Something Else

Yes, I am a dreamer. But not one that dreams while sleeping. Maybe I do, it’s only natural, but I rarely remember them. I love dreaming while asleep because they are mostly pointless. They have no beginning and definitely no logical end; however they seem to have a body which is truly captivating. Seems like a beautiful exercise for a universe on a tea break.

A pond, that’s what this post should be called but its going to be called something else.

Laughter of the raucous kind, the one that sneaks in when you are in truly comfortable company. Splashing of water, joyous, like squealing children let out of school. Adventure glints in our eye, when caught by the sun above. Emerald, that’s the colour water wore to work today. Emerald, powerful in her capabilities but elegant in her demeanour.

Grace, mesmerised, twirled with water around us to the quiet music in his head. She dances along, smiling at us, an unshakeable confidence-that smile.

We swam effortless. I swam weightless. I held my hands out of the water and looked up at the water peeling away simply to check if I’d grown any thinner. No. My hands were just as chubby. Glee is what I felt, I never knew I could feel something as pretentious as “glee”. Years of accumulated fat like memory seemed to have melted away…no… dissolved in the all-consuming emerald around me.

I felt light, I felt great. I haven’t felt light unless I skip breakfast and lunch, but that’s a different light altogether. This felt like possibility to the touch. A vast expanse of possibilities where I could ride this laughter and surf the waves of absolute happiness. Even when I thunk it I knew it to be a fallacy, this business of the absolute. But I was impressionable, afterall I was feeling glee and my light self was laughing with friends in an emerald pond.

The land above was a grove of fruit-bearing trees laden with cashew, jackfruit, mangoes, tamarind and rose apple. An enormous banyan tree stood leaning, investigating the traffic in the pond. He watched us languorously with the air of someone who had seen many such rendezvous. He didn’t mind it. He liked the gentle distraction. Countless years of standing and shaking his leaves like jazz hands had made him gregarious.

My orchard wasn’t a jungle. It was a cool haven, a dream place for the lovers of fruit and shade. In the middle of the day when the tropical sun slapped you hard for stepping out, my orchard was the serene colour of dusk with the serene feel of dawn.

Just as the temptation to explore the orchard came over us we realised the difficulty. It was impossible to get onto the land from the water. They were like a discordant couple, living in the same house, but both aware of the lines not to be crossed. The banyan tree had let down his hair of roots into the water through the earth. That was the secret of his perfect jazz hand-leaves. These root-hairs had now acquired a mind of their own. The root-hairs had formed what seemed like a dangerous maze of a sturdy root-trap which came alive to get you stuck in them. Earth, who could not bear to watch this torture had collapsed a long while back giving way to an even more cavernous and indistinguishable ruse.

Adventure that glinted in our eyes had made its way to our hearts and without much thought we set forth to gauge the real danger of the root-trap.  When it was noticed that the root-trap, if we could circumvent it, held shimmery things, we stepped over each other to volunteer for that epic voyage.

The plan was simple. Take a deep breath, dive as far down as was required to get around the root-trap, check on the other side and be right back. In theory, this was child’s play. In practice we were all children of the swimming pool, with its chlorinated water and a lifeguard on standby.

One of us went forth with much gusto and was soon a bubble in the greenish darkness. Panic, on her way in, made way for Logic to leave. I walked straight into the root-trap to “save” my friend. Thankfully this was a dream and no man, woman or animal was harmed in its making.

Life on the other side was literally breathtaking. We forgot to breathe. Roots-tiny, thin, long, juicy, sturdy, purposeful- roots were in full attendance. The light too was different. There was a brilliant light, much like a wet sun, diffused yet luminescent, shining below us. The roots weren’t lit, they were glowing, like series lights. We were glowing, our skin translucent and orange, our mouths pale and our smiles bubbly. Eyes, all eyes in the vicinity had caught the light. The source of it, however, was far away and like the sun could not be stared at directly.

Roots, clean and pastel, were having a good time. You could make out how genuinely happy they were from the way they touched each other’s arm before stretching into the vastness and coming right back to share some naughty titbit about going south. They belonged. That’s when the thought crossed my mind like a certainty. This was root heaven. We were in root heaven.

The more industrious among us were sure that the light was from a hidden treasure. A trunk of gold, perhaps, maybe more. Before I could log away that thought as silly, we were making a beeline towards that light.

But as we got closer to the light, I felt myself sweat in my underarms and in the crook of my neck. Is it possible to sweat under water? I thought not. The light shone brighter and I tried to forget the evil feeling that I was somehow being wrapped in the water around me. Then came the high pitched deafening voice like thunder had caught a cold.

Then I felt the touch. Of something living on my shoulder. I could feel myself turn white with fear. The distance to my home seemed to flash before my eyes like a digital clock: 00:37

I saw myself turn around to look at it, and that meant yes I saw what it was that touched my shoulder.

It was Amma, shouting her usual high-pitched rant about my sloppiness and general lack of discipline. The lecture was into B-side after having switched on the light, switched off the fan and tried to pull my blanket off.

I sat up groggy and thinking I should wear green to work today.