Sunday, March 24, 2013

oh dreams.. you are fascinating!!

It was an afternoon, a couple of weeks before I guess. After taking lunch, I was sitting on the cot. My laptop was placed on the cot with a song playing in windows media player. I could not recognize the song as I was hearing it for the first time. It started with a mild prelude, sort of a song in a melancholic situation. Suddenly there was a sound in between. What is that…? It’s like the sound of a vehicle horn and what’s the need for that in this song. I wondered. In another few seconds, I heard something falling down on the floor. I woke up suddenly and realized that I was in dream. The song I listened to and the horn sound I heard were in fact in the dream which I had a few minutes before during the nap. I saw my laptop screen and it was not even turned on at that time. 

Later after a few days, I heard the same song again while I was travelling in a town bus. It was from the tamil film ‘Paradesi’. Oh.. wait.. where is the horn sound? It was missing now. I wondered how. I mean, how the horn sound came into the dream. I still have no clue about how that sound came into my dream.

Yesterday afternoon, I had this dream that a granny was taking food in my house. I saw her eating fish curry with brinjal. She is a relative to my family, of the same age as my grandmother and used to visit my house often. I saw also in the dream the same day where a man of late 30s, may be diplomat, was walking in the corridor to meet his superior officer. He had a file in his hand and while walking, he drops a book by mistake. A young man takes it and opens it. In the first page there was written something and the handwriting was quite familiar to me. And that’s the end of the dream. I couldn’t remember whether these two incidents occurred in the same dream or in different but both happened while I was sleeping yesterday noon.

Not only these two incidents, there are quite a number of dreams which threw me a lot of questions. The basic questions are ‘how’ and ‘why’. In fact dream is one thing that fascinates me like anything. I am now obsessed with them for a few months to an extent that I started making a log of my own dreams in a separate notebook.

What is a dream?
Ok. What is a dream, by the way? One greatest advantage of internet is that it serves as a source of information for almost anything and everything. My obsession and curiosity made me spent considerable amount of time in searching over the internet for stuffs related to dreams. The more I read, the more I am interested in dreams.

Researchers define dream as a picture in your head that appears while sleeping, which may or may not be related to the events of our life. It can include anything ranging from images, thoughts, emotions, etc. It may be very very vague, or extraordinarily vivid, or scary enough to take away the rest of your sleep, or pleasant enough to make you smile for next couple of days. More importantly it may or may not be meaningful. This is the most interesting aspect and beauty of dreams. 

Dream researchers claim that sometimes our dreams have our own life incidents, like a replay, with certain unfamiliar events mixed up. Our dreams are a result of our actions and thoughts throughout the day which we incorporate them. Why we see them in our dreams is still a mystery to the researchers. Some say that they really do have a purpose while some others say that they don’t have sense at all. That’s the beauty of dreams. 

Why did I dream of the granny?

As told already that dreams are a reflection of our actions, I could relate some of my dreams (which I remember) very well with the events associated with my life. I deduced to some extent the reasons for the occurrences narrated above. When I slept yesterday, I was reading a novel. It is a memoir of an intelligence officer. I have started reading it only a few days before. It was so much interesting and impressive the way the author described his office, the corridors, and all. The corridor I saw in my dream was more or less same as how I imagined the office when reading the memoir. That could be the reason why I saw a man walking with a file in his hands. The booked he dropped resembled another book I had taken from district library a few weeks before.

The granny visited my house my a few days before. On that day my mother prepared fish and brinjal for lunch. She took lunch in our house and appreciated my mother for its deliciousness! That may have a reason how she jumped into my dream. A coincidence was that, my mother again made fish on the day I had this dream. 

That makes perfect sense. At the same time, they sometimes do not have any meaning at all, like the song and horn sound. In the above narrated incidents, the actions took place in my dream are those happened earlier in my life. There are also occurrences of dreams where the actions haven’t happened really but you may either want it or don’t want to happen in your life.

I used to go to an ice cream parlor with two of my best buddies while I was doing my post graduation. Once while chitchatting in the parlor, my friend told that what I will do if my project guide visits the shop now. Actually I was eluding from my professor at that time due to delay in the task I needed to accomplish. So she made such a statement just funnily. And that night I had the dream of sitting in the same ice cream shop with the same friends and suddenly there is a voice “Ashik... What a surprise!” A very friendly and familiar voice and Yes it’s my project guide. I was shocked. And that’s the end of the dream.

Simply saying, dream is all about our day to day actions and thoughts. The question of how a particular event is reflected in our dream is answered. The ‘why’ is still unanswered and the purpose still remains a mystery.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pepper Juice - homemade remedy for throat infections

Throat infection, sore throat or simply throat pain is a form of bacterial or sometimes viral infections. It often causes inflammation in tonsils, cough and cold. Most sore throats often get alright in 2 or 3 days without any medical treatment. At times it used to be quite annoying to an extent that we couldn’t fix our mind in work. 

Not only throat pain, whatever disease or infection hit us, we all want it to go away suddenly. We run off to doctors, he gives medicines and it works fine. But we often forget the handy, homemade remedies available in our home itself. I’d like to say ‘not aware’ rather than ‘forget’ because most of us do not know about such easy and very effective remedial measures. As for throat pain, it can be cured with just a pinch of pepper. Looks quite easy, isn’t it?

I like to call it Pepper Juice. Let’s see how to prepare it. Its not a very big deal. Anyone can make it easily with the availability of a glass of hot water and pepper powder. enough. There is no kitchen without pepper powder in it I hope.
Take a pinch or two of pepper powder and put it in a glass of water, say 200 ml. If you think it will be too spicy, add a small piece of jaggery cube to the mixture. If it is not spicy enough you feel, add one more pinch of pepper powder. Boil the mixture till it gets warmer. That’s it. Pepper Juice is ready. 
Drinking the extract once in every 3 or 4 hours while having throat infection will give you instant and effective remedy. The next day will be a day with a great relief. Why go to doctor when you have a handy remedy! Your time and money are saved.

Not only this throat infection, pepper can also be used as an effective medicine for other infections, cold, and mainly toxic contents in our food. There is a proverb well said about pepper’s significance. 

பத்து மிளகு இருந்தால் பகைவன் வீட்டிலும் சாப்பிடலாம்.

It means that when you have pepper with you, you can even eat at your enemy’s den. Such an effective natural medicine it is. Adding pepper to our daily food will improve immunity generally. Let’s utilize it effectively for own benefits.  

P.S: The entire credit for this post goes to my mother!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Satyajit Ray's Indigo Stories

Visiting library has many great benefits. One can come across variety of books, old ones, rare editions, precious and valuable books, new arrivals, etc. I do visit my district's central library often. It has a very big reference section with numerous very useful books. Once while glancing through the English Literature section, I came across this book Indigo Stories. It is a collection of Bengali short stories written by the famous Indian cinema director Satyajit Ray. 

Two reasons why I chose to read this book. First, the name Satyajit Ray drew me towards the book that I instantly took it from the shelf. I have known the great man only as a filmmaker but never knew that he has published stories too. In fact, most directors are writers themselves. Aren’t they? Next thing, it’s a collection of short stories. I prefer to read short stories rather than hundreds of pages of novels with only one story.

‘Indigo Stories’ has horror, fantasy, adventure, magic and supernatural stories. They were translated into English by Gopa Majumdar and some of them were translated by Ray himself. All of them look seemingly very simple and average. Yet  they hold the attention of the readers with a humorous narration, suspenseful plot and fantasy elements, like other similar works of Ray. 

The characters in the stories, their lives and the places are very ordinary, yet they land in unimaginable and extraordinary circumstances. In the segment The Scarecrow, a writer gets stranded near a paddy field on his way to the city and encounters the scarecrow in the field that becomes alive. In I am Ghost, a ghost occupying an abandoned burnt bungalow tells about its past life and how it is to be a ghost. In The Case of Mrigaonko Babu, the protagonist feels that he has not evolved as a complete human being. Another one Patel Babu - Film Star tells the story of an artist who strives for excellence and perfection rather than fame and wealth. In the titular Indigo, a traveler who takes shelter for one night in an old lonely bungalow encounters bizarrely the events happened over a century before. Likewise, each and every tale has its own charm and elegance. A few characters became unforgettable once I finish reading them. In one way or other, we can connect them with the events in our own life to some extent.

Satyajit Ray - pioneer of Indian cinema
Ray was quite imaginative, a quality that is a mandate for a creator. He has had an endless fascination towards supernatural and ghost fantasies. That’s how most of the tales turn out to be of such genre. Through the stories, Ray presents us with the beautiful, aesthetic valued Bengal of 1950s, its people, lifestyle, the environment and surroundings. In addition to this,

Above all, the most inviting aspect I find in this book is that they are very crisp and clear. No story lasts for more than 10 pages, no unwanted contents. Very apt for slow readers and lazy people like me! No problem in losing the continuity. 

Simply speaking, Indigo Stories is a treat and treasure to the voracious readers especially those who are very much fond of short and fictional stories. 

Happy reading...