July 24, 2016

R for 'Red'

There was a time when ‘Red’ was synonymous with love. 

Heart shaped balloons you bought for your sweetheart on her birthday, the touch of vermilion adorning the forehead of a newly wed woman, the ruby ring that he slipped onto your finger when he proposed, the first crayon your child proudly identified at play school, the evening sky with the setting sun, gorgeous patterns of henna on the fair palms of beautiful brides at weddings, the auspicious crimson border of the traditional Kolkata Sari that must constitute the wardrobe of every Bengali woman, Ganesh ji's favorite hibiscus flower--a must have at every Ganesh puja, red bangles that stand out amidst the alternate white ones in the wedding chura, the color of your favorite wine, 'red medicine' or Mercurochrome---a fond memory from every childhood; school sports leading to grazed knees et al, the deep reddish brown of scrumptious Gulab jamuns--a deep fried sweetmeat and renowned Indian dessert, red roses that are quintessential for every 'Valentine's Day' celebration, your bridal sari in rich zardosi silk that is carefully wrapped in butter paper after being laundered and dry-cleaned taking care that the color does not run off, those lip smacking 'Rooh Afza' memories reminiscent of an era gone by.

There was a time when 'Red' was synonymous with love. But not anymore! 

Today, 'Red' has changed meaning. It has become polluted, putrid, rabid. It now reminds us of danger, carnage, blood spilled, lives lost. Everyday, there are headlines screaming of terror attacks, mass shootings, wars, communal conflicts and disharmony. Senseless attacks at Orlando, Dhaka, Nice, Munich, Afghanistan etc, horrific cases of females like Swathi and Qandil being hacked to death, the atrocities committed on Dalits in India, gang rapes, ruthless murders spreading hostility and viciousness with every attack, thus ensuring that the circle never ends.
'Red' no longer possesses that same sweet scent of love, that music of unity, that warmth of nostalgia we once enjoyed. Instead it now reeks of anger, hatred, disgust and disappointment.
Is this temporary insanity making us see the same color differently? Is it a type of contagious madness spreading like the plague, making us take notice what we once ignored and forcing us to ignore what we once cherished? Or is this the first sign of an impending doom---the beginning of the end?
There was a time when 'Red' was synonymous with love. But everything seems different now.
Oh, how do we go back to the 'Red' of old? How do we go back to that 'Red' of gold? 
R for 'Red' is the eighteenth post in the 'A-Z Series' of posts, a chain of scribbles by me on topics starting with each alphabet of the English language. Read back and forth for the other posts, and please feel free to contribute your thoughts on the subject.


Dee said...

I like how you have attached the varied 'factors to the colour red. Both the positives and the negatives. It was a good read!

Pri said...

Thanks Dee. Much obliged! :)