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Yashomitra Rath

Abstract Drama

4.5  

Yashomitra Rath

Abstract Drama

Holi - A different perspective

Holi - A different perspective

5 mins
542



Colours. What are they? A reference...? Some sort of classification? A language that nature uses to help its children identify various places, seasons, emotions, moods? So many things come up at once. For instance, “white” as in the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas where as “yellow” dominantly prevalent over the scenery of sunlight lighting up the sands in summers. Multicoloured blooms with colourful butterflies dancing around them, during the spring. A “grey” sky and a lush “green” Earth during the monsoon rains in the autumn. We identify so much using colours!


Many a times during my childhood school days when we had a rich course of English Literature, our teacher had taught us to identify the ambience and the setting of the poem from the colours that the poet or writer has given an imagery of. For example, the “yellow yew trees” probably hinted that the time scheme of the poem was set during the autumns when the leaves of the trees yellowed down, or that it indicated that the poet hinted a ripe age in a man’s life just before breathing his last. Now as I think of it, I suddenly wonder, how many meanings can a colour have?!!


“Red”, I recall in some literature, is identified as a colour of viciousness, the colour of danger. Practically too all danger signs, warnings, prohibitions are demarcated in red. It sorts of triggers an alarm in the mind. The colour “Saffron”, fluttering at the top of the Indian National Flag signifies selfless service towards the nation. “Green” is generally identified as being fertile and productive. The “pink” colour is generally associated with beauty, fragility, softness and sensitivity. The “blue” represents vastness, far and wide- beyond the depths that have already been fathomed. And the “White” stands for serenity, knowledge, enlightenment. Fluttering in the middle of the Indian tricolour flag, it stands for peace. It is amazing to see so many meanings, settings, moods and emotions associated with each colour! It surprises me to see how colours have been largely used for representations of diverse things.


In school days, I had been a good orator and had always participated in many elocution programmes and public speaking platforms. On one such occasion, as I remember, we had to pick up a chit from a vessel and had to speak on it. As I was sitting in the audience, waiting patiently for my turn, one of my classmates walked on to the stage with the chit in his hand and read – “Red.” I wondered, what I would have said had I been in his position. So many things were running in my head. He started with things like – “Red, is the colour of revolt......It stands for war and blood and so on.” And it was completely different from what I had thought. I realized one thing then. I observed his attempt to limit something that is so vast. We human beings are known for setting limits. Right from the time we have set foot in this world we have tried to dictate limits and margins. We have hence divided the Earth, the seas, ourselves, skin, beauty, feelings like love and hatred, happiness and what not. But when it comes to colours, they have traversed and flowed over all types of classifications and boundaries of the human world. Sometimes I think how foolish it is of us to associate meanings to colours when we cannot even name the numerous shades that we see in one scenic view of nature. So worthless are the trials to bind something which possesses such vast a presence, such versatility, such diversity, within the fetters of limited understanding of the human mind. Our life starts with colours; we see the world through colours. It is colours that teach us to classify and not we that classify the colours.


“Red” lies in the brutality of the war and the love of a man when he offers a rose to his woman. Yellow are the rays of the Sun lighting up half the world during the day, the fundamental source of energy; and so is the colour of a dried leaf before falling to the ground and decaying to dirt. White is worn during marriage by a Christian- before starting a new family while the same white is adorned in a funeral ceremony in a Hindu family. Saffron on the Indian flag stands for selfless service towards the country while when wore by a Sikh, represents valour and courage. Colours are everywhere- colours are omnipresent beyond all references, all categories.


Holi is the Hindu festival of colours celebrated in India. Many a folklore are associated with the celebration of this festival. Some celebrate it in memory of the playful romance between the human incarnation of the Vishnu, Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. In some places it marks the victory of eternal trust and devotion of Prahlad to the Lord Vishnu when the Lord kills the demoness Holika and her tyrant brother Hiranya Kashipu marking the victory of faith, goodness and devotion over. People celebrate it in different ways with different rituals.


In this festival of colours, as I sit thinking as usual on my airy balcony looking down at the fire burning, the people praying around it and kids gleefully throwing colours at each other, I feel that it is also a day to respect the versatility and yet universality of this abstract entity called “colours”, which have made it a little bit more easier for the humans to understand a very small part of the mystery called “Universe”. This itself a good enough of a reason to celebrate it.



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