Rohan is sitting in the last bench of the class room in the break as usual. A book in his hands on his lap, with his head facing downwards, peeping through its pages out of utmost curiosity not letting himself bothered enough by his surroundings.
Tej, a new boy in the class, intervenes, “ ‘Tackling dreams and abstract imaginations’, this book? Never heard of it. Where did you find it?”
Rohan is not a great talker. He likes to keep quiet on most occasions. He is a boy with a well-defined introvert’s attitude. He just talks out of curiosity and that happens rarely. Not just at school, Rohan is the same at home. His art is top notch, and that is accredited to his visualizing prowess. He never makes portraits, never copies art. He just maps everything he has in his head. His parent’s always say he has plenty of things running inside his head most of the time and that never lets him sleep in peace. Due to this, he gets anxious when he dreams, and wakes up frequently. He gets so sweaty about abstract things and visualizations coming out of his dreams that he fumbles in speech and actions.
“Found it in the library. Borrowed it.” answered Rohan without even looking at who had asked the question.
Tej now takes the seat next to Rohan’s in curiosity. “You know, I had this problem.”
“Why do you say I have a problem?” asks Rohan now more curious than ever to initiate a conversation.
“I can feel it. The interest coefficient of this book lies in the fact that the reader who picks up on it must be familiar to the things stated in it. Moreover, everyone else is getting ready for the radio show scheduled for next period except you. I can already feel things running inside your head.” Tej politely answers.
“You are reading too much into it. I just picked it up out of interest. It lay in a corner, mixed with all the fiction genre books. For a change….”
Without further listening to any of Rohan’s reasons for picking up this particular book, Tej quickly throws in another question as if he had been through this entire episode quite a few times now,
“So what exactly bothers you while you are in a dream? Tell me the minutes.”
Rohan now finding himself in a mix, begins with an answer “I don’t exactly know. It’s a mix of few things. First, the fear of not returning back…..”
“Hold on! So you do realize you are in a dream when you are in it?” Tej intervenes.
“Yes I do.”
“Oh, so this is a replica….” Tej murmurs to himself.
“Wait, what did you say?”
“Nah, nothing. Tell me more.”
Rohan begins again, “Second, a fear of not exactly knowing what my surroundings are. I see people and shapes and whereabouts that I have no knowledge of in my imagination. I have tried drawing them on paper so that, whenever I see them next I am prepared and shall be familiar with everything.”
“So how has that worked for you?”
“Not worked at all. I just tend to see new things every time I am lost in a dream.”
“Now that you have told me enough, let me tell you this easy thing right here to rid you off this tiny suffering of the dark side of a powerful imagination.”
There was such command to what Tej was speaking, for once, even Rohan was taken aback. He always believed, no one would ever know how it feels to wake up from a dream that would end badly almost every time for him. But for the first time he wanted to hear someone on this. So he let Tej continue. And yes, they missed the radio show.
“Rohan, how does music interest you?”
“It does enough to keep me busy while I am alone.”
“Oh so you like music. Now that makes the process of sorting out things a lot easier. You know, every dream, when it takes off, has a trace to it that directs you back to the start. To the very beginning, that is. That’s the dream origin. And if you always remain in touch to your origin, you won’t ever fear dreams, and your imaginations will only lead you to positive venues. I had this exact same thing inside my head until I found my origin for once.”
“So, what’s your origin?” Rohan asks in absolute peculiarity.
“Yes, that’s the question you have to vie for! I have mine as a fat lady leading an invisible orchestra playing a piano. So whenever I am into unknown places and starting to feel uncomfortable about my surroundings in a dream, she appears in an instant. I trace back to her and she helps me in and out of it. It’s that simple. People underestimate music, I tell you.”
“This sounds so tough! How do I know what my origin is? This can be helpful, please tell me.”
“Just think about music all day. And the way it liberates you from all the dark there is. And you will do well. I gotta attend the last part of the radio show. Bye mate!” Tej jogs away swiftly.
“Oh, thanks. I will let you know……my..origin..” Rohan tries to shout out of his capacity.
That day, after school, Rohan skipped his tuition, lost in every bit that Tej had told him. He pondered and wandered into nothingness for a while and then remembered what Tej had exactly told him. So he just listened to a few songs. Played his guitar for a while, that he hadn’t touched in years. His family, surprised with the sudden subtle change. Rohan slept early that day. He saw no dreams, none. He just had flashes of a familiar street with merry chirping of birds and children all over the nearby park playing toys and fighting mock battles. And then in the remote corner of the park on a bench, a man, hidden face, black hat, a mouth organ, playing the most beautiful melody that he had ever heard. He saw all these, but just in flashes. The next day Rohan leaves for school in the most enthusiastic bubble there has ever been. He runs to his classroom. Looks out for Tej, and just then Mr. Benjamin(the English teacher) catches up to him.
“Hey Rohan, hurry up, we are starting with the radio show in 30 minutes!”
“Er….but sir, I missed the show yesterday. Wasn’t it yesterday?”
“You don’t know? Yesterday, at the near end of the show someone from the crowd repeatedly kept shouting, ‘once more please’ and the crowd following his lead did the same. So the lead performers agreed to be involved for another day and they have called up a few new artists for today.”
“Sir, eh, it must have been Tej…!”
“Tej? Come on Rohan. No time for fantasies. We have a period for that. We are already running late. See you at the show. Hurry up, reach the auditorium.”
Rohan runs to the auditorium and grabs the first seat. The show begins. Rohan is having all sorts of thoughts. Everything inside him churning his vagrant thoughts to mould them into something concrete. Just at the near end of the show, the last performer takes to the stage. A man, with a mouth organ, black hat, face hidden, playing the best melody he had ever heard. The crowd almost drooling over the melody or so did it seem. The performer, just before he is about to end the show, hands over his mouth organ and hat to Rohan, face still hidden, melody still playing, audience scattering.