In my third year in the University, I used to share a hostel with three of my closest friends. We were all in the same program, the perks of which meant that we studied together often, planned our schedules and routines around each other, and stayed up late at night to gossip about boys in the department. Honestly, it was one of my best years in school. Until something happened. I woke up one morning and as usual, I said something that I meant to be funny. At least it sounded funny in my ears. But nobody laughed. I noticed that two of the girls were skirting around their feelings, gauging their response. You know how in group friendships; one person’s mood could carry the reactions of the rest of the people? Basically, it means, if you are in one of those group/circle friendship type of thing, you might find that when one person is upset with you, the others might be inclined to follow suit. Anyway, back to my story. It turned out that the other two were stubbornly gauging their response because the fourth friend, whom I had been closest with, was not interested in speaking to me.
Oh no! What have I done? In the manner of most insecure 20-year-olds, I panicked. I mentally retraced my steps to find if I’d said something offensive, but if that was the case, nobody said anything. When I couldn’t think of anything, I tried platitudes—I offered her my breakfast, offered to iron her clothes. (Yes, it was near groveling but what can I say, I used to be quite the over compensator.) I even tried to guilt trip the others to help me find out what exactly was wrong. When everything failed, I sank into the lingering depression and crawled to my corner of the room. #Sigh. See, it was a particularly difficult situation because we were all in the same room and we were known as the group, so it was my entire sense of self in the University that seemed threatened.
Thankfully, after about 3 days or was it one week? She had exhausted her anger and eased into talking to me again. She later admitted to me that the reason she’d been upset with me was: wait for it…A dream! Yes, a dream. Like the abstract projection of images to our subconscious when we are sleeping. Apparently, she had a dream where her boyfriend told her that he was interested in me. Before then, the only connection I’d ever had with her boyfriend, apart from the occasional nod in the hallway was that we shared a birthday.
Granted, my friend was 19 at the time, from a hyper religious home with extreme superstitions; in retrospect, it is completely understandable why she acted that way. But now that I’m much older, I curiously returning to the subject matter of dreams—or the secondary realms that are lumped with it: intuition, feeling, gut instinct, perception, suspicion. Believe it or not, I myself, have become quite the dreamer over the years, and on more than a few occasions, I’ve followed my gut instinct and found it to be true. Still, I tend to wonder about how much of these feelings should intersect with our relationships.
There are stories of people who estrange friends because of a dream. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just asking: how do we make such negotiations. How do you cut off a person simply because you have a feeling about it? Especially without talking to them, or critically examining the relationship itself. It’s happened with in-laws, lovers, colleagues. You get a funny vibe or energy and automatically, it’s bye-bye to the person. Ironically, I say this as someone who also feels energies around people, sometimes which leave me troubled.
In a world where village people seem to have the upper hand in our social discourse, enemies abound, and these enemies obviously disguise as friends, colleagues, lovers. We have therefore become hyper conscious and extremely judgmental. Again, to each her own, we should all handle our business the way we dim feet. As for me, someone who senses things and dreams a lot, I am trying to negotiate a new lens that puts the metaphysical with the material. Of course, 80% of my dreams are malaria or hunger or stress induced. But there’s a 20% that feels somewhat directional. But because are not a statement of fact, they are suggestions which also require critical thinking, extended conversations and a call to pay closer attention.
So, the next time you dream that your neighbor set your house on fire, maybe ask yourself steps you can take to prevent a fire, instead of cutting off said neighbor. Or not. You can actually handle it however you choose.