Dreams are fantastic affairs these days.
It started in the dining room of our engineering college staff quarters where my family lived until I was 5. My class was all huddled in that room on chairs and other furniture that I really didn’t take note of, attending a lecture. I scanned across but couldn’t identify any faces except for my crush who sat on the edge of a bed (he wore a yellow tee-shirt and trousers). The professor was Steve Carell.
Around 10 seconds into the dream it was revealed that I was sick and had to lie in another bed (in the same dining room), it so happened that Steve Carell was also a doctor and administered me a drip. Curiously my catheter had a plaster on it that said 11 Days in extremely conspicuous red. But also it wasn’t just a mere sickness – it was understood that I suffered a highly malignant disease but was getting better, I’m sure the disease had a name that I could grasp the urgency of in the dream but that obviously didn’t translate so well to real life. My doctor was extremely patient and caring, it almost seemed like I was his only patient and his whole life was devoted to praying for my good health.
Well, the more Carell the better. I’m not complaining.
My class simultaneously transpired on the other side of the room, much like you would expect it to while you’re battling a disease some 2 metres away (it wasn’t a big dining room but it was decent). I have no idea what they were studying but who cares when Steve Carell has all his attention to you? I remember wondering if this can go anywhere, then remembered my crush was pretty closeby (a dilemma I can conjure up only in my dreams, it’s only half-real even in the dream).
The doc later came to my bed and said “11 Days..” in his gruff voice, and just sat there looking into the distance and away from the camera with a proud smile and welled up eyes. He had no other dialogues that I can remember now (it’s been some 6 hours), but he looked at me proudly as if I did well with the medication etc. That’s when I realized – there was no future for us. UGH.
The fact that Steve was probably meant as a father figure in the story dawned on me. I crushed any advances (or thoughts thereof) in my head. I mean even in my dream I knew Carell wasn’t making a re-appearance any time soon in my life except on Netflix.
SETTING: Parallel Dream
In the meantime, I have also been walking around, participating in parallel universes. In the living room (of the staff quarters home) is an ongoing tuition class from my school timeline. I see three familiar faces from a different school (I’m friends with their friend, but whatever). They are speaking in hushed tones, and I make out “pregnant”, “we cannot talk”.
I cannot tell if somebody I know might be pregnant, or if they are talking about 13 Reasons Why that I binge-watched recently, but I also cannot remember in my dream-memory if there was a pregnancy on the show (real-life memory: there was). And then, a gang of my friends from college (CET) come out the class, drag me away and tell me Somebody is pregnant and that I need to leave.
And I leave to meet Reshma at Sreekariyam, right opposite the market but a little further away. She checks my temperature, looks at a bunch of papers that look like lab results and tells me I’ll be fine, that I’m doing good, glancing at my 11 Days
sticker plaster. I stand there feeling grateful for the hot doctor and doctor bestfriends I have in my life.
My crush is a pretty nervous person. I mean the outgoing but nervous up-close kind. Or maybe he just doesn’t like me. But either way, I’m sitting there in my family chair made with cane and wood (there are 2 of them and are now in the 1st floor hall at our place), just listlessly looking around on what to do with my time until the plot thickens, the catheter still on.
The dude sits there on a diwan next to mine and I can see him from the corner of my eye, as you do with crushes (the diwan didn’t exist during engineering quarters days though, we bought it some 8 years ago only). I am supposed to be frail and in recovery mode, although I really cannot wait to hear about the pregnancy. In my defence I think my brain was 18 in the dream. The class is dispersed but obviously none of the people I’m friends with are here.
And then, as a climactic move, the dude gets up and plonks on to the cane chair next to mine, making no efforts no hide that he’s making a huge effort. I just hope neither of us makes this awkward. Even in dreams second chances are hard.
So 11 Days huh?
It feels good to know this was rehearsed. I mean that was obviously a rehearsed line.
Yes so crazy. -i must not mention how hot my doctor was- but the effort is going to ruin this-
SO how are you doing now?
And like a Mani Ratnam movie that begins a highly anticipated scene and thence leaves the better but probably understood bits to your own imagination (that is probably wonky and not as advanced as Mani Ratnam’s and is probably going to ruin the story), the camera slowly cuts away, hoping that the leads have made it after lending them a good-enough beginning.
Carell left the scene long ago but also this is crush-logic right here : even if Steve Carell were around, if you have a shot with your crush, just take it goddammit.
SETTING: A Flight on the Runway, boarding
It feels like a college tour but my brothers and amma are with me. The inside looks like a tourist bus, we load our bags in the overhead bins, the rest of my class do not have families with them (I wonder why 😐 ). My family soon disappears into the crowd as I scan the seats to see the dude waving at me with an awkward acknowledging smile from the very back of the cabin.
Wow, so that earlier conversation led nowhere. And I can’t even change seats. Great.
And while everyone is settling into the flight-cum-bus, in an extremely uncharacteristic move, my amma goes missing. I rush outside, my brothers and I are separated into two alternate dreams which soon converge as my brothers and amma return from a paragliding trip elsewhere.
We still need to board and there are too many flights parked on the runway one after another as we run past them to the very end. I lead them to the front entrance and as we enter, my mother asks, Is this the right flight?
Obviously we do not have flight tickets or numbers to refer to. There is only one way to find out. I jump outside and run to the back entrance, open the door (because it’s a bus) and peep inside to see a yellow t-shirted figure.
Excu- oh hey! Thanks!
It’s the dude, he turns and an instant reflex of an exhilarated smile pops on his face, the same on mine, and I run all the way to the front (because it’s a plane) and yell, Ammaaa it’s the right flight. Or at least the one we should be on.
Note: I thought a Steve Carell snapshot would be safer.