I had a dream

This sounds corny and too imitative. Still, I am a human being and I cannot help dreaming especially when the sleep was induced by that peculiar limb-stiffening tiredness due to sitting in a stationary office bus in traffic. What I could have avoided is writing down what I dreamt but I hope someone can interpret my dreams for me. I have read that Gods have sometimes appear in the dreams of the fortunate and reveal some major mystery of the world. This is my secret reason for publishing my dream; perhaps someone may discover a divine message and I might be hailed as the next messenger of god. It might not be a bad life if it involves travelling in jets to convey God’s own words to the faithful millions of miles away. Let me now get into the details of the dream. Coming back to the situation, I did not fall asleep in the office bus but in my own bed. The office bus was stuck in a traffic jam for a longer time than usual. This was probably because of the fact that most of the offices had declared a “half-day” holiday anticipating possible violence in the wake of the Ayodhya judgment which was due to be delivered at 3 PM. It later got postponed to 4PM but that is entirely irrelevant to my dream. However, we spent a good amount of time getting gently warmed up in the bus as the afternoon sun poured its rays into the bus. It was not that suprising that the topic of the dream was somehow related to the whole issue.

In the dreamworld, I saw or read that the wise judges presiding over the case had examined the dispute from all angles. They pondered over the philosophical, physical, metaphysical, archaeological and emotional aspects of the case. They reached the conclusion that as the site was considered to be holy by all it could not be simply handed over to any one of the parties. Also, they could not just hand it over to any of them just like that. All of them wanted to build something on it. After all, divinity is something which cannot be handed over to one particular party which would then ensure its safety. Therefore, the judges were considering a solution which would give rise to feelings of extreme happiness, promote communal harmony and unity without making any of the parties feel bad. The crux of the issue was that nobody should feel “bad”’ it does not matter if nobody felt “good”. There had already been suggestions from people regarding building a mosque as well as temple at the disputed place. While noteworthy, clearly this would mean a posting a permanent battalion at the site in practical terms. Some others proposed a hospital for the poor. This would clearly be another nightmare. It would involve legal wrangles about ownership, definition of who was really poor and needy and so on. The judges then came up with a brilliant solution, at least they thought that it was so. One can only speculate if it was divine inspiration which struck them. The simplicity of the solution was breathtaking. The judges decided that the one thing which aroused divine feelings, removed all anger, put the mind into the most peaceful state devoid of anger and hatred was the presence of a toilet at hand when the need becomes extremely urgent. To appreciate this fully, one must recall situations while either travelling in a train or getting stuck in a presentation or in a traffic jam when the call of nature has become a demand; an urgent pulsating cramp inducing scream for attention. Then, when one is finally able to reach that blissful abode when one can unleash the furies of nature, the first feelings of relief are unspeakably peaceful. One feels like thanking all the gods, deities for the magical presence of a comfortable and clean place for relieving oneself. Therefore, what more could be more useful and amicable to all parties than an order to build a mega toilet complex with neat facilities. To accommodate errr.. “faith” of all sizes and kinds, it was decided to have a full variety of the “closets”: Western, Indian. There was to be even a section which would have privys similar to the ones found at Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Best of all, the entire structure was to be free for public use; what joy! On hearing the verdict, the populace was stunned by the sublime intelligence of the judges; after all which party would riot over the ownership of a toilet collection, even if it was superbly maintained. The media went overboard in celebrating the peaceful solution offered.

I wish the dream had ended at this point. I really do. I did not wish for the rest of the dream. I should have woken up. However, what we wish and what we get are generally entirely different things. So we continue with my dream.

The judgment was accepted by all the parties. The complex was coming up fast with the same management team which had brilliantly handled the Commonwealth Games “Village” construction being once again roped in to build this mega project. After all, it would mean making a tour of the world, studying commodes, water closets privys, examining their usage, their life, longevity, maintenance and so on. It was done in a remarkable short amount of time. This was probably because 10 planes were pressed into service which carried the member of the building committee and their families. How else to decide what to plan unless one samples the product oneself? The government even initiated a “Shauchalaya Tax” on the salaried class, who though complained bitterly and impotently, were secretly relieved that at least riots have been avoided. Finally, it was decided that a common man would inaugurate the mega complex. There was great excitement amongst the populace as to who would get to touch the “Golden Bowl” first, would the worthies from political parties be chosen, would it be religious heads who would “do it” first, would it be the dynastic leaders from the different regions who would honour the occasion and declare the complex open? Would the Communists and atheists join in the solemn occasion? Granted they had severe doubts, no doubt valid, if Lord Shri Ramachandra was a trained engineer or not, but would they deny the human need for relief? Would they then refuse to join in? Suddenly and inexplicably, the enthusiasm for the inauguration waned amongst the leaders. Possibly they were infected by the contagious feeling of harmony and goodwill pervading throughout the country. The uncharitable ones suggested that somehow the idea of being the first to inaugurate a toilet complex did not seem too attractive. After all, this was the age of sting operations. What if they went inside the complex and did not actually do the full steps? Therefore, someone came up with the clever idea of choosing a “common man” for doing the deed. The beauty of the plan was that this special person would be chosen by the special UUID scheme which had been implemented by the government. This would be the triumph of the entire UUID scheme. After all, there had been naysayers who had ridiculed the entire scheme as yet another money “sink”. For a country like India, where many people are surviving on a day to day basis, what was the point of giving him or her a number? Furthermore, there was the ration card, passport, PAN card and so on, what was the point of having another card? How to deal with the migrant population in metro cities? It was only a face for another scam where the beneficiaries might be “IT” companies. However, the government felt that the selection of the lucky person for the Shauchalaya Complex inaugural programme would vindicate the entire existence of the scheme. Furthermore, as the first person who got the UUID was a person from a remote village in Maharashtra, who was no doubt honoured by it but was at a loss what to do with it. Similarly, a person would be chosen from the billion who would most need the comfort the Complex would have to offer.

Now comes the worst part of the dream. It so turned out that it was me who was “found” to be the most suitable to act as the chief guest for the grand occasion. I was thunderstruck when I found a media circus outside the house just after I woke up. In fact, in the dream, I was sleeping when I was woken up by the hullabullo. I do not recall if I was dreaming inside the dream though. That is not the topic of this meandering essay. When the members of the media informed me of the glad tidings, I am afraid that I nearly relieved myself then and there. Then came the official phone call and officials from various departments giving me the official invite. In vain did I try to protest that I did not need this honour. In the previous days when excitement had been building up, the media had been growing crazy. There were rumours that the media had intensely lobbied the government to allow a live telecast of the entire event. Worthies like Barkha Dutt, Prannoy Roy, Rajdeep Sardesai were literally straining at the leash to offer analysis of the event, analyse the character of the guest and predict about the “outcome” of the event. Given all this, I naturally wanted to turn down this particular honour. Initially, the officials tried to convince me by sweet words, pointing out the importance and honour of the occasion. They explained that my name would be eternally known in history. They even assured me of erecting a pedestal or at least a photo of the event. In case technology progressed, they even assured me of a 3D holographic video of the event which would be replayed till the end of “Bharatvarsha”. Somehow, this refused to console me; I refused to budge. Then there came the subtle hints from the IT office. Now, I have nothing to hide from the tax authorities and I was so reluctant to take the honour that I considered taking on the I-T department. However, I recalled the movie “The Untouchables” and gave in. The day came. For the previous few days, I had teams of doctors monitoring my vital signs to ensure that I proved to be satisfactory chief guest. I had teams of Black Cat, Geyhound, ATS, COBRA, CID, Special Branch, IB and encounter specialists around me all the time. My phone was tapped and my email read before me. The apparent reason was to prevent terrorist strikes, assassination or kidnapping attempts on the honoured chief guests. Being of a cynical nature, I suspected that it was more to prevent me from going underground. So finally the day arrived and I was “ushered” sweating and squirming to the complex.

At this point, I am afraid that my sleep broke. I had been squirming and sweating in the bed. The power had gone off. I decided immediately to put the entire dream in writing without further delay and ask for expert advice. Any comments welcome.

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