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A couple of days back I had a dream. Not that that is news because I am always having the weirdest of dreams (some of which have been written about here) which though, I promptly forget by the time I have brushed my teeth. But some of them survive the brushing which is why as soon as I set my eyes on the L&M sitting at the dining table with the newspapers of the day spread out before him, I said, “Listen!” Before memory could fade, I quickly narrated the details of the dream. He laughed as is his standard procedure on hearing me. Can’t blame him though because that’s the kind of stuff my dreams are made of.

In this dream of mine, the time frame was pretty confusing. My sons are much younger, twelve and six years old. But we seem to be living in the present house. The younger son, back from his game of cricket is leaning against the cot, bat in hand plus that impatient I-am-so-hungry-hurry-up-with-the-food look of his. I get up to make him something when the elder son asks for something he needs, and so we go to look for it in the cupboard. But…. what do I find when I open its doors? In an open shoe-box on top of the folded clothes is a tiny newborn babe swaddled in a blanket, burrito style.

I am Shocked, Stunned, Horrified, Scared, Dismayed, Upset, Distressed, Shaken, Appalled (please feel free to use the thesaurus to add more on similar lines). I have forgotten – FORGOTTEN!!!!! – all about the existence of the baby for TWO WHOLE DAYS (after putting it in the cupboard!!!!). Omg, omg, OMG! How could I have done that? In my dream I am shivering. Is it alive at all?! Did it get enough oxygen to survive? Had it starved to death? I am frightened to death. Suddenly I notice movement, the baby is licking its lips. I dive in to gather it into my arms to try and nurse. As low as I am feeling for what happened, I let out the breath I have been holding because I’ll now not be arrested and jailed for murder/manslaughter of my own baby.

Right then the L&M, a much younger version of him, and Luci walk in together to the room. Dreams are indeed strange affairs. They mix and match according to their own rules. So it throws in a seven year old Luci from the future to join our younger selves of yore. As soon as she sees me, Luci runs over, tail wagging and plops down next to the bed where the hungry baby is now nursing noisily. Meanwhile the L&M and children leave to have dinner. All is quiet and I close my eyes.

That’s when Luci decides she needs attention, or may be it is that she wants to go out. She starts whining in a low voice. Let me finish nursing the baby, Luci, I’ll get you your food, I tell her. Or run to the kitchen, dad will feed you or let you out. But she won’t stop, she keeps on at it, continuously whining. She goes on and on and on and on and on and on ……and I open my eyes to tell her to stop, NOW!

But…. I am totally confused. There is no baby next to me. True, Luci is indeed whining insistently. Nothing else is the same though. It hits me with such force then. A dream. It had all been a dream. IT HAD ALL BEEN A DREAM. There would be no answering to charges of negligence, no arrest, no jail, no taking away of the baby from me. IT HAD ALL BEEN ONLY A BALLY DREEEEEEAAAAM!!!! 

This, I tell the L&M concluding my narration, happened because I was reading that book, Jodi Picoult’s A Spark of Light. I stopped short of telling him the  whole story of the book (It was early morning and I was still on an empty stomach) and merely mentioned how it was full of details about anti-abortionists, their picketing of abortion clinics, the threats faced by doctors and health care providers in abortion clinics, the shaming of those needing abortion, the lengths to which people go to prosecute for personal career goals, people getting killed for being pro-choice, the hostage situation in the book, the difficult choices people faced…

Sigh, what can I say! Whether books or movies, if they really touch me at some level, if I feel empathy for the characters (or if I strongly dislike what’s happening), they take over my dreams. I’ll leave you with a quote from the book that really touched me:

© Shail Mohan 2019