It had been long since Lok had dreamt for the last time. Though the dreams were fairly common during his childhood, they had become increasingly elusive for the past few years. First they became less frequent; second, they occurred early in the night so that he could not remember them in the morning. Most important of all, he had no time in the morning to recollect what he had seen in the dreams. By the time he woke up, it was already late to go to the work and there were many other things about which he was forced to think.
This is how dreaming again had been the dream itself of Lok in his professional life and in the rare leisure time, he began to recollect the dreams that he saw in his childhood. Though occasionally scary and frightening, dreams often formed a reasonable source of contentment, though quite temporary. To name few, dreams in which he flew in the starkly blue sky often with instruments other than proper aero planes of real life, gave him the sense of inexplicable joy even though for a moment. The dreams he enjoyed the most were the ones in which he traveled past the flooded river or stream often by swimming. Even after the frightening dreams like ones in which he found himself standing in the islets at the centre of a huge river, the sense of relief was enormous and refreshing after he discovered the fact that the predicament was limited to the dream and immaterial to his real life.
This is how the dreams had been playing an important part of his life throughout his childhood. The trend had continued more or less in his student life. But all that ended once his professional life with overwork and monotony started.
To his surprise, he had a dream one day after an unusually hectic day of work. That was again in the early part of the night and he found it very difficult to reorganize the pieces of memory to make a continuous and meaningful dream in the morning. This much he was sure: the dream was pleasant, almost as pleasant as the most pleasant dream from his childhood. In that childhood dream, he was walking in a huge field with ripe paddy that had given the yellow hue to the whole environment. With the warm sun of winter in the southern-west part of the sky also instilling the yellowish rays on the earth, the scene was nothing short of the ideal place to live, often epitomized by the unclear concept of heaven by the people. Most important of all, he was holding the hand of the kindest person in the world, his mother, and they were effortlessly walking along a small trail traversing across the paddy field that seemed to stretch to the horizon.
One thing, having born in remote mountainous village, he had never seen a plain that big with that much of paddy. All the trails he walked along had ups and downs and it was difficult to imagine a long stretch of trail without them. Also in the real life, there was always pressure to walk; that they had to walk this much before they reach this destination in the evening so that they can reside in the night at some other village if not at home. Some load was bound to be there on the back of both the child and the mother during every journey in the real life and that was sure to cause some tiredness and exhaustion that prevented the pleasure of walking in the warm sun in the winter from being felt.
Even though he forgot most of his childhood dreams, Lok remembered this one as vividly now as the morning after the dream and this represented a utopia in pure sense. For no known reason, he felt that day that the dream he partially remembered now was something akin to that dream of ‘ideal walk’. The only difference was that he could remember much smaller part of the dream now and he was now struggling to arrange the pieces of reflection together to reconstruct the whole thing. First thing he did in the attempt was skipping the bathing part of the daily ritual while pondering over the dream squatting over the toilet pan because it was already late for the office. He was sure he won’t get any leisure time in the day to think about the issue that had no relevance to anyone other than himself. Indeed, his days now had been more about gratifying the others for a small return rather than doing some creative and refreshing thing for himself.
As his mind and body kept struggling in the office in their attempt to satisfy the omnipotent ‘higher’ with ritualistic works at the expense of his creative potential, the bizarre but fascinating scenes from the dream kept crossing his mind. He was there in a lush green pasture spreading to the horizons, waiting for someone. That had been a long wait and culmination of repeated failures. This time that person was sure to come, he was not sure if it was his mere intuition or otherwise, but he was quite optimistic. In contrast to his childhood dream, the weather was changing fast this time, faster than he could follow or comprehend. He was just waiting as the clouds suddenly gathered in the sky and he anticipated some bad thundering. Most significant and pleasant of all, he was decades younger in the dream, most likely unmarried.
That is when the trouble started: he could not memorize what followed then, effectively bringing the dream to the premature end. But he was sure he continued to have the dream for longer; again may be intuitively, though he was not sure. The basis for the assumption was that he had not woken immediately after the dream and some more scenes could be dimly recollected in the morning but had vanished after the morning dose of daily struggles. After each working bout, he tried to recollect the scenes and events but he became increasingly aware that the leftover memories were gradually receding from his mind.
This was when he was caught in the office by the boss who later made a lot of fuss about this 'day-dreaming' fellow with sub-normal dedication to job. He was found to have written this much in his notebook:
Writing after about a decade, i have a sense of terrible loss. When I was a child, I was a better human being free to choose what to do and what not to. May be for that reason, I had many good dreams then, but now, even the dreams have left me let alone any other creative work. Yesterday I had a nice dream and now I am chasing it. Hope I will discover it soon.