Vartanama, Apr '17
Recurrent and vivid dreams of water have fascinated me since years, perhaps even childhood. I see water in my dreams as blue, black, transparent; still, moving, flowing; peaceful, playful, terrorizing, destructive, sad . . .
The most recent of these dreams showed Kolkata city under water – not in the sense of monsoon water logging, but a more permanent flooding. A scene of the Maidan under a couple of feet of water remains etched in my mind – the four o’clock sunlight glistening on the water surface, bouncing off the wet back of a water bird; people wading in the water as if it was the perfectly normal thing to do. I was there looking on, apprehensive about something and also resigned, and then . . . fade out.
Another recurrent theme of my dreams has been my childhood home. I rarely dream of it as I remember it to be when I’m awake. I see variations in structure, but I can still sense it to be home. There is always an openness to the elements in the structure; a sense of cheer, security, loving bonds, but also vulnerability. Sometimes my parents are there in the house (in the dream) and at other times not. And usually the house is located in relative isolation, which sort of how my childhood home was – last house in the last row and column of one part of a Kolkata suburban township. Being on the edge of the township, my home was right next to a marshy jungle patch, amid plenty of flora and fauna.
Once in the early 1970s, perhaps when I was five or so, the township was flooded, and my home wasn’t spared. I could see fish and small turtles swimming in the small garden outside. This wasn’t a dream, but its memory has a dreamlike quality and in it two of the most common themes of my dreams seem to come together.
Dream analysis is not my intention here. But there is something about getting up in the morning, remembering the dreams, and then soon after reading the newspaper headlines. Two planes of realities seem to meet. Themes of security, vulnerability, love, destruction, fear, resignation seem to play out again in the steam rising from the morning cuppa . . .
All graphic credits: Pawan Dhall (screen grabs of a home video made by the author’s father, late Prakash Chandra Dhall, with digital liquefy effect).