Last night, I dreamed about an imaginary library. It belonged to one of my colleagues at work. It was surreal because the library was not a part of his house in the dream. It was a few blocks away, and one had to look up at it from the ground. A wooden staircase led to it, flanked by lamps on both sides, the kind that one encounters on Goan streets. A lightbulb covered with a shade and a hook that helps it hang from a post.
A lonely street led to the library and then on the left one could look up to its door. The staircase that took one to it consisted of no less than 25 steps. The walls were wood-panelled and the steps were carpeted in dark wool.
There was no-one in the library but it was well-lighted, which made me feel special. It was spread out over a not large area, yet the spaces between the bookshelves were sufficient to browse the books comfortably.
Seeing those books stacked in rich hard cover for my exclusive consideration filled me with a wondrous sense of peace. I experienced a strange sensation of divinity hover above me, like this was a mystic scene I was witness to. I was filled with an ecstasy I had not known a long time.
As I was about to take out the first book from the collection (I think it was Freakonomics, a curious choice, considering the mood I was in, in the dream), my colleague whose library it was called out to me from below. Nowhere in the dream was I told that the library was his, but as soon as he called out to me, I knew it was. Dreams have the power to do that: tell you things without really saying them.
I saw him from the end of the street that housed the library, like in a movie. He was looking up and calling out to me, alongwith a few friends of his. In the dream, he seemed very distant, and his face wore a surprised expression, like he had discovered something new. His face was aglow with the light that came from the library, for in its absence, the street was very dark, except for a few red bobs that emerged from here and there.
Cut to the library floor. It was me again, but unlike the colleague who I saw from a distance (like a movie, as I said), I didn’t see myself, but only experienced my presence from within, like real life. This is so in all my dreams. I never see myself as a third person. My gaze is never directed from outside.
A deep sadness swamped me as I was being asked to leave this: this panoply of the written word, for the drudge of everyday life.
As I felt my mind swim in that disappointment, my dream ended even though I did not wake up.