Monday, July 26, 2010

Dreams, Parallel Universes and Alternate Realities - 2

Read “Dreams, Parallel Universes and Alternate Realities - 1” for a background on my 1st experience with a lucid dream.

I had just got back from a strenuous hike to Algonquin and Wright on the Adirondacks High peaks. These are definitely not the toughest of the High Peaks, but I still found them strenuous because the terrain of the trail was almost entirely rocky and in some stretches slippery as well. Slip, I did, plenty of times, but fortunately was always able to regain control before hurting myself.

In any case, I get back, watch a couple of movies including Shawshank Redemption, set the alarm on my phone for 7 a.m Sunday Morning, and drift off to sleep. The alarm goes off at 7 and as usual I switch it off and go back to sleep.

I am climbing a rocky face of a peak. It’s quite steep and I have to strain all the muscles in my body to pull myself up. There are two others with me. I can’t see their faces but just as in the previous dream, I don’t feel that they are strangers. I am trying to get to a building on top of the peak. I have this strange sense of impending danger and I seem to be on a mission to save someone who has been forcefully detained in the building. I don’t know who that someone is, but it must be someone I care for since I have this strong feeling of loss.

I am pulling myself up holding onto a protruding rock. One of my co-climbers is on the others side of the rock and I can see a waterfall beyond him. The second of my co-climbers is a little ahead of us and almost at the top of the peak. That’s when I slip. I hold onto the rock with just one hand, but I feel like my grip is loosening.

I suddenly find myself transported into the body of the climber who is almost at the top. I feel no sense of remorse for my friend who had just slipped. It was like the “new me” did not even know that two other climbers existed. (I would like to think of the three climbers to be the same person along different timelines in the same universe, each following a path based on the different decisions I could have made while climbing up the cliff. Just as I realized that my first timeline would result in my death, I had jumped into a different one. Of course, this may sound like a pile of bull but cut me some slack, this is after all, my dream and my journal).

In any case, I jump, hold onto a wooden fence, and pull myself onto the top of the peak and into the building. There I see my youngest cousin on my Mother’s side (Hari). I am not sure if it was him that I was trying to save, but I had no time to ponder about that. I had just seen the villain in the dream, someone I was feeling a great sense of revulsion to. (Strangely though, the “villain”, resembled the Malayalam movie star, Jayaram). I reach out and grab his throat. He doesn’t resist, but he mutters something I found very strange. “There is this old saying. A meow is always a meow, but an eliyah can be an eliyah or a puliyah.”

(What was that? Meow is easy to understand, but by eliyah and puliyah, if he meant eli(mouse in malayalam) and puli(tiger in malayalam), then where does the “-yah” come in? I must be becoming crazier by the day.)

I have this strange sense of deja vu as soon as I hear him say those words but I can’t recollect why. I suddenly feel something on my back and I find myself shirtless. I look over my shoulders I and see a rat clinging onto my back. It’s small claws were clamped onto my back and I was finding it difficult to pull it off. I start to panic. I call out “Hari, help me.”, only to find him transformed into a mouse. I was still gesturing towards it to fight off the “evil” rat on my back. Hari cringes and runs off to the corner of the room.

I somehow manage to pull the rat off my back. I am holding it in my hands as I ponder over what to do with it. (In the dream, I seem to go over three possibilities, one after the other.) First, I instinctively throw it away to a corner of the room and watch the rat scamper away. Then in an instance I am holding the rat again. This time I throw it over the cliff that I just climbed. It was still not done. This time, I walk to a corner of the room and throw the rat into the Falls. I think, “This time I have got rid of it permanently”, as I wake up.

Dreams, Parallel Universes and Alternate Realities - 1

It’s been almost a year since I last posted an article on this blog. Maybe I was too lazy to pen my thoughts or possibly I had no clue about what I should write on. In either case, I would like to think I kept myself busy over the last one year gaining new experiences so that one day something would strike that would rekindle the fire to write again.

Until it finally did after a small conversation with one of my room mates about dreams (actually part of a very long conversation about our mind and the universe) and my subsequent exposure to Inception, Donnie Darko, Being John Malkovich and Identity in one stretch. Maybe watching and later thinking about these movies have driven me crazy but on the plus side of things I finally get to write again. For the first time ever, over the last few days, I have started lucid dreaming.

And today it happened for the second time, and in both cases I was in the first stage of Dream Induced Lucid Dreaming, where I have no control over what is happening but still conscious that I am dreaming. That was when I started reading more about it and thought about making a dream journal. And so with that aim in mind, this post is the first part in a series of entries.

I am in a shower. The bathroom resembles the one in my current house in Troy. I remember that I have to hurry. I have a class at 8 in the morning. But wait, there are three others in the shower. I can’t see their faces but I don’t feel that they are strangers. I can see them,yes, but none of them seem to realize the existence of the others. All of them seem to be in their own unique universe.

I start thinking, did I suddenly get the power to view parallel universes? Or, are they characters from within my own subconscious, are they my own alternate identities? I had just watched Identity the previous night. Am I in some kind of medical treatment where my own identities are pitted against each other? I keep hoping it is the first of those options as I close my eyes in the shower.

I open them to find myself walking on a corridor towards a room. The corridor and the location of the room reminded me of my 5th Standard classroom in Indian School, Dar-es-Salaam. I open the door and I walk in. I see two people in the room. Their faces remind me of Abhijith and Sebastian (two people I knew in CVK and NITC respectively). They are already in the ISD uniform. I look at my watch. It is already a little past 8. They were waiting for me. I pack my bags and walk out again.

I find myself inside a cafe, which seems to a blend of two cafes in the RPI campus. I ask the lady at the counter for a coffee. I bend forward a little bit to take a look at all the goodies inside the shelf. I see a bagel and point at it while asking the lady to pack that too. She comes forward, opens a “door” to the shelf and mutters, “Do you really want me to do this?”, as she walks into a deep freeze that seems to have magically appeared in place of the shelf. I was a little disoriented by now and close my eyes again.

As I open my eyes, I am back in the room with Abhijith and Sebastian. They were still waiting for me but neither said a word. I take a look at my watch. It is 8.45 a.m. I think, we could, well, manage to slip into the classroom during the 9 a.m break in between the two hour class, and we walk out. We were walking through the ISD grounds when I suddenly start searching the pockets of my jeans. (Why am I not in uniform? I have no clue. I was wearing the blue jeans that I wear to lab and class in RPI almost every single day).

Wallet - check, keys - check , handkerchief - check, phone --- I feel a sudden sense of panic. I had left it on the table in the room. Wanting to confirm, I ask my friends to place a call to my cellphone. One of them does and replies that someone actually answered the call.

I turn back and run towards the room. I see a few younger ISD students in uniform running out of that room. Two of them I saw had cellphones in their hands. I look closely and see that one of them, a scrawny lad with a turban, had a phone that had a greenish fluorescent base. I run towards him. I call out the name Harjinder (To be honest, I have no idea why. The only Harjinder I know is a post doc in RPI. Though I did know one Harbinder in ISD, the boy I was chasing didn’t look like him). He doesn’t stop but I manage to catch up with him, land a nice solid punch on his face, take the phone from his hands and walk back.

Almost instantly I am confronted by a lad with thick black glasses. I have never seen that face before. But he wanted to take me to the Principal’s office. I heard him muttering words like fair and trial. As soon as I heard the word fair, I started mocking him and laughing hysterically till we found ourselves inside the staff-room. (It resembled the one in ISD but the Principal sitting in the desk in front looked like my school Principal from CVK). She starts talking, “Based on your history...”. I interrupt, with a weird smile on my face and a strange satisfaction inside me. “I am a Science Student. I don’t take History as a Course”. Then she says again with a serious, angry and disappointed look, “Based on the history of your grades, you rank in the bottom eight of the class”. I started laughing again. “ That’s not possible. I am surely in a dream”. Those were my last words as I continued laughing, thinking that since I am in a dream, I could do anything I wanted and get away with it.

I find myself on the corridor outside the staff-room. In front of me I can see the Principal and the spectacled boy discussing something. I continue laughing, mocking the two of them. I hear a rumble of footsteps from behind. I turn back to see students running out of classrooms into the corridor. I lose balance and fall as I finally wake up.

It’s a Friday morning in July. I am disoriented, yes, who wouldn’t be after jumping in and out of characters and locations spanning 15 years of his life, but I am also strangely happy. Maybe, the after effect of laughing for so long.

I had set the alarm on my phone for 6.30 a.m as always, and as usual I had gone back to sleep after switching it off. It’s summer break now and all I have to do is research. So I tend to sleep till 10 in the morning before getting up and going to the lab. Of late I had started cursing myself for wasting my time sleeping, but as I later read more about lucid dreaming, I realized it wouldn’t be too bad at all as long as I got something to write about. Studies strongly suggest that a nap a few hours after waking in the morning is the most common time to have a lucid dream. If that’s true, then I have 5 more weeks to experiment with dreams.