To me it was one of those fun things you do in an organsation- during the nine days of Navratri, every working day was allocated a colour, which everyone was to come dressed in. The first of those days was ‘red day’. Since I don’t possess any appropriate office attire in the colour, I could have gone either in gym sweats or a saree. It being the festive season, I chose the latter.
On the train, the ladies standing on either side of me were in red. “They’d fit right into my office today”, the thought momentarily flitted across my mind. At the next station, half a dozen ladies boarded the train, all in red. At the terminus, I saw three women standing together in a group – all were in red. I looked around the compartment- more than half the people were in various shades of red.
This was getting almost spooky- was the entire city in red? “But it is the festive season, and red is a very popular colour”, I reasoned to myself, and shut my eyes to the colour.
The next day was ‘sky blue’ day, another colour missing from my wardrobe. I dug out a kurta I hadn’t worn for over six years, and which was three sizes too big for me. And guess what colour the lady sitting next to me on the train was in– you guessed it, sky blue! With an acute sense of déjà vous, I looked around – more than half the women and many of the men were in sky blue.
Things were getting really complicated. The entire city couldn’t be following the colour code of my organisation? I fiddled around with google, and discovered something a lifetime of living in India hadn’t taught me.
A different manifestation of the Mother Goddess is worshipped on each of the nine days of the festival, and each is associated with a different colour. Which is why, in some parts of India, women dress according to the time honoured ‘Colours of Navratri”. With organisations adopting the colour code, the practice has now gone beyond the religious and has entered the realm of a purely secular social custom.
Today is ‘yellow day’, and with every yellow saree, kurta, shirt, skirt, or scarf that I see, my heart soars. If the twenty million people of a city can come together for an activity like this, can’t they be galvanized to achieve practically anything. Isn’t the change we all need, just waiting to happen?