Friday, 16 November 2012


Excerpts from The Colourist
Here, wedged in between yellow and green, lies a vast array of hidden colours waiting to be discovered, but with so few words available to describe them. Even fruit, usually generous with its naming does not have enough variations to adequately categorise this part of the spectrum. Yellowgreen, such a young colour. It’s the bud of a daffodil, softly yielding if you press it, yet firm with nascent life. If you could peek inside, just before it opened, and smell all those flowery juices, raw and acidic, they would be the colour of spring and possibility. But it’s a sickly colour as well, bringing to mind infection and nausea, and perhaps no one has ever liked it well enough to find a suitable name.

There was a cramped corner of Marrakech made irresistible by particular colour that hung from the rafters of the market house to dry – yellow; like the pollen as it gathers on a bee's legs. It made me madly, light-headedly happy as it sang its bright song and whirled away into the dark corners of the old city, reaching out to touch the faces of the woman through their veils, smoothing the lines in the old people's brows, playing with the children and twisting around their legs like cats, making them laugh and jump about. How I loved it… though, just as it’s said that pleasure comes with pain, the beauty of this yellow made all the colours in the vicinity jostle for space and I had to focus my vision otherwise it became tainted. Such is its demanding nature, casting spells that dizzy the senses.

In Morocco, I learnt that when the sufis put on their rags and forgo the material world for the spiritual one, they undergo a 'green death', full of the positive connotations of that most sublime colour and a gentle forerunner to their physical death. But I shall have a yellow death, I think, the colour of the sun and saffron, a blast of last light.

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