Day dreaming — a lost art?

Last semester had been be a rush in a way. Too many things happening around, the constant sense of “it all coming to end”, my indecision and dilemma about choosing between a job and higher studies and what not… In that rush, some noticeable things slipped my mind and now that I have noticed it, I am left wondering…

Once I was talking to Nitin and the topic of fantasies and daydreams came up. We were discussing our most cherished fantasies — the ones we keep on elaborating on and daydreaming about. I was shell-shocked to see how similar our fantasies were! I used to like to think and dream about how I would become a politician, do some heroic stuff etc etc… eventually become the Prime Minister of India. So did Nitin! I used to chalk out and then fill colors in plans of taking over Pakistan, eradicating poverty, making slums vanish, figure out some cunning way of blackmailing Swiss banks to disclose records of Indian account holders who are under the radar because of various scams. Guess what, even Nitin did! I would spend considerable amount of time thinking about various aspects of being a PM in detail. Obviously, all of them were too funny, dramatic, juvenile to be even possible in reality; but that never kept me from furiously fantasizing about it. I was getting more and more sense of wonder the more Nitin told about his version of these day-dreams. So similar they were!

Then he dropped the bomb — he had stopped doing all that around 8th standard! I could remember as late as 6th semester in IIT, me day-dreaming. I asked Nitin “Why did you stop?”. “I realized I have become too cynical. I don’t really enjoying fantasizing about stuff that’s never gonna happen.” came the reply. That time I was surprised, “how can one ever back away just because it is too unrealistic?” I wondered.

Fantasizing and daydreaming has been my hobby since I remember! It was such an easy escape to a world I wanted, like a matrix of my own. I would spend endless hours in such a construed world, and oh so satisfying it was! Some fantasies were recurring, long lasting, some weren’t. I remember those days when I had seen a trailer of a Harry Potter movie where people flew on broomsticks. So much I had fantasized about flying on broomsticks! My broomstick had a very comfortable seat, mind you, way more comfortable than my dear bicycle. For some reason, it had a bell. Everytime I rang the bell, all other broomsticks in the vicinity would briefly go out of control. It had colorful laser light! It was a respite. A welcome one! Out of which, I would emerge refreshed, smiling.

Cartoon super heroes and their super powers was another of my favorite subjects. I would have powers of Superman along with the mind of Professor X and Spider Man’s web shooting capabilities. Shooting spider webs is just way too cool! And did I mention my pet dragon? I never tried to “save the world” though. Playing pranks on my classmates with my webs and messing up with teachers’ minds with my awesomely powerful mind was the way to go!

Another very frequent theme of my fantasies was imagining how life would be had I done something I had done in recent past, differently. I would go on and on, exploring those alternate universes, obviously, always full of goody-good stuff. Small-small things like marks in tests were subjects of small-small fantasies. “How nice it would have been had I gotten that half-a-mark too!” I would imagine, dream, keep on filling colors on the canvas of mind till a smile crept on my lips, travelling from that construed, unreal world to this real one! It was always such a nice thing to engage in…

I would argue with friends “what’s wrong with living in the world of your dreams?” “as long as I don’t lose track of reality, as long as I don’t lose my sanity, why should I give up on such a source of happiness?” I dreamed, I fantasized. I lived those dreams, I created worlds, inhabiting those with my creations, behaving as I pleased. Well, those were the nice days… maybe because I had a lot of time to spend on such things… I would lie in bed, awaiting to fall asleep, elaborating on this fantasy or that… those were the days!

Just a few days back I had gotten a really really bad grade in one of my courses. “What if I had gotten an A grade instead?” I caught myself thinking. What a shock it was! There had passed a full week after I got the grade, before that thought came to my mind. When was the last time I day-dreamed about anything? A scary picture started to emerge… how come it took me so long to even start fantasizing about an alternate reality where I get an A grade? What has come over me? That was the noticeable change I had failed to notice!

The more I think about it, the strongly I feel a sense of loss.
“What if I had gotten an A grade?”
“Shut up! You would not have!”
what was this other, new, unwelcome voice?

“Would it not be nice if I had a magic pen…”
“Oh come on! Grow up! ‘Magic pen’ it seems!”
what’s this new, condescending, dismissive presence?

“…time machine…”
“Ugh! Get real!”
well, it’s frustrating.

“When I am the Prime Minister…”
“Yeah yeah, like that is ever going to happen.”.
I just don’t understand!

Never did I actually believe that any of my fantasies are going to come true, I still enjoyed them. They made me happy (at the expense of my creative energies). What has changed? What cracked? I am not sure… these fantasies no longer seem inviting. I can’t get myself to elaborate on any such things any more. A certain reluctance, sense of hopelessness has crept in. “What’s the point?” comes a cynical voice from somewhere. Is this what Nitin was referring to? I remember talking to another friend, whom I had asked which X-Man’s power he would have liked to have… the response “Don’t know. Can’t say. I just can’t think in that way. It is so unreal.” had come across as a surprising one. I wonder… where do I stand now?

A very nice way of killing time seem to have gotten lost. Now I need the help of books to transport me to another, maybe nicer worlds. That doesn’t last long either. “How nice it would be if I could get back to carefree, unbounded fantasizing…” “Shut up, I say!” A deep sense of loss wells up and I feel like screaming, agony and helplessness brimming up — Come back to me! You are my secret superpower! My precious!

No response comes…

1 comment :

  1. "I remember talking to another friend, whom I had asked which X-Man’s power he would have liked to have… the response “Don’t know. Can’t say. I just can’t think in that way. It is so unreal.” had come across as a surprising one. I wonder… where do I stand now?"

    You stand at the threshold of adulthood, buddy. Welcome.

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