Being a Woman
Different colours have different connotations in our lives. There’re some widely accepted images which we automatically associate with certain colours due to popular perception. White brings to mind doves and peace, while red is synonymous with passion. Green is the environment, while blue is the wonderful colour of the seas. But each of us has a separate colour-bar in our minds which has been created by a beautiful blend of our memories and experiences; pictures which have loved ones and cherished moments bound together with the silken thread of nostalgia.
The colour White to me is synonymous with the spotless white of my grandmother’s clothes. She wore the traditional Malayali attire of set-mundu. Her mornings were spent in the kitchen and generally doing chores. One corner of the mundu was neatly tucked back onto the waist so that she could bustle around. Once all the chores were completed she would bathe and sit down with the newspaper to catch up on the news. Her spotless white mundu with the faint smell of sunshine lingering in it never failed to bring a surge of happiness within me. I loved snuggling up to her just to inhale the freshness of the sun and contentment.
Gold to me has never been about the yellow metal. Gold is the colour of the summers of childhood. All my memories of childhood have a lovely lustre to it. Happiness, laughter, love, food, cousins, music – all form a melange of pictures which never fade. I might forget where I’ve kept my car keys but I can never forget the intricate details of those golden images. No matter how often I take them out to savour, those memories remain as clear as ever.
Green is the coolness of leaves which have soothed my mind ever so often. The falling leaves which have mesmerised me and taken my mind on so many journeys while I was supposed to be studying. The canopy of leaves in my college courtyard which have been witness to the madness and craziness which made those days spend with friends so precious. The neem leaves outside the window of our apartment which allowed squirrels to come and play peekaboo with my daughter when she was a baby. The gentle palm fronds outside my balcony which have on many an occasion provided a balm for my troubled mind.
Purple may bring to mind an image of glossy jamuns, but my mind conjures up a different image for Purple. My favourite dress when I was around 5 or 6 was a rich purple with white stripes. I have no idea why this particular dress has remained fresh in my memory while so many others have been consigned to be forgotten. It might be because I wore the purple frock for the house-warming of our house or because it represents an amazing childhood.
Black as night is just a saying. My Black is a happy Black. Black is the colour of spectacles. Both my grandfather( Appuppan) and father (Achan) had spectacles with thick black frames. I cannot think of the colour Black without being reminded of the kindest eyes I’ve known in my life. Appuppan was one of the gentlest souls I’ve ever encountered. My brother and I were his first grandchildren and we got to spend a lot of time with him. Appuppan’s wisdom, subtle humour and his kindness have been such an integral part of my growing up years. My Achan had the warmest brown eyes, which have guided me, reprimanded me and provided strength when I’ve felt defeated. The unconditional love I’ve seen in those eyes is something that I search for even today.
Brown stands for benches and desks. The countless wooden benches I’ve sat on, in schools, colleges and tuition classes. Rich glossy brown of new desks before they were marked by innumerable pens and compasses. The smudged brown of old desks covered by illustrations which provided interesting insights on every topic from teachers to world politics to the nicknames of students.
Blue to me is the colour of stories. The Blue of Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva, Draupadi and Rama in Amar Chitra Katha comics. Such a vivid blue which had undertones of goodness, nobility, strength and courage to it.
Yellow is the bright colour of crisp banana chips ; the round bites of deliciousness which has remained unchanged in form and taste. When banana chips are fried at home, the mouth-watering smell of hot oil and fresh chips pervaded the entire house.
Silver cannot be anything but the glistening colour of fresh fish in the baskets of fishermen in the local market.
Strangely, there’re some colours which are completely missing from my personal spectrum. The colour Red doesn’t have any significant memories attached to it. So is the case with Grey and Pink. Not that I mind, since my Greens and Golds and the rest of the colour bombs keep me happy and content; the colours of people and memories too precious to be forgotten any time soon.