Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Of dreams

Dreams by their very nature are surreal, usually but not always garbled, but still very real. I read somewhere that if you dream you are running away (from something chasing you, perhaps), and you wake up, your heart will be beating just as fast as if you were actually, physically, running. Mine usually is, at any rate. That's how real dreams are. A good way to have a heart attack, methinks.

Anyway, of late I've been having serial dreams - yep, exactly like those "to be continued..." that you find in stories in magazines. My sub-conscious takes up a dream more or less at the same point that it had left off the previous night. Sometimes it can even be a gap of a few nights. The not-so-subconscious, not-so-asleep part of my mind (yes, I believe I have one even if it goes wandering sometimes) thinks: "hey, that's weird, it's a continuation dream". And dreams being what they are, time, place, people and events get thoroughly mixed up. Sometimes I remember them, sometimes I just remember that they were mixed up, but not exactly what occurred.

Some dreams, of course, I'm happy to wake up from. For the longest time, after I moved to the UK, I would dream that I was back at The New Paper in Singapore, reporting for work at 3am, feeling as miserable as could be. It was so real, every single time, and each time I woke up with a jerk, it would take me a few minutes to reassure myself that I was safe in Shrewsbury, lying next to Pete, and I would never have to return to Singapore. On particularly bad nights, the moment I fell asleep, my dream would take up where it had left off and I'd go through the entire process yet again. Believe me, it was exhausting!

I seem to have grown out of those SPH (Singapore Press Holdings) dreams now, with any luck, but the serialisation thing is still going strong.

One of my most vivid dream memories is of coming home one day from school? college? work? and finding my dad at home, just as if he had not died way back in 1988. I even remember asking "where were you all this time?" (although I never did get a satisfactory reply to that) and then my dream went on. And all through, I knew it was just a dream and that if I woke up, my dad wouldnt be there... so I tried really hard to continue the dream and not wake up. It sounds crazy but everything is possible when you're asleep!

One of the most frightening short stories I've ever read was about a man admitted to a psychiatric hospital because he was so terrified of his dreams. The psychiatrist couldnt understand why he was so desperate not to fall asleep, unable to believe his claims that the dreams were real. According to the patient, he had the same dream every time he fell asleep - that he was injured and marooned on a beach, back in the Dark Ages, and he could see in the distance a group of horsemen galloping towards him. Each time he went back to that dream, the horsemen were closer. The man was mortally afraid of the horsemen because he was certain they would kill him. There was nothing he could do to save himself, bar trying to stay awake and thus avoid the dream.

But the psychiatrist kept giving him sleeping pills each night, forcing him into the dream, ignoring his frantic descriptions every morning of how close the horsemen were getting, how he could hear their blood-curdling yells, see their swords flashing in the sun. The psychiatrist kept records of all he said, but wouldnt - couldnt - believe him. Until the morning when he entered his patient's room and found the man had disappeared, leaving behind no trace but a bed soaked in blood...

Scary or what?

11 comments:

Kiwilakhs said...

Way to go!
Nice brinjally colour, even matches with yr cardi, if I may say so....

Shyam said...

You may say so :) I thought so too!

Anonymous said...

the word beaming was made for your photo. what have you done to the blog? looks different

mr218

Shyam said...

Mr218: Moved to the new blogger and changed the template :)

Anonymous said...

the colour combinations look great as does your photo. I was thinking about your blog entry all morning and my own dream patterns.

you should see the movie yume (dreams) by kurosawa. rather than rely on a conventional movie narrative, the emphasis is on the images and it is very striking.

i also liked 'what dreams may come' with robin williams. it is a bit cheesy, but the imagery is stunning.

i have dreams which later bring about a feeling of deja vu. i have mundane conversations with people in my dreams. Many weeks later, when i am talking to them , i get a feeling of deja vu and a feeling that i have already gone through this conversation in my dreams.

do you know you are dreaming dreams when you dream them. i feel i sometimes can. especially when i it is closer to the time i wake up.

Anonymous said...

the above comments were from me
mr218

shyam said...

Mr218: Oh absolutely! Some part of me is usually aware that I'm dreaming, and yes, it's usually close to the time I wake up. Thanks for the movie recos - I'm always looking for movies to put on my Amazon DVD-by-post list :)

Anonymous said...

the subject of sleeping and dreams refuses to leave me. wanted to recommend that you watch 'sleep clinic' on monday , bbc1. i was listening to a radio interview with the main doctor and he fielded questions about sleep and dreams. some very interesting concepts.

mr218

Kiwilax said...

Yr 3 tag all done (phew, finally, gave up an hour of my precious sleep to do that). Have a read.
And ur profile isn't true - I don't recall having ever called you 'strange'. he he

shyam said...

Kiwilax: I did say only SOME people call me strange! :) Thanks for doing the tag - consider it an hour well spent!

janani said...

hey shyam, I stumbled into your blog. Must say your posts are very interesting!!! I thought I was the only crazy one who has dreams that are 'to be continued..' types. So it comes as a relief to hear that there is someone else who has the same experiences!! :). It is indeed strange and scary, sometimes. The sub-conscious mind has its own way of functioning, I assume