Not long ago, I was alone, watching TV in our living room, when the phone rang. It was my chemistry teacher from when I was in the twelfth class in high school. He is a scholar, a friend, and a very talented teacher. He calls me from time to time and encourages me in my studies. He had wanted me to study science, but in my twelve years in school, I had not learned much science beyond the formula for H20, and I decided to study literature. When he called that night, I hadn’t heard from him in a long time.
“How are you, Roya?”
“I am living in my dreams, as usual.”
“You can’t build your life while napping,” he replied. “As a science teacher, I prefer action.”
“Dear teacher, as you know, I studied literature. Sometimes I accept reality, while other times, I escape from it. I have a dream village in my mind, and I rest in my dream’s bed and forget about everything else.”
He laughed and said, “Roya, listen, I want to tell you a story… Once there was an Indian man who lived in a village in Afghanistan for many years. One day he bought some oil, which was in a clay dish. There was a river along his way, and he was afraid that if he crossed the river, he would lose the oil. He found an Afghan man and said, ‘I will give you two Afghanis (the currency of Afghanistan) if you help me cross the river and deliver the oil.’ The man was very happy to try to earn two Afghanis, which at that time was a lot of money.
“The Afghan man put the dish of oil against his shoulder, and on his way into the river, he was thinking to himself, ‘With these two Afghanis, I will buy a hen, which will lay eggs, then the eggs will be chickens and I will have a house of hens. After that, with money earned selling all the hens, I will buy a cow. Then I will sell the cow and marry a beautiful wife, and we will have children. Life will be sweet. My wife will take care of the house and every day when I get home from work, everything will be ready for me. At lunch my son will wait for me and say, ‘Dad, lunch is ready!’ I will reply, ‘My son, I am coming.’
“The Afghan man became so absorbed in his story that he said out loud, as if he were talking to his son, ‘I am coming!’ He pointed with his fingers and repeated, ‘Go, I am coming,’ and the dish of oil fell from his hands.
“‘What are you doing?’ the Indian man asked. ‘You dropped the dish and all the oil is lost in the river!’
“The Afghan man replied, ‘I broke your dish of oil, but you have broken something much worse. You have taken away my wife, my children, and my house – you have destroyed me and my entire family!’”
My teacher laughed and I laughed, too. That was a nice story about remembering to focus on reality.
But as a lover of literature, I also love my dreams. That’s because I can do anything I desire in the wide world of my dreams, where there are no problems. I can live with golden fishes in the water and talk to the stars in the sky. I can be important and rich. My dreams help me conquer difficulties and suffering, and they allow me to realize my desires in a way that I can’t in reality. Dreams are always sweet, sweet like sugar!