Roundabout | Mixing colours with the heart
My thoughts the past few days have been coloured mostly saffron and green in a crazy mixing of colours the brainy way. One colour becomes theirs and the other is ours and the others is theirs. How does this happen? These colours are the monopoly of neither you nor me. They are the gift of nature to all humanity.punjab Updated: Jun 25, 2017 15:48 IST
How does one mix one’s colours? This was a question often put to one as a child and as one fumbled with the answer, the know-all parent or teacher would smirk and say, “With your brains, child, with your brains!” Thereby the verdict was given that one had little or no brains and the poor child would shuffle feet and look ever so apologetic.
Now that the age of apology and the desperation of having ‘brains’ is by and large over, I am wondering at this question as well as the merit of mixing colours with brains. So for the past week or more, my thoughts have been ‘coloured’ by a more worthy way of mixing colours.
It all started with a visit to music studio called the ‘Saffron Touch’ in the tricity, which was set up by one of Chandigarh’s most talented music composers, Atul Sharma, who contributed well to theatre music in his younger days and then changed the very complexion of popular Punjabi music.
Talking about the name of the studio, the unassuming singer-composer was quick to explain that it had nothing to do with the current colour polity. He had his own personal story to tell about why he chose the word ‘saffron’. I felt saddened by this that people like you and I, who have little to do with politics, are required to give an explanation for our favourite hues.
This took me back to another incident of the kind that had happened to me many years ago; the target was the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. I had gone to a get-together wearing a favourite cotton sari I had purchased for a tidy sum of Rs 650 in those good old days. Its colour was a flaming orange, somehow reminding me of a yesteryear film song that went thus: ‘Mora sayian phool kanwal ka; Hamaro rang kesariya....’ Rather than fetching a compliment, a man I fancied then looked at me and said, “So have you also joined the Sadhvi Ritambra brigade!” There I was fumbling and explaining that myself. I was even silly enough to never wear that lovely sari again or even keep it. I just gave it away to someone.
A few years later at a silk exhibition, a regular pre-winter feature in the city’s Kisan Bhawan, I saw an old Sikh couple at the Beanaras brocade stall. The lady was looking for a brocade suit to wear, perhaps for a grandchild’s wedding and the gentleman was probably tired of the shopping expedition. Fabric in different hues was spread out before her, but she could not make up her mind and turned to her husband for help. He was a man of action; he gave a glance and picked up the green brocade and put it away and told her, “That is the colour of the Musalmanis, choose any other; do it quickly at that”.
Well, you have guessed it right! My thoughts the past few days have been coloured mostly saffron and green in a crazy mixing of colours the brainy way. One colour becomes theirs and the other is ours and the others is theirs. How does this happen? These colours are the monopoly of neither you nor me. They are the gift of nature to all humanity. I am feeling most angry with those who appropriate colours or make us think in so ‘coloured’ a manner.
It is a sunset, a late riser like I, never sees the sunrise, that comes to the rescue of my troubled mind through a painting by a city artist, who loves to play with colours, in which the green of trees is touching the heady mix of orange and yellow in the colour saffron. Nature knows much more than the brainy humans. It knows well that colours are mixed with the hearts and we see it around us all the time.