I held the story in my hand,
Held it up to the light.
It scattered, like anti-mercury.
It scattered, into a million shafts of colour.
Colours that didn’t have names to them.
Or maybe they did have names,
I mean, who remembers colours with names
or Beige, or Burnt Sienna,
I don’t mean remember the names,
oh those – they’re enchanting,
I mean, who remembers what the names stand for?
What comes to your mind, if I say Ochre or Cinnabar?
Why can’t they name colours insightfully?
With a little more care?
Call it the inside of a pumpkin when it’s ripe enough,
The bright, jarring pink of moist cotton candy?
How about the three thick ashen lines on a pujari’s forehead?
Or the hue of his erstwhile white lungi, that’s been washed over and over with four drops of liquid blue,
with the intention of keeping it white?
Maybe they can be named after
the bright green leaves of the sugar rose on a birthday cake,
Or the yellow of the wax
that drips and trails on praying fingers at Church.
Maybe even the diaphanous black of how a woman in an Abaya sees
The creamy face of a full moon,
The colour of the Pole star,
The opaque, ominous gray of rainclouds,
And the universal brown of puddles.
But what is the colour of the universe, then?
Monochrome white, in keeping with the Physics of light?
Or is it black, as dreamless sleep?
Or can it be the mossy green-black that comes from a painting
that’s a fine mess of colours?
True. The last is a problem
of the chemistry of dyes and colours made by tribes.
Or is the problem really,
the chemistry of tribes, made by colour?
Aren’t the lines of fate,
And the henna of every new bride,
the same confused orange-brown?
Isn’t every dark night,
a blanket of velvet blue-black?
Every happy spring morning,
beams of sunny golden yellow?
Isn’t every fairy’s magic wand,
touched with silver-white starlight?
If stories can bleed colours,
Why can’t colours, bleed stories?