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   I am having this recurring nightmare. (July 19, 2000)

It is 9 o'clock in the night, time for the news, and I am sitting in the centre of a glass and chrome room, in an uncomfortably tall straight-back chair, my legs dangling in the air. Opposite me, in an identical chair, is an elderly man with grey bristles on the chin, and kind, sympathetic eyes, who keeps repeating, like a mantr', 'sure', 'definite', 'confident'.No need to get panicky, it is just a dream, not a nightmare, I tell myself. But panic keeps rising in me.The atmosphere is somewhat intimidating. The room is in lights and shadows, there is somber music playing in the background, the kind of music that announces Count Dracula rising from the grave, and at intervals white fleece of clouds come racing along the floor, like bloodhounds from hell. 'Sure', 'definite', 'confident', the man opposite me says, the suggestion of a smile lingering on his face. Unlike mine, his feet are touching the ground, he has got long legs. Everything about him is long and tall, except his voice, which is deep and thick and baritone. 'Sure', 'definite', 'confident', it repeats.I am sweating in my sleep, trying to get up, like a drowning man trying to push his head out of the water. I can sense people, a lot of people, in the periphery of the room. There is no reason for it but one of them is supposed to be my brother or chacha or somebody. I cannot see him, though the room is dark, the glare of the lights from its circumference are blinding. 'Sure', 'definite', 'confident', says the man opposite me.There is something familiar about my nemesis, sitting in the chair opposite me, occasionally threatening to 'tala lagao'. He is at once debonair and awkward, and a little shy. When the eyes look into mine, they pierce right through, but most of the time he avoids looking.

Except when he goes through his spell of 'sure', 'definite', 'confident'. A name keeps flashing in my half drugged mind - Anthony Gonsalves. My name is Anthony Gonsalves. But who is Anthony Gonsalves?

The nightmare is quite clear, some aspects of it. After all, I am seeing it almost nightly, or at least four nights a week. There is a computer in front of me, another in front of him. It is not much of a computer, it does not surf or play games or even write columns. It only asks questions.

My nightmares reach a certain stage, then I get up, sacred and sweating. Last night I was being asked what the man said was the final question. I could either be a crorepati or broke. And at that moment I got up. Tonight, the nightmare will continue.

 
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