I dont mean aspirations. But those dreams that help you pass the night, bring forth old memories, those you had long forgotten or deemed irrelevant.

I don’t usually remember my dreams. Those few minutes after waking up, bleary eyed, wishing you could stay wrapped up in the warm bedsheets for a bit longer is when every fine detail is fresh in my memory.

After being caught up in life’s rigmarole and attending to mundane activities…the memory of the dream slowly fades. Fades til there’s no recollection, no stain, not even a drop of what aided my restful or restless sleep.

At times, I have woken up…to find my eyes moist. What lead me to cry, what events took place, what conversations happened, who I met, hugged, laughed with, cried with when my soul wandered in the dead of the night whilst my body lay lifeless I don’t know.

At one point I even resorted to keeping a dream diary. Right next to my bed. To jot down the dreams I had, in an attempt to decipher some hidden meaning or to allow me to re-visit mistakes made and serve as a reminder on how to avoid repeating them. To discover why I dreamt what I dreamt.

I only made 2 entries in the diary, then abandoned it. Idea was good, sticking to it proved difficult.

But the dream I had last night, made me yearn to once again become a child. We scoffed at hearing school days were the best days of your life. “What sad grown ups. School? fun? Aye right” But they were. Wasnt so much the academic side of schooling, but everything else. The friends, the playground politics, the teachers, the mischevious behaviour during breaks. A life with no worries (apart from homework and/or exams), no real responsibilities (turning homework in on time wasn’t a “real” responsibility) no need to concern yourself with how awful the world outside was. The school and its enclosure was your world.

I was once again able to revisit this world last night. Seen people I hadn’t thought of in years. Wandered the grounds I had played in, hopscotched on, ran across, heard the skipping rope patting on the hard concrete…to a rhythmic beat. Recall being awe struck at seeing some people, pointed them out to my friends “oh theres such and such! She hasnt changed a bit!” (Although we were all at school, and the bell had gone signalling the end of the day….it didn’t seem weird in the slightest we were in our 20s and still at school!! But thats dreams for you. They aren’t meant to be rational or appeal to reasoning)

Felt a pang of sorrow throughout this visit, as the realisation was forever hanging over me like a dark cloud that this WAS just a visit. How I miss being a child.

Another dream which remains firmly etched in my memory is one which took place a few months ago. I was at my paternal grandmothers home. I had been sent there to attend to the household chores; I was a maid.

As I approached the house…my bosom swelled and my eyes began to well up. I was about to see my Baey Jee (Daadi) for the first time after she passed away 5 years ago. I chapped on the metal door…more a light dull thud than a chap…and entered in slowly. The sun shone into the courtyard, its yellow rays bouncing off the cold white marbled floor. The walls whitewashed. A string bed (manjee) lying to the left. Rooms off the right hand side, the mosquito netted doors closed.

She was standing in the middle of the courtyard. She had been expecting me. She smiled at me. She looked healthy. Her cheeks had a pink glow to them, skin unblemished and toned tight like the skin on a drum. Dark hair tumbling down her shoulders, not a glint of grey or white. Brown eyes sparkled the way glass shards sparkle when light catches their edges.

I turned to her and asked whether she recognised me…knew who I was? She didnt reply. Simply smiled. “Its Sumera, Baey Jee” I answered my own question…my voice cracking and quivering, tone almost pleading in the hope she recognised me.

Deep within I yearned for her to ask me to sit down…and talk to her. Talk whilst she held my hand in her papery thin hands, a canvas bearing the years of toil and hard work, and pat my hand gently, sweep the hair off my face and tuck it behind my ear in the absent minded manner she used to do. Look at me with a loving gaze, in which decades of love, wanting and aspirations had been woven and smile at me warmly…the smile that brought you the same peace and sense of ease as sipping a mug of hot chocolate on a bitter cold winters day brings

Her smile remained unchanged. The look on her face remained the same as when I first entered the home…as her maid. She knew who I was…but had waited for me to say it. “Sumera” she repeated and smiled. The tears that had welled up in my eyes finally cascaded down my face….I buried my face in my hands..and I sobbed…sobbed hard. I woke up doing the same.

I miss you Baey Jee. Daddy misses you a lot. He misses talking to you. He misses not seeing you around. He cries every now and then when he thinks of you. We all miss you very much.

May Allah (swt) grant her Jannat-al Firdous, forgive her and show Mercy to her. May He (swt) illuminate her grave and reward her for the troubles she entailed during her lifetime.

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