Sanjeev Kotnala: How Unlock 1.0 is driving vivid dreams?

24 Jun,2020

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Dreams are part of life, but not many have lucid dreams or the power to script dreams. Many do not remember their dreams. However, during stressed times like coronavirus crisis, having intense vivid dreams and remembering them is not new.

It is already dark. My family is approaching Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border near Dhule. I can police contingent lined standing against the barrier. Their jeep has a mounted searchlight that catches our vehicle in full focus and stops. A tall policeman approaches our car. He has a revolver on his hand, and he asks us to step out. We are not supposed to cross the inter-state border during this unlock1.0 or something like that he says. We show him a medical certificate from the doctor. Nothing impresses him. We will now be placed in-home quarantine. However, our pet, Milo Kotnala, cannot join us. The Government will take care of him. I protest. Milo is at a distance, unaware of the developments. The policeman levels his revolver and aims at Milo.

I wake up with a start. I am sweating. I look at my mobile; it is 4 O’clock. I realise it was only a dream and then it strikes me, early morning dreams come true.

I know, it was a  classic nightmare. However, it is unlike coronavirus pandemic dreams that many people are having every night. My vivid dream was purely triggered not only because of  lack of clarity about unlock 1.0 but also because of our plan to leave Mumbai for some time.

We were to begin our journey in the next hour and we still did not know what was allowed and what was not. We, a literate and socially aware family, was confused and unsure if we will be allowed to enter Madhya Pradesh or will have to turn back.

We had information from far too many sources. It came from an industrialist friend at Indore, from an ex-editor of a large newspaper group. WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, chats, internet. Some friends had friends and relatives crossing the border in last few days. They shared their own encouraging stories loaded with if, but, paruntu, lekin, and maybe. They all were painting a vague picture in my mind.

We know the government has succeeded in many fronts and have failed in some critical areas.

We see pictures that will define the memory of the pandemic. The small kid at the railway platform, trying to wake up his already dead mother. The images of home returning workers walking long distances. People are lining up for food, unsure what life holds for them. There are serpentine queues at groceries stores. The police force is hitting people who dare to step out during lockdown. The corona Warriors being chased and mobbed. People pouring onto the streets during the PM famed call for Ghanti Bajao and Diya Jaloa. They are all worrisome.

We travel 590 km driving non-stop for nine-hours. Mumbai and Indore seem so much near. It is a drive-through wonderfully maintained roads, a smooth crossing of toll barriers with Fastag and hardly much traffic. Throughout the drive, we saw sights that unsettle you and question future possibilities.

People are out on the streets. The weekly market is in full flow, business is as usual, and that is good and bad. Loaded into small trucks are jam-packed people comfortable with each other. They are walking together, having tea at the stall, selling and buying fruit and vegetables. Nothing has changed, and it seems nothing will change. Most of the people we saw, let me try putting a number to it, more than 80 per cent of them were not wearing any mask, and it seems unaware of the concept and need of social distancing.

What could be causing this lack of discipline and disrespect for government instruction? Are they not worried of the consequences? Is it the result of utter Hopelessness? Don’t they know or do they believe none can help them. ? Or, is it because they believe Covid-19 will not harm them? Maybe for them, it is merely a big city problem.

You can fight an invisible virus by breaking the chain. What you can’t fight is ill-literacy, mindset coupled with  lack of transparent and simplified communication reaching everyone. Not everyone knows. However, everyone is surrounded by information sources that can only distort the picture.

During this period of coronavirus crisis, the government should have imposed and dictated compulsory information bulletin across all mass media to relay and share updates, clarifying positions. Maybe then the whole system could have been on the same page. The Governments across the nation failed to be responsible and to the citizens across the country. In fact instructions have been more complicated and confusing.

It should not surprise us. Our is a country where 98% of people believe God has saved them. About 1.4% believe precautions like sanitising, social distancing, masking and staying at home. Merely 0.6% give credit to Covid warriors like medical fraternity and police. The above is from a research report in WhatsApp. It may be a satire and may not be a fake, but I think it is not off-target. In this nation many believe in the power of collective praying. In such a situation, the opening of religious places at this stage is highly questionable.

During our drive, we saw no police anywhere on the 590 km of highway. No one questioned me. Nowhere I was asked for special permission and the famed e-pass. I am still unsure, what is right and what is wrong.

We took precautions. Before leaving, we law-abiding citizen got the family checked at a well-known clinic. We were certified not to be suffering from any cough-cold or fever.  We sanitised our car, wore mask and decided to travel nonstop. So we travelled in our safe bubble from one state to another.

In MP, at the society gate, our temperature was checked, and the car was sanitised.

Now, look at the absurdity. The guards were sanitising only vehicles coming from other states. The cars with MP number plates were allowed to cross the gate without any check. It can only happen when they believe that the virus will not attach itself to cars from Madhya Pradesh.

Lockdown was necessary. It was like the Chakravyuh. Everyone was in a hurry to implement but not ready with a plan to come out of it. No one fully understood the space and spectrum of its impact. No one knows much about it, We are slowly tackling it as and when we become aware of the implications and situation.

Glaring errors and difference of opinion are acceptable, but why this lack of transparent clear guidelines shared in a language that common man understand and not what is meant for the bureaucratic files, that people have to interpret them.

The unconscious mind meanwhile is busy triggering dreams. They have their foundation in emotions, experiences and expectations. They are psychological bursts, and in anxiety-driven situations become nightmares. The subconscious mind is trying to bridge the gap in an uncertain environment of unaware people. It is sometimes purely based on the difference between expectation and experiences. So, we are hearing of higher incidence of parasomnia (multiple time sleep breaking ) and increased dream recall.

There are nightmares. And then there are  reaction to the unknown and uncertain during waking hours. They will be the  real drivers of consumer reaction to any offerings in the market. Smaller towns and villages may not show any slack unless cases are reported from nearby areas. But, most of us are like the deer stuck in a headlight. Loaded with inertia. Confused between essentials- needs, wants and desires.

It may sound totally out of context, but for the economy to hit recovery in urban areas, we must tackle,  the ambiguously triggered vivid nightmare and the open-eyed dreams loaded with uncertainties. The consumer must gain some degree of certainty about the family and life per se. Some brands have tried priming the market so that the consumer is able to trust the information, be aware of the reality and have confidence on their actions and choices. It is important that the  uncertainty is reduced through proactive transparent information sharing.

The art of lucid dreaming and scripting the dreams can help people to overcome coronavirus pandemic dreams. However, to correct the market demand and supply, we need more of concrete actions. Otherwise, till then Zindagi Jhandwa phir bhi Gamadawa.


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