Dreams within nightmares

Dreams within nightmares

Swalpa Connect Maadi

Dreams within nightmares

 The complexities began with the first scene. “Lali, what was that about the spinning top?” I asked. She was patient. Something about a totem. Then the freight train happened. “Omigod...what on earth is that crazy freight train doing indoors?” She was  very patient. “It’s all in a dream. we are seeing someone's  dream,” she said looking pointedly at the screen. “But why would anyone want to get into anyone’s nightmare like this?” Ssssh, said someone from behind and kicked my seat.

Ssshh, said someone from the front row. Lali gave me a look she reserves for counsellees who  routinely stick fingers into electric sockets and test the sharpness of fruit knives on their ears. “Just concentrate.”

I decided to concentrate but that train baffled me. As did the red woman who slithered in and out. And people kept killing people. Finally I gave in: “Why are they all killing each other?” She patted my hand. “It’s all a dream within a dream”. “But how can everyone dream the same dream?”, I cried. Ssshh, said someone rudely from the back and kicked my seat. Ssssh, said someone from the front row. Shhhhsss, said Lali. “Tell you later.”

Since I couldn’t figure what was going on, I decided to ponder on dreams. Dreams should have green grass and nodding tulips and the hero and heroine gamboling and singing of love. Or if you want realism, the heroine can be in a pond getting wet. “A song here could have added so much ambience,” I suggested, as the cities crumbled and bridges vanished. “Please,” said Lali, her patience stretched transparent like my heroine's wet outfit. “Why didn't we go for a Bollywood movie?”  But then Inception was raved about by no less a personage than Shobha De. I decided to pay serious attention, hoping my major in psychology would come to my aid.

 Suddenly, the screen went white. Everyone started scrambling in snow desperately dodging gunfire. “Now what is happening?” I asked my friend. She sighed audibly. “It’s all buried in their subconscious … and everyone is tapping into everyone’s subconscious …..oh forget it.” I tried to figure all, the screeching cars, crumbling-like-sponge-cake cities for myself. Then I just had to ask: “How come all these guys are in five different places at the same time?”

“They are in five different dreams,” she said a bit grumpily. It was this subconscious business that was getting to her subconscious. “Is it like a multiplex with different movies in different halls?” She twisted away to lean the other way. “Think of it as schizophrenia,” she said shortly.

 One more question. “Why is that bus taking so long to fall?” She let off a small snore. I poked her awake, in case that freight train came charging into her subconscious mind. “Why are they all sharing dreams, aren’t there enough dreams to go around?” Sssshhh, said someone rudely from the back and kicked my seat. Ssssh, said someone from the front row. Lali turned defensive. “Did I make this film? Am I the producer, director, the scriptwriter? How should I know?”

Finally, the film ended on an even more baffling note. I turned to her but she had moved three rows behind. “Aren't  we leaving?”

“You are leaving,” she said. “I am staying for the next show to figure this through.”
And I thought she at least had it all figured out.

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