Paromita Vohra: The rain's small hands
I love those monsoon days which are so dark, you have to put the lights on inside. The rain, constant and mist-like, hides me from the world and the world from me. The light, unchanging, masks time, allowing me to pretend it isn't passing. The embryonic monsoon day offers you an excuse to be alone for no reason.
Like many people I feel guilty about loving these rainy days. There are so many people who don't have the luxury to stay in, or even have an 'in' to stay in.
Nevertheless, I can't help giving in to the secrecy of the light, the pause of time, the feeling that someone is listening very attentively to what I am feeling.
That person might even be me.
How easy it was to give in to dreaming when we were young, needing no art-directed climate or special time. I have daydreamed in buses and autos, college canteen and class. I have daydreamed my way into a crisis as deadlines slid by and out of a crisis as I allowed my brain a clearing to escape into. I have daydreamed myself into romances by letting the possibility take shape and out of heartbreak. I have daydreamed whole stories and films, not to mention titles of films, and more importantly, party drinks and brunch menus. In daydreams I have conjured up outfits, chanced upon unexpected colour combinations, solved philosophical puzzles and, sometimes, just architected beautiful naps.
Still, I'm guilty about it. If friends text "what are you up to?", when I'm sitting on my windowsill staring pointlessly and myopically at the wet tree with its million leaves shimmying like flapper girls in the rain, I mostly lie, "oh working". Sometimes I sheepishly say, "just dreaming" but with a "he he" for irony because what kind of manic-pixie-dream-girl thing is that to say?
How did someone with my degree in daydreaming become so anxious and apologetic about it? Maybe dreaminess is only allowed to lissome young girls, with trailing arms and limpid eyes? Maybe it's not political enough. Daydreaming's subversions, like the pleasures of song, are too hard to count, control and scale up. Maybe daydreaming is so cussedly individual it destabilises every collective imperative from revolution to fascism.
Our night dreams are uncensored but we forget them. Our daydreams are a slow and inexorable unfettering — the forgetting of schedules, the letting go of productivity, savouring of thoughts for fun, instead of deployment for retweets, the consciousness of unkempt fantasy in a world of neat normativity, the questioning of inevitable realities, the invention of wicked jokes. You may discover you want to get divorced, that you love people of your own sex or more than one sex, you may keep secrets and ohemgee, come up with ways to actualise them.
Daydreams are bad, characterless girls in an era whose pillars are puritanical productivity, return on investment, the individual valued only as brand and strait-laced market friendly feminisms. This era, with its consolidated publics and markets is waiting obediently at the door of surveillance and does not believe in the right to privacy.
So quick! Secretly put your hand in the rain's small hands and make some daydreaming time. Just remember, do not Whatsapp your daydreams to anyone unless you're courting arrest (by Surya) in your dreams.
Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. Reach her at www.parodevipictures.com
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