Trrrrrrrrring! Bumba woke up with a start. Muttering curses under his breath; he trudged towards the door to open it. He was all the more annoyed when saw no one outside. Scratching his head and groaning, he took a few more steps ahead to check if there was anyone around the vicinity.
Suddenly he noticed a small red box near the door. Funny it should be there. Nobody ever gifted him anything. Anyway, he picked it up and opened it.
Zooooop! He was sucked into the box the moment he opened it, sucked him in like a vacuum cleaner; as if he was nothing but a whiff of smoke.
Bumba felt himself being drawn in at lightning speed. Everything seems to be whizzing past him in a crazy motion. It seemed like hours before he landed on a firm ground with a slight thud. It took him some time to get a hold on himself.
This was most mystifying place, ever imagined. All kinds of colours splattered all around. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Malachite, Gamboge, Razzmatazz, Xanadu and other colours he didn’t even know, existed. Wow, this looked fascinating. He was standing in front of a huge banner that read Dream Merchants Workshop. There were humans and non human things all around him; all of them chattering excitedly.
Everyone - the sponge, the banana, the bottle, the ice-cream, the pizza slices, the trees, and the people - everyone seemed to be in an animated conversation with each other. Some, like him, seemed lost.
All the little things around had grown huge in size, while the huge ones had shrunk; bringing everyone to more or less the same height.
There were stalls and booths everywhere – beautiful dreams, scary dreams, funny dreams, regular dreams, food dreams – the banners on various stalls said.
He noticed a tiny booth in a corner. ‘May I help you,’ it read. There was quite a mob around that booth. Someone was shouting, “First timers, this way; all the first timers come on here.”
Bumba walked up there and stood amongst the crowd of beings. A monstrous looking creature was addressing them. He had one big eye, one big mouth and one big ear on the top of his head. He looked quite cute.
“You all, I presume are first timers here”, he said. The crow standing next to Bumba gave him a smile and a wink.
The monster continued, “Welcome to the dream merchant’s workshop. You all have been handpicked by the dream merchant to be a part of a dream tonight. You will be given options to choose whose dream you wish to be; and what dream. You can give your name and pick up your options from that trapezium stall over there”
From the crowd a zombie raised his hand.
“Yes?” asked the monster.
“Who is the dream merchant?” questioned zombie.
“That cannot be revealed, for security reasons,” said the monster.
Now Bumba raised his hand and asked, “Why have I been chosen, or for that matter, anyone here?”
The monster shrugged. “The dream merchant has his weird ways. He chants something called Eena Meena Myna Mo and selects the dream-workers. It is some superior spiritual stuff,” he said. “It is beyond anyone’s understanding here.”
“Wow, I had no idea such a place existed,” exclaimed Bumba to the elf near him.
She grinned, “I had heard about it, but this is my first time too. It is sure going to be fun,” she said and walked off to collect her options.
Bumba was about to do the same when a huge bottle of cola walked up to him and asked, “Hi, would you care for a chocolate?”
“Sure,” replied Bumba with a smile.
“Gee, thanks mate. This little guy here is quite a handful. Take good care of him,” said the bottle quickly, as he shoved a little bar of chocolate towards Bumba.
Bumba stared in bewilderment as the chocolate gave him a sheepish grin. Before Bumba could protest the bottle had scooted off in the crowd.
“You and I will make a good pair,” said the chocolate as he stuck his gooey hand into Bumba’s arm staining his shirt.
“Hmm,” grunted Bumba with scorn and started walking where the options were being distributed. The chocolate trudged behind him.
Bumba was given four choices: His friend - Bappi, the jamun tree from the back yard, the neighbour’s cat - Billi, his bicycle. He thought for a while and decided to go for Billi. It was just a random choice.
Now there are two things everyone should know:
1. Cats believe in dreams. No, they really believe in it like it is real. Everything that happens in a cat’s dream is, according to the cat, lived by it in its sleeping hours. Hence it is extremely dangerous to fool around in a cats dream.
2. Cats love chocolates. Every single cat in the world loves chocolates. But they are allergic to it. Chocolates drive cats crazy. Crazy to the point of infinity. They can do unspeakable things when they are high on chocolates. Things you and I wouldn’t even think of in our wildest dreams.
Unfortunately, Bumba was unaware of these two rules and so was the bar of chocolate.
They next went to the booth that read Regular Dreams. Bumba really was not ready for any more adventure He wanted a simple lazy dream where he did not have to do much running around.
They were given their dream and also a few instructions. He was told that once his choice wakes up from sleep he will be transported back to his house outside the red box.
So they started preparing themselves for the night. Bumba and the chocolate started building up a dream for Billi.
That night back home when Billi fell asleep, Bumba and the chocolate whiffed in to her mind and started off with the dream.
Billi was lying by the fireplace cuddled up with a ball of wool. Bumba was sitting on the arm-chair with a book and staring at Billi. Billi purred; walked up to Bumba and rubbed her back against his leg. She then skipped up and curled up on Bumba’s lap.
Suddenly the doorbell rang. Pushing Billi aside, Bumba got up to answer the door. Someone handed over a box and a chocolate bar to him. As he turned back he noticed Billi sitting on his arm chair. Annoyed, he caught her by the scruff and threw her away on the floor.
This infuriated Billi. The arm-chair had been nice and cosy. She looked at Bumba with a hiss and snarl. He was sitting on the chair again biting into the chocolate bar. She leaped up on him and hit him hard on his face with her paw. The chocolate bar fell off from his hand. Before he could pick it up again Billi jumped on it and gobbled it up….
The chocolate high in the dream had triggered Billi senses. With a big yawn, Billi stretched and woke up. That immediately transported Bumba and chocolate away from the dream merchant’s workshop to the real world.
But the damage was done. Billi was twitchy with the dream she had. She could feel the chocolate taste in her mouth. She also continued to feel angry towards Bumba; rather, she was quite livid.
Next morning when Bappi dropped in to Bumba’s house for a morning cup of tea; Bumba was nowhere to be seen.
Instead Bappi noticed a cat curled up on the armchair. The cat looked at him as she licked some chocolate off her paws.
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