Saturday, 29 August 2009

Journey in magenta

There are so many things about India that bother me. And in this blog I keep ranting about them. There are also many things that I absolutely love about this land. One of them is the colour that one finds here. Nowhere else in the world have I seen colour in its undiluted beauty, the way one does here. Nowhere else have I seen women wear it the way they do here.
One of my earliest memories of the sheer abundance of colour, like there was no getting away from it were the boungainvillea bushes behind my school. The dusty rolling stretch with its little tufts of grass was used for races and march past practice, both which I dreaded in summer, but the purple pink bunches beckoned me and drove me into plucking the bracts and then blowing them in the summer wind.
The hotter it gets in India, the more vibrant are the hues -- the water melon, the gulmohar, the Rajasthani ghagras. They are there right in your face, no subtlety here, but its display is in pure unadultered form. I love the gorgeous silky skeins of the Gujarati embroidery and the tiny mirrors that sparkle in their midst. I absolutely adore the midnight blue and the emerald greens of the Kanjeevaram silks with the gorgeous orange or red borders...
The bougainvillea always takes me on a big colour journey. The bougainvillea bush in my neighbour's garden was bunched with the most vibrant shades of pomegrante red. Every morning I rushed to my window to admire it till the rains robbed it of its colour. Today it is just plain green.

The most gorgeous three hours I have ever spent in my life were at Bangaluru's Lalbagh one afternoon, feasting on the most ecstatic colours of the bougainvillea in shades I could have never imagined. From creamy white, to golden yellow, to a sunset rust, and of course, the magenta. In one bush, the magenta merged with white, in another the strawberry red flirted with cream, and the yellow decided to have orange tipped bracts. Then they went on a strange medley, three shades in one bush... an enterprising gardner had mixed and matched. I loved it all so much that I had to sit down on a bench to savour it till dusk fell and I was forced to leave the bounty of colour.

Today, while putting order to my cupbaord I came across a set of two French chiffon dupattas that belonged to my mother. They used to be musty white... I had loved the texture, reminded me of the bracts that I had blown in the wind. My mother let me stitch them up into a sari and get them dyed into magenta pink. I then designed a blouse...in green, magenta and white... And I wore the outfit with the flourish of a teenager... Now when I looked at it after so many years, I understood, my romance with the colour....and where it all began.....The colour took me on to this great mind journey that started in my childhood. And it had me making that computer drawing that you see....


I wish my readers would share the colours that they love and which inspire them....

2 comments:

Nothing Profound said...

Compared to your culture and many others, we Americans dress rather drably. My yardstick for beautiful colors is nature and especially flowers. I love the yellows, purples, blues, pinks, reds, lavenders, and whites. I think it's wonderful that in India you dress so flamboyantly. It's a celebration of life.

Shree Venkatram said...

It is wonderful to see the beautiful hues of nature. The other day I saw an elderly woman dressed in a red sari.She looked so good. But not everyone can carry off colours like that. She did it so naturally.

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