United Colors of Bharat March 03, 2016 00:14
“I’d been seeing the world in black and white and when I came to India, I thought I had some perpetual ‘rose tinted’ glasses on”, remarked interestingly,one of my students hailing from France, who came to India on an exchange. It got me thinking! And I realized that my brain vessels were technicoloured too! Yes, colours, red, yellow, blue, green… them all, as intrinsic a part of almost every Indian’s existence as mine! Let’s start from the moss green coloured grass, which for us Indians is always greener on the other side of the fence! This, followed by the greens we eat (even drink as smoothies now!), the ubiquitous green chilli, thelikes of the humble spinach, ladyfinger and gourd, the exotic broccoli and the newest entrant kale, the unlimited supply of greens in India can make anyone “go green”! An aerial view of most of India (once the pollution levels are in check that is!) would be that of a beautiful green carpet woven with various hues of green and sprinkled with dash of colour, here and there, lending an idyllic charm. Vast expanses of land, adorned with endemic blooms of every possible hue, I’m beginning to think if there’s any colour at all, which we Indians miss out on seeing in our lifetime. Our food, our flowers, our dresses, our landscape, even our mithai, is all a kaleidoscope of colours! From the orange marigolds and hot pink roses almost every part of India uses for anything auspicious, to the divine smelling white jasmine and tubes roses; the lovely vibrant blooms in both pale and bright shades of pink, red and yellow adorning our gardens, to the purple and lilac orchids sitting pretty and hobnobbing with the sunshine orange and pastel pink lilies at our road side florists, this riot of hues can actually put the rainbow to shame. Even our monks in their maroon robes and sadhus in their dull orange are colourful people! Our culinary goodies and sweets are also as colourful as they are sinful, what with trays of bright yellow inviting laddus sharing space with parrot green chumchums (An Indian concocted green). Infact, these bombs of sugar (a generic term I use given the different names they have in different parts of India) can be found in any hue, and further to that, any tone of the hue, u can possibly think of! I kid you not; a city called Ambala in Haryana even has an innovative, true blue Indian vendor selling golgappas with seven different colours of water.
India has many “mini Indias” and no matter what “mini India” you belong to, bangles and bindis are adorned by all our women. Infact, the colourful, captivating bangles and bindis are sure to turn any unsuspecting woman into a shopaholic! Affordable for all, these decorative accessories are an indulgence for women across varied cultures, religions and financial backgrounds. The vast expanse of blue, both in terms of the infinite blue shield covering us, and also the ocean, the sea, the rivers stand in vibrant contrast to the lush green foliage. If certain barren, sandy parts of the country lack colour, the people dwelling that place dressed in the most psychedelic of colours more than make up for the absence of colourful ebullience. Take parts of Rajasthan for instance. A symphony of opulent colours contrasting against a backdrop of dusty lands and sun soaked skies. A gloomy brown landscape would be lifted by a happy flash of florescent tangerine sari or a lime green turban. The red or crimson used as a tilak placed on the forehead almost universally across India as a ritual mark of welcome, or the sindoor traditionally worn as a simple mark by married women, has interestingly found its place in the dictionary as ‘Indian red’. As I write this, I feel that the one thing that unites and binds us Indians (besides cricket of course) is this palette of colours! ….