Interpretation of a dream never had

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July 13th, 2012 Reetesh Anand

Dreams are “…disguised fulfilments of repressed wishes”, wrote Sigmund Freud in his famous book ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’.

He also wrote that there were two components of dreams — manifest content and latent content. The former was made up of the actual images, thoughts and content contained within a dream, while the latter was a representation of the hidden psychological meaning.

But, that’s theory, albeit intriguing.

Freud did not shy away from conceding in his book that dreams, if interpreted correctly, could speak volumes about a person’s psychological station in life, but it’s certainly not easy to interpret. However, each one of us, has, at some point in life, tried his or her hands at interpreting dreams. Some even keep doing so in multiple ways — practically, literally or figuratively.

I may be one of those trying to make some sense of dreams in whichever way possible. Call it curiosity, or love for hit-and-trial methods, or sheer handiwork of an idle mind forcefully kept busy, I keep trying, even as I know I am only pretending to read a script as good as ancient Greek to me.

I surely am miles away from what could be called any creditable interpretation, but there is something very peculiar about the outcome so far.

Earlier, I would dream, wake up, do my math with my eyes still sunk deep in slumber and think I know what the manifest or latent — or whatever — content of my dream was. When I would be fully awake, I would try to recall my dream, and its interpretation, and try to draw some sense out of those. I would invariably find my interpretation rather laughable and without any semblance with whatever could even remotely be called reflection of my personality or psychological station.

On one of those days when my mind was perfectly idle but I wanted to keep it forcefully busy, I thought I’d try interpreting the dreams I never had and see if those made more sense than those I had had.

Funny thought! True, but I wanted to give it a try. There was no harm in attempting something weird, for many historic finds had been serendipitous delivery of weird conceptions, I thought. Why not? I might end up being the propounder of a brand new theory — one much more complicated and weirder than Freud’s interpretation of dreams.

That evening, only to initiate a pointless debate and have fun at someone else’s expense, I asked a friend what her dream was. She thought for a while and said she wanted to turn an entrepreneur and start her own chain of restaurants.

I uttered just one word, “interesting”, smiled a philosopher’s smile, and slipped into a measured quiet, making sure she threw the same question back at me. And, she did. I had my answer ready. I said I wanted to be a little one, three or four years old, hopping around at my parents’ house with my girlfriend, whom I would be meeting for the first time some two decades later.

By now most of my friends know that I seldom make sense — never when I am in a mood to behave like a thinker. So, I thought she would be expecting something silly. But, no, she fell for the bait; perhaps my philosopher’s smile worked.

She argued what I wanted was no dream but, possibly, a desire to go back in time and relive things in a different way, because dreams were meant to be what we wanted in our future and not in the past.

I asked why wasn’t it a dream? My explanation was that a dream and an ambition might not necessarily mean the same thing. An ambition might well be placed somewhere ahead of the time we were thinking and speaking in, but dreams were boundless — they might move in a linear or zigzag way, back or forth in time, being just the manifestation of our unfulfilled subconscious desire.

She visibly wasn’t convinced and, being a thinking woman, began her own interpretations of my “dream”. From rubbishing it as a non-dream, now her stance had shifted to decoding why my “dream” was to go back in time and alter things a little.

She concluded, my childhood, as a little boy of three or four, might have been a period in my life I reckoned the best. And, my girlfriend might be that special person in my life with whom I wanted to share my best phase.

“Bingo!” I said to myself, not because her interpretation was bang on target. It might or might not have been correct. But I was glad that a thread of my freshly woven imagination had got her thinking.

This was an interpretation — quite wholesome — of a dream I never had. And, you can’t call it twisting facts to prove my point… After all, it wasn’t I who was doing the interpretation!

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