destination india

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

the colors of life

A yellow livered ‘creep’ employed as a white collar man in a blue chip company makes one go green with envy, yell blue murder and cause a red flush to creep up on unsuspecting souls of those in the pink of health. A multitude of colors in just one sentence, the colors of life!

‘Whenever you see color, think of us’ – goes the famous punch line of a leading paint manufacturer. Others of the same cult organize cultural shows to identify and reward the up and coming stars of the silver screen as also the soaps on view in the umpteen plus one TV channels that cater to the fantasies of the commoner. The world of make believe is colorful indeed. The make up of the heroine remains intact even when tears roll down her cheeks. We all know that these are imaginary situations, far removed from actual, but still we lap it all up and, whenever called upon to do so, we cast our votes via the SMS route to select the best of the best – whatever that may be!

It is most unfortunate that Indian widows are debarred from displaying color in any form whatsoever. Even though widow remarriage in not uncommon in our Society it is strange that those who fight for the causes of women’s lib have not yet thought it fit to take up cudgels against such depictions on screens of whatever size.

Death in an Indian family is depicted by mourners trooping into the drawing room of the deceased clad in spotless white clothes. In this context it will not be out of place to mention that white is, in fact, a mixture of all the seven colors of the rainbow – remember VIBGYOR and the experiment we conducted in our Physics classes to prove the point? Take a stiff white colored cardboard, divide it into seven segments, color each segment with the individual color of the rainbow and then spin the cardboard holding it on the tip of some sharp device. What one saw was white color!

White signifies peace; the white flag is waved to call for a truce. In contrast, a bull gets mad when it sees the red flag – the bull fighter waving a red flag to make the bull charge at him is a scene one cannot forget easily.

At the other extreme, we have black. It is mostly associated with all that is evil starting from the witch to her broom stick and her cat. If a black cat crosses one’s path, it is recommended that he retrace his steps and take a detour. It is worthwhile considering the fact that ghosts prefer dark nights, especially after midnight. Seldom has anyone met a ghost in a moonlit night or during daytime.

Of course, black denotes mourning in the Christian culture – the close family members wear black arm bands to denote that there has been a death in the family.

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