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Colour plus

By The Assam Tribune
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MY SPACE - Shantanu Thakur

What a coincidental convergence of riotous colours — Holi and Assembly elections coming together to offer a bash-binge to our otherwise drab lives. With every passing year, good old grey has been rapidly taking over my top, irrespective of the grey matter that may, or, may not, lie within. This time around, you have a double dhamaka offer on the cards. Bharat Mata is known for Varna, which includes shades of prejudice we would rather not talk about. In Banga (pronounced as Bongo), Didi had had enough of red and had successfully aired her blues. She would now rather wash the saffron off her hands that seem to be gathering in squalls of a dusty storm.

"And, who would like to miss the once-in-a-year opportunity to take a sinful dip in this Mahaakumbh of colour confluence – with some fair amount of muck thrown in and gleefully churned for us, along with the great dance of democracy."

Green Assam has been on a saffron spree and is doing a namaami to keep the Brahmaputra flowing the Ganga way. Yet, we were known as the land of the red river and the blue hills! There’s enough colour confusion already. As I type ‘colour’, the computer prompts ‘color’! Gone are the days of the ‘colour’ we grew up playing with – which is quite ‘unholi’, I would dare say. There was this Second World War veteran in the family who, when asked about his varna, would answer that apart from the skin exposed to sun tan, the rest of him was fair! He would then give in to his guffaw, while the conservatives squirmed.

One can well understand his ire. Colour has been a social pestilence — not simply in apartheid, but in many seen and unseen spaces. The gora rang of the firangi continues to be our fair favourite, which, perhaps, is plain unfair. Back here in Kamaroopa, we wallow in the plebian colours of clay, earthlings as we are. And, who would like to miss the once-in-a-year opportunity to take a sinful dip in this Mahaakumbh of colour confluence – with some fair amount of muck thrown in and gleefully churned for us, along with the great dance of democracy. Add a few cups of Lord Shiva’s favourite weed and that’s the ultimate we could hope for in one life. March, this time, is surely going to be a month of thrills.

Mark Antony put his arms around Cleopatra and said to his messenger of war: “Let Rome in Tiber melt… Kingdoms are clay ...” We seem to have got our clay alright, which, after all, is more or less the same colour anywhere. Take some dollops of clay, add a few straws and, hey presto, you have an approved model of a neta doing his rounds – Churchill’s celebrated men of straw. And who was that brilliant young spark who reminded you that Gods also had feet of clay? Ever recall Sasthi Brata? No wonder his God died young!

Black today is white and white is black. In between, you are also the children of Eastman and Technicolor – grow up as you did on Bollywood movies decades back. Black has always been beautiful. Just look at the classical charm of the Oscar statuettes – a good instance of Hollywood Holi! Green, blue and a bit of white are floating all around with saffron trying to be one up. If you’re confused, it’s your fault, brother, you could be colour blind! Remember Bhupen Hazarika’s ‘Aamai ekjon kalo manush dao, jar rokto kalo’? Incidentally, the Bard was the one who brought me my first bagful of colours. Now, with him no longer around, where have all the rong evaporated? Burha Luit flows on; its hengool a shade paler.

My professor used to say that the backdrop is always black. When you turn the VIBGYOR wheel too fast, what colour does it blend into? The sounds you hear and the colours you see are the intermittent breaks. Without the breaks, one would either go blind, or, deaf. I know, you might be seeing red when you would rather see blue, but, Bharatputter, you have earned your hotchpotch of the afternoon rainbow which I would have loved to pull down and throw your way, but no, these our hands will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green ones red. Red does no longer need to be had from behind the iron curtain, but is home-grown and available under the counter. And, with Corona lurking in the shadows, you would probably see much less of the ghost-like apparitions roaming the streets, unrecognisable in hideous dyes accosting all and sundry, though the Holi virus lives on. Not trying to be holier than thou, this is the time to get all your true colours out in the open.

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