The Colors of India

In line in Lucknow
In line in Lucknow

I have been recently helping out in a local art class, so I  recently found myself considering the position of colors in life:

I never really appreciated color until I went to India. True, I had always been attracted to bright things- bright and shiny things (like a mouse or a crow!) I remember a blinding raspberry shirt my teen-aged self owned and wore out, but in all honesty, though I loved the blue of the Agean on a warm summer’s day, the blue of the sky behind the white washed houses in Oia, Santorini, and that fushia color of the flowering bougainvillae against those whitewashed buildings….okay, okay, color is around us, but in India it is a living and breathing art.

Even poverty, which I mistakenly believed to be grey, brown and depressingly muddy, is alive with color in India. Flashes of colorful sari clad women dash among the tin shanties in Bombay. Bright orange laced with gold, green with accents of silver. Bangles of silver and gold, green and fuschia adorn the carmel skin, bright orange turbans bob above crowds. Yes, India is awash with color.

Heading out to Rajasthan by train, a bright green parrot flies past the window, then a train overtakes a truck barrelling down the dirt road beside the tracks. Through the flying dust are more saffron turbans, bright peacock blue Saree’s, even brighter green saris, mimicking the parrot’s feathers. In Jaipur, a group of  orange and red Saree clad women are walking to town  flashes of gold embellishments on their clothing sparkling in the sun.

In the desert oasis of Puskar, I haggle for twenty minutes for a peacock blue shiny sheath dress, embroidered with blue and silver. It was gorgeous. I want to take some of the colors of India home with me. In Palolem I pick up a patchwork waistcoat at the local market. This too was brilliant shades of blues and greens. In Bombay I find a wrap of black and mauve- absolutely stunning…and then I return home to Greece only to find out that you cannot take the colors out of India! With a single hand wash the dress fades to a dull ghost of itself and the waistcoat washes to grey. Some things are meant to stay in India, I guess, but I still have my wrap, a treasured possession, and  I take it out every now and again, snuggling up to it and remembering the colors of India.

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1 Comment


  1. //

    That was a lovely essay, Sally. More, please.
    Cole

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