The Dreamer by Subhadra Jayaraman

What am I but a collection of my dreams? Well, I am more a collection of my Dreamer personalities. How is that different you ask? If I am a collection of my various dreams – that translates to me being a sort of smoothie, blended using different ingredients that are my dreams. That personality is finite. That personality is predictable. That personality is predetermined, with very less scope of expansion. I dream, I am what I dream, and I am a collection of some dreams that fought to manifest themselves.

However, when I define myself as a collection of Dreamers, I now become something like a map instead of a smoothie – an atlas, if I may. An endless, perpetually unfinished, vibrant, diverse layout that begs to be explored, traversed, and unraveled. I can dream infinitely and keep adding to my interminable mosaic!

While that sounds exhilarating, it can be quite a task for one person to deconvolute this tangled web of Dreamer personalities and find any Non-Dreamers in there occasionally. It sounds almost like a disorder – multiple personalities in one individual can only mean they are crazy! But there is a characteristic of Dreamers that turns this narrative from a Tell Me Your Dreams into the Autobiography of a Yogi in an instant. And that is the power of the subconscious – needy yet peaceful, energetic yet timid, imaginative yet humble. As I acknowledge the Dreamers in me, I realize that they also need to be named and recognized for the roles they play in my life, and hopefully I am able to identify all of them here.

1. The Day Dreamer: This one is the looming giant in the map that I am (you may think of her as the Asia). She loves sunlight, bus rides, and cafes. She also likes the doctor’s office and the hair salon. When I have a few minutes to myself in a day and need to relax or avoid screen-time, she is often there with me, reminding me of a time when we trekked mountains, or conjuring up a romantic wine tour, or sometimes calmly planting the tiny seed of doubt about whether I left the freezer door open at home…

2. The Intruding Dreamer: She wants to be heard only when my ears are occupied. She loves lab meetings, interviews, and seminars. Occasionally she likes long telephone calls. Other people call this phenomenon “zoning out”, but only I know what is happening. One minute I am listening to a TED talk on immunity and the next I am in a hilltop cottage sipping coffee – she is so gradual that sometimes I tend to think I am listening to the TED talk from the cottage! She is sneaky and makes me want to scream, but she is quite benevolent and without her I would have come out of some meetings 50 years older and none the wiser.

3. The Focused Dreamer: She is the Professor McGonagall of my Dream space. She is the no-nonsense obsessive planner. She is most active after an already active bout. She doesn’t like to just tickle my brain and ignore my physical behavior – she will make sure her whispers Transfigure into actions ASAP! She can be quite unreasonable though in making me dream about an amazing vacation and then immediately making me plan the entire itinerary right away!

4. The Incomplete Dreamer: Now she is quite a complicated personality – she usually loves to be by herself and not bother me or her Dreamer sisters very much, but she has a knack for giving up whenever she pleases. I am starting to think she runs on exceptionally poor grade battery. She is unpredictable and doesn’t have an agenda usually. She waltzes in when I am doing the dishes with a story of how it would feel if I were to win the Nobel Prize and infuriatingly disappears just as they announce the nominees! And I just have to wait for her to appear the next time to take it up where we left off.

5. The Obnoxious Dreamer: When I am riding a crowded subway train, she suddenly pops up and wonders how it would be if I were to sing really loudly and start dancing – she makes it sound so real that my heart beats faster just out of fear that I might actually do it! And another day she reminds me of a hilarious joke my friend told me and to make it more interesting she replays all the events leading up to the joke first, and I find myself grinning like a half-witted baboon as passers-by avoid walking near me. I dare say I would have more dignity without her.   

6. The Mindful Dreamer: I am a yogi. I can control my emotions, breathe that anger away, and take on the world with my unruffled demeanor. I understand that there are things in this world outside of my control and it is futile to get worked up over them. I find happiness within myself and don’t spend my energy hunting for it in things and people. That’s what she said.

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