The day we reached Leh we were all sitting in one of the two rooms we had got at our usual lodge. The room had two single beds. DDB was lying down on one, B was sitting on the edge of the bed, Ballu was next to her. On the other bed, facing them, were Amit and I. Tea had been served on a small table placed between the two beds, and B had a packet of biscuits in her hand. She offered them around, first to DDB, then to Amit, then to me and Ballu. Everyone (I think) took, except me (damn that lactose intolerance!).
End of story.
The funny thing about it, and the reason that I’m still talking/thinking about it, is that I had seen this exact same scenario in a dream maybe a couple of weeks or more before we went to Leh. I can’t say I clearly remember the room in my dream, it could perhaps have been a different room, but it was a simple, modest, homely setting, an environment of comfort such as our lodge provides. What I do remember is the exact orientation of people, the star cast, and the actual action of B passing biscuits around and everyone taking and me saying no.
The funnier thing is that at the exact moment I said no, I knew that I had seen this scene in a dream and I had said no in the dream. I don’t know whether I said no because of the dream, but it did slide into my consciousness right then; until that moment, I had completely forgotten about the dream, because there was nothing particularly memorable about it.
I would love to say so, because I’m not one of those people who’s just looking for an excuse to believe in supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events. But really, can this be coincidence?
There are many reasons I think not. First, unfortunately nobody else can vouch for this, only I know the degree of resemblance between the dream and the reality. I can pick holes – can I be sure it was the same room? the same people? the same tea? the same biscuits? Am I not adding in the details of the dream based on the scene that actually transpired?
I can pick holes, I know that some of the details of the dream are not in my memory, but I also know that the similarities are indisputable.
Then, consider the extremely mundane nature of the event. I did not dream of the trek, or Nimaling, or even of Leh in particular (I think that in my dream I knew we were in Leh, but I can’t be sure of that) – dreaming of drinking tea and refusing biscuits is really mundane and the event itself is a pretty everyday event as well.
Except for the star cast – there’s no way that these five people could be sitting together drinking tea except in a trekking scenario.
But, a couple of weeks before leaving for the trip to Leh, it is not unusual for me to be dreaming of it. After all, I often dream of what is uppermost in my mind, what I am talking or thinking about before sleeping, or of events in the offing.
But how could reality so closely adhere to the dream? It can’t be coincidence.
If it were a one-off event, I probably would dismiss it; but it has happened to me before. One occasion that I can’t forget, was when I was perhaps 10 years old. We were living in a multi-storeyed apartment, and one night I dreamt that the old man two floors below us had died. The next morning, we found out that he really had.
Scary! Especially because I had no recognition of this old man. In my dream, I saw someone dead and I just knew it was him even though I did not recognize him or know him.
The only possible explanation I could come up with was that perhaps I heard something, transmitted through the walls, floors and woodwork. Sounds far-fetched, but less so than any other explanation.
Coincidence? I hope so, but isn’t it a really really improbable coincidence?
Less dramatic instances of dreams coming true have occurred over the years. I remember dreaming once that I was being driven to school by my father, and sure enough, the next morning my sister and I missed our school bus and were driven to school by my father. Again, as this time, the actual scene that I dreamt was of alighting in front of school from our red van and waving bye to my father, and the exact same scene transpired. In this instance, you can easily shrug the matter off as coincidence or perhaps as something that I subconsciously caused to occur, by sleeping late, getting up late, whatever.
But the old man two floors below dying? I couldn’t have caused that!
Nor could I have caused the tea and biscuits scenario.
There have been others, not a huge number, maybe three or four.
Thankfully, not all my dreams come true. I’ve had many, many dreams of adventure, finding treasures, flying, falling, being chased by lions, being trapped in an elevator that keeps ascending right through the roof of the building (and I still don’t have an irrational fear of elevators) and whatnot and none of those have yet come true. I dreamt of a friend’s marriage being discussed, but when I checked with her she told me there had been no developments on that front. I have also dreamt of other people dying, which, thank goodness, have not come true.
So what does it all mean? Does it mean anything? Amit puts it down to coincidence, but I’m not so sure any more.
Yet, if it means anything at all, even the most innocuous explanation is… weird.
Let’s say that I sometimes see things that have not yet happened, but will or are happening. Does that mean that everything that will happen is already predestined and occasionally we get a sneak preview of it (a la Nostradamus, who got to see entire trailers)? That’s terrible! How can something so mundane as declining a biscuit be preordained? Don’t we have any control over what events transpire and how?
Or is it that we see only one possible outcome, but other outcomes are possible as well? So, I could have refused the biscuit or accepted it, and I could have chosen to go to Leh or not to even go there, but I saw only one version in the dream and that just happened to be the version that came true. That, at least, would explain why many dreams don’t come true. But for the version of dream and reality to match down to the arrangement of people in a room… it’s still weird. We could, after all, have been standing, or seated around a dining table.
Well, I dunno. I don’t want to sound like a lunatic, but you have to agree that it is strange.
Maybe I should pay more attention to my dreams in future.