Dreams, whether they are of the night kind, or of day, are experienced by one and all! While the Dreams of the night kind are very thoroughly experienced by all living beings without qualms or feeling of guilt, dreaming of the day kind has often been maligned. While the quintessential “Dream” has been explained in details by luminaries of the field of Psychoanalysis, so much so, that a “logy” has been suffixed to the related science, i.e., Oneirology, the day-dreaming bit had been left somewhat unexplored, till it was pounced upon by the “Guru” clan, who glorified the same with a different name, i.e., Creative Visualization. Hence, I exhort to all my friends of day-dreaming fraternity to feel good about the fact that you (and me) are not worthless and lazy people whiling our team in dreaming what we want to be, or what we want to achieve in life, but are creative visionaries, who have taken the first step towards realizing our goals.
This article, though, is not about delving deep into the science of dreaming, or, for that matter, transcendental meditation, but of some realization that dawned on me over a period of time, which may put some light on our changing aspirations.
From the very childhood, the subjects of my day-dreaming changed in every few days, depending upon my heroes. One of the earliest heroes I can remember was “Van Kaku” (Kaku is our way to address uncle in Bangla), who used take us to school and back in his Rickshaw! I was always amazed at the skill with which Van Kaku would maneuver his Rickshaw through the narrow bye-lanes, while honking the deep-throated air-horn! Those were days, when I use to dream of sitting on top of the Rickshaw seat (although, at that age, my legs would not reach the pedals of the cycle rickshaw!), and flying around, while all others gaped at me with wondering eyes! As luck would have it, I got a chance to realize my dream on one of those days, when Van Kaku had gone to drop one of my journey mates to her home, keeping the Rickshaw under our (there were 4 others in the Rickshaw) guard! As soon as Kaku turned inside the gully, I jumped on the seat. I had been observing Kaku closely for a number of days, and knew that he employed a wire-ring to keep the brakes on, when he did not want the Rickshaw to move around. I removed the ring with a flourish and almost stood on right pedal to get the behemoth (read Rickshaw) moving. As the right pedal reached its nadir, I had to shift to the left side to push down the left pedal! This exercise was repeated for about 4 times, and we had the Rickshaw moving at a sedate pace. With growing confidence, I started handling the handle, which did not seem too keen to be handled, and adopted a stubborn persona, which made me use some extra force in the form of effort from another kid, to move it to the right! That is when disaster struck! On the right side was a free-flowing drain, and the Rickshaw suddenly exhibited indomitable affection towards the same and headed that way! None of my praying and cajoling seemed to work, as the lovers embraced each other, with the front wheel of the rickshaw settling itself in a twisted form inside the drain, and the rest of it getting airborne! 5 of us journey mates flew gracelessly in varying forms, landing in various places, ranging from the Rickshaw handle to the chilling embrace of the murky drain! The spectacle brought about hordes of rescuers, some of who were sympathetic, while the others (like Van Kaku) were emphatically displeased. All my journey mates betrayed me without a tinge of guilt, and I, the day-dreamer, stood forlorn as the sole culprit. Would not bore you further with the post-facto! Needless to say, that my dreams, along with my hero changed pretty soon.
Next of my heroes was Pota da, the champion Kite specialist of our locality. My rendezvous with the art of Kite flying was restricted to badgering my parents to get me colourful kites and threads from the market, which would inadvertently be lost within a few hours of my initial attempts at getting the kite airborne. Somehow, with me at the helm, the kites conveniently forgot their basic purpose in life, i.e., to fly! I ran around with the spool in hand with the kite tied at the end of the thread stuttering on the ground in protest, till the time, either the thread broke, or the kite got mutilated. At times of assisted (by experts) attempts, when the kites did get airborne, they quickly dived towards ground, with either the attached thread getting mutilated by some other kite, or just as a result of an afterthought on the Kite’s part, once it realized that I was in charge! Pota da was a legend in our locality, who had the record of have maximum scalps in the battle for “cutting” and collecting “flyaway kites”! Hence, it was imperative that I would idolize him and would try to learn the trick of the trade from him! The first thing that he taught me was, thread is the most important actor in this whole show, and one needs to strengthen it, and make it “cutting edge”! The process (called “manja”) to do so is a laborious one, which needs items like cooked rice, glue, colours, glass powder etc. With great enthusiasm, I assembled the ingredients and went about the process of “manja-fication” of the available threads. Things went well till the time I went about testing the sharpness of the thread after manja-fication. And, lo behold! The first victim of the super strong thread was not any other kites, but my own hands. With some deep cuts in my hand, and blood adding hue to the already colourful threads, I was dragged back at home by my mother, with my ears acting as convenient handle for her to pull! That brought about the early demise of my kite flying dreams!
In this way, lot of different vocations like being a Footballer, a Cricketer, an Astronaut, an Airlines Pilot, a Race Driver, a Librarian, a book shop owner, a sweet-meat shop owner etc. had their time under the sun (of my day-dream sessions). Invariably, I was the main protagonist, with my friends (ever changing list, subject to the latest equation with the individual!) providing the support cast. As I grew older, pragmatism started overpowering my dreaming capabilities, and hence those sessions somehow petered down. Still, there were times, when the golden sunlight did make an appearance in the form of the dreams. Only that the subjects were closer to reality, and were not as enriched with reckless abandon as they used to be in the childhood. The basic tenets remain unchanged with me still enacting the role of the protagonist.
A few days back, I realized with a pleasant jolt, that the fundamentals of my dreaming exercise are in peril. It was a pleasant realization because, I was not able to see myself in the role of the protagonist. I have been replaced by my son! I was visualizing my son hitting all those glorious cricketing strokes all around the park, or on the podium, receiving the awards for almost everything good! This set me thinking, and following is the hypothesis I have come up with.
Our dreams are reflection of our aspirations. Consciously, as well as subconsciously, we keep on thinking of the same, which is played back to us by our feedback system in the form of dreams. In our initial years, the world revolved around self, and hence, we found ourselves to be at the center of everything that we were thinking of. Gradually, with time, we change, and so does our priorities. Once we are blessed with parenthood, the focus almost totally shifts from self to our offspring, and our aspirations finds a new hero.
The flop-side of this phenomenon is, we may end up creating undue pressure on our children to fulfil our dreams, which may end up denying the child live his/her childhood properly. If we are conscious of this aspect, and take care not to impose anything on our kids on account of our own unfulfilled dreams, we can actually enjoy these dreams, and let our child dream their own dreams! What do you all say?