I just love colours!
I am mesmerised by the literally thousands of shades of colours that one sees around! One of my prized possessions from childhood was a very comprehensive colour shade card that had been left behind at our house by a painter, when our old house was refurbished and re-painted! Even now, a favourite haunt in any mall is any shop where rows upon rows of lipstick tubes or nail colour bottles are displayed, open, for gullible shoppers to get attracted to and shop for! Back in the days when there were no malls or readymade, branded clothes, I would love to go to a “matchings” store in the cloth market and gaze lovingly at the yards upon yards of fabric ready to be cut out and made into clever, fitted clothing as per the choice of the wearer. I just couldn’t get over gazing at the rows upon rows of COLOUR displayed there, how the pale yellows would slowly, one darker shade at a time, eventually make their way to deep yellows, then blend into oranges which would in turn merge into reds, vermillions and crimsons; the blues would progress from sky blue to cerulean, to turquoise and then suddenly to aqua – then making the distinction between blue and green quite blurry! The pink would run the whole gamut of light pink to dark pink, salmon pink, hot pink, fuschia, magenta, and then slowly start taking on purplish hues, go from purple, to lavender to lilac to the pale violet! I remember greedily devouring each and every one of these colours with my eyes, promising myself that I would have an attire in each and every one of these hues!!

The mesmerisation with colours continued as I progressed in life and it started dawning on me that one simply needs to observe nature to enjoy colours in their true glory! For eg, there is something especially beautiful about watching a sunrise from a moving train… The way the orange, yellow rising sun automatically zooms in and out of focus as the train meanders through the hills and plains and the myriad patches of green get illuminated turn by turn through the morning haze, while the distant hills still remain a rich purple…The scene transforms within minutes as the sun climbs higher in the sky and its golden rays slowly start reaching out to every corner of those distant hills and plains and the purple haze disappears to slowly bring into golden focus each line, each curve and each contour of nature’s myriad creations.

The moisture-laden skies empty their souls on to the parched earth and the earth is cleansed of all the accumulated grime – one shower has the capacity of transforming the dry browns to the lush greens! And what vivid greens – the fresh, tender green of the first blades of grass; the sun-dappled yellow-green of the newly washed tree-tops; the sparkling emerald green of a little pond with the trees around reflected in it; the dark, elegant bottle-green of the cool shade of a mango tree; the silvery, crystal green of a silver oak leaf in the twilight; the dark, leaf-green of a picket fence, bordering a vividly contrasting bright, almost neon green velvety manicured lawn; the pale, jade green of a money-plant leaf bursting to life; the intimidating greyish green of the choppy, turbulent sea.

Gazing out over an expanse of nature brings all these shades so vividly to the fore – and all this framed against a backdrop of the ever-changing blue of the sky – the clear blue, the cerulean blue, the grey blue, the midnight blue, to the colourless dull about to pour forth again!!

In the larger scheme of things, how do the blue-green plumes of the peacock dancing in the rain manage to perfectly mirror the blues and greens of nature – the water, the earth and the sky ??

Nothing short of a miracle, if one believes in them !!  

The rusts, Browns and golds of Autumn have their own rich beauty. The light, fresh blues and greens of summer and the popping neon limes, oranges and pinks of Spring are left behind to make way for the rich and dignified darker hues – they convey the opposite of “light and fresh”, automatically lending an aura of command and seriousness to the surroundings! They also automatically remind of rich, Christmassy fruit cakes, beautifully spiced mulled wines and cosy, warm boudoirs with roaring fires and cups of fragrant coffee/tea or something stronger going around!!

Grey, black, navy blue, deep purple, maroon? The staples of winter, the staples of the West. Somehow I just cannot associate these colours with the tropics – for me, they have always been the “colours of the West”. Nobody in this whole wide world loves colours more than we Indians do, and these winter colours probably figure the last in our list of favourites! Give us our sunny yellows, bright oranges, peacock greens and Aqua blues any day! You do see the corporate honchos wearing the winter colours through the year in our Indian urbanscapes today, of course, but that is again a legacy of the British and in more recent times, a side effect of globalisation, where it is necessary to deal with people of all nationalities, some of whom could find our colourful attires too loud or in-your-face! Somehow, serious business can be done only in serious colours, looks like! But if I were a designer, I would still incorporate a bit of fresh colour into the crisp, steely corporate attires, without making them loud! The Indian formal wear allows lot of scope for that!

White? Ah, that all-encompassing, all-forgiving, elegant and graceful wonder! It can be icy, it can be warm; it can be fresh, it can be wintry; it can be cold, it can be inviting – it can be so many different moods to so many people at the same time! Innocence and elegance rolled into one!! Timeless, ageless, beautiful and breathtaking! 

The cool blues, frosty pinks, silvers and lavenders are the colours of magic! Can’t imagine fairies and little princesses and angels in any other colours but these! The Disneys and Pixars of Hollywood marketed these really well through their animation movies, but what the heck – we all need magic and dreams to get lost into once in a while!!

The nudes, the creams, the peaches and the baby pinks and powder blues! Get me anything in these ethereal shades and chances are, I will keep those delicate, frothy creations in a glass case and not even touch them, leave alone use them! Such soft, beautiful pastels – why use them and abuse them? Just enjoy their beauty from a distance!!

The quest for colours thus continues and I am waiting for the monsoon showers to transform the little dry brown hillock behind my house into a verdant green. When it rains continuously for a couple of days, lovely silvery rivulets of water form at the top of this hillock to flow to the bottom and form a luminous pool there. This temporary pool immediately, miraculously has it’s ecosystem in place and if lucky, i get to see an occasional kingfisher dive into that pool to find some food! Oh, the brilliant colours he displays!! It’s a sensory overload – so many colours, I feel I need many more pairs of eyes to take them all in!!

In one of the episodes of the animated series “Noddy”, Noddy dreams of a world where somebody steals away all the colours, to leave everything a monochromatic black and white! And then the joy that returns when Noddy, our little hero, brings them right back and restores the earth to its colourful glory!! What a perfectly horrid thing it would be, a world without colours!