New Age Nightmare

Last night I dreamt. I don’t dream too often these days. It’s probably the quality of sleep that decides whether you dream or you don’t. For some reason, I haven’t been sleeping too well of late and thus the number of dreams I’ve had have dwindled in the past few months.

I have had some really strange dreams or rather nightmares since childhood. One reoccurring dream I would get as a child and through my younger years was that of getting stranded on an unknown railway station while traveling with my family for the annual summer holidays at my grandparent’s place in the south of India. My family would find me on their way back from the vacation at the same station, begging with other street urchins in a disheveled state! I guess this dream has something to do with a real-life incident from my childhood when my dad had lost me absent-mindedly on a railway platform when he met an old friend and left me to wander by myself out of pure ignorance. It was only when a kind ticket-collector lifted a bawling me in his arms and went around asking people around him if I was their child that my dad spotted me!

Yet another dream that appears every time I travel by train at nights is of the train crashing down with the bridge that gives away into a deep river in the dark night. This one’s actually like a dramatic scene from some movie. Thanks to this, I still have problems sleeping on a night train.

The eeriest dream I have had so far was about a particular friend who was undergoing some marital problems a few years ago. I would hear this friend’s voice echoing in my dream calling out for help from the drainage filter of my washroom. I wouldn’t see her but I’d hear her troubled voice distinctly pleading for help.  Spooky, no?

So when I got this dream last night it was kind of eventful after a long spell of dreamlessness. Thankfully this wasn’t an unpleasant dream. I don’t know how I managed it but I was stranded on an exotic island this time around with miles and miles of blue waters and white sands surrounding me. Surprisingly I was in my beach clothes, a sheer colorful sarong wrapped around me. I could only see my svelte back (obviously, I always appear slimmer in my dreams) against the horizon, which resembled a shot from a Kingfisher calendar. For the first of half of the dream, I was in a state of nirvana. The breeze caressed my hair. My toes buried in the warm comfort of the soft sand. I’d found a coconut from somewhere that I was sipping on. The waves unfurled lazily in front of me leaving interesting patterns in the wet sand. I watched the seagulls fluttering somewhere far away as fluffy white clouds drifted in slow motion. This was one of the ideal rare moments when you are left to yourself to daydream idly with not a care in a world. Life was beautiful.

But wait a minute. Was I alone on that frickin forsaken island? Can you guess why I had got that thought? Not for the fear of being stranded. I actually realized that I did not have something very important with me – my cell phone. Not that I wanted it to call for help. I was actually quite happy by myself on that island and had no intentions of getting rescued anytime soon. But it suddenly occurred to me that there must have been so many unseen notifications on my social media accounts. The world must have been sending me digitally created gaudy flowers and butterflies to wish me Good Morning, Happy *whatever-the-festival-was*, done to death funny jokes, videos and valuable insights on life that I could flood other people’s phones with. And hell, what was I doing in such a scenic place without a camera?! Was I not supposed to click a few awesome pictures and share with the world to show them where I am! What a waste. Heck, where was my phone? I tossed around restlessly in my sleep. And suddenly I was back on my bed, rubbing my sleepy eyes, groggy and disoriented looking for my phone which I found lying loyally by my side, not letting me down with the endless beeps of notifications. Someone in some part of the world was dumping forwarding his or her share of digital thrash gems into my phone and psyche. The dream was broken and so were the quiet languid moments of reflection at the beach. The next morning I wondered if it was a pleasant dream or a nightmare.

What would you reckon? Was it really a pleasant dream? Or was it a new age nightmare? I felt it was ironical that I could not enjoy my own company is such pristine surroundings even for a few minutes. This constant need to be connected and to share every micro-minute of my life with other people was so overpowering. C’mon now, I am not the only one who feels like this these days, right? I have seen how restless and fidgety people become, irrespective of their age, background or gender when they don’t find their phone with them, or when the battery juice is draining and they can’t get to charge it or worst still when they have it and don’t find the WiFi signal! Have we as an evolved species lost the ability to enjoy our own company and unwind in the bliss of solitude? I wonder if we will ever go back to the times when we enjoyed that precious quality time we had kept aside only for ourselves to nourish our souls. Maybe not.

Okay, I’ve got to go now. My phone is beeping again!