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Dreams come in all sorts of flavors, happy, soppy, sad, angry, terrifying, intriguing, humorous, the works. I don’t remember having any funny dreams myself. Unless you count the times when people have tittered hearing some of my weirder, and to me, horrifying dreams.That’s how it is, folks. One individual’s scary dreams (or should I say ‘nightmares’?) are another’s source of amusement.

And one day, just like that, I got my chance. I found myself on the other side, the outside of someone else’s dream with a ringside view to boot, and vastly amused.

It must have been 3-4 months into my marriage when a sudden noise or movement woke me up in the middle of the night. My eyes flew open to find the L&M half sitting up in bed, glancing around the room as if taking stock of surroundings. It was a small room, nothing much to look at other than a steel almirah in one corner, a cot and mattress and us on it. So what was he searching for, I wondered?

Maybe because he felt my eyes on him (or because he hadn’t found what he was looking for), he swiveled and settled his eyes on me, a quizzical look on his face.

I am familiar with people getting up during sleep and talking. Umm… I myself have been one of them in a distant past. There’s the time as a teenager in the college hostel when I woke up from deep sleep  and insisted that my roommates (who were still engaged in studying) go and get Sujata from Room No. 68.

The roommates looked at me baffled.

Yup, you guessed it. There was no Sujata in Room No. 68 though the room itself existed and had inhabitants none of whom answered to the name Sujata. It led to some confusion, what with me having my eyes wide open and the roommates not immediately catching on to the fact that I was still deep in slumber. Which Sujata? What is she talking about? What? Where? Why? Their questions succeeded in waking me up for real to the realization that my brain had played a neat trick on me. Anyways, I smiled sheepishly and promptly went back to sleep.

With experience under my metaphorical belt, I waited for the L&M to speak and shed some light on his actions. Besides, who knew what nugget of information he’d let fall or whom he might want me to call on the lines of my own adventure back in 1974? The L&M did not disappoint me. His quizzical look had now turned to one of confusion and alarm.

“Where are the others?” he asked me in earnest.

What if it was the middle of the night and I had woken up from sleep to find the husband acting weird and asking weirder questions? My sense of humor was up and about, raring to go, a cheeky retort quivering perilously at the tip of my tongue, all set to gleefully slip out and pave the way for the laughter bubbling inside me to follow suit. But… I wisely surmised that this was no time for letting my SoH have its way. Gentle understanding was the need of the hour. Hence, I patted his hand, gently, and pushed him, also gently, back onto his pillow. Awareness flickered briefly in his eyes and he gave a lopsided smile before falling asleep almost immediately.

Of course, I did not leave well enough alone. The next morning I brought up this matter of the ‘others’ he had been looking for in the middle of the night in our tiny room. The L&M grinned sheepishly and told me about the dream he had had the previous night.

It seems he and his buddies (AND me too) had parachuted down from a helicopter. On landing on terra firma (in his dream), probably the time he had sat up in bed, he looked around for his buddies who should have been dropping one by one all around him. He looked and looked, but could find not one of them. Concerned, and puzzled at this no-show he had turned to the only other person who seemed to have landed safely, me, to ask what had happened to the ‘others’. Ahh, that explained.

This was not the last of the ringside views I had to the L&M’s dreams. There was the time I found him sitting up in bed. What’s the matter, I asked him, thinking he was unwell. He quickly shushed me with an imperious wave of his hand. I am waiting for the Commander’s orders, he said, glaring at me for daring to interrupt his official work. Ahh, I said, quickly suppressing the giggle that threatened to escape me, and once again gently pushed him back onto his pillow and the oblivion of sleep.

Then there was the time he returned home after a grueling 70-kilometer walk. I had left him to take rest and got involved in making lunch. Alerted by noises, I walked into the bedroom to find him by the unused fireplace. ‘Looking for something?’ I asked. He turned to me and gave the sweetest of smiles. ‘I am measuring the fireplace‘ (or wall, I don’t remember which), he said. Ahh, I nodded in understanding. ‘But you can do that later, now you sleep.‘ He allowed me to lead him back to the bed and was asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow

Sigh. All those amusing days are behind me now. The L&M no longer talks in his sleep, except start at the slightest of sounds, like a book being closed. But I am rather hoping one of these days it happens again (mean of me, eh?) and I have more stories to tell. And in case you were wondering, no, I don’t talk in my sleep anymore either, only make fearful noises (according to the L&M) as if being chased by demons. Perhaps I am, who knows? So much for stodgy old age. 😉

©Shail Mohan 2016

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