he probably got the first job he ever applied to, married the first girl he had a crush on, he didn’t even need glasses to read.

In sharp contrast was the man to his left, the version of me with all the scars and marks on his face.

I wondered to myself again and again, if I had a chance to do it all over again, would I want to end up like the man on the right, or the one on the left.

Surprisingly, on every occasion I chose the one on the left.

While it was easy for me to feel sorry for this guy, it occurred to me that he was content with the way everything turned out, the smile on his face gave it away.

Every bruise and every scar on his body were reminders of his legacy, testaments to all he had been through. From toiling in the scorching sun to burning the midnight oil. 

They were his, he had earned them.

I haven't had that same dream again, but it couldn't have come to me at a better time.

I am now more proud of the man I see in the mirror every morning than I ever was before.

In the end though, I guess the fact that both men whom I saw in my dream seemed happy helped me realize that no matter what happens to us or what we choose to do, everything has a way of working itself out

Until Next Time


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dream A Little Dream With Me Part 1

“Do you think Neppo is dreaming?” My brother asked me.

Sanjeev George has never been interested in sports, but what am I complaining about? At that time, even I wasn’t into soccer.

Every now and then though, some things happen that make the whole world pause and take notice. South Korea’s dream run at the FIFA world cup of 2002 was one such event, and we were glued to our television screen with millions of other people when they took on Spain in the quarter finals that year.
The game went down to the wire, ending with a controversial 5-3 win in penalties for the hosts.
But here, my brother was busy carefully observing our pet dachshund's unusual body movements.

“Are you listening man”? He asked me, visibly annoyed by my apathetic response to his canine sleep analysis.

I turned my gaze for a second from the television to look at the 8th wonder of the world Napoleon 'Born-Apart' Senior lying on the verandah of our home in Kerala.

His eyes were closed tightly, and yet he was wagging his tail. Interestingly every few seconds he would shake all four legs too.

Now that Sanjeev had my attention, he delved deeper into the topic.

“What do you think he is dreaming of"? He asks.

“Wait, how did we conclude that he was dreaming”? I replied.

“It seems to be a good dream and a nightmare at the same time” He continued to explain looking more closely at Neppo, completely ignoring my question.

There is silence for a few seconds, and I slowly start to look away hoping this discussion was done and over with.

Wishful thinking.

“Maybe it’s a giant chicken leg”. He says.

“Maybe the good part of the dream is when he sees the leg just lying there doing nothing, and the nightmare is where it comes to life and chases him down the street”.

I laugh loud enough to wake Neppo from his sleep.

Neppo first stares at me and then at my brother before walking out of the room looking disdainful. If he could talk I’m sure he would have said “Where can a dog go to get some sleep in this house”.
I have always been fascinated by dreams.

It is the one of the few things very unique to our species.
And I am not talking about daydreaming in the middle of a lecture.

That aspect of being a human I don’t particularly find fascinating, it has in fact gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years.

But rather, I’m talking about the technicolor cinemascope short films that just appear all of a sudden in the middle of our sleep, starring you and me in it.

Which reminds me of the modern day classic Christopher Nolan film Inception, the only movie till date that I have watched 3 times on the big screen.

I have always felt Chris and his brother did a much better job with their analysis of dreams than Sanjeev and I did in 2002.

At one point in the movie we see Joseph Gordon-Levitt try and explain to Ellen Page how dreams work, he reminds her about how we always end up starting somewhere in the middle of a dream.

And when you think of it, it’s very true. We normally can’t figure out how we got to where we are in a dream, there is usually no beginning,  and usually the dream ends abruptly.
Even though it’s kind of obvious I had never thought of that before.

That being said, you aren’t always merely a passive audience in your dream, on occasion you even participate, trying to alter the outcome.

It is dreams like those that I live for.
I had a very interesting dream about 2 months ago.

In this dream I found myself in the middle of a very poorly lit room.

I wandered about in the darkness for a short while before moving towards the lights I saw in the distance.

I couldn’t see clearly without my glasses on so I couldn’t make out anything till I got a lot closer.

What I saw before my eyes intrigued me.

The light was coming from two lamps that hung from the ceiling.

And there appeared to be people standing underneath them.

It was a little disconcerting that they seemed to be looking straight at me and so I decided to be a little more cautious than just blindly walking into them.

They weren’t moving and I was curious to know more so I took measured steps and approached them.

The details got finer.

I could now see that there was one man standing under the lamp on the left and what looked like a small family under the lamp on the right.

When in doubt go right, right?

So I went to my right first.

I was correct.

It was indeed a cute little family.

The best part was that I seemed to recognize these people, but I just wasn't sure.

Never before have I missed my spectacles as much as I did in that dream.

All of them were smiling, so I assumed they were happy, the wife had red ribbons on her hair which didn’t make sense to me but who was I to pass comments on how someone chose to wear their hair, in 30 years I have barely mastered the task of using a comb.

I couldn’t make much of the faces of the children but I could bet there were incredibly cute.

It was however the man I spent most time trying to place in my head.

He was as tall as me, much bigger in size, had a round face and a neat appearance in general, and the more I looked at him the more familiar he seemed.
Sensing my attempts to identify him were getting futile by the second I decided to turn my attention to the man under the lamp to my side.

He looked very different from the man and his family on the right.

He was slouched over so I couldn’t see his face completely, but from the looks of it he seemed tired, and mostly disheveled.

Maybe if I could move the light a little closer to him I would be able to see more clearly I thought to myself.

I approached him carefully keeping an eye out for any sudden movements.

No luck.

The lamp wouldn’t budge from its position.

Up close he looked tired and disheveled alright, there were scars and marks on his face that I didn’t see in the other guy, he was smiling nonetheless, but again, I couldn’t recognize him.

I was disappointed; this was turning out to be a frustrating experience.

When all hopes seemed lost, the man under the left side of the lamp spoke.

Don't you know who I am? He said in a voice i have known all my life.

I didn't have to see him again to recognize him.

It was me.

Siri kept her word to me and woke me up on time.

The dream had ended.

To Be Continued.........