“What should I wear for the wedding?” Sam asked me, when we were on our way to buy clothes for our friend’s wedding. Without thinking, I said he should wear a white shirt and a pair of beige trousers. Louise Phillipe was his favourite brand. We picked up a beautiful white shirt from a Louise Phillipe store, and a stunning white kurta for me from Fab India. The wedding was not even a white-themed-wedding. But, we loved being colour-coordinated, as clichéd as we could get.
Our friends couldn’t stop saying, “You guys are so made for each other!” We smiled and accepted compliments gracefully. We liked looking at each other that day, and like every other couple in love, we wanted to freeze that moment, capture that memory.
That picture adorned our bedroom’s wall till the day he told my therapist that he wanted to be free. My friend removed the photograph and placed it in the attic after he made the decision.
For a long while, white, the colour that represents subtle emotions, made me melancholic, created a sense of loss and abandonment, and dropped unpleasantly warm memories into my dark abyss. I drifted towards grey and black and navy blue.
The other day, when I gathered all my attention to observe the white around me, the painful memory bid adieu and made room for the new things I could notice. That was a surprise.
The white paper cups asked me when I would start using a mug, instead of wasting more paper. My white shoes sulked because I presumed they wanted to be bathed. The torn white cement bag brought back memories of the house where I lived when I was about seven. The construction workers emptied hundreds and hundreds of bags in front of my house, making a small mountain of bricks and stones, where I spent my languorous summer evenings, lying supine on it with my legs crossed. Mother used to say, “Dogs poop on it.” I chose to ignore her warnings, sprawled on the heap of stones, and gazed at the rising moon and the azure sky. Carefree is the word.
I noticed more white that day. The resignation letter of a colleague — a symbol of hope, change, and desire. China cups and saucers — the clink they made as the steward walked was mellifluous. Wallpapers — ironically the organisation’s branding material didn’t carry a single Indian.
That day, white raised its hands and continued to say, “Hey! I am here. She is there. More of us are behind you. Keep saying hello to us.” I followed their instructions. And I did above and beyond what they asked me to do. I nodded at the stunning purple in an abstract painting, bright orange in soft-drink bottles, pleasant yellow of an acquaintance’s stole… All the objects I observed restored my faith — life is an explosion of colours.