Long before brown, I saw life through pink-tinted glasses. Not with the shocking levity of roses’ flush but with the subtle grace of its baby-blushed counterpart. The brown was my mother’s rebuttal to my father’s unconscious indulgence of his first-born girl. Complemented with placid creams, pristine whites, even a sunny spot of yellow, the omnipresent pink graced my clothes, toys, room, and lest I forget- that trusted companion of any childhood, my first bicycle.
As I grew up, my mother began exercising her right to colour my closet with her favourite- brown. Way before coordinated sets became a thing, my mother was pairing a rustic cinnamon with the more earthy, darker brunette- the colour of crisp, dried-out tree barks. For years, I was the human avatar of autumn.
Which is why, when I could have more say in what I wore, I did what any self-respecting teenager would do. I banished both of these from the sartorial kingdom. I would be caught dead before found in pink or brown. Ok, that’s hyperbolic, but you get the drift.
Over the years, loving colour has turned into a guilty pleasure-the living room is a riot of tints, the wardrobe an artist’s palette, the home a maximalist’s dream come true. Give me the tawny brilliance of Tuscan sun’s yellow, the vitality of blood red, the elegant pitch of night’s black, the balance of Mediterranean sea’s blue over the unexcitable salmon or the boring peach any day.
But, one must never say never. When my bestie planned her baby’s gender reveal party, the dress code was blue or pink. I was rooting for a girl. My clothes and my convictions had drawn swords. I could either change my team or my closet. You know which one it would be, right?
Rummaging through the summer clothes, I prayed- surely I would have a pink t-shirt somewhere. A scarf? Oh, for the love of God, a handkerchief? Nope. There was not a strand of pink. At the party, I wore a pink blazer, the only garment that could have allied me to my predictions, more suited for November than June.
Passage of time and I am weakening- my resistance to these colours has diluted. I can explain the pink- with two daughters, it isn’t like I have much choice. Their room, clothes, and stuff can be divided into three Venn diagrams- unicorn, shiny and pink, sometimes overlapping. Since they were babbling kids, between any other colour and pink, they almost always have chosen the latter.
The brown is harder. Maybe the muddy shade of peanut butter will never do it for me, but the deeper hues of chocolate and walnut catch the eye more often as I grow older. Could this be my midlife crisis?
Or maybe it is where we meet our parents. My mother was the same age as I am now when she breathed in chocolate and hazel into my cupboard. Her buying me clothes in her favourite colour was offering me a gossamer bond tinged with sepia, a connect to her just as I was on the threshold of flying away. As I grow older, most of her decisions that I rebelled against make so much sense now. Or even if I disagree with them, I can now appreciate the experiences that brought her to those junctures- something she had predicted, with exasperation, would happen when I have my own kids.
Eventually, we become, in some parts, those who made us, carrying forth a link deeper than how we address our kin. The consanguinity isn’t just about flesh and blood; the legacy is more than the name- we are walking avatars of our parents- a little bit different but just about.
When younger, there is an unexpressed horror that we might become like our parents- every decision a conscious antithesis of what they would have made. With more years under our belt, we become ambitious. The tables have turned, and how indeed? We now yearn to attain their goodness, even half of it will do.
To chart our own path, diverging or not from those that our parents may have wanted for us, is part of our growth, our journey. It is our story, our life. So what if it may be an echo of the one that our parents led. A bit of it brown, and some of it pink.