Monday, November 10, 2008

The Streets of Mumbai

I'm starting this blog after setting it up almost two years ago. I'm not sure why today. Maybe because of the dreams I've had the past two nights. I'm wondering if maybe this whole blog should be about my dreams, because they are my guide and my inspiration.

I just finished reading Rajendar Menen's book "Karma Sutra, Essays from the Margin." The book is a compendium of interviews with street people, and the vast majority are prostitutes, though not all of them. Since I've been to Mumbai, and to many of the places he writes about, I have strong images of some of the scenes he offers.

Two nights in a row, I have dreamed about characters who might have been in the book. I say "might have been" because they sprang from my dream world, perhaps not from the real world that Menen writes about.

The first dream was about a man passing his business on to his son. He was a truck driver, and his son didn't really want to become a truck driver, so he was posing difficult situations to his father, like, "What will happen if someone steals from me?" or "What will happen if I have a deadline and I need to sleep?" He wanted to find an excuse, but every objection he raised was answered by his father. "You will find a way. You will get the things back. You will drink strong tea and sleep later."

So finally, the son said, "You're right. There's nothing to do." It was his fate and he accepted it.

The second dream was last night. I dreamed about a gigolo. I remember him vividly because he was quite handsome with thick, dark eyebrows, dark hair and flashing eyes. He was perhaps Muslim or maybe from the South. He was wearing a bright royal blue shirt. He was trying to seduce me and get my money. And I had no money, although I looked rich.

So finally I went to him and sat very close so that our noses were almost touching. And I said, "Look, I know you're trying to scam me, but I don't care."

He said, "Really?" and I reassured him that it was okay. Maybe I was taking on the role of the reporter, like Menen. Maybe I was trying to answer my own questions, because I've been asking myself, "How did he do this? How did he support himself? How did he decide it was what he wanted to do?"

I've been trying to dream my way into a new profession lately (as if I could ever escape being a writer). But perhaps trying to dream myself into something more pressing, like working in one of Mother Theresa's hospices, for instance - anything that could take over for the kinds of boring day jobs I've consigned myself to over the years.

So as a fiction writer, I sometimes wonder how I imagine fictional characters. Where do they come from? I know in a way, they are real, somehow fashioned from the clay of those whom I've met or lived with or known. Sometimes I just pull them out of the ethers. Sometimes I dream them into form.

1 comment:

Moineau En France said...

o silent sparrow, humble woman! i am so glad that i discovered your blog today! i want to keep reading your dreams; it's fascinating to me that one would set goals based on her dreams. do you keep a dream journal? it seems to me like that would be the only way for me to remember my dreams. as i said in my latest poem, i can't seem to hold on to my dreams, and that's the truth. but when i awaken, at that very instant, they seem so complete, a mini movie, sometimes so complex that it stuns. your dreams are like that, and i love your analyses.

i can't wait to keep reading your entries, stirling. what a fabulous idea, and i just know it's going to help you in your writing. and making it a communicative process, well, that can only help it even more, at least i hope that will be the case for you.

you are a fascinating woman and i am definitely head over heels for you, and now your gorgeous and wise prose! how lucky we are that you are in the world, filling it with your dreams. xoxoxox ~lt