The Dream



“Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Roald Dahl. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me with my next book…”

That was how it all started. With that one dream.

Of course, I knew it even before I had opened my eyes, that it was a dream. I mean, who in their right mind would say I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am…?! Not to mention the fact that Dahl has been dead for the past twenty-eight years.

But that didn’t matter. Not at that time. Because that dream gave me clarity. That dream propelled me into action after ages of inactivity. Well, I say ages, but it was merely months, really. Months spent going in and out of courtrooms. Months spent climbing up and down that horrid staircase of the family court building. Horrible, awful months. Excruciating months, when I preferred oblivion, and possibly even contemplated death. Months when I didn’t want to exist. Didn’t want to be in the place that I was.

I hadn’t chosen the place I found myself in at the time, of course. My parents had. Like they chose everything for me. And yet, this one time, they found it impossible to choose. The one time when I wouldn’t have minded them deciding something for me, was the one time they chose not to decide. They let the courts do it for them. It was the most humiliating thing. It was the most painful thing.

I mean come on, it was just the three of us. Mom, Dad and I. Couldn’t we have sorted things out ourselves? We had had fights before. We had disagreed on things before. And we had sorted them out. But this time was different. I knew it. I could feel it. Right from the time I witnessed the first fight between Mom and Dad, I knew this was going to turn ugly. And it did. Eventually, we all ended up in court. All three of us. But the only one who got sentenced was me.

Yes, sentenced. To spend the week with my mother and the weekend with my father. This, when my mother worked weekdays and my father was busy with his meetings most weekends. I don’t know what the courts thought they were doing. If they had asked me, I could’ve told them. But they didn’t ask. I wasn’t an adult then, and so the court took it as its duty to decide what was best for me. Just another example of how adults think they have it all figured out. I mean, I wasn’t an adult, yes; but I was old enough and mature enough to know what I wanted. Fourteen isn’t exactly a baby, you know. But like I said, no one asked!

That was bad enough. But what added insult to the injury, was the fact that, the whole separation – no I won’t use the ‘D’ word – made my parents bitter. Bitter towards each other. Bitter towards the world. Bitter towards life. Soon enough, Mom took to the bottle and Dad took to girls. Girls. Not women. They expected nothing in return, you see? Unlike the older women who eventually looked for some kind of commitment, the girls were just out to have fun!

It disgusted me. It infuriated me. It made my skin crawl. And yet, I wasn’t an adult, so I couldn’t go be in some place of my own. I was bound. Confined to be where I didn’t want to be. I would go silent for days on end. Thoughts swirling in my head. All sorts of thoughts. Really nasty ones they were too. Even – what is the point in going on living if this is all that life has to offer? So I tried to shut them off. Cigarettes, alcohol, even experimental drugs – but I found out that the thoughts were way louder than what any of these could try curbing.  

And then I had that dream. Roald Dahl asking for my help with his next book. A dead author asking a broken boy for help. A dead author who I had read too much of in my childhood. An author who had clearly left a lasting impression. I dismissed it as the wild imagination of my alcohol-fuelled brain. Clearly, I was delusional? And yet, the dream wouldn’t leave me alone. It came back to haunt me even in my sober moments. Eventually making me sit up and take notice.

And I finally figured out why it kept coming back to me. I was trying to silence the million thoughts that were swirling in my head, so I could get some peace. And I was failing miserably at that. But what if I stopped trying to silence them, and put them to better use instead?

That was how I began writing. Short stories initially. Then books. For young adults like me. Readers all around the world lapped them up. They loved my stories because the people in my stories were the ones they could relate to. The anguish, the agony in my books appealed to them. The triumph of my characters gave them hope. Parents lined up outside bookstores for me to sign the copies they could give their children. I was glad to sign every single one of them.

I had had nothing but that one dream to help me in my days of despair. I wanted other children to have something more, something better. My stories, while entertaining, were also meant to help them, the way the dream had helped me.

When I finally got the coveted award for the most promising young writer, my publisher was thrilled! He threw me a party, and regaled the guests with my story; till they all agreed with him that the flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.

And me, I silently thanked the dream for taking me out of the deadly spiral of my thoughts and showing me the way.

– From the diary of a successful YA writer.




Note: This is my fifth entry for Write Tribe's Festival of Words, June 2018. 

Pic courtesy: Pexels/Write Tribe

You can read my other entries for this festival here - 

About Time 
Of Life Lessons and Listening to One's Heart
The Trip
Start Over  

Comments

  1. Interesting use of prompts Rashmi. You used all the three so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Aesha! Glad you liked the way this has turned out.

      Delete
  2. This is such a unique take on the prompt (all 3 prompts, I guess!) Very well written. And yes, writing is often the outlet from a dark real life. So many renowned authors attest to that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for visiting Roshan, and this comment has me grinning ear to ear! I am okay now, if no one else reads and comments on my post today :D Yes, I used all three prompts today, and also, this was my first attempt at portraying a dark, first person perspective of a teenager - and your comment tells me it has come out okay!

      Delete
    2. it has come out brilliantly. Very few of us (in the blogosphere itself) tend to go dark while expressing themselves... but it something I always push for. That is what our words are for. To make people view something beyond the normal...

      Keep it up :)

      Delete
  3. This is a wonderful tale Rashmi.. so full of hope.. I could not have imagined how he survived the broken relationship of his parents.. In this case he not only survived but thrived

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Akshata :) Yes, life does turn out pretty surprising sometimes

      Delete
  4. You've aced it, Rashmi. I'm floored with your piece. Such a beautiful take on all the prompts! I loved the tale and the inspiration to go on beyond the pain and turbulence of one's life to a place where you find yourself, a place where you are happy to be you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Esha! I am so glad you have liked how this piece has turned out. Yes, it is something that is easier said than done, isn't it :)

      Delete
  5. I liked how beautifully you used all the prompts and weaved a motivating story.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You brought out the emotion of a child trapped between the parents so well. Nicely written.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved the way you have got into a divorce victim kid's skin and depicted his emotions. The happy ending was a feather in the cap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. Glad you liked the way the story turned out :)

      Delete
  8. Loved the way you have penned this post using three prompts Rashmi. Very positive story!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautifully incorporated all three prompts. motivational piece. I was trying to reach you from the comment that you left on my blog. but it was taking me elsewhere. pls check. -priya

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you for letting me know Priya, I will surely check out about that. And thank you for reading and liking the way the story turned out.

      Delete
  10. All three prompts in one post - hats off. Beautifully written, especially the emotions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Dipika :) Glad you liked the way this one turned out :)

      Delete
  11. You have cleverly incorporated all the prompts. And liked the way he didn't let his past stop from achieving great heights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Anshu! Glad you liked the story :)

      Delete
  12. This was so wonderfully done. You managed to incorporate all the prompts and so seamlessly too. Best of all I loved that he could make something of his life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so, so much Tulika! I am so glad to see you back here, and hope you read the other stories too :) happy that you have liked the way the story turned out.

      Delete
  13. I was finding it difficult to write on one prompt. You used all three and so beautifully! Wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Sunita :) What can I say, it was just one of those days :D

      Delete
  14. You never disappoint me, Rashmi! You've brilliantly captured the emotions of a kid from a broken family. And I loved how he used his adversity to pave a better future for him, a dream one at that. Clever usage of all the prompts. Well done, dear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Vinitha :) I am so glad you liked the story. And happy to have you back visiting the blog! Means a lot

      Delete
  15. Wow! You really used all the prompts and so well in one story. Not an easy task for sure. Good one there. Writing is such a thing. Isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Parul, writing is just the thing that makes us stretch our limits, no? So glad to have you back, visiting the blog!

      Delete
  16. What a well written story that was . The spiral, the dream, and the hope . i personally believe that divorce is a good way forward for the well being of parents who find themselves trapped. It’s tough on the kids no doubt but growing up is tough on everyone ! Even those from “happy homes”.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so agree with you there! And thanks so much for providing a different perspective. Yes, growing up is tough. Life is tough. And yes, it is important for the well being of parents to go through with divorce, if divorce is the only way out. So, yes, I agree with you there too. And that is why the story had to end the way it did. With the boy figuring out his path in life himself. Glad you read, liked and commented. Thank you

      Delete
  17. A fabulous story of bouncing back from adversities and making a success of his life. Great storytelling this is!!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts