Nightmare | Daily News


‘Abhimani, Sudu duwa, come soon we are at the dinner table.’ Nanda, her mother told her several times. There was no answer. ‘Siri, go to her room and ask her to join us, please.’ Siri, being a good husband, a trapped husband is a good husband, went to her room and found her fast asleep. He came back.

‘She must be very tired today. Sudu was filling her university applications with Sitara, the whole morning.’ ‘Yes, mama, they were talking about their university and laughing.’ Sithumi, the youngest daughter said. ‘Siri, can you remember, when Chamara came last week he told her not to postpone. The dead line for applications is 19th September.’ ‘Yes, it is always advisable to forward the applications before the due date.’ Nanda agreed. Nanda, their mother also peeped into the room and found Abhimani in sound sleep. In their house, they never disturb sleeping children.

Siri and Nanda are veteran teachers. They passed out from the same university, the university of Peradeniya. Their university education had a great impact on their family, their eldest son’s university admission last year was really a motivation for Abhimani to come off with flying colours at her A/L Examination. She had three ‘A’ passes for each subject, English literature, Sinhala and Logic. Isuru, their youngest son is in grade eleven and is at the forefront of studies among his peers. Sithumi is in grade nine at the village school and she was able to secure the first place of the class due to her eagerness in studies. She is the apple of the eye.

Abhimani is the pride of the family as she always brought much credit, not only to her school, but also to the family. Parents’ academic excellence and constant encouragement for studies are the driving force behind the children and all of them have been behind one goal all these years, to achieve their objective of the family; to be academically and morally excellent in life.

Their home is another school away from school for them. The home library is their usual rendezvous and they kept pin drop silence in it as guided by their parents. It spreads over a very large area and almost all the books in most of the discipline are available in it. Dewey’s classification system made them able to find any rare book within a very short time. The library epitomizes parents’ vast knowledge of not only books, but also of library science. Parents had translated theory into practice and the children are in a good stead in education.

People in the vicinity always encourage their children to be Abhimani like as she is a good product of reading and learning. She has a flair for learning psychology and so Sigmund Freud’s analysis of dreams was at her fingertips. She had made a profound case study of dreams under the able guidance of her parents for her school magazine. She is almost a bookworm in proverbial sense and her parents’ happiness knew no bounds.

Yet, the last few weeks kept her fully occupied with newspaper reports and hearsay about university ragging not only in Sri Lanka but also in other countries. She told parents and her siblings all the dreadful stories of ragging making their eye brows raised. Ragging at OXFORD and CAMBRIDGE and other universities and how our own leaders had been severely ragged for being dark in complexion, how they had carried white students on their shoulders around the university grounds were among her anecdotes.

Yet, she was trembling when she was telling her family members and others how some students fell off high buildings and embraced death in their fatal falls, how some university students have become maimed for their life time, some others even saying goodbye to their university education and went to garment factories to earn a living. Whole trajectory of ragging at the universities and other institutes of higher education was in her mind.

It was a dreadful night. The owls were screeching. It was raining cats and dogs. Power failures were constant. Thunder and lightning visited them several times. Their parents rushed to Abhimani’s room frequently as she is very afraid of darkness and nocturnal animals and their sounds. Bulky bodies of the people had made an unpleasant emotional experience from her early childhood. Once she had awakened from her sleep by seeing a big man putting his head through the window into her room, like what had happened to WILLIAM BLAKE. Reading SHERLOCK HOLMS and other detective stories had made a negative effect on her. Siri, their father, has warned her several times not to read them or to sleep alone.

‘Nanda, what’s that big sound? Oh, it’s terrible!’ ‘Siri, run to Abhimani’s room quickly.’ ‘Mama, Sudu akka has fallen off her bed. She has soaked in sweat. Come on, hurry up. She is crying.’ It was Sithumi. All were in her room. Abhimani was lying on the floor. Sweat was pouring down. Her bulky body was unmanageable for them. All of them managed to keep her on her bed. Yet, on second thought, they took her to the master bed room.

She was half conscious as a patient who is coming to consciousness after a long operation. It took almost half an hour for her to come back to her senses. Sudu duwa retired to her bed again and the whole family was fully excited to listen to what had happened to her the previous night. Even their eldest son Nihathamani came all the way from the University of Moratuwa to join them.

This is what she said. ‘I saw a frightful dream, veritably, a nightmare. I was walking along a well-kept path among very huge buildings and trees which I had never seen even in my wildest dreams before. I was all alone with some files full of notes and there was nobody in the vicinity. All of a sudden, I heard a terrible screaming and a girl was falling from a four storied building. She was in a pool of blood. Her broken legs were lying nearby. No one came for her rescue and I took to my feet.

I was surrounded by a cluster of trees, a thick grove. I have always been a victim of claustrophobia, I remembered. By adding insult to injury some bearded bulky guys gave chase to me. I ran helter skelter and finally came to a place where there was a large pond, but not deep. Some girls, seemingly older than me started laughing at me and told the boys that they had found a good bite.

They commanded me to address them as ‘JESTER UTHTHAMAYO’ and not to utter a single word to the UNIFORMED CUSTODIANS of the university. They threatened me not to wear bright dresses or high heels as it is prohibited for the KUNU FRESHAS. It took me some time to understand what the said and I was flabbergasted. A lanky young girl and a bearded JESTER UTHTHAMAYA grabbed me tightly and threw me into that pond. They burst into laughter at my calamity and I managed to come out of the pond and ran away summoning all the courage that my body could give. Again I was pushed into a big puddle by some other JESTER UTHTHAMAUO and I cannot remember anything beyond that. My dress was irreparably muddy.

‘You had fallen off your bed.’ Sithumi told her. They told the whole story to Sitara who helped her to fill the applications for university admission. Abhimani made a diary entry of the unforgettable happening and started rereading SIGMOND FREUD.

Add new comment