Dream Fragments / Arathi Devandran

I dreamt a dog gently bit me last night. I dreamt that I had stayed away from my flat for two days, and I came back to a mess, and I was trying to remember what happened to my dog, and then the dog appeared, and I realised I had left the dog alone with no water. I cried and cried and gave the dog water, and the dog drank and drank, and gently bit me, and then bared its fangs and morphed into a bird with a sharp beak and a high-pitched cry.

I woke up gasping with my mouth following the shape of a phantom sob.

I wonder what I am anxious about now.

I brush my palms over my skin, as if to comfort myself, and wait for the dream to leave my body.

I dream often, and vividly.

Sometimes, I try to follow the thread of my dream to its very beginning, its place of gestation. I explore the landscape of my mind, running my fingers over the terrain of my thoughts, over the hills and troughs of years of memories and useless facts.

I follow the thread and discover small things – a seemingly innocuous phrase from a recently read poem, a passing image from the window of my car as I left my home one morning, a vague colour from a trip from long ago.

My mother has always told me that dreams are channels in which messages are received and delivered. I take heed of her words, fascinated by the mysterious of my own subconscious.

So I try to write down whatever I can, whenever I can.

I am waiting for a picture to reveal itself. It is going to take me time to piece together this truth of my mind.

Of late, my dreams have become slightly repetitive.

They are of people from my past, sometimes lovers, but usually, of a friend. Crystal clear dreams that are snapshots of memories long buried and forgotten, interspersed with new images of our younger selves.

I once read that dreams are where memories go to die.

But for me, my dreams have been where my memories have been stored, kept safe. Now, they are becoming a place for new memories to be made.

I write to my friend after months of dreaming of her.

“I have kept remnants of this old friendship alive and safe, in my unconscious, where I am most likely, my best self.”

Sometimes I dream of death.

My own, of the ones I love deeply.

They are gruesome, a collage of dark and bruised images, and even darker feelings. They are geysers of long pent anger and a deep and abiding sadness, emotions that feel like they belonged to my mother, and her mother before her.

These dreams are a part of my ancestral history, to be wrestled with, to be broken down into smaller pieces, to be eaten, and then to be excreted.

In this way, they will leave my lineage.

These are less like dreams, more like scars.

I purge them, almost violently.

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting

There was a time

Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in times gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed, that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid..”



Arathi Devandran curates personal experiences, snapshots of the world and the stories people are willing to share with her through prose and poetry www.miffalicious.com

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