Dreams and Deja Vu

Dreams and Déjà vu

I can’t remember my dreams. There are memories of disturbed nights, of tossing and turning, or suddenly tumbling, startled awake. But the unseen flight of stairs retain their mystery and yield nothing except an unwelcome sense of frustration of having missed something, of messages lost in static, messages that were important or were making their way across various dimensions to reach me, to connect, but were zapped and obliterated somehow.

No I can’t remember my dreams just the sensation of having dreamt. My dreams are potent in their impotency. And so it is with deja vu.

I had seen the picture of a famous opera house once, in a magazine called SPAN that arrived every month at the homes of members of the American Library in India. I was interested enough in an American future for myself at the age of nine or ten. I leafed through every issue of the magazine and read articles that talked about driving from Maine to Maryland or a life in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. I have since driven from Maryland to Maine and have spent several memorable years in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, I have spanned the limits that SPAN defined for me except for one. The opera house. The glittering one that appeared in one of the issues, with multi-level balconies for the monocled elite and the endless rows of seats below.

Thirty years later the picture is as clear in the recesses of my mind as it was that day when time stood still as I was unable to tear my eyes away from it. It isn’t sepia-toned or faded or even frayed at the corners, it’s as sharp as it was on the glossy pages of an issue of that magazine. It still makes an appearance when I lapse into a reverie, taunting me, flashing a beacon, urging recognition, that picture was already seen, I believe it was a copyright violation of my dream, an unremembered dream. Had I been in the audience there or was I performing? Was it an image from the past or was it destined to be in my future? Did it mean anything at all? It left me with nothing except a sensation that something important was being communicated to me. I was grasping for answers then as I am now.

I cling to the image, if not the dream…I don’t remember the dream. Other opera house pictures are not compelling enough and they don’t stop the world for me or leave me in a cocoon of catatonic silence as that picture did all those years ago.

Then there are those moments, rather fractions of a moments, of deja vu that hit, for instance, the moment I step off my front stoop, on to the walkway and feel caught up in a tunnel or zone of some sort. It’s like a soft breeze with a caressing impact and it leaves as unobtrusively as it makes its entrance. Except it does intrude and can leave me shaken.

Even something as nondescript or mundane as an anthill and a trail of busy ants making their way back and forth from a half-eaten apple to their home. Makes me wonder, why the fascination with ants? Was I perhaps an ant in a previous life? Or could it be a long erased childhood memory that was never quite erased and has resurfaced as a message to live a little, to find once again the child-like curiosity about things around me that are so easy to miss, so easy to dismiss as nondescript or mundane, a message to shed the tattered old cloak of jadedness.

But dreams and deja vu leave me with nothing but a sense of loss, confusion and conjecture. I can’t remember or reconstruct my dreams, or uncover the messages within nor can I grasp the fleeting moment of deja vu that demands recollection and remembrances but eventually passes almost as instantaneously as it arrived in the first place.

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