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.


Poonam Tanmayo said...

Why care about what others think, say or do?
I love orange too
but I sense I've had my fill of it now

PD said...

Good point. I should start wearing orange too, though I think I've made myself hate it by avoiding it for so long! Oddly enough, I don't have that sort of problem with green, though. :)

Off topic, but I also avoid yellow because when I was a kid, my sister told me that yellow attracts bees and other insects. I have no idea if it's true, but you'll never find me out in the open wearing yellow. *sheepish*

A very cool cat said...

Oh, I don't care, Poo - I just really wanted to write this piece! :D

I love green too, PD - I need more green things in my wardrobe! And I'm sure if what your sister said is true, but somehow I've never been too fond of yellow - apart from a few shades, I don't wear it much. It's funny, though - my love for bright colours is growing as I grow older! When I was a kid in college, I thought black was the coolest colour ever!

Sreeparna said...

Mew what a wonderful piece. Incidentally an orange khaddar panjabi and jeans was my staple outfit throughout the three years at Presidency. Would still wear that had I not lost it amongst all the moves in the past years. Your blog has brought back memories that I cherish from our childhood.. am still smiling at the thought of the orange Parle sweets!

A very cool cat said...

Thanks for the comment, Bua - so glad you enjoyed it! :) I should have added one more thing - those orange icy things we used to suck out of long plastic tubes, which we called 'pepsis' (long before Pepsi actually entered our lives) - we used to buy them from Saha Vareity, remember?

And I remember practically living in an orange khadi kurta myself during high school/college - I went hunting for a similar kurta some time ago, and was told that Khadi no longer makes those lovely kurtas in solid colours :(

Trisha Gupta said...

Totally agree. One of the most fun parties I ever threw was when I was in college and a friend and I decided to have a "saffron" party to reclaim the colour from the sangh parivar. There's no end to cooption. Forget orange (which by the way is now always saffron), ostensibly intelligent friends have made jokes on various occasions about wearing a sari being a "bhartiya nari" look - something which they clearly think is somehow deeply uncool.

A very cool cat said...

Thanks for the comment, Trisha - so glad you read my blog! :)

You're right, there's never an end to co-option - certain shades of green are also considered 'Islamic', I believe. But sari being uncool is news to me - seriously? With the exception of one or two of my friends, we're none of us very into sarees, but that doesn't mean we don't like them, or wear them now and then. I guess for everything you choose to do, there will be a bunch of people telling you why you shouldn't.