A Different Hue

We love to argue all day long, Henry and I.

Long arguments. Never-ending arguments. Arguments about people and ideas and things. But most of all, we love to argue about colours. Colours fascinate the both of us. Red. Blue. Yellow. We turn each colour around in our hungry mouths and savour what it seems to say.

Blue, for instance, sounds like an ocean. The splash of tall waves, the slight non-feeling when a bubble breaks under under your startled finger, the tang of salt in the air, a ship in full sail moving gracefully across the water – all of it somehow comes to mind when you say blue, doesn’t it?

Henry disagrees with a not-very-graceful snort.

Blue is the sky, he says.  How can blue be water? Blue is a vast expanse of sky, the eternity that eagles soar gracefully against. Shades of blue, he cries dramatically, azure, pale, sky, dark! – and knocks something off the table in his excitement. I laugh. Henry and his passionate arguments! He chuckles in agreement and continues. Blue is the infinity of space, he says, his voice ruminative, for space is really dark blue. It can’t be black – it feels blue, mysterious and beckoning and secretive all at once. Infinite…

I admire the reason and the picture he paints, but disagree gently. Never mind, he says. Green? What about green? Green is feminity, he says. Green is a new leaf, a shy birth brimming with the promise of lush life. Green is a rainforest, a million shades of verdant green reaching out to ensnare you with her sheer ripeness. Green is the seductress, the amazon. The goddess of fertility.

Never! I remonstrate quietly- not for me these gesticulations. Green is masculinity itself. Green is strong, an assertive, even argumentative colour – the green of a dollar bill. The dark green of an army uniform – the colour of a warrior. The colour of dominance, aggression, the hunter. Green is primordial man.

Brown?

Solidity, reliability, he says, his voice rich. Wood: teak, pine, beech, oak. Hard. Sturdy. Dependable. Brown for firmness.

Brown for pliancy, I aver softly. Like brown soil – allowing life to seep through, roots to plant themselves and take hold. Soft, pliant, porous soil.

For the hundredth time, I marvel afresh that one world can look so vastly different to two people. Perhaps that’s why I am an agnostic. There is too much diversity in the world for two men to be bound by one dictum. Henry, of course, is an atheist. Rubbish! He declares. What God? And if there were one, he’d be smoking pot and laughing at all this fuss about Mass and coloured eggs.

Orange?

The sun. Vast, hot, fiery, erupting, burning! What else can it be?

I chuckle quietly. Why, a sunflower, of course! Soft, cheerful, swaying gently in the breeze.

Red, then?

Love. Hearts, gentle passion, ribbons on gifts. I smile in the darkness.

Revolution, declares Henry, disagreeing. Blood, wars, agony and death. A dark colour.

Pink?

Henry snorts. Frilly rubbish. Best left to the women. Pink is not even a colour, he protests. There is only red. Women become infatuated and then red seems pink. Looking at the world through rose tinted glasses! He thumps the table, missing the irony in his last statement.

Pink is real! A baby’s palm, I retort, slightly miffed now. A rose! A rose is pink. That’s red, says Henry smugly. Pink, I reply firmly. Let it be, he says, his tone placatory.

White?

Purity, I say. Light, he says in a faraway voice. I almost agree.

Black?

Darkness.

Our voices echo the word; the only answer we agree upon.

For a moment, we are silent, with only the sound of our heartbeats to give us company, waiting.

Then Henry speaks in the darkness, wonderment laced with an immeasurable sadness in his voice. I dread and welcome it: the question we take turns asking each other each evening, the question we ask our unanswering souls in the middle of the night, the question we know there is no point in asking and yet we ask.

“What would it be like if we could really see?”

There is only silence, long after his question has echoed into the wistful night.

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57 thoughts on “A Different Hue

  1. This one had me going ‘Owwwwwww!’ right at the end.
    This is quite simply your best work till date. You’re just getting better, better, better and better.

    Thank you, O Loyal Reader. 🙂
    -Ramaa

  2. Excellent piece, Ramaa! And very Coral – poignant, sensuous and fascinating 🙂

    Many thanks, madame! 🙂
    -Ramaa

  3. Awesome. The perfect combination of words and images used throughout the post.. Brilliant piece!

    🙂 I was looking at making it longer… a couple of more colours… thanks for stopping by!
    -Ramaa

  4. The bestest so far from RR! ohmygawd…!
    *bow downs*

    Thanks, Maddy! Keep reading 🙂
    -Ramaa

  5. Brilliant! As I read on, the colours began swirling around in my head, and making a dynamic, moving rainbow reaching a climactic crescendo, which shattered into pieces and blackness as the last part delivered its killer punch.

    W.O.W.!!

    Ah, lovely, thank you Sumit 🙂
    -Ramaa

  6. Nice, short story. Made me think about something I thought of a long time ago – that if two people actually saw different colours, as in – one saw an apple the way you see red and another saw an apple as you see yellow. All the three of you would agree that the apple was red. I don’t know if there’s anything profound in that, but it was fun to think about. Made me think that people could be agreeing while thinking different things in their head, or vice versa.

    I understand what you’re saying – that is in part the theme of this story – the sheer diversity of perception in the world can be humbling!
    -Ramaa

  7. Brilliant..had me dabbing my eyes…
    Reminds me of an artist I met.. Francis Koodankandath(spelling..not sure) . He was a brilliant painter..and an average singer.
    He told me that he learnt music to explain the power of colours and his paintings to his blind friend…”Sa”, he said made his friend think of the vast sky and colour blue…….
    Saw some reflections of Francis in your story.

    Amazing…truly amazing

    Thank you so much! Always a pleasure when someone ‘feels’ the story as much as you have 🙂 About the painter, a lovely act on his part, and yes, I agree. Music can communicate nearly everything!
    -Ramaa

  8. Absolute brilliance! Like someone asked, edhuku MBA en al? 😛

    Brilliance requires bread and butter too! 😛 Thanks 🙂
    -Ramaa

  9. Hey Ramaa,
    A brilliant one – you’re getting better and better! Keep them coming!
    -Prash.

    Prash, thanks a ton 🙂
    -Ramaa

  10. brilliant.. totally awesome.. fantastic interpretations,all of em:) the ending was the clincher though:)really poignant.. u almost picture the two sitting together,trading those volleys,staring into nothingness.. fab read 🙂

    Thanks, Brajesh. Glad you enjoyed it.
    -Ramaa

  11. Brilliant! Your style of writing is almost haunting. Half way through I expected the ending, but the way it was written was no way near to how I had imagined it.. A gem it is.. 🙂

    Thanks, Sirpy! Coming from a talented writer like you, a high compliment. 🙂
    -Ramaa

  12. Very evocative; you have a gift. Hope you have something big planned 🙂

    Thanks! I hope so too. 😉
    Seriously speaking, I’m looking for places to publish my work, anyone with contacts, get in touch! 🙂
    -Ramaa

  13. I am new here but am now a convert regular. Blessed you are with the power to write. An experience it was. Thank you for sharing it. Do more.

    Shri

    Thank you for reading and for the comment, Shridhar.
    -Ramaa

  14. Yes, you are just getting better & better! Hope this process continues throughout your life & may you reach all the possible heights:)
    Such a captivating plot Ramaa! They talk about colors & hues with such an expertise that it’s really hard to believe that they are actually visually impaired ! Their physical inability to see still doesn’t discourage them from bringing the true significance of each & every color! I can vehemently say & yes i want to say that I am a big fan of yours Ramaa!:) All the best!:) *Respect*

    Thanks, Prerna! Lovely to see a reader get involved in the story. And thank you, it’s interested readers like you who take the trouble to read each new story and comment who keep me going 🙂
    -Ramaa

  15. Beautiful. Can’t think of any other word that can justify this.

    Thank you! Look around the blog, there’re more stories 🙂
    -Ramaa

  16. I was going to point out how … , but then stopped myself when I realised it would sound like nitpicking. If you are curious about what it was, I’m always on chat to talk to.

    Finally a post that does justice to your imagination. Well done!

    Oh, will ping you asap. Thanks, Mahesh 🙂
    -Ramaa

  17. First time reader of your blog. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking for more of your work.
    Keep it up.

    Thanks! Do subscribe to the blog. 🙂
    -Ramaa

  18. Found this shared in my Reader by someone and loved it! The contradiction that each colour’s character was given was brilliant! And the ending was very O Henry-esque.

    Hey, thanks for visiting. Yeah, the colour contradictions were the things I worked most on, to make them realistic. 🙂
    -Ramaa

  19. First time visitor… loved it, too good. Didn’t see the last line coming!!

    Added your blog to my Google Reader. Looking forward to more such gems! 🙂

    Thanks, Devakishor 🙂 Welcome aboard!
    -Ramaa

  20. I love how it falls into place by the end. It makes sense that Henry and the protagonist would argue about colours frequently. Initially, I thought it didn’t make sense to have them argue over colours so much, but then at the end, their blindness makes it logical that they would.

    Your descriptions were outstanding too.

    Thanks, sir!
    -Ramaa

  21. I am generally a passive reader on most of the blogs. This post left me no choice but to comment. Fantastic!!!

    Thank you so much Praveen… honoured.
    -Ramaa

  22. First time here. Lovely story! Especially loved the way you described the colours. Your story took me on the journey with the characters themselves. Probably the most important trait for a storyteller…to be able to transport the reader into the story along with the characters themselves! 🙂 March on! The ending was, of course, brilliant…except that I spoiled the surprise for myself by guessing it right.

    Thanks for reading and for the comment, Nimmy… And yes, a few people did guess the ending. 🙂
    -Ramaa

  23. Nice post… reminded me of this video about “Holi”

    It made my cry… Thank you for sharing this beautiful video, have shared it with friends.
    -Ramaa

  24. Absoultely Brilliant!!
    Please get the compilation printed..are u considering it?

    Thank you Anupriya!
    I’d love to get it published, but need to find a publisher. Looking for one 🙂
    -Ramaa

  25. Also please write more often, this one came after a month 🙂

    Haha… yeah. Once a month is taxing enough 🙂
    -Ramaa

  26. been reading your blog for a week now 🙂
    I liked this a lot , thought I should comment .
    Good one 🙂

    Thank you, and do keep reading 🙂
    -Ramaa

  27. Ending was brilliant. Didn’t understand it till i read it twice.
    First time I thought it was Henry & ramaa 🙂
    Likewise the video attached above, I can visualize your story in a video!

    🙂 Thanks!
    -Ramaa

  28. Please sit down one day & categorize your posts into tags. Would love to visit months later and read your posts again – but by category wise.

    Helps in increasing hits too 😉 that too without advertising! 😛

    Definitely. Will figure categorixing out, being tech challenged 😛 , and will get it done. 🙂
    -Ramaa

  29. I like the writing style…very conversational and fantastic usage of words, similes and I like the overall imagery. Also like the poignant ending…an author needs to be quite sensitive to be able to imagine and weave a story of this sort! Great going!

    Mathew

    Thanks a lot for the encouragement, Mathew. 🙂
    -Ramaa

  30. As brilliant as the colors you have painted; a collage of deep emotions form a visual treat through your writing – glad I stumbled upon this piece. Brought back to mind (and eyes!) the unforgettably vivacious and colorful Madhavan-Shalini “Pacchain Niram” song sequence from Mani Ratnam’s “Alaipaayude” – only, in more profound expressions here 🙂

    Such an evergreen, youthful song, that! Thank you for reading, Arun.
    – Ramaa

  31. Pingback: A different hue… awesome read – https://ramaaramesh.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/a-different-hue/ (via @radha_) « Prashanth's tweets

  32. This is brilliant! To convey so much in so few words.. I loved every word of this post.

    Thanks, Vijay. Appreciate your reading each post and taking the time to comment. Very encouraging!
    – Ramaa

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