I am a hardcore skeptic. It is thus in my nature to dismiss esoteric explanations of everyday phenomena. More particularly, a nondescript activity such as dreaming of flying. The only problem is I remember every view, every detail, every feeling vividly. And I tend to reminisce on them long after I wake up and resume my daily activities. It has been bothering me for a while because at work, instead of working on the latest script, I keep rationalizing my dream imagery seeking a plausible explanation that could be deeply rooted in my subconscious.
In my dreams I travel extensively. I fly over country houses, towers and spire. I soar high beside skyscrapers with mirrored walls. I cruise over valleys, gorges, serpentine rivers and snowy peaks. Last night, I found myself flying at approximately the speed of a jet plane over a green landscape. I could make out the tops of the trees. The topography then changed and a clearing came into view. Vast tracts had been made treeless. The soil looked gray and the signs of industry dotted the arid stretch. The colour soon changed to brown and muddy and slushy. It was raining and my flight seemed to end here as I descended over the huge pool of sludge. I settled down on one embankment and watched in horror as heads bobbed up and down inside the mud. Full-figured bodies emerged. They were men, naked and bald. They didn’t notice my presence in their territory and I wasn’t the least bit scared. I watched them as they groaned and pulled themselves out of the pit. They must have been about seven feet tall, their heads round and faces featureless. They had big swarthy limbs and not a shred of cloth on their bodies.
The next moment, I was in a glass capsule. It was almost like a Sikorsky or a Bell 47 without the tail. I held the joystick in my hands as the craft soared vertically into the blue sky – into the blue void. Suddenly a voice inside my head told me that I was under an ocean. Disorientation led me to plunge deep into the clear blue waters of some surreal ocean of an alien dimension. I struggled to turn the pod around and head towards the surface but a still numbness engulfed me. I woke up on my bed clutching my throat in the throes of asphyxiation.
This is not the first time. Earlier I saw myself from near the ceiling, my exhausted body lying limp among the crumpled sheets on a hot summer night. I had floated horizontally in and out of the rooms of my house before piercing the ceiling altogether and hovering a few feet above my terrace.
So a friend nodded knowingly when I narrated these instances. Astral projection, he concluded. It’s a gift, I later read in one of the several websites dedicated to the topic. Some venerated it as a spiritual experience often dangerous for if your spirit strays too far, evil entities can travel back through a portal and possess your body while you remain trapped forever in a world not your won. Some termed the dream as something ‘lucid’ but adequate scientific explanation of the phenomenon is still unknown and can only be explored through testimonials of people who have had the actual experience. I hit an information dead end. In my quest for the truth, I ended up walking in circles in a virtual maze. I was giving it too much importance, I realized.
But that night, when I fell with a thud on my kitchen counter that was about three feet off the ground, drenched in sweat and with a sprig of thyme clutched in my right palm, I realized that my belief in the phenomena was inextricably linked to my disbelief. I have a little herb garden on my terrace that’s situated right above the kitchen, on the fifth floor. I was lying horizontally on the cold marble slab. I got up and turned the light on. There were mud marks on my wrist and my feet were muddy too. I ran back to my bedroom out of breath. It was the darkest hour, just between dawn and midnight. I sensed a presence.
I tiptoed to my bedroom door and opened it. Dirty yellow streetlights filtered through the white curtains. The bed was empty. I let out a sigh of relief and switched on the table lamp. That was when I heard it. Unmistakable. It was the sound of the flush being used in the bathroom. So there was someone there.
Quickly, I turned off the table lamp and grabbed the hockey stick from behind the cupboard. I crouched and slid under the bed. The bathroom door slip open and the light made an arc on the floor. I saw a pair of feet walking across the bed. It creaked as the intruder sat down on the bed, reached for the water bottle and gulped down the contents. What nerve. I clutched on to the hockey stick as the pair of feet disappeared above. I waited for two minutes and finally crawled out of my hiding space. It was a woman. Sprawled across my bed. MY BED. How long had she been hiding in my house? I placed my hand on the power switch of the table lamp and turned it on. The figure turned suddenly and looked me straight in the eye. I raised the hockey stick, my nerves and muscles taut from the tension. She smiled at me. It was me. I smiled at myself.
I had strayed too far out.