A few months ago Appa woke up on a morning and told me about an intriguing dream he’d had. He was back home in India with some of his relatives and there popped up my brother’s younger son. In Appa’s dream our nephew acted as a guide, smoothly walking them through a variety of touristic sites.
As usual in dreams, the boy’s role hardly struck Appa as surprising. He simply happened to be there. He was knowledgeable and comfortable enough to tell them stories about typically Indian places.
We’ll never know what brought this French nephew into Appa’s Indian dream. He is my brother’s youngest child but the first one Appa ever met, as a fair-haired elf of a toddler brought along by his parents on a trip to New York more than a decade ago. Since then he has grown into a witty kid, a dog lover, a builder, a structure climber, and an avid reader of fantasy stories. Joyful most of the time except in the first hour of the day when he looks more like a spaced-out Wolverine.
Maybe he turned up in Appa’s dream because of his curiosity for a vast array of subjects. Maybe because of his general ease that sometimes borders on nonchalance. You’d need to be quite anxiety-free to perform as a French touristic guide to Indians in India… I also wonder in what language that would be, although this kind of practical detail is often skipped over in dreams.
What strikes me about this dream is that it suggests our multicultural family has made its way to the depths of Appa’s mind. If my brother’s son appears in his Indian dream, not as an out of place character but as someone who can navigate India fluidly, doesn’t it mean that the borders we have crossed consciously are also crossed, or even at times blurred, in our subconscious?
I feel that’s what the dream reflects: our worlds, as we perceive them, have become porous in ways we don’t necessarily grasp entirely when we think articulate thoughts about them. They are different but they are no longer fully distinct and contained in our perception. They sometimes flow into each other and we don’t control when and how it’s happening.
I don’t claim to understand the meaning of the dream but I do believe it has a meaning. Not simple and unequivocal but inspiring and rich enough to nurture further thoughts. Appa’s dream has also made me aware that Minette and I might too have dreams that conflate our cultures and languages in surprising ways. This might be just the first installment of a multicultural dream catcher series…