OPN 200501 Girl sleeping in her bed-1588323047505
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“Do you see familiar faces when you dream, or do you see faces and places of unknown people too? This lockdown is bringing on strange dreams.” My son wondered aloud to me.

The period of Coronavirus quarantine bears witness to many people having vivid dreams, bizarre and at times weird. The dreamscape is painted with myriad metaphors of impending doom, the virus attack and lockdown woes.

Jenny, my ex-colleague dreamt that she was riding a chestnut coloured horse, cantering on barren territory, the road got narrower and narrower as she galloped to a dead end and the world behind her seemed to have shut down too, when she tried going back.

It is also said that a bat protects other animals from diseases. (That sounds so contradictory to our current situation). For a correct interpretation of the dream, you must remember that a bat clings upside down, and therefore it has a reverse image and perception of the world

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She woke up with a start, relieved that it was just a dream. Did it mean anything? Everyone acquainted with me knew that though I didn’t really agree with every line of Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, I believed in the analysis of dreams, it helped in the therapy of troubled souls.

It’s a foray into the subconscious crevices of the mind, a journey that brings to the fore our fears, desires and repressed feelings.

The other night I dreamt that as I lay reading a book, a green, venomous viper twirled itself around my foot, it hurt me so much that I tried to scream, but couldn’t. I was momentarily paralyzed.

When the pain got worse, I awoke. What did the dream mean? Was there a hidden message for me? Usually dreaming of a snake signifies inner turmoil or forewarning of changes to come.

School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

However, I feel that the serpent came into my dreams because I had just read that a pit viper was discovered during an expedition to Arunachal Pradesh in India. The researchers named the snake Trimeresurus Salazar, after a character from Harry Potter- Salazar Slytherin.

Salazar Slytherin was one of the founders of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was known for his ability to talk to snakes. This piece of news remained ensconced in my mind as I found it so interesting.

Nina woke up with a cold sweat as she dreamt that she was walking down an aisle in a grocery shop when suddenly a packet of cornflakes fell down from the shelf and a number of bugs that look like the coronavirus poured out at great speed and began crawling towards her.

Her fear of getting infected by the virus was clearly reflected in her dream. She has sworn not to eat cornflakes for a long time now.

Another friend was out of breath as she dreamt that the mask she was wearing, was suffocating her. She tried to take it off but it just wouldn’t budge. Her husband, who is a doctor, was walking towards her from a distance.

She screamed for help but as he was running towards her a mob of angry people stopped him. Abusing, hurling accusations at him for not being able to save them from the virus.

Our wake-up alarms

Due to more hours of sleep and because we have done away with our wake-up alarms, we tend to recall our dreams vividly now, during this era of Covid and self-quarantine. The stress caused by the pandemic can be witnessed in the form of imageries in the nocturnal world of the subconscious mind.

The other day I woke up to a message from my brother, in London. It said, “I had the spookiest of dreams ever. As I walked back home from the subway, in the dark shadow of the night, there was a colony of bats waiting for me. They seemed angry, vicious and ruthless. They attacked me as I unlocked the door and went into my house. Now I cannot sleep.”

Well, let me tell you what the Chinese believe. They interpret a bat infested dream as a prediction of five opportunities: peace, wealth, virtue, longevity and death without suffering.

It is also said that a bat protects other animals from diseases. (That sounds so contradictory to our current situation). For a correct interpretation of the dream, you must remember that a bat clings upside down, and therefore it has a reverse image and perception of the world.

But I would say that the dream plainly represented the “BATS”! Like Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Navanita Varadpande is a writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @navanitavp