October is my birthday month and each year this is a time to introspect and look back at my pattern and weave.
But first let me explain the context…
Of Human Bondage, a masterpiece by William Somerset Maugham is one of my favorite books. In it, Maugham writes of Life being like a Persian Rug. We create colorful, elaborate (or simple) patterns through our actions, feelings, thoughts and choices. The complexity of the pattern as well as the colors of the various strands depend on the individuals aspirations and dreams. Some lives have a simple straightforward pattern while some may be intricate elaborate abstracts. This is one thought that resonates with me and i am fascinated by the colors of the weave and what they symbolize.
If we stand back and look at our rug, we see the bubble- tinged soft pastel shades of lavender, the milky white and the roseate pinks of infancy change to the lively, vibrant and impatient colors of childhood. Here we see laughing sunshine yellows, crackling energetic orange, cheerful fawns, girlish bubblegum pinks, sparkling reds and sour-lime greens.
Adolescence and teenage create abstract patterns for most of us. The palette here is alive with adventure and confusion and the twentys are when the rainbow comes to its own. There is the sinful chocolate-brown, the smoky grey, wicked violets, irresistible cerulean blues, nut browns, bookish inky indigos, spicy cinnamons, dodgy dull greys, flirtatious purples, beetroot reds, confusing browns and dangerous romantic scarlets.
As we grow older most of us choose the one shade that defines us. It may be a practical brown, a tried and tested maroon, an olive-green, a dreamy turquoise, a muted elegant red, a nonconformist iridescent peacock-blue, a rich gold, a bold emerald-green or a steely grey. We choose our shade and most of us try to fit in and blend the other colors of our life into this one dominant shade.
With time, the colors slowly start getting more subdued and practical. If you see a flash of vibrant orange, you wonder where you have seen it before. Have you? Does the attractive bronze remind you of something/ someone? Why does that pink- lavender make you so wistful? And why do you still hyperventilate a little when you see a ravishing dangerous purple?
You also realise that blue and yellow do not always form a peaceful green, but that they may also mix to leave violent purplish- crimson bruises and scars for life. That there are also slimy yellows and muddy browns. That there is the antiseptic green of the hospital that smells of illness, that a long spell of heavy leaden grey leaves your heart an icy blue. That there is the orange spark of hope and the dull black of despair. That there shall always be the soothing shades of friendship and laughing reds.
We redefine our colors as we move on and as a result also repaint our rainbows. Maybe we should reflect and rethink not only the pattern on the rug, but also of reintroducing some forgotten colors.
If there was something you always wanted to do or a place you always wanted to visit, do so. Bring back the colors that sing your song and keep repainting your rainbows. Find your own hue and the mixing of the colors and the patterns may somehow all of a sudden give you the perfect patch of serene white or mellow gold that you were always looking for.
“I could tell you my adventures- beginning from this morning,” said Alice,”but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
Yes, wise Alice, we were a different color then.
(The quote, as you may have guessed, is from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)