Sunday, October 01, 2017

Sleep. Dream. Wonder. Repeat.

They say you are never too old to dream.  And while one continues to dream, of course completely ignoring the fact most of the dreams never get realized or get delayed , the problem happens when you get recurring dreams at my age. Which is almost 68.

At the outset let me clarify, that while P V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal have nothing to fear from me, I was a decent badminton player in my younger days when I represented my school and college,  and even participated and won in the men's doubles final (there were no womens events, so partnered my husband )  and won, at the Institute where I went to live after marriage.

So I was a bit surprised when I had a dream where I was on a badminton court, and was trying to serve. For some unknown reason (which remains a puzzle to this day) , whenever I tried to serve, the racquet would completely miss the shuttlecock, and the latter would fall to the ground.  I would continue trying, to the disgust of the person on the other side (the dream didn't specify who it was) . By and by, I would get traumatised, worried and leave the court in a state of worry.

The interesting thing was that this dream repeated itself several times.  You might think that I would finally serve, with all those trials, but , NO.  The racquet and the shuttlecock never met. Then one day the dream extended to me returning a serve . Everything below the waist, never connected.  Anything that was tossed above, I ended up hitting in a sort of feeble way ; something very upsetting to someone was earlier very good with  forehand and backhand tosses and returns.

I am just wondering what these repetitive badminton dreams mean. I mean why not a sport where I might be a beginner , like tennis or squash, or kho kho or kabaddi or whatever.

Another recurring dream I have had has nothing  to do with sport. 

You see my mother passed away 17 years ago, in a rather sudden fashion.And I was with her in her last moments.  One has come to terms with the loss of parents by now and learned to live without their presence,  except possibly, in spirit, during  important life events.

I keep having this dream, where I am expecting lots of folks to come by for some function, and am trying to figure out the logistics. I decide that my folks would be using the bedroom opposite .  I then wake up from the dream,  don't see my Mom,   see my daughter go into that room to fetch something, and wonder what she is doing there.   It takes a while to realize that my mother is not going to come and use that room when she stays with me.  End of dream.  

But, this dream has re-occurred many many times. 

I have failed to understand the significance of these two dreams, which have occurred many times.

I wonder if these are snatches of some old memories stored somewhere in my brain.  I wonder if something accesses these memories now when I sleep, and wonder what that "something" is.

I have also heard , and seen it happen (in my fathers's case and an aunt-in-law's case), that folks start remembering old childhood events and people, when  a life change is imminent.

I have an academic interest in all this as I have great respect for the way the brain functions, and the fact that each brain is unique.

Normally, one doesn't take dreams seriously.  Most of them are fun dreams, and some are even impossible.

But I wonder why I get the above dreams repeatedly.

And am seriously looking for answers . Experts ? 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Outside, Inside.....Cattle memories ....

My friend Alka Gurha  who blogs at this wonderful place  Freebird    recently did a great post  titled  Joy of Flying  which was all about short airplane trips, fluids, the desperate urge to discharge ,  and interactions with fellow passengers and the flight personnel.   And remembering Shashi Tharoor for his observation from his lofty perch, about the Cattle Class .

It brought back some amazing memories . 

Alka's were  about waiting outside the loo.

Mine are about the insides.

About 37 years ago , travelling to New Delhi from Bombay  (as it was then) , it was a popular thing to travel by Rajdhani AC chair car.  We had seats near the door , with extra legroom, and were traveling with a 3 year old son, K.   If you leave aside the AC, it was a Cattle Class journey, in the style defined by Mr Shashi Tharoor , who was then, I presume,  with the UN , and possibly not yet acquainted with the cattle.

At first we were happy that we were close to the loos, just outside the compartment door, given the last minute expressions of  wanting to go to the loo , that the child was fond of.    Then after several episodes of the child exploring the door of the compartment , and getting his fingers caught in an automatically  closing door ,   and letting off a frightening yell, thanks to folks wandering in and out in their quest for a loo,  his fascination with the door ended .

The time came to visit the loo.   People would look at a child  shuffling his feet, looking at me in desperation , and let him go in .  Our folks are nice that way. The child needed me to be in there with him.

We entered the loo, and the child positioned himself .  Holding on to me for support , as the train kind of lurched this way and that with some clanging noises, which he had not experienced inside the closed compartment.   Then he looked down and all hell broke loose. Right down the hole, he could see the rails and ground, moving fast , accompanied by the aforementioned sounds.   He got up, and refused to do what he came for. First it was fearful eyes, then crying, and then a desperate attempt to come out of the loo, saying he wouldn't go in, because he would fall into the hole.

I tried to calm him, explain , showing so many people wanting to go, and no one was worried and so on, but he simply would not budge. One uncle went in, and we watched with great wonder as he came out in one piece and smiling. An aunty went in, a young teenager went in, and everyone came out unhurt. He watched this and ventured in once again.  Once again we went through the whole naatak.   This happened several times, with various folks assuring him, while some kept indicating they had reached the end of their patience. We even tried the western style (which i personally do not like). But the view from there too included fast moving rails, ground and clanging rhythmic sounds.

Finally, biology kind of won, and the needful happened as he sat there clutching me, with his eyes shut.

I was just glad that we reached Delhi by 8 am.  It was not a nice thing to look forward to another day of fast moving rails and noises and a terrified child.

This child flew an international flight 2 years later , and the first thing he did was look down through the commode.  He didn't see rails, ground, or for that matter clouds, birds and sky.   This time he went in alone and managed to get stuck because he forgot how to open the folding door from inside.  You can imagine the cattle class folks desperately waiting for him to emerge, which he did after some airline staff intervention. They didnt think it was unusual.  I think they are trained to do this.

But yes. He always needed a window seat, and he always wanted to go to the loo, when the lunch trays were served, or when the aisle was blocked by the trolley.

I think the cattle class has improved. Today, folks waiting outside the loo, on international flights, do the "pehle app" stuff,  when they see kids, and some folks even do bending and losening relaxing  exercises etc while waiting for their turn, hoping that their systems will understand.

The aforementioned child is now himself a member of the Cattle Class  , and possibly doesnt remember the loo stories.  I dearly wish they change the design of the loos in our trains.

I dont care how fast the train moves.  And I shudder to think of the effect of bullet trains as a child of today looks down the loo .