Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"O Peacock-Feathered Dreams": A Story of Validation and Acceptance

Several years ago on a fall afternoon after spending an hour in meditation while sitting on our covered, screened porch as it rained steadily in the surrounding woods, something happened which I had never experienced before nor have I sense.  I saw in my mind's eye two words written in white letters on a black background, almost like credits on a movie screen.  The words led me to a specific page on a web site in India.  The page was in Hindi; but after a time, I discovered someone who translated the page into English. It turns out to have been a story entitled, "O Peacock-Feathered Dreams."  I think it is a beautiful story of a husband coming to understand his wife in a new way, followed by his validation and acceptance of her. It has subsequently been an inspiration to me and to others with whom I have shared it. I offer it here for your consideration.

O Peacock-Feathered Dreams

By Ms Seema Shafaq

"Loosely translated" by Parmesh

This is the story of a woman told in first person. She has a troubled childhood, and remembers that she would seek escape from the harsh realities by tuning off and looking at the skies, and fantasizing that the clouds are taking the shapes she desires.

Thus when she grows up, all she wants to retain of her childhood days are the clouds in the sky, the mist of the mornings. When her traumatic childhood events would come to haunt her, she would close her eyes, and live in her dear dreams. Her husband Raman, finds this very disconcerting, and would ask her, 'Why always these fantasies!'

How can he ask me after knowing everything, she feels. Once she murmurs to him, 'Let's make love in front of a beautiful temple.' He was very hurt. 'How can I make love to you in a public place?' She says, 'It is possible, everything is possible in dreams; just close your eyes!'

One night, Raman holds her in both hands and says affectionately, 'Darling, please do not take me amiss, but I think we should consult a psychiatrist. Is it okay that you are living in a world of your dreams?' She is devastated. He holds her to his heart. In shivering tones, she says, 'How can you understand? You grew up in a house which had lots of doors and windows; I grew up in a small house, which had lots of open squares - huge open spaces, where strong winds would lash from all sides. I had no protection, except a piece of a cloud. I have been using this cloud as a blanket. Whenever I have shed tears in my innumerable times of distress, not one drop has fallen down; it has been captured by the piece of cloud. Do you know, Raman?

What we call as rain, is actually the tears of countless people. They also must be having pieces of cloud, which, when completely full, squeeze themselves.... and people say, 'See it's raining!'

My dearest, in this rain, if the peacock did not spread its rainbow-hued wings, how would this life be? How will the festivities of Diwali and Dassera pass? In these dreams I have held my father's hands, whom I have never seen in real life. How can I leave these? Children of broken homes have only these peacock-feathered dreams as their legacy, my dear Raman....they have nothing else!'

Her voice is getting broken. Raman barely composes himself, gets water for her and turns to give it to her, when he finds she is lying near her son, dozing. He wants to wake her to give her water, buts stops short...he does not want to disturb her dreams.  He places the water on the table and turns off the light.

The End....or perhaps just the beginning.

There's more to tell about the words I saw that led me to the web site, about the web site itself, and about Parmesh; but I will save those stories for another day.


  1. It's just by chance that i saw this page and read all what you have written about my story. With chocked throat and wet eyes i just wanna say one thing.... "thanks"......

    seema shafaque

    1. How wonderful for me to hear from you and to learn that you found touching what I wrote in response to reading your beautiful, poignant story. I would appreciate knowing more about you and what brought you to write "O Peacock-Feathered Dreams." If you would like to write to me privately, my e-mail address is jim@creativebalance.com. Thank you for being in touch with me. With best wishes, Jim


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