The Colour of Emotion

The bright white canvas was splattered exquisitely with the perfect blend of colours. One more flick and voila, perfection. The brush dipped into the section of the palette where the carefully prepared mélange was waiting to fulfil its destiny. In a style reminiscent of Professor Flitwick, swish and f…

Colours everywhere. The wrong ones. A masterpiece in the making ruined in one fell swoop of my careless left hand.

I woke up to the blare of my alarm. Of course it was a dream – even in my dreams my artistic skills are subpar. The dark grey roof of my hostel room did nothing to dispel the air of melancholy that came with the morning.

Groggily, I forced myself off my bed. I headed to my fully blue bathroom thinking to myself, perhaps the architect of this hostel was some kind of a sadist. The warm water washed away some of my sloth and I put on a bright yellow shirt hoping to convince myself and others that happiness does exist.

The sun was nowhere to be seen as black storm-clouds engulfed the sky threatening to drown the land below them at any moment. I walked with an umbrella in hand towards class and allowed myself a wry smile as I pictured a painting that’s hung up on the wall of an office to motivate employees, a boy in a bright yellow shirt and a plain umbrella weathering a storm.

The shape of the lecture complex loomed in the distance, its exterior the deceptively welcoming green of trees and nature and the interior, a grey even duller than the hostel room.

Class began and I looked around at all the gloomy faces. I was not short on artistic ideas involving juxtaposition, as the painting of a boy in a bright yellow shirt beaming in a classroom filled with zombies entered my mind. Nothing drives home a point quite like contrast.

The lecturer projected a black and white video demonstrating the working of something or the other. I looked around and saw Renkli. She was staring quietly in the direction of the lecturer. Whether she was listening or in quiet consternation just like me, I had no way of telling. I must have been staring because she turned around and all of a sudden, I was looking right into her eyes. They were like two black pearls. I broke eye contact hoping she hadn’t thought anything of it. She was wearing a fashionable purple top and the perfect amount of makeup to accentuate her natural beauty. I couldn’t help but think that her appearance was a façade just like mine.

I couldn’t help but feel that the world sometimes conspires against you. When you’re down, everything around you just pulls you deeper into the chasm. Negativity breeds negativity.

The class ended after what seemed like an eternity. I had about an hour off before my next class began and I decided to take a nap to compensate for my disturbed sleep the previous night.

I walked back listening to music, determined to avoid looking at my doleful surroundings.

Inevitably, I had the same dream. A white canvas and a palette in front of me. Resigning myself to another suboptimal rest, I decided to try and experiment. Artists, authors and poets have long used colour to convey emotion.

What if emotion was colourless? Emotion is emotion. If you’re happy, even the dullest grey and the darkest blue could enrich your day and if you’re sad, even the brightest yellow can’t buoy your spirits.

Swish and flick. The canvas was filled. The colours were in the wrong places. Happiness where there should be sadness, joy where there should be anger, passion where there should be apathy.

I woke up to the music of my alarm. The grey in my room was capturing what little light of the day there was, giving it the appearance of sunrise.

I walked to the bathroom to wash my face and freshen up and I was met by bright blue walls that made me feel like I was floating in the ocean. I changed into my favourite black shirt and put together everything I needed.

I began my walk back to class. The dark clouds were blocking the sunlight making the long road much more pleasant to stroll on and giving the sky a celestial sheen. The greenery was glistening all around, still wet from last night’s showers. I could see the lecture complex, its tall windows draped with red curtains that glimmered sheepishly against the walls of the building.

I sat in class and everyone seemed active, talking about nothing in particular as they waited for the lecturer to come in. Renkli came in wearing the same top she was wearing earlier and sat in the seat next to mine. The purple brought back fond memories of school and other crushes I’d had when I was a young teenager. I don’t know what came over me, the nostalgia or the faint smell of her perfume. Just as I was gathering up the courage to say hello, the professor walked in and the moment was gone.

Black and white or colour, there’s really not much that can make a class interesting if you aren’t following your passions. Show me a video about art and you’d have my undivided attention.

I silently doodled in my book as the class went on and my mind began to wander. I decided to look around and see what everyone else was doing and I saw Renkli look over at the drawing on my book. Our eyes met again and I was held captive as I saw the beauty of a starless night sky in her irises.

I managed a small smile this time and eagerly waited for the end of class. The bell rang mercifully and I threw caution to the wind.

“Hi Renkli, what’s up?” I heard myself say. I wasn’t even sure the words came out of my mouth.

“Hi! I was just going to go eat lunch. I really liked your drawing by the way, it was beautiful!” she replied.

“Oh really? Thanks! I draw a lot when I’m bored. Oh and I really like your top. That’s a great colour on you,” I remarked, trying my best to contain my excitement and play it cool.

“Thank you so much! I love this top too. While we’re on the subject, why did you change? I really liked that yellow shirt you were wearing earlier today! It looked so bright and happy!” she said with some curiosity and a slight blush.

“A shirt of any other colour is just as happy,” I replied, hoping she wouldn’t leave right there. The rest as they say, is history.


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