10. Allegories

“I have missed you all” I felt alive resting my arms on the podium and looking at the young faces. Irfan was seated in the front row, in the company of the vibrant yet sleepy faces.

“I have been dreaming a lot, lately. Dreaming of Sophia and Vyasa, narrating poems and riddles, telling me that I am sick, well, who is not? And no, Sophia is not my girlfriend’s name she is the Greek Goddess who is known to hold the virtue of knowledge and philosophy. Lucid dreams. They are really fun, you know. Any experiences?”

Irfan raised his hand, surprisingly enough to his invert behaviour.

“I have been dreaming a series. Every night, I write before falling asleep and the dreams are always comprehensive to the writings. Last night, I wrote how I was missing home, and I dreamt about sitting next to my father and reading the Quran. The Quran because it was a school assignment once, back at my place.”

Poor boy had to vindicate reading a religious text for the sake of his sustenance. “Ah, interesting Aadesh. Maybe, you should write the dream and follow where a single thought takes you. If the magic is happening, use the ink and your wand wisely.”

A girl raised her hand from the extreme left corner of the class, a brunette wearing a plain black T-shirt. The sight of a new face trying to build the discussion had always been aesthetically pleasing.

“I never understood the concept, the sub-consciousness is frail and it never means anything practical. How does it even matter?”

Just the question I was waiting for, the class response is the usual, inspiring enough to answer my own queries.

“Well, I ask myself the same question, but then again poetry has taught me to look beyond and believe in abstract matter. So you tell me, the practical world? Is it all we have to comprehend? This classroom, a few more places to be and then the bed. I suppose we need to be reminded to imagine and flow out of the concrete life we live. The meaning might be obscured, but the dream will help your friend, Aadesh to write tonight.” I ended my explanation with a calm smile.

“Oh, sure, inspires us to be out of the box. But, the world rarely allows us the freedom, this is one class where we are taught to get out and the others preach discipline and concrete methods that shall never be questioned.”

“A bright mind burning there, I can see the vibrant proportion of your curiosity. Why don’t you, my friend, write us a piece that deals with this conflict. Dreams vs Reality? You can capture grades out of this, and some perception of your way to live. Let me know the name.”

“My name is Floressa, sir. It sounds fun.”

“Perfect. So there is this literal tool, called the allegory. Allegory dominated the ancient poetry. From Piers Plowman in the English to the Romance of the Rose in French, the poems engaged allegory via dreams. In Langland’s Piers Plowman, the protagonist dreams and meets characters like faith, vice and virtue. And well, his life is sorted once he wakes up. Catch the cues, Floressa. Although, I will be really happy if you record subjective stats. So, dreaming will help you, class. To write and understand the abstract of experiences that we read in literature. Well then, go home and dream, I guess?”

I picked up my register and felt my heart beat in a rhythm that has always been soothing. I am not sick, at least not here in the world of words and allegories. Rest, I shall wait for the universe to address me again.

*This is the last chapter that shall be uploaded to the blog. Hopefully, I will get the whole story public once threaded along in print. Also, here is more of a teaser, the next ten chapters will be under the account of Irfan’s narration.*


2. Styx and Ganges

Irfan, the name I feared to hear. The name my father gave me. The name that meant to be thankfulness. The name that shall make me die if heard by the people. I had no clue of my whereabouts, I was in the refugee boats supplied by the European Union, left the land of terror but being dumped under 50 men made no difference to my being. Just the lack of oxygen and no light of the sky that seemed dead to me. I didn’t know where my father was, my mother was taken up by the flare of the terror, all that’s left of my decent was my name, Irfan and the stories in my head from the Quran. My name was to die if I got the chance to breathe in the air again on the European soil, the man strictly called out that no Muslim shall board the boat.

My father never came to the boat, for that we had to cut the sacred form of the beard and he believed that religion should be accompanied by the sense of pride. I left him and I have no reason to as why I left the surface on fire to die in this place.

No light, no food, numbness to adhere and a void of pain. I was 19, lived in the crisis and hoped to suffocate to death as soon as possible. The weight of the men above disappeared soon after my body went numb, I don’t know how many days had passed and how much more to come till I die or breathe with a different identity. If Allah wishes so. If Allah wishes so.

I opened my eyes in a refugee camp and thanked Allah for my life, but it seemed the void had captured my breath forever until now, that I write this to you, sir, I am not Aadesh, My name is Irfan and I might get forced out of the arts centre if the name is disclosed. I opted to come to literature because The Quran made me believe in the whole world as a unit that adheres to Allah or God.

Life has been broken so far and I had no jigsaw puzzle to replicate a meaning that I could write about, but this is all I have. Irfan will always be thankful to Allah, no matter if the void exists with me forever. Literature is the only sweet essence I have experienced so far in life and I shall be dealing with the same to help me with the entire scenario.

I am looking forward to learning more about this world and I had to tell someone about my journey and the loss of identity.

If Allah Wishes So, Aadesh and Irfan will always be the one person who writes this mail.

Your new student,

Aadesh Sharma