Core Blog

“Auburn in Autumn” – Colour Me Enlightened

October 6, 2017

Words Batul S.  
Digital Art Alifiya S.


Batul S., bless her sweet soul, is a harbinger of peculiar muscle spasms. Bubbly, bouncy and of course, beautiful, the ‘B’ words that make her and her name.

The human eye – the most receptor-rich organ in our body – bestows us with the miracle of colour vision. It is also pretty much self-sufficient and self-cleaning. Which is why, other than obsessing about the colour of our iris, we hardly think twice about it. Ironically, our eyes are the unsung heroes that allow us to perceive the colour of our eyes.

Eyes have specialised cells called rods and cones which help us perceive shape, light and colour. Cones, in well-lit conditions, detect the coloured light that is reflected into our eyes and send this sensory information to our brain. This enables us to perceive objects of different colours in HD quality that’ll put 7080p to shame.

Colour is the universal usher that guides us through the overwhelming disarray that is life. It surrounds us – not just physically, but also through our words, thoughts and emotions. It can give us specific instruction, set things in order and even determine how we feel. Red tells us to stop and look – whether it’s on the street or on your body. Blue can make you judge a person just by suffixing it with ‘blood’ or ‘collar’. Green represents freshness and vitality while brown speaks of death and decay (unless we’re talking chocolates, of course. Green chocolates? No thank you!). Too much of yellow and you know you need a venti-sized glass of water. Think orange and your day is ruined because no one needs another reminder of Trump.

Colours have also been used to raise awareness and garner support for the mightiest of causes, be it the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness, or the colourful infinity for autism spectrum disorders.

Even the complexities of the norms and beliefs of our society are often epitomized by colour. Saffron makes our mind jump right to the image of a wise old Hindu sadhu or a Buddhist monk on the road to nirvana. Green reminds us of the solemn and calming halls of a Mosque. See red and you see Santa with the brand new MacBook you always wanted.

It is, therefore, a saddening reality that colour vision is not a luxury that all are blessed with. People born with a rare disorder called achromatopsia, are unable to detect colour at all. They perceive the world in black, white and grey. They live in a 1950s movie – in every century. To add to their disadvantage, they also experience blurry vision in brightly lit conditions. Imagine watching your favourite YouTuber in black and white and in 320p. No fun at all.

Contrastingly, ‘colour blindness’ is a term that has taken up positive connotations in this century. To be colour blind is to be completely disregarding of racial characteristics when making a choice. Imagine a world in which black isn’t associated with crime, brown isn’t associated with terrorism and white isn’t associated with privilege. A utopian world where every human being is painted the same shade of grey and stuffed with the same shade of red. The eyes are, after all, the windows to our soul – not skin. In our relatively dystopian world, however, we may find ourselves blinded by colour. Some overlook a person’s merits and experiences because of his greying hair. Some may disregard a person’s inner beauty because of their depigmented skin. Admittedly, many of us find ourselves shying from the sun because ‘brown in not beautiful’.

Which is the better alternative, then? To be blind to all colour and the prejudice that comes with? Or embrace every tone and hue on which we so desperately depend on? Like everything else in the world, the answer lies in our ability to balance the pros and cons. After all, how could we ever claim to conquer the human condition if it were as easy as black and white? Our true success as the human race would be to be colour blind whilst embracing every colour in its entirety.

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