The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Short Story: Instagram Dream


By Anu Karippal

I see dreams. Everyone sees dreams. But I remember dreams, quite vividly. Not everyone remembers dreams. When people say they didn’t dream last night, what they mean is they don’t remember their dreams. It’s where we are superheroes, where we cross the limitations of time and space.

I was checking Instagram. Instagram features have changed. You can have a snap view of the stories of the ones you blocked too. Not all the blocked ones. The ones you blocked because you love them too much. You can’t open the stories, however. You stare at the insta handle and wish, and it gives a peek for a second or more. Instagram’s algorithms are invading people’s brain. And hearts. And heartbreaks.

I saw that he was drinking and eating Palappam. Who takes a peg, even with appam? Only bloody Malayali Christians. Appam looked so tiny and out of shape, like it was made by an overtly pampered young man for the first time. Anyways, Instagram had also made it possible for teleporting by then. I got on the screen and reached the restaurant where he was sitting. I’m such a creep in my dreams. He is there and he takes me to his home. The restaurant was in Kottayam. Yes, I teleported from Bangalore to Kottayam. I wasn’t bothered or worried to see his parents. I was interested in the white warm curtains his Mother had put on, next to the wooden pillar, where there was a huge portrait of Jesus. There was Ammachi in the background somewhere. She wears saree in real life but wore chattem mundum[1] in my dream. I went to his brother’s room. The room was filled with Jesus portraits. His mother had kept it thinking it would turn the little brother into a believer. And I saw a miniature sized desktop in his room, with a miniature portrait of Jesus on the CPU. Does a desktop of that size exist in the real world, I don’t know.

I stepped out. Suddenly he held my hand, he wouldn’t let go. I knew that he didn’t want me. But he wouldn’t stop holding my hands. I couldn’t understand. So I left the place, I walked on the strange roads of Kottayam. Women can’t understand what men want, just like men can’t understand women. We can only try. We can only utter such words when in love or when the superhero is off on a mission in Avengers, “I KNOW YOU, I get what you’re saying.” My brain has its limitations, it’s not broad enough to understand the conjugality of holding on and letting go at the same time. So I left. Sometimes men say women are complicated. I think it’s the other way round, honestly.

I walked and got on a bus. There was Sminu chechi and Ramya on the bus. They are my friends from Water lab in Bangalore. They must have teleported too. I know they don’t have Instagram accounts. With its astounding features, Instagram is luring everyone into it.

The bus crossed a river. Suddenly Sminu chechi said how she likes a river more than a stream. A river is more poetic, she says. A river seems calm and still unlike a stream that seems to be flowing, always in a rush. A river is flowing too, but it cannot easily be perceived by human eyes. It looks still to us. Sminu chechi decided to add a pinch of Physics to it. They seem still because rivers are often seen from a moving bus, unlike streams that pass through the interiors of villages with no access to roads or buses. As we are moving, the rest seem still to us. I was impressed by her thoughts, I told her to pen it down. Suddenly the bus took a steep down like a Wonderla ride. I enjoyed it but was worried if I will have to pay more now that I have had a taste of adrenaline rush. Ramya calmed me saying I don’t have to spend extra. I was sooo happy. I love Wonderla, you know. I have been to Veega Land and Wonderla eight times in my life! And I got to go without paying, this is enough to keep me happy for a week. Something else will come up next week. Something else always comes up.

I never teleported back to Bangalore through Instagram. I loved Kottayam too much I decided to stay. I have the rivers that seem still, the streams that seem to be rushing, the bus that gives Wonderla ride for free. And Malayalees who take a drink even with appam. I don’t know if Ramya or Sminu chechi stayed back. I never saw them on Wonderla bus again.

[1] Traditional white attire worn by Christian women, consisting of a dhoti with frills at the back and a blouse

Anu Karippal
is a researcher and writer based in Bengaluru. Currently, she works as a researcher at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment. She completed Bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi and Master’s in Development from Azim Premji University. Her academic interests lie in anthropology of modernity, love, self, time and space, religion, etc. Anu practices photography and poetry ardently. For her, both are means of translating complex theoretical knowledge to a form that connects with people. She has been trying to learn Bharatanatyam for the last two years. She writes regularly and has published several movie reviews, essays, photo narratives, etc. on Café Dissensus, RIC journal, Down to Earth Magazine, City Observer journal, Feminism in India, The News Minute.


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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine, “On the Table: Pathways between Food Studies and Food Writing”, edited by Somrita Urni Ganguly, Fulbright Scholar, Brown University, USA.

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