Saturday, September 18, 2010

In defence of orange

How many times have I been told I look like a right-winger/sadhvi/religious freak when I wear orange? I've lost count. And how many times have I been told I will look like one or all of the above if I wear orange? Again, countless. I haven't cared, though, because orange happens to be my favourite colour - and because my protesting that any group or religion cannot 'own' a colour have fallen largely on deaf ears, I've decided to put my love for this bright, vibrant, sunshiny colour on record.

My love affair with orange began in early childhood - it was the colour of bright balloons and childish pleasure in walking through parks, holding on to the hand of some much-loved adult. It was the colour accompanying the delight of new experiences like the first magical orange ice bar, bought for me by my grandmother one sleepy summer afternoon. Orange is the colour of memories of childhood summers, of long, hot months stretching ahead with no school, and the excitement of making that soft drink that signified happy summer days - Rasna, tall, endless glasses of cool, bright orange liquid, of commandeering ice trays, filling them with Rasna, and pretending to be crunching at home-made 'ice cream' later on. It's the colour of friendship, of sharing Parle sweets, little orange balls of molten sunlight, the colour of childish laughter as we stuck our tongues out at each other to see whose was the orangiest.

It's the colour of that most favourite fizzy drink of all, Goldspot, those first TV commercials featuring happy teenagers, that impossibly cool age we desperately longed to grow up into. It's the colour of winter, the smell of peeling that most evocative and wonderful of fruits, oranges, in the warm sunshine on long, sleepy afternoons. It the colour of that mischievous bundle of fur that used to be my little kitten Simba, and now, again, the little tearaway that is my Catnip's tiny baby. It's the colour that can brighten the dankest, gloomiest day, and warm the chilly days of winter. It's the colour of happiness, of love, of sunshine.

And damned if I'm going to let organised religion co-opt it.