We are culturally brought up with the belief that whatever the elders say is true and that we should respect it. As a result, many beliefs we have inherited from our ancestors still remain mysterious. When I was a child, I still remember my parents often scaring the shit out of me by telling unbelievable stories whenever I disobeyed them. When I refused to take bath regularly and got infested with lice, they would warn me that crows would attack me on the head and that I would be flown away. Then when I whistled at night, they would warn me that whistling at night would invite ghosts to the house. Likewise, there were several superstitious beliefs that my parents and the elderly people shared with me and other children in the village. We would be scared like hell. But when I look back now and reflect on those lines, I am beginning to understand that those strange beliefs could have been the tactics used by our ancestors to actually discipline us. A careful analysis shows that there is a possible logic behind each superstitious belief our ancestors have left us with.
One cool evening in Khaling in 1990, I woke up to the long shrill of a whistle. When I came to my sense, I found myself in the middle of nowhere. I could hear people talking and rushing somewhere. I was seated on what was supposed to be a doorstep but couldn’t figure out exactly where I was. The repeated whistling sound indicated that it was time for something but I had no idea what. I stood up from where I was sitting and tried to explore around. I had no idea where I came from and where I was. I was totally disoriented. I noticed that one of my slippers was missing and no matter how much I groped around, I couldn’t find the missing slipper. Finally the school captain called my name and asked me if I was not going for dinner. Only then I realized I was just in front of the school kitchen and that the whistling was a summon call for dinner. The captain was a low-vision student and I let him look for my missing slipper, but he too couldn’t find it. So I had my dinner without my slippers on and as I was having my meal, I didn’t stop thinking about what could have happened to me that evening. After dinner, I went to the hostel and tried to piece together all the events of the day I could remember in order to solve the mystery of how I got in front of the kitchen from nowhere. Suddenly I realized that I could remember everything that had happened until the evening study hour that day. I vaguely remembered resting my head on the study table feeling tired and bored. Then my memory had stopped thereafter. I got a feeling that I could have dozed off during the evening study hour and that I might have sleepwalked out of the academic building when the bell rang. I immediately rushed to the classroom and found my missing slipper stuck under my table. It soon became apparent that I had walked out of the classroom into the kitchen premises in my sleep. When I look back to that incident today, I still wonder how I could have walked so safely in such a trance. There were a number of obstacles such as rudimentary bridges, pits and bushes of nettle plants on the way which I could have easily bumped into, but the fact that I could stick to my path despite being blind and that too in a state of subconscious mind is really a kind of miracle. That was my first ever sleepwalking experience and I wish it to be the last as well.