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Enigma of Dreams

"Dreams are the whispers of the soul, urging us to chase the extraordinary." - Unknown

We dream with our eyes shut during sleep. Within the realm of dreams, our mundane existence gives way to extraordinary tales. It is a place where gravity loses its grip and imagination soars, unhindered by the constraints of logic.

Why do we dream and what is meaning of dreams. No one knows for certain. As we close our eyes, a gateway opens to realms where anything becomes possible. In this mystical realm, we encounter characters and scenarios that defy the laws of nature, leading us to question our own perceptions and embrace the inexplicable.

The dream world has always been a big puzzle for mankind. Dreams are basically stories and images that our mind creates while we sleep. They can be vivid. They can make you feel happy, sad, or scared. They can also seem confusing or perfectly normal. Dreams can happen anytime during sleep. The landscapes of our dreams reveal not only our deepest desires but also the essence of who we are. Dreams act as mirrors, reflecting the intricacies of our personalities, illuminating our hopes, fears, and yearnings.

Fun Facts on Dreams

  • We may not remember dreaming, but everyone is thought to dream between 3 and 6 times per night

  • It is thought that each dream lasts between 5 to 20 minutes.

  • Around 95 percent of dreams are forgotten by the time a person gets out of bed.

  • Dreaming can help you learn and develop long-term memories.

  • Blind people dream more with other sensory components compared with sighted people.

Did You Know our most vivid dreams happen during a phase called the Rapid Eye Movement or the REM sleep.

During the mystical phase of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, when our brain is most active, the most vivid and extraordinary dreams come alive. It's like a special time when our mind becomes incredibly imaginative. With our eyes closed, our brain creates colourful and exciting adventures that seem so real. During REM sleep, the line between what's possible and what's not fades away, and our dreams become like beautiful paintings, full of emotions and unique stories. It's a magical time when our imagination comes alive, letting us experience extraordinary things that may only last for a short while.

Experts say that we dream four to six times in a night. The phase when we know we are dreaming is called Lucid dreaming. It occurs between REM sleep and being awake. They come with a boost of activity in parts of brain which are usually restful during sleep.

Lucid dreaming is an incredible experience within the world of dreams. It's when we become aware that we are dreaming and can control what happens. Imagine stepping into a realm where you have the power to shape your own reality. In a lucid dream, you are like the director of your own movie, where the boundaries of what is possible are lifted. You can explore fantastical landscapes, unleash your creativity, and discover hidden depths within yourself. It's a thrilling adventure where your imagination takes the lead, and you become the master of your own dream world.

Among dreams, most disturbing are nightmares. A nightmare happens because of stress, conflict and fear, trauma and emotional problems. It is a bad dream, common to children and adults. Nightmares, those unsettling dreams that visit us in the night have a deeper meaning within the realm of dreams. They bring forth our fears and anxieties, reminding us of the things we may not consciously acknowledge.

I do not think there is any treatment for them. Some nightmares haunt you throughout your life. They keep on reoccurring time and again.

I have had my share of nightmares. These have always held some deeper meaning for me. Read on to see if these resonate with you.

Nightmare 1: In an unfamiliar city, I am a stranger amidst a sea of unfamiliar faces. The atmosphere hangs heavy with an unsettling stillness. Suddenly, chaos erupts like a storm unleashed. The city becomes a battleground, consumed by riots. People turn against each other, and violence becomes the norm. Fearing for my life, I flee with desperation. Then, a glimmer of hope emerges as the army arrives to restore order. A soldier, armed and vigilant, confronts me, demanding proof of my identity. Paralyzed with fear, my voice fails me. I long to explain that I am a member of the press, not a threat. But my words desert me, leaving me frozen in silence. The soldier's patience wears thin, issuing an ultimatum: speak or face the consequences. My body betrays me, refusing to cooperate. As the soldier raises his weapon, panic overwhelms me. A gunshot shatters the air, piercing my chest. Pain sears through me, and I collapse to the ground, awakening abruptly, drenched in sweat, escaping the clutches of a vivid nightmare.

I wake up, and my throat is parched dry, my body paralysed. This is a nightmare which reoccurs occasionally. It relates to the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 which followed assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her own Sikh body guards. When the Anti-Sikh riots broke out, Delhi suffered the most. Army took over the city to restore law and order. A team of correspondents from All India Radio was covering the riots and I was part of it. One day, I was going back home from All India Radio in office transport along with my other colleagues. Our vehicle was stopped at Rajinder Nagar round about by a Sikh army jawan.

My colleagues requested me to go and show curfew pass to the jawan since I have army background. I got down from vehicle and walked towards jawan with curfew pass in my hand. He asked me to stop. I said I want to show you our curfew pass. He pointed his gun at my chest and said go back or I will shoot.

I raised my hands and slowly walked back to our vehicle. We went to the nearest police station where an army major escorted us to safety beyond round about. Army jawan was nowhere to be seen.

Nightmare 2: A recurring dream that continues to unsettle me revolves around the distressing scenario of missing my train. It begins with me arriving at a bustling railway platform, only to witness my train departing, leaving me behind with a heavy heart. The origins of this dream can be traced back to the year 1963 when I embarked on my journey as an emergency commissioned officer in the army. During my training at Officers Training School in Pune, I vividly recall a significant incident that sparked this recurring theme. While traveling from Delhi to Pune on a train, I alighted at Mumbai railway station to fill my water bottle. Unfortunately, in the time it took to refill my bottle, the train had departed, leaving me stranded. As a consequence, I arrived at my school late and faced the consequences of punishment. Even to this day, the haunting imagery of this dream lingers within me, stirring up old anxieties and regrets.

Nightmare 3: In my dreams, I often face my fear of water. I find myself crossing a big body of water, and suddenly, the water starts rising rapidly. I feel scared because I don't know how to swim. Just as I'm about to drown, I wake up with a start. This dream is connected to a visit I had to Kerala about thirty years ago, and it still gives me chills. I was at Poovar Island near Thiruvananthapuram, walking along the Arabian Sea with my wife. Out of nowhere, a huge wave knocked me down. My wife held onto my legs and cried for help. Thankfully, I was saved by some stroke of luck. I ended up soaked in water, and I lost both my camera and mobile in the process.

Though they may be scary, nightmares offer us an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. They push us to confront our inner demons and find strength in the face of adversity. In the midst of darkness, nightmares become a transformative journey that helps us overcome our fears and become stronger individuals. So, don't be afraid of nightmares, for they hold the potential to lead us towards self-discovery and resilience.

"In the realm of dreams, whether with eyes closed or wide open, lies the power to envision a future beyond what is visible. These dreamers, known as daydreamers, dare to set their sights on big aspirations and tirelessly pursue them. For it is said that dreaming big is the key to achieving greatness. When a dream captures your heart and refuses to let go, trust your instincts and embark on its pursuit. But remember, genuine dreams demand effort, patience, and a willingness to delve into the depths of your being.

Are you prepared to undertake such a journey? Dreams are not mere illusions experienced in slumber; they are the driving force that keeps us awake, propelling us towards our destined horizons. Just as a bird with clipped wings fails to reach its destination, a person without dreams remains grounded. So, embrace the power of dreams, spread your wings, and soar towards the extraordinary."

To end the story on lighter note, let us pay homage to greatest showman of Bollywood, Raj Kapoor who introduced dream sequences in his movies in the fifties more than seventy years ago. You remember, his classic movie, Awara, which was a super hit. The dream sequence shows journey of hero from hell to heaven with Nargis dancing to the tunes of song, ghar aya mera pardesi……. . Later on, dream sequences became part and parcel of cinema in all Indian languages.

Throughout recorded history, the content and function of dreams have been topics of scientific, philosophical and religious interest. Dreams interpreted by Babylonian’s and even earlier by Sumerians more than three thousand years ago, figure prominently in religious textbooks. They have also played a leading role in Psychotherapy. Even Egyptians in olden times believed that dreams are best way of receiving divine revelation. Dreams were believed to have functioned as revealers of truth during sleep from gods and other external entities.

In recent times, Edmund Freud known as interpreter of dreams, says dreams serve the purpose of prolonging sleep instead of waking up. He maintains that dreams are guardians of sleep and not its disturbers.

Dreams have always been a big puzzle for mankind. Some experts feel dreams have no meaning or purpose. Others believe we need them for our mental, emotional and physical health. Whatever the meaning and purpose of dreams, we always say Goodnight and sweet dreams.

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