Queen of Dreams by Chitralekha Bannerjee

Queen of Dreams by Chitralekha Banerjee is one of those few books that I read twice to decipher the true meanings of symbols, dreams and reality interwoven so fantastically that it simply leaves you bewitched each time, egging you to read on till you reach the very end so that every secret is revealed, each mystery is fully solved.

But, can we really solve the mystery of life ever? Aren’t we all  caught up in the dream of life, which would end only in death or is death the beginning of a real life, beyond all those fancies, that bubble we live inside, fondly calling it our life, our own admission that this virtuality is more important than the real world. All these questions shook my very soul as I read Queen of Dreams by Chitra Divakaruni.

The story is set in today’s time with current events interspersed in the plot making it easier to relate with grimness of life. But, perhaps events are only a medium, the real challenge lies in the deftness of the writer, the way, she is able to portray the intricacies of life faced by both mother and daughter.

I could relate more to Rakhi’s mother- the dream teller , who is herself caught between the reality of wife-hood and motherhood and her own dreams of being a dream interpreter.I could feel her pain, her uneasiness, her feverish pitch she feels every time she has a nightmare. We all feel that way.

But, she is slightly different in the sense that she dreams the dreams of strangers, living the nightmares of people she will never ever come across in her real life. She is driven by a mad craze to stop the danger approaching those people, to warn them of impending catastrophe.

At times I wonder, why God always gives us hints for the bad times in our dreams, why is our sixth sense more active while sensing dangers? Why cant we feel the coming joys, why aren’t dreams sweeter, more soothing? But, God is our savior, our angel, there has to be some reason behind this. Perhaps, He is always bothered about our safety and gets perturbed on seeing danger approaching us and starts giving signals, to prepare for escape routes. He would expect us to remember Him in our happier times as well, but, we mere mortals are so engulfed in our  own joys that we are unable to feel his elation and end up with negative feelings.

Perhaps, I got carried away while reading this novel and focused more on the dream-teller than her daughter Rakhi- who is more practical, rooted in reality , devoid of dreams. And, in a way, interpreted the entire story from the perspective of Queen of Dreams.

The novel stressed that dreams are essential, they lay the foundation on which our entire life stands. Chitralekha has kindled a passion in me to dream again, an ability which I was losing, like the protagonists of her story. Caught up in daily struggle for life, work and dignity, I was leaving behind something very important, but it should be gained before everything dissipates into thin air leaving me empty handed.

Perhaps, just like Rakhi, all of us need a sudden shock to restart our true lives. And, Chitra Divakaruni in her philosophical, dreamy tale has successfully etched that undying need.

Quite a good novel, to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace!


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