The Dream

I looked down. The rough ground stretched from beneath me up to the thin dusty line miles away, a sharp horizontal slice across the landscape in front of my eyes, holding the ground and the sky at bay, away from each other. The desert floor was dry and dead, coarse with rocks littering its lunar surface. It knew no mercy, no forgiving, no soothing drop of cool water from the gloomy skies above, and it had come to accept it thus, and lay rough and lifeless, its interplay of red and hot sand a reminder of anything but life.

I stood on a high perch, looking down at the expanse. It was an immeasurably tall pedestal, an impossible column of the firm desert rock sweeping suddenly out of the level ground and rising high, pointing its audacious finger at the unfriendly cloudy sky. This roughly round structure had a strangely flat, levelled top, and I stood up there, near the sky itself. I felt the high breeze and looking down at the lifeless, bare ground lying all around at my feet, containing nothing of importance but this pedestal of rock, while the colourless dusky sky swirled imperceptibly above me. It was a picture of stark contrast, that single high column of the desert ground rising above the rest, as if the purpose of the entire desert was to uphold this one structure, which was formed of the desert itself, yet which, in its towering boldness and loneliness, threw the desert into insignificance.

I was waiting for someone, or something. It was a vague feeling, but it had expectation in it somewhere. Whatever I was waiting for was being delayed, I felt as I gazed at the sky.

I turned. There was a cave-like formation right in the middle of the pedestal’s level top, slightly taller than my head. It grew out of the same desert rock that formed the rest of this world and had holes very roughly hewn into it, forming one, maybe two windows, and a door.

I went and stood at the entrance to the cave. It was dark inside, deprived of the gloomy glow the sky threw over the landscape, and at the windows, roughly cut pieces of the sky seemed to be hanging on its dark walls, a picture of what lay outside this closed hole. Then I looked down at the rock floor, and wished I hadn’t.

There was a hole dug into the floor, almost as big as the inside of the cave itself. The hole was very deep. And there were steps carved out from the rock inside the hole that descended down it. As the steps went lower, darkness engulfed them, and only a few were visible from where I stood. But I knew, for a split second as I looked down, I knew inexplicably, inexorably where the steps went, how much further the hole stretched through the spine of this proud structure. They went forever, never-ending, descending relentlessly through the darkness, through the emptiness, exploring more and more vacuum as they went, and away to an expanse that was held captive by no boundaries, and farther and farther the hole went, farther than all imagination, farther than the tiny universe; the descent was unstopped, it ended nowhere, not even where imagination fails. And it all was hidden inside my precious solitary finger of rock in my familiar, bare desert that was bereft of all but my pedestal. I had never known.


<I had this dream a long time ago, and I hope I interpreted it rightly. This is not an absolutely accurate reproduction of it. It is only a modified assortment of the images that survived the ravage of the time that has passed since then. How you interpret it, is up to you.>



A slightly weird thing happened yesterday. There’s a place I go for my Math tuitions, to a Formula 1 race-car who happens to look like a human being. His lessons whiz by above your head, or, if you are good, slightly lower. Nevertheless, you’ll never know what hit you when he’s done.

It was evening. I reached at around half-past five, an hour early like I usually do, for a very uninteresting reason, and as I sat outside on a bench on the lawn inside the complex, solving some problems, I noticed a few little kids, nine to eleven years of age, playing around. There were three girls who’d climbed a low wall and were waving sticks as long as themselves at the boughs of a tree in the hope of procuring a fuzzy yellow flower. They had discovered that the sticks were short, had asked an aged person to pick the flower for them, who couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t, and wouldn’t go so far as to reveal whether he really could or not.

If you’ve figured out the last sentence, let’s continue. The girls put on a very businesslike manner and set off searching for some ropes to tie two sticks together. Good, good, I smiled to myself. I always loved these little projects I kept on doing all the time when I was younger. A brilliant idea, a spur of enthusiasm, then all lost in the stream of something else I found more engaging.

There were two boys about the same age as the girls, who had got themselves sticks too, and presumably they were beating them against the trunk of the tree, for I heard one of the girls tell them in a very bossy way that it hurts the tree and so if he could please stop it. I support her, of course, but at that moment her reprimand sounded really amusing to me.

One of the boys was thinner than the other, and the fatter one had huge round glasses. The thinner boy started mocking the girl in a very funny way. It was really funny, blimey.

Then their activities subsided a little and I resumed my work.

Some time later I found the fatter boy standing by the side of the bench on which I was perched. I looked up. He was looking down at what I was doing. His face was smooth, his glasses surrounding his eyes from all sides, like a pair of goggles. There was a slight blue tinge to them. I asked him where he lived. He didn’t reply. I asked him if he lived here. No reply. I asked him which flat he lived in. He pointed vaguely at a direction over my shoulder. I remembered that the first and most necessary question is usually to ask the most unnecessary question of all, the name, and I asked him that. He said Shushant, not in a Bengali accent. He didn’t seem particularly focused at me, and was gazing at the copies on the bench. I asked him which school he studied in. he said Kendriya Vidyalaya, in a definite non-Bengali accent. I asked him if it was a good school. A nod. I asked him if he had friends. He shook his head. Taken aback, I asked again, ‘You don’t have any friends in school?’ He shook his head again. Then very suddenly, he gave a jump, said ‘Goodbye’ simultaneously, and walked away.

I said ‘Ta ta.’


That was weird, wasn’t it?