Here's calling all daydreamers

Here's calling all daydreamers

Daydreams refresh, rejuvenate, revive. But, daydream just enough to spice up life and do not make them the drug that takes you down, cautions Shinie Antony.

Man is defined by his daydreams. The other variety of dreams, the night-time ones, the bona fide, dictionary-defined type, what he dreams of when he is in zzzz mode, doesn’t count. Those conjured up by his subconscious during the deepest of sleeps are barely remembered upon awakening. The dreams he dreams while asleep are mostly about boring old fears, guilt and regrets.

Apart from being too bizarre to mention in polite company, he has no jurisdiction over what he dreams. He is chased by a tiger who turns into an elephant who turns into his mother-in-law in a bikini! When he puckers up in his sleep, he will find he has no lips! It is not as if his current crush will automatically feature in a lead role; more likely that someone who passed him by on a stairway will play the item girl in his slumbers. No, no, a majority of dreams is best forgotten.

Not so daydreams. Dreaming with eyes wide open is another matter altogether now. Daydreams, what he can control and what he steers, focusing on his ambitions and longings, where he sees himself ten years or ten minutes from now, that’s what keep a man going. The only accessory required for daydreaming is a pair of glasses, rose-coloured. Put them on and you are on. The daydream is ready anytime you are. You just have to blink twice and it is lights, camera, action.

Dreaming with eyes open is the sole reason we get through many an episode in our lives; a distant relative’s lengthy wedding ceremony, an eminent lecture on a profound topic by a laureate, a never-ending poem written by own nephew... If we can’t put ourselves on autopilot and escape into our minds, where would we be? In the most mind-numbingly boring circumstances of our own making, that’s where. Daydreaming is our self-preservation technique, a safety valve, the self-taught trick, to get out at the other end alive. It is the reason we welcome insomnia and do not have to wait for, like Shakespeare did in Hamlet, ‘sleep, perchance to dream’.

Life is about constant upgrade. The spirit, like the body, has to be overhauled one minute to the next. The soul is a social climber of no small means. There is the generic tendency to slide into depression, into all the negatives, all the no’s, not’s, nay’s and never’s. The only way to rise above it and soar into the realm of possibilities is to shut eyes to reality, to what is happening, and explore silently and invisibly a world no one else can enter. Which is why daydreamers pin a ‘do not disturb’ board on themselves. You always know when your audience of one has stopped listening to your detailed account of your aunt’s ailments and has begun his own internal movie. A certain glassiness enters the eye.

Where would Walter Mitty, one of the earliest known daydreamers, be without his secret life? A pilot, a doctor, a killer in his dreamy state, he was you and me in real life. His desi counterpart, Mungerilal, had his haseen sapney to keep him company. Martin Luther King was nowhere near sleepy when he had that dream. If we declare a National Daydream Day, imagine how quickly peace would overtake war talks.
Fantasies are a perfect antidote to truth, especially unpalatable truth.

A rich inner life is a must to differentiate between individuals; Tom, Dick and Harry daydream separate daydreams. Dream factories are open 24/7 and dole out equally to those asleep and those wide awake. A daydreamer is able to change or edit dreams as they are dreamt, lending a flexibility to the technical aspect of this art. For instance, when one is daydreaming about a sweetheart, one disables the reality button; seeing only the cuteness and not the nag potential.

Whether it is unrequited love, cramming for exams, revenge or boredom, daydreams come to the rescue. You just sit back in your chair during a busy workday and daydream away to glory. You can strangle the boss, suffocate sibling or stab that eve-teaser who deliberately brushed against you; daydreams let you get away with murder. Daydreaming is also the only known way to time travel as of now; one minute you are facing the same old sambhar-rice, the next you replace Nigella Lawson on TV.
Day-dreamy people are considered gentle souls.

They are too busy plotting and planning in the deep recesses of their mind to actually get down to the nitty gritty of doing the dirty. Okay, so there is a rumour you are an ineffectual sort, but that is better than being a total success at being a jerk. You don’t break hearts, you don’t fight, and you never, never backchat; because you are so busy doing all this inside your head that you never get the time to execute it in real time.

Statutory warning: It is important that you learn to differentiate between daydreams and real life. Do not let the former cast wander in to socialise with the latter cast. Or that smile to your physics teacher will be totally inappropriate. Daydream just enough to spice up life, but do not make them the drug that takes you down.

Some new research says men and women dream differently. That men dream general dreams while women dream on an interpersonal basis. That even when it comes to a sub-section of dreams — that is, erotic dreams — boys dream of random encounters with total strangers while girls are with people they know, like a spouse, friend or acquaintance. How inconvenient to have no control, indeed be subjected to statistics and generalities when it comes to so private a point of life — dreams.

As if dreams are His and Her washrooms. Enter, daydreams. Which are, first of all, gender neutral. There are no male and female daydreams. Anyone can daydream anything, anytime.

From food fantasies while following the latest fad diet to drooling all over a magazine centre-fold, daydreams only cause smileys. Daydreams refresh, rejuvenate, revive. A man needs a dose of make-believe now and then for the daily grind can be a nuisance, even downright unbearable. Through all this oxygen intake, the inhalations and exhalations, sometimes troops have to be called in. In the mind-made battlefront, only imaginations come to the rescue. When facts are nipping at your heel, baying for your blood, only self-created fiction can help.

Turn into your own storyteller and retreat into the pages of a self-made storybook and spin towards a happy ending.

Daylight reverie is an acceptable exit from the drip-drip-drip drabness of one’s surroundings. It is the parachute that never fails to open up when you skydive. Daydreamers unite, you have nothing to lose except your nightmares.

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