What’s in colors?


Colors are everywhere and are involved in every aspect of our life. Life would be dull and meaningless without colors

I look out of my window and see orange colored flowers all over the place.  It is called ‘swasthani phool’ in Nepali. Then there is the sweet smelling ‘chameli’ and ‘beli.’  I also see my father wearing yellow colored shirt and I know today is Thursday. I can see plenty of colors around me. Just the thought of colors makes me happy.  I know most of you are thinking, “what’s in a color?” Very good question indeed. Actually there is not much in colors, but then again there is nothing without color.  Just think of the red blood in our veins without which we would not exist. 

We talk about color all the time but what exactly is color? Dictionary describes color as a ‘sensation produced on eye by rays of light when resolved as by prism into different wavelength’. To make it short in order for human to be able to see color, there must be light. Colors are present everywhere and are involved in every aspect of our life. Life would be dull and meaningless without colors. Now look around and you will see all the beautiful colors.

Colors everywhere  
Your kitchen is full of color. Never thought of it?  Then look at your clothes. They too are of different colors. Not just women, men also have started wearing colored clothing.  So you see colors never leave you. All this talk about colors reminded me of a question that frequented our physics exam when I was a student long time ago. We were often asked, ‘why is sindur red?’ Well I can tell you now that the reason is that the colors we see are simply a degree of how much of this color present in light is reflected back to our eyes. Hence, sindur is red.  For example, black cat absorbs all the colors and hence it is black and white cat reflects all the colors back to our eyes and hence it is white. Now you must be thinking, ‘are black and white colors?’ Let me confuse you a bit. 


A scientist will tell you the physics reply, “Black is not a color, and white is a color.” Then again ask an artist or a child with crayons and you’ll get a different answer, “Black is a color, white is not a color.” Maybe!  Still the question remains: ‘Is black a color?’  A very simple answer to that is, no, black is not a color; a black object absorbs all the colors of the visible spectrum and reflects none of them to the eyes. Hence you see it as black.  Now some of you are thinking, ‘what about white? Is white a color?’  To answer your other question, yes, white is very much a color. White reflects all the colors of the visible light spectrum back to the eyes hence it is white. Amazing isn’t it?  And yes it is complicated too but let us not get confused. Life is full of rich colors.  

Unfortunately we tend to see it according to our mood.  Some think of life in terms of black and white, while others think of it in shades of gray.  Very few see it in terms of hues of rainbow.  I am one of those people who see life in terms of multiple colors that blend together to form pure white light. I remember as a child I did not have any preference to what color I wanted to wear.  I just wore whatever my family provided me. It was only in college that I indulged a bit into the world of different colors.  Then I realized I liked bright colors but I had my limitations.  I wanted to avoid unwanted attention.  So I wore shades of grey and whites: colors usually associated with older people. 

Though my choice of grey was deliberate, I did not know grey neutralizes negative influences. I did not realize that my preference for grey also indicated that I was very neutral and indifferent, non-expressive, reserved, cool and tactful person. I found that out from color therapist much later in life. Yes there is something called Chromo therapy. Much later in life I realized that the color I wore also reflected the kind of person I was. 

I was simple and very optimistic. I know you are saying one cannot always look at life through rose-colored glasses. Agreed, life is full of dark black days and bright nights too.  While we are at it, let us not forget the fact that color is everything in a person’s life. Look out of your window and you will see color everywhere.  Nature has abundance of it. If you have a garden it is as vibrant as can be because you chose the plantation there. I am sure looking at all the different colored flowers makes you happy.   Did you know colors also impact our mood, preferences and actions?  Yes they do! That is the reason companies take into consideration this fact while they are trying to sell their products through commercials. 

Impacts in life
At the moment one commercial of detergents comes to my mind. Each advocates their product will make your clothes clean white, fragrant and what not.  White is considered a clean, pure color, and is often very successful when placed on the outside of a laundry detergent box. If you think this is amazing then listen to this. According to various studies, beverages in darker glass bottles have a better taste than those in clear bottles. So you see colors do have an impact on people. 
Finally, according to Ayurveda, color is associated with different days of the week.  It is believed to be auspicious to wear red on Sunday. Monday’s color is white.  Red or orange is the color linked with Tuesday. Green is the color of the day for Wednesday.  On Thursday people wear yellow. Friday’s color is light blue or multicolored. On Saturday people wear black. So you see color affects many more aspects of our lives than we realize. The colors and color schemes in our surroundings can affect our taste, mood, the way we think, productivity levels and even how active we are. Underestimated by many, color adds variety and flavor to the everyday world too. So the next time you think of painting your house or buying clothes take a look at what colors are suitable for you and you might bring in luck just by choosing a different color.  Now that sounds interesting right?

The author is an educationist and author of several children’s books

Source from : My Republica  

 January 6, 2018 10:00 AM Usha Pokharel