The Girl in the Dream Land

By Mozhgan (Ocean) Mahjoob

Based on a true story

Part of living in this world is being worried. The richest people are worried about their money, the poor ones are worried about earning money to feed their children, famous people are worried about their rivals, parents are worried about their childrens’ future, birds are worried about hunters, flowers are worried about losing their petals. Since childhood I have been worried about the anxious eyes of my parents that were filled with endless pains and sorrows from our hunger and poverty. I remember the time we had just one piece of bread on our table cloth. There was a painful sigh from my dad and tears from my mother that we had to eat that piece of dry bread with miserable bites.

My dad was a worker. He worked days and nights but did not earn enough money to cover our expenses at home. For several months he did not receive his salary and could not contribute to our expenses. My mother was a housewife. Half of the days I had to collect the pine cones and dry leaves from the streets and streams to use at home for heating, boiling water and cooking bread in the oven. Sometimes other kids even fought with me because of the pine cones and tried to take what I had collected. I did not like the winter because it was cold, rainy and snowy and we did not have the heating tools and stoves to keep ourselves warm. There was only a winter chair, which my mother covered with a quilt. Beneath the quilt and the chair, she put hot charcoal, and as we slept at night it began to get cold as those hot charcoals faded. By morning we were shaking because of the cold temperature.

It got worse when it was rainy because the rain water dripped from the ceiling of our room and the whole night we had to put a big dish under it so that the water would not spread to other parts of the room. The chek, chek dripping sound of water mixed with the thunder and lightning storms outside the house. With all of these difficulties, life was going on. I wanted to become a heart surgeon and cure heart patients without fee since I saw how much my dad was suffering from heart illness. I wanted to have a comfortable and a happy life with my family. I wished to have enough income to cover all the main expenses at home, to eat my favorite foods and live in the best house with all the modern heating and cooling equipment. I wanted to build my future, but I did not know how.

Then I found a new world in which I could achieve all these wishes in my imagination. Whatever I could not have in the real world I could have in that beautiful world of dreams. There, I had a very beautiful house with modern equipment and a garden inside it with different colorful flowers. I had a high ferris wheel and a small car. For breakfast, lunch and dinner I had all my favorite foods and fruits on the table cloth. We had enough money to buy my favorite dresses during spring and winter. The bitterness, the winter cold, the hardships of poverty and our real world problems could not hurt me anymore. In a moment I could fly to the sky, I could feel the ruckus of the earth under my feet. How beautiful it was! How pleasant! How easy it was to achieve it all!

Alas! After a few moments, that beautiful building with its green garden and colorful butterflies on purple violets, that high ferris wheel and my lovely car…that wonderful life that I was living in…everything was vanishing. Like a mirage or a sweet dream that one wakes up from, suddenly I was coming back to my real world. Instead of that beautiful sound of my dreamy waterfall in the mountain, I was hearing my sister’s painful and hungry cries. My favorite foods and fruits suddenly changed to that piece of bread with a cup of bitter tea and it made me shout out loud and cry.

But I loved that land, the land of my dreams and happiness. I loved its sparkling waterfall and high mountains. Poverty did not exist there. Everything was amazing, nothing bad could ever happen there, its sky was always filled with happy birds and its earth was covered with red tulips. Its roads could lead me to happiness that I never had in real life. I needed that world the same as a fish needs water to be alive. This passion, this enthusiasm made me imagine that world and my future dreams again and again to stay away from the problems and brawls of my real world. Yes, I could leave such a world where we did not have a comfortable room to sleep at night. Such a world where we had nothing to eat for days and nights. Such a world where a worker did not earn enough to feed his children and his family had to suffer.

I wanted to achieve those dreams in my real world. I wanted to feel and reach success as I believed that nothing was impossible for me. To achieve all those dreams I studied hard. I walked by foot from home to school. I was finishing two classes per year. At a very young age, I graduated from high school and passed the entrance exam at university but ended up in literature. But I could not forget my dream of being a heart surgeon and helping the poor people.

I continued to walk from home to the university every day. I didn’t even have the money to purchase my books and I was buying second hand chapters and books from seniors at a low price. When my classmates went to the cafeteria inside the university I could not accompany them because it required money.

It was my final year at the university when I heard about the genius competition. They announced that the student with the top rank would receive a scholarship to study at a private university. Again I remembered my childhood dream and thought that yes it is the time to study in the medical faculty at a private university. That competition had 12,000 participants and was conducted in 4 rounds. I got the highest mark in each round and it was announced on the TV channels. I was officially awarded the scholarship to one of the highest paid universities in the country.

The first time I entered that university I could not believe it. I was thinking as if I was still dreaming. I could not believe that yes, it is real. I was delighted, joyful and thrilled that I was one step closer to my dreams. I focused on my studies and got so busy in my real life that I forgot about my dream land.

Unfortunately, after one year of studying at the medical faculty the management of the genius competition did not pay for my scholarship. I was forced to leave it although I was the top of my class. I felt something breaking inside me and that was my heart. It did not have a sound but it hurt a lot.

Finally, it was my graduation night at the literature faculty but I could not participate because I did not have the money to pay for it. When my classmates asked me why I did not participate I told them I went on a trip. But the truth was the whole night I was crying at home.

After graduation, I got several jobs in different places. I was so disappointed that I wanted to stop dreaming forever because those dreams did not become real. They existed for me all the time but I could not have them in real life. Whenever I closed my eyes I saw them, but it was hurting me that they were not with me in real life.

Then I realized that if my goal was to help and empower poor girls, families, and my society it makes no difference for me to be a doctor, a servant leader, a writer or even an ordinary employee in a company. I could help others if I served my people and the society. I knew that the aim was important and my aim was to help others.

Then it was my dream land that led me to write poems, essays and express other’s pain through words and help them as much as I could. It shaped me into the person that I am now; although, it was not easy. Now I am writing about this land to let everyone know that the dream world was always there for me and its door is open for everyone who is worried in their real world.

I know whatever I write about my dreamy world, it is not enough but what to do? It has been the only support for my spirit. It has always healed my wounds and gives me hope for a better life. I know in my solitude and loneliness that being in that place can polish my tired and broken heart. I want it to take care of me the same as my childhood whenever I feel weak. I want to be with it even for a moment to forget whatever happens in reality. I just want the name of this dream land to be written there in my life’s notebook. I want to be with my dreamy world forever. No, it should never leave me because I will be lost on this earth. I will vanish and be destroyed. Oh, this is the real world that sometimes hurts the most.

31 October, 2022