“Enough of all this. Shut up, this is not working out.” Rishi said.
“Yeah, I knew this would never work out.” said Naina.
Their marriage had become strained over the past few years. They weren’t spending enough time with each other. The sweet talks had vanished. Their relationship had become more or less like a chore. The passion was missing.
But they did fight with passion. They loved themselves more than the other person. They didn’t care for each other’s opinion or point of view.
They finally felt that they were nearing their end.
“Oh God. Why did I marry her? Please relieve me of this pain.” he thought.
“Oh God. Why did I marry him? Please relieve me of this pain.” she thought too.
He lied down on the bed to the right turning towards the mirror. She was on the opposite corner of the bed, her head turned towards the opposite direction.
As they kept worrying about their strained relationship and closed their eyes, they had a dream, a shared one.
In the dream, they were asked to wake up. God had come up and He asked for their problem.
They told about their problems to God.
“I have a solution for you guys. But, you know what? You need to dedicatedly follow it for 30 days, failing which your other closed ones would get affected. For example, your parents, close friends. But you do have an option of not getting into this, if you want.”
They were interested in hearing the proposition. “Ok God. Tell us what we need to do.” they asked.
“Every time you guys fight, a snake will crawl into your bedroom. It won’t harm you in any way. But it will stay there till you guys compromise for that fight. In case you don’t compromise, the snake will stay there in your bedroom for all 30 days. Yet it won’t disturb you. It will just be there. If you start a new fight, a new snake will enter your bedroom. But I promise that none of the snakes will harm you. You can take my word for it.”
“At the end of 30 days, you will understand why am I doing this” He said.
Rishi and Naina looked puzzled and clueless. They were thinking what to do?
He continued “There are few more rules.
- Both of you guys should not skip coming home for all of 30 days.
- Right after you finish dinner, you shouldn’t watch TV and shouldn’t use your mobile and you both should head to your bedroom. You need to follow this, even if you have dinner alone.
- You can’t quit this game anytime in the middle.
Do you agree to this?”
They thought for a long time and finally answered “Yes God. We will give it a try and we agree to all the rules.”
“That’s good. You are upto the challenge. I will meet you after 30 days.” He said and disappeared.
Day 1 (Next morning)
They both wake up from their dreams the next morning. They were silent as usual after the fight. But this dream kept bothering both of them. There was something not right about this dream. They both wanted to speak to each other, but somehow stopped. Finally Rishi left aside his ego to speak.
“Did you sleep well?” he asked.
“Hmmm… Not that great. What about you?”
“I had a disturbed sleep. On top of that, I had a dream too.”
“What was your dream?” he said.
“You tell first. Then I will tell mine.” she said.
He then narrated the events in the dream.
She was shocked to hear that it matched her dream too.
“How is it even possible for two people to have the same dream? Isn’t this like the movie Inception? This concept of Shared Dreams.” he asked.
“Haha. I don’t know. Maybe God wanted it that way.” she said.
“Haha.. Don’t bluff. I don’t believe much in God itself and you are saying God came in our dreams.” he said dismissing her point of view.
“Why are you talking like this? It is because of your lack of belief in God, that we are facing problems like this. That’s why we are suffering.” she said disappointed and frustrated.
“Oh great. Now I understand. So I am the only one at fault.” he paused for a few seconds and then said
“Hmm.. Yeah, that’s true. Everything is my fault. My gut feel said that I shouldn’t have married you, yet I did. My biggest fault.”
“What? Your biggest fault? As if you did a favor on me by marrying me. In fact my family did a favor on you by selecting you.”
“What do you mean? What favor?” he asked.
“Forget it.” she replied.
“No, say it. Finish whatever you started.”
“Status wise, your family is no match for us. But our family thought you will keep me happy.” she said.
“What the hell? Yeah, we are not a match for your family maybe in money. But we are much greater in values than yours. Our family didn’t raise an arrogant person like you. Your family should be ashamed.” he said.
“Don’t dare talk about my family like that.” she replied angrily.
“Hell. You talked about my family. Now it’s my time. Your parents are cheap.”
“Shut up Rishi.”
“Don’t raise your voice.” he said.
“What will you do if I raise my voice? Huh?” she screamed.
Their fight was quickly escalating. That’s when they heard their bedroom door creaking open slowly.
Their fighting stopped. They were puzzled.
The next moment, they saw a snake crawl from the little gap of the door that was open.
They both were shell shocked.
The snake crawled slowly and then it went into one corner and lay down there.
They turned towards each other in utter shock and blinked their eyes. They couldn’t believe their eyes. That’s when they finally understood that God had really come the previous night in their shared dream.
They didn’t speak to each other after that and just kept looking at the snake. The snake was calm, didn’t move much apart from the occasional crawl maybe just to flex it’s muscles.
After a while, they got ready for their respective offices and they left. The snake was still lying down in the corner of the bedroom.
Alarm went off at 7.00 AM.
They both woke up and got up from their bed. They rarely had space to walk. Now, their bedroom had 10 snakes. So, on an average they were picking 2 fights per day. Starting from the corner, the snakes had started occupying their real estate. It was difficult to walk too.
Every time, they tried patching up for their previous fight, they failed and worse yet, they started a new fight. They also tried silence as a technique, but silence hurt them even more as the thought of snakes would haunt them when they were silent. They couldn’t sleep well too, as the thought of the snakes would disturb them. But somehow due to tiredness of working the entire day, they managed to get some sleep. It was disturbed, but they were at least able to sleep.
“Oh my God. 25 more days to go. How are we going to manage?” they thought.
Alarm went off and they got up from their bed. Now their bedroom had 15 snakes. Their fights had reduced to 1 per day. Now, they didn’t have space to walk too. They managed to get some space between the snakes’ crawls. They somehow tried to finish their morning chores as quickly as possible and tried to leave to their respective offices.
That night, when they came to the bedroom, they were pretty disturbed. They felt like talking to each other, but fearing that they would trigger another fight, they were silent for a long time. Then finally Naina talked.
Naina said “Rishi, I feel pretty disturbed. I think we need to end this somehow.”
Rishi was surprised. He felt that Naina never thought about solving a problem till now. She was always playing the blame game. This is the first time ever, she has spoken like that.
But he didn’t show any of his thoughts outside, relaxed a bit and felt maybe he was seeing a way out of this.
“Yeah Naina, even I am pretty disturbed about this. Yeah, I too agree that we should end this, but how?” he said.
“Do you remember what God said? If we compromise for a fight, the snake that came for that fight would go away. Maybe we should try to compromise for our first fight.” she said.
“Hmmm. Yeah, sounds logical. What was our first fight?” he asked.
They were fighting so much that they forgot what they fought for. But they tried to recollect.
“Ya, I remember.” he said and told about their first fight.
“Hmmm.. Yeah, Now I remember.” she paused for a few seconds.
“So?” she asked.
“So what?” he replied.
“Go ahead and apologize.” she said.
“What? Why should I? I didn’t do any mistake.” he asked.
“It was your fault, you said you shouldn’t have married me.”
“But you started it by saying that I was responsible for all that happened because of my lack of belief in God.”
They again became silent. They were both now very afraid that this too was escalating. By now, she shut her mouth, knowing that this would escalate.
There was silence for a few minutes.
Rishi thought about all these and finally said.
“Ok. I am sorry. I think it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, we both are affected by it now.”
She was surprised to hear him ask Sorry. She felt that never happened.
She thought for a while and said “Hmmm, I am sorry too. I shouldn’t have spoken words like those. I am sorry.”
The bedroom door creaked open slightly and the snake which had come first, began to leave.
They both felt relieved at last. It was like a big burden was off their shoulders. They felt very relaxed. Finally, Rishi placed his hand over her hand, when she looked into his eyes, he said “Don’t worry, everything will be alright. Don’t think too much. Sleep well, good night.” with a bit of that lost love in his eyes. She reciprocated and said “Hmm, You too don’t think much about it. Everything will be alright. Good night.”
That night they slept peacefully after a long time.
By now, there were only 8 snakes. Drastic improvement, they thought. The great news was no new snake had come since day 10, which means they haven’t picked up any new fight. And they had resolved some of their existing fights, which was great.
They had changed from their confrontational tone to a conversational tone. They had changed from a blame game mode to a issue solving mode. And they were beginning to see the results.
Still, 3 snakes were left. They had tried to resolve all their differences. But they couldn’t. They knew it was not possible to resolve all differences. They thought it was stupid of God to make them 100% perfect, because no human being can be 100% perfect.
That evening, she had high fever when she returned from office. That day, he took her to hospital, prepared dinner for her, fed her and gave her the medicines. He took good care of her. It seemed that all of sudden, their love had started to return. She needed him that day and he was there. Like a big support. She thought she could handle any problem if he was near him. And he too started to feel appreciated for his love. They were starting to feel that old magic was returning.
They exchanged “I love you” and sweet nothings that day. But this time, they meant their words. They didn’t tell it for the sake of it.
That night, she slept in his shoulders and her fever vanished, not that much due to the medicines but due to their lost love coming back.
They had no snakes left in their bedroom. All of them were gone.
They didn’t resolve all their differences. Rather, they had learnt to accept each others’ point of view and their difference in opinions. They had begun to respect each other. And their magical love returned.
They were absolutely relieved that all the snakes were gone. But they were more relieved that, this entire thing brought them so close to each other.
They were no longer afraid to raise their opinion, even if it had a different point of view, thereby they had full freedom of expression. They were no longer afraid to apologize. They were no longer afraid to forgive, because they thought it would not backfire. They no longer disrespected each other and each others’ family. They were no longer intolerant of each others’ upbringing, statuses, way of expressing love.
That night God returned in their shared dream.
“So my dear Children, what did you learn in these 30 days?” He asked.
“We have started to respect each other more. We have started to learn to live with our differences. But God, why did you put us through this very tough phase, when you could have easily told us what to do?”
“You see, everytime you fight or don’t compromise, you have a snake in your mind. Your mind is like your personal bedroom. The snake won’t do anything, but it will still bother you. You know, even though it won’t affect you in anyway, you know it’s there. Somewhere. That disturbs you. You end up being stressful because of that. Every time, you start a new fight without resolving your previous fight, a new snake occupies your bedroom. Over time, you have so much snakes, that it becomes a permanent torture.”
“I give problems to unite people. Remember the Chennai floods? I know it caused devastation, but did you feel the unity in the people? People went out and helped each other in the streets, in social media. People put others’ interest in front of their own personal interest. People started going away from their self centered nature to being more helpful towards others.”
“The torture I give can either break you or make you. You guys chose to make you. Redefine your love. But there can be people who will simply wilt under the pressure. And it entirely depends on their own will power and love for each other.
So, remember my dear Children, learn to compromise and don’t let that snake stay for too long. Love you.” He said and disappeared.
Rishi and Naina woke up from their shared dream. Immediately on waking up, having learnt their lesson for life, they smiled at each other, hugged and kissed each other. They promised in each others’ mind to live happily.
So, people who are reading this, how many snakes do you have in your bedroom?
If you like this story, why don’t you have a look at my other short stories below?