When he opened his eyes and became aware that he was now fully awake, he started wondering what it all meant. That dream. Of course it wasn’t very easy to get back to reality. It had been a deep struggle between his thoughts and his heart. But then he had to come out of it and live in the real world. He sat silently on his bed for a few minutes replaying whatever he could recall of that strange dream. He never had such a dream since the day he had come to this place. Was it supposed to signify anything? He looked up. And saw the casement above. Sunlight was streaming through it. The light bloated on straight like a bridge till it hit the walls. He could see particles of dust swimming in the light. He stared at the walls and the dusty cobwebs that hung at the corners as he wondered.
He had heard stories about dreams that prophesied or gave a peek into the distant future. He remembered the story of Prophet Joseph and his skills at interpreting dreams. He had heard from people who used to suffer every night from terrible nightmares. Of course, it wasn’t that he had dreamt for the first time. Dreaming was as much a routine task for him as it was for any other person. He rose up in the midst of his thoughts and walked to the door which was shut. He looked around and saw the walls staring in his face.
He then walked back to his bed and slumped back on it. And soon it all started coming back, first in bits and pieces and then in large chunks. He saw himself surrounded by people. He could see that he was calling them friends. He couldn’t make out whether they were glad about his being there with them but then it seemed that no one cared about this question. This question was irrelevant and unnecessary. He could see himself smile and laugh and talk. He cracked jokes and could see people laughing their hearts out. He even danced with them. Of course even in the dream he was a bad dancer. But then he danced for the eagerness with which they had pulled him to join the fun. He jumped around throwing his limbs frantically in every direction. His friends laughed at him when he danced. And often he passed a cheeky comment and pulled his friends’ legs, all the time making sure that it was all done in a spirit of fun. And thus he was basking in this warmth and togetherness when suddenly he realized that he was dreaming.
He couldn’t remember what had awoken him up, but he remembered how useless and doleful he had felt when he had realized that it was all a dream. Because when his eyes opened and light rushed into them, he could see that everything had disappeared. The only things that he saw were walls- high and strong and which stood around him like sentinels. Walls that stood a few feet away from him and which demarcated his territory and his life from the rest of the world. And of course the iron bars which made up the gate and to which a small board was hung that read- ‘Cell No. 34’.