Paradise Of Dreams

A sweet scent engulfed the air. Pure musk, with the aroma of fresh damp roses. Light, cool breeze breathing gently over my skin. A soft, thick blanket keeping me warm. I opened my eyes, a pastel blue sky smiling at me with sheer happiness. I felt a moist quilt covering me up, sending me into a dilemma if it was there or not. One moment, it cocooned me into its warmth, encompassing me, but when I touched it, empty. There was nothing. Confused, I got up to look at it but instead, all my emotions and feelings were left awestruck as my eyes took in its surroundings but my brain did not. Everything around me reflected joy and positivity. The first thing that my brain could process was deep blue water. A silk textured surface and perfect, synchronizing waves. No, it was not a normal lake or river. The water shined bright, as if welcoming towards it. It pulled me towards its glory, so I tried to get up. Again, I felt the velvety blanket engulfing me. I looked down, and what met my eyes left me spellbound. It was pure white, resembling raw cotton. I extended my hand towards it, my heart pounding. As the tips of my fingers reached it, I shut my eyes, not knowing what to expect. But alas, I felt nothing. My mind raced, comprehending. I exclaimed to myself, ‘Cloud! It is a cloud!’ The cloud waved away, leaving me standing there in nothingness.
As my understanding tried putting pieces of what my eyes saw together, I felt it again. Another cloud. Where was I? Confused, I decided to move towards the water, searching for answers. As I reached its bank, the water splashed along its surfaces. Thirsty, I stretched my palm, dunking gently into the water. Silk and cold met my hand. How could this be water? As I brought my hand towards me, I noticed it was clear, almost transparent. Deciding to take a sip, the water touched my lips. As the first few drops of water reached my throat, I let out a moan. I could feel my body relaxed, refreshed. In more clear words, satisfied. A voice suddenly spoke out of nowhere. ‘It is the holy tributary. This water.’ I turned around, searching for the speaker. There was no one. ‘You can’t see me dear, but I have all the answers you need.’  The voice was masculine, edged with a heavy, intense tone. ‘This water is spiritual, the provider of life. It has gone through intense stages to reach here’, the speaker explained. ‘And where am I? Why does this place hold a comforting significance?’, I asked. No answer. I waited, but the voice had disappeared it seemed. But his words kept running all over my mind. The water going through intense stages reminded me of a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge titled Kubla Khan. The poet describes the intense stages a holy river goes through.

‘Where Alph, the sacred river, ran through caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea. Through wood and dale, the sacred river ran, through caverns measureless to man, and sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean’ -Kubla Khan

The water here, after being put through circumstances and stages measureless to humankind, provides eternal satisfaction to one who drinks from it. As my mind processed this thought, the voice spoke again, ‘There are no restrictions here. You get what your mind dwells for. You long for autumn, and crisp brown leaves with breezy weather come up. You can live the best of your dreams here.’ I thought for a while, and again the poem Kubla Khan came up in thought.

‘It was a miracle of rare device, a sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice, I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome, those caves of ice’ –Kubla Khan

Caves of ice- hollow shelters made of glazing gold snow, with stalactites and stalagmites forming crisp lanterns above. Cold comfort, rescuing you from scorching heat, the translucent walls providing light. ‘An ice cave is what I long for’, I answered. ‘And you shall have it’, the voice announced. A dome suddenly came into appearance, glittering. It resembled an igloo, but much larger in size. I could not believe how utmost perfect it was, just like I wanted it to be. As I came nearer, a soothing cool wind brush past me, letting me know I was welcomed. Through a narrow opening of the cave, I entered. All I could feel was safe. My body had relaxed, even in this unknown land, because the ice cave enveloped me in its save haven. A shelter always provides protection, but not often to the mind. But this was my dream, and my mind stood at complete ease with what I desired for. A bench made of white ice stood at a corner. The gold walls of the cave dripping glitters of gold over the white. Wearing a smile, I approached the bench and felt its surface. It was cool but not chilling, designed for a human body to sit on it. The voice echoed again as I sat down, ‘Take in the comforting embrace child, before it disappears. Not everyone is blessed with such a bounty.’ Listening to his soothing words, I drifted off to a relaxed sleep.
‘Live the dream before it ends’, came a voice. I opened my eyes, finding myself waking up from the most peaceful sleep. ‘Child, wish for more, for you shall have it only here.’ Kubla Khan’s words surrounded me once again.

‘And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; and here were forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery’

My imagination was already looking at a vast land of lush green grass, with huge forest trees, captivating visitors with its detailed beauty. ‘A forest, with gigantic lines of trees flowing out of eyesight, a long-stretched pathway flowing out right in the midst of it.’, I said out loud. In the blink of an eye, two lines of majestic forest trees came to life. And right there, in the middle of this, the pathway I dreamt of. Walking along that path- a smooth graveled edge, I felt many emotions. But as I continued my route, one became the most prominent. Hope. That road had no end, yes, there were a few bumps and breaks, but no stops. Life continues to bring hope, it seemed. Through thick and thin, the trees around give you hope. Their enormous size was aspiring. How they might have gone through different stages over their journey of growing strong, sometimes the sun’s heat could be scorching, there were days like those. How standing firm in hope was a task not every plant had accomplished. Moving their way through hardships, today they stood tall, confident. No floods, heat or climatic changes could weaken their roots. They had grown with nourishment, with experience. ‘What more, my child? What else would make you happy?’, the voice asked again. With Kubla Khan’s verses ringing in my head, I quoted a verse from her poem.

‘And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me her symphony and song, to such a deep delight, ‘twould win me, that with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air.’

A symphony of tunes is what I longed for. What might complete my paradise. Before I could complete my thoughts, a humming sound ringed through the skies. A soft melody, soothing to the ears capturing my attention. Hearing it made me feel utmost peace. No worries could destroy me now, with this peace providing motivation. ‘This amazes you, doesn’t it?’ For a few moments, I kept quiet. All of this, the lake, caves and forest were symbolizing something. How did my dreams come true? How could I get anything I wanted or wished for? What was nature trying to tell me? I needed answers.
‘Where am I? What is this place and what are these happenings trying to tell me? Is this an actual paradise? But how do I still feel my body? Eternity after death was for souls, wasn’t it?’, I asked. ‘The land you stand on is holy, everything here is holy because of its owner. ‘You find everything you want here because it is that person who makes it happen. Your happiness is the goal here. It’s not you who finds everything here, but the keeper, by whose command all good finds you. Your joy is a treasure cherished here.’, the voice replied. ‘And who are you?’, I asked, curiosity building up. ‘I speak on behalf of this person, their feelings for you,’ came the answer. ‘But what significance do I hold for whoever this is? Why do I matter so much? I am just another human being with hidden flaws.’, I thought out loud. ‘This place is your safe haven; you learn to become a better human being here. No matter how hard it takes to protect you, you will always be shielded from all thorns.
Where would you find these bounties, dear child, if not here? Water, ice, greenery and musical melodies are treasures found in the depths of earth too. Yes, my child, but you won’t find water that provides eternal satisfaction, or ice that makes you feel protected from all evil, or a forest expressing ever-lasting hope or soothing tunes showering imperishable peace. Nature, with utmost perfection, provided you with this place. You nurtured in her love- who brought you to life, and cared for you with all her heart. This my dear is your mother’s embrace, her never-ending love. You were born in her arms and it is under her caress that you shall always find your paradise. Always.’

-Sakina Tinwala
Ajman, UAE

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