Friday, October 31, 2008

Weird Chronicles - IV/ My Bestselling Dream Diary

It is said that dreams are manifestations of our subconscious aspirations, desires and experiences. If that is true, my subconscious is alarmingly flamboyant and completely certifiable. On Wednesday morning, I woke up breathless from a nightmare that I was being forced to marry Annu Kapoor against my wishes (no offense to said Annu Kapoor, of course). I managed to avert the catastrophe by getting into a taxi to run away from home, only to discover that my co-passenger was my 76 year old ex-landlady who was rushing to a concert to obtain Falguni Pathak's autograph. This was actually the most realistic part of the dream.

I'd thought that the dreams to come for the next few days would have a hard time living up to this gothic scare-fest. But then, my mind loves a challenge. So when I snoozed away on Wednesday night, I was blissfully unaware of the explosive blockbuster about to unfold within my head.

In the dream, I was living in Paris, except it looked just like Shillong. Ironically, my dream self was swaddled in lovely woollens while my corporeal self sweated in out in Mumbai's humid heat. I was at work one day when she called. She is a classmate from school whom I haven't seen or heard from in donkey's years. Neither were we ever exceptionally close in school. Let's call her Lizol, since it has some phonetic similarity to her real name.

Anyway, Lizol called me and begged me to meet her for a cup of coffee. She pleaded that she really needed my help with something personal, and if I refused she would have no one else left to go to. I was more than a little puzzled, but I agreed because coffee sounded harmless enough. We met in a quaint little bistro which was furnished with charming umbrellas and smelled like cake (yes, my nose dreams too). After a little chitchat, Lizol got to the heart of the matter.

L - "I wanted to see you because I'm facing a really serious problem."
Me - "Yes I kinda figured."
L (choking up a little) - "You see, I've been married for six years and I think that my husband has recently started seeing someone else."
Me - "....."
L - "I contacted you because I want you to follow him around for a couple of days and get me proof of his affair."
Me (choking a lot) - "But why me? And why d'you think he's having an affair?"
L - "Well, coming back late at night smelling of strange perfume and ALWAYS snapping at your wife are pretty telltale signs, no? And I want you to deal with it coz you'll be more careful than a professional detective. Personal touch and all."
Me (with grit and resolve) - "No."
L - "I'll pay you potloads of money."
Me - "Okay."

So the next day, I went on my mission, equipped with a thermos full of tea and a magazine. I followed the errant husband to work in my grey Santro (?!) and waited outside the whole day. In the evening, I followed him as he bought a bunch of roses and drove all across Paris-Shillong to the distant suburbs. He stopped outside a music school and a woman wearing a tutu and carrying a violin case got into the car. They drove on and on, before entering a large estate full of teeny tiny cottages and a small cafe. They then went into the cafe, as did I. I sat at the table next to them while they coochie-cooed their way to oblivion. The woman asked Lizol's husband as to how he came to know about the cottages. He told her that a friend of his had frequented the place for his own indiscretions and was, in fact, coming to meet them and give them the key to his cottage. He suddenly pointed to the door and said, "There he is!"

I turned around and, wonder of wonders, it was Ajay Devgan! Not Ajay Devgan as he looks now. Here was the Ajay Devgan of the longish hair and the seedy action movies. He came and joined the runaway couple and told them about how he had used the cottage zillions of times without the media being any wiser. Then L's husband asked him who he had come here with. He replied,"Sonali Bendre, of course."

Ignoring the fact that my eyes were almost falling out of their sockets by now, I followed L's husband and his paramour discreetly and took lots of pictures of them going inside the cottage. I was waiting outside the cottage when I saw another car come into the estate. The strange thing was that the car was being driven by a very giggly Lizol, accompanied by three guys from my erstwhile Class VIII Maths tuition class!

By this time, I was confused and irritated in no small measure. I took pictures of Lizol with her gang and left in a huff. I called her and asked her to meet me the next day. When we met, I accosted her at her own adultery and asked why she was then so indignant about her husband's affair. She replied, of course, that she wasn't having a secret affair for fun but to teach her husband a lesson. How that would happen if she kept her affair a secret is anyone's guess. I asked her how she found out about the cottages. She replied, "From my good friend, Sonali Bendre."

The highlight of the dream was my long lecture to Lizol about how Ajay Devgan and Sonali Bendre were ruining lives left, right and centre by their libertine handling of their cottage keys. I shall not reproduce the lecture here. Anyway, I concluded by demanding that she pay me my due and apologize for wasting my time. At this she laughed, a shrill, pealing laugh, and deposited a cottage key in my hand before leaving. I turned over the key in my hand and saw engraved upon it the name of the cottage.

Unfaithful.

Disclaimer: - This post does not attempt to slander Ajay Devgan, Sonali Bendre, Lizol or her husband(s). It just makes me wonder how many things are going on in my head that I have absolutely no inkling of.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Sky Is Blue

Yes, that about sums up my experience these last few days. I had my little sister Pinkerton and her friend A over to Mumbai for about ten days, and then I went back to Shillong for about five days for my cousin's wedding. Family matters were high on the priority list, but mostly I was just soaking up the pleasure of having familiar faces around me. One thought kept nagging me the entire time - am I on the wrong track? Sure, living on one's own and earning a living sounds like the right thing to do, but what do I have at the end of the day? When was the last time that I lived in a house that was truly home? It's humbling to see that inspite of all the years away and all the monumental changes that have taken place over the years, at home I'll still be given a cup of tea and breakfast before I'm done brushing my teeth and my clothes will wash themselves before I even realize it. The endurance of these bonds, of family, community and familiarity seems more powerful when you see it after ages of living on your own.

What is it about home and nomads? It is a certain kind of wistful magic that weaves itself into my being every time I go back. I want to stay back forever, even though I know it's impossible, or maybe because of this knowledge. I keep telling myself the usual things about how I'll never get a well-paying job or be able to buy a house, about how I'll soon be climbing the walls with boredom. But then the mean, contrary part of my brain starts telling me to think about how the weather is always glorious at home, how I'll get to eat all the exotic things that aren't available anywhere else, about how transport is ridiculously cheap and comfortable etc. Then I have to make the mistake of looking at the sky which is gloriously, unbelievably blue, at the clothes flapping on the clothesline, at the small roads winding down the hills and the houses with their homey tin roofs, and I'm lost. It seems a fitting punishment for me to be a homesick nomad, the punishment for my biggest weakness - dissatisfaction.

The worst thing about these trips is the sick feeling I get in my tummy when I'm about to leave. It makes me wonder whether I'll ever see these things again. Why must people be human? There's a reason why cows are generally less stressed out. My plan is to become more bovine with everyday, with eyes that are glazed with contentment and a brain fossilizing so quickly that it has no room for thought. That's my mantra from now on - happiness lies in the ability to be a cow.