Shreya deciphers the charm of dream catchers

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Is it really possible to catch dreams? The dreams you see go into oblivion once you wake up. It could be very difficult to recollect the dreams even if you try hard for one whole day, and if you had dreamt something scary then it may linger in your mind longer.

Dream catchers originated among the natives Americans and they used dream catchers to differentiate dreams. While dream catchers are part of a belief in the US, they are more popular for their bohemian looks in the rest of the world.

Though Keralites are not quite familiar with the idea of dream catchers, these magic charms are slowly but surely becoming part of Mayalees' lives. And Shreya Deepak, a dream catcher manufacturer, is unfolding the story behind this.

What is a dream catcher?

Children of the natives Americans were perturbed by horrifying dreams. The kids used to discuss among themselves about these spine-chilling dreams, and everyone came to know about the precarious situation, which also became a cause of concern for the parents. The parents were in a quandary and desperate to find a way out so that their children could grow up in an ebullient environment.

In a bid to find a solution, the parents consulted sorcerer Shaman, who assured them of all help. But Shaman told them that he had to interact with the spirits to find a remedy and for that he had to enter the world of dreams. While stepping into the world of dreams, Shaman was embraced by four of the five elements of nature – air (wind), earth, water and fire. The fifth being ether. Air knew about the parents' disquiet, and made sure that the uneasiness reached far and wide.

The spirits in the world of dreams want the children to sleep in peace as they love kids, and they were willing to extend their help to make sure that the little ones slept tight. Shaman went to the world of dreams along with air, earth, water and fire. That's when there was a realization that air carries children’s dreams, earth confines the dreams to a circle, water cleanses the dreams and categorizes them into good and bad, and sun burns the nightmares to ashes.

There was a need to retain the dreams carried by the wind, but unfortunately no one foresaw such a requirement. Everyone got into a huddle and started discussing about finding ways and means to retain the dreams. These deliberations were being closely watched by an elderly spider woman. After listening to all versions, the spider woman said that she would help in weaving a unique web that would help the children see only good dreams.

The spider woman started to weave a web in a small hoop and the first dream catcher was made. Shaman had this dream catcher in his hand when he returned from the world of dreams. Similar dream catchers were hung in corners of children’s bedrooms where there was direct sunlight. After that, children never became restless, and they had sound sleep with good dreams following them.

Dreams caught by dream catcher

The good dreams seep through the wedges in the web and reach the sleeping children through the different hues of feathers attached to the dream catcher. The nightmares will get stuck in the web, and the first rays of sunlight the next morning will annihilate them. The dream catcher is the brain child of the Objiwian natives of the US.

Dream catcher in India

The dream catcher, which is still used with great reverence in the US, is gaining popularity in India too for the past one year. Though the dream catcher is part of a deep belief in the US, the dream catcher is seen more as a decorative accessory in India as it doesn't, it seems, go with the culture and faith of the Indians. The dream catcher available in India has an Indian touch to it and is quite different from those found in the US. The basic feature of a dream catcher is its circular shape, which is usually made in a day, and other elements are added accordingly.

Shreya's dream run

"We have a Facebook group with close friends as its members. Last New Year, we decided that each member should come up with a new idea. I thought of doing something productive with the waste materials, and got the idea of making dream catcher while analysing the opportunities in craft-related work," says Shreya.

The first dream catcher was made out of curiosity to know whether it could catch dreams, and the name 'dream catcher' was an eye-catcher, adds Shreya. Friends bought the few that were initially made, and demand for the product increased through word-of-mouth.

"I started to learn more about the dream catcher and its concept. A new Facebook page was opened to make the product available to people residing outside Kerala and I have also uploaded a video on YouTube on how to make dream catcher," notes Shreya.

Belief coupled with energy

One question that is being frequently asked is, 'whether one will dream only about good things if the house has a dream catcher?' It is all about belief and it is something like asking whether there is God or not, and some believe in God and some don't, says Shreya.

"This gives me a positive energy. I am experiencing a rejuvenation since I started making this magic hoop. For me, the most important things are the satisfaction and happiness of the buyer rather than the profit made by selling the dream catchers," she adds.

To date, more than 100 dream catchers were made and some had even been sold in faraway Delhi. Many buy this product to gift it to someone. Another feature of this dream catcher is that it is made out of trash, and this is projected as one of product's unique selling points.

Who is Shreya?

Shreya's husband is Deepak, who works as a clerk with the Kozhikode Collectorate. "My husband always supports me and never stands in the way of my interests. For a while, I took tuition after completing my post-graduation studies, but I didn't get much satisfaction," says Shreya.

Later, Shreya tried her hand in cattle, and organic farming, but had to abandon both after her family shifted base to town following Deepak's official transfer. She loves gardening and is also involved in making 'vithu pena' (seed pens) and 'kuruthola' (tender palm leaf) toys.

Friends and accolades

Shreya's backbone is her friends who gave her the idea of dream catcher. She is awaiting entry into the India Book of Records for making the biggest dream catcher, and if that happens it will be a Guinness world record.

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