The Tale of Two Colours

At the age of five, your favourite colour is an important piece of information about yourself. Without a favourite colour, you face an identity crisis. One of the first things my friends and I asked each other was what their favourite colour was. If it was a girl saying blue, we would all make fun of her. If it were a boy saying pink, he would not only be made fun of, but would be looked upon as a weakling.

Such was our world back then. As childish as it was, it made me hold back from the things that I loved or do them secretively.

I personally had a fascination for cars. Every day, my mother and I would walk down our apartment and wait at the same place for my father to come back from work. And when he did, he would give me a toy car and I would squeal with joy and add it to my huge collection. As proud as I was of my collection, I never let anyone know. Cars were meant for boys. I might lose my friends if I ever told them.

I also loved the show ‘Power Rangers’. I never missed an episode. Just like my car collection, I kept this from my Barbie-loving friends.

One day, I was sitting with my best friend in the courtyard. Out of the blue, she told me “I’ve changed my favourite colour. I like blue now.” I laughed out loud at her. “Are you crazy?” “What’s in a colour?” , she asked. “I like blue and I am not ashamed that I do.” That wiped the grin off my face. I felt small. Why was she acting so grown up all of a sudden?

That night in bed, I couldn’t listen to my Grandma’s story properly. All I could think about was what my friend had asked me. “What’s in a colour?” I realised how stupid I’d been.

The next day, I confessed to her about my car collection and my love for Power Rangers. Her reaction caught me by surprise, because I knew she loved watching Barbie. “Me too! Me too !” she screamed happily. She had kept it from me just like I had done. From that day onward , we watched Power Rangers together.

I wasn’t ashamed anymore. I thought if I told my other friends proudly that pink was not my favourite colour and that I didn’t understand the point of Barbie dolls, it would change them, like it changed me. And it did. Most of them confessed about the things they’d been hiding. I felt happy I’d made a change. Even though it was a small change, to a five year old, being able to express your interests freely after suppressing them for so long is a huge change.

Very soon, Chhotta Bheem came up on Pogo. I was obsessed with it. The programme showed Chutki throwing laddoos to Bheem, and Bheem fighting the bad guys with the strength he got from eating the laddoos. It gave me an impression that that was all a woman was supposed to do. Provide for the men when they did all the important things. All the Indian movies said the same thing. If you’re a woman, and you are cornered by a group of bad people, you wait for the hero to come and rescue you.

Sometimes, I even enjoyed feeling timid and weaker than my guy friends. It made me feel feminine. It took years to change my mind and know for a fact that a woman is no more incapable than a man. He may be biologically stronger but her strength knows no bounds.

It is important for us, as people who have gone through this meaningless stereotyping, to show to our children that gender roles are non-existent. If your boy likes to pretend cooking, let him. If your girl likes to play with cars, let her. The first step to make our children understand this is to tell them to be themselves. Tell them that there is no need to pretend to be like everybody else.

I don’t remember much from when I was five years old, but the Tale of Two Colours has surprisingly stayed in my memory- maybe because it had a huge impact on me and made me embrace myself for who I was.

43 thoughts on “The Tale of Two Colours

Add yours

  1. Very well written Shreya. I’m happy the way you are growing up, with all the stereotyping and patriarchy around us. I was one as a child and then was too tired as that’s what I saw everywhere. And I realised that keeping quiet or frustrated about it doesn’t help at all and have started questioning it everywhere. The most important – in office. I would advise you to do the same – question, call it out. Place doesn’t matter, who does it doesn’t matter. If it is wrong, it is wrong . No matter who does it or where it happens.. your flow of thoughts is amazing. Proud of you, as usual ❀️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. I always call it out. Sometimes, I think I call it out too much ! There are some that can’t be reasoned with, and it is futile to try to make them change. Trust me, I’ve tried. It is through these blogs that I’m trying to make a change.

      Like

  2. It’s beautiful. I love the way you’ve written it so that even children would be able to realise what’s going on around them in a positive way and maybe let themselves and their friends be more of their own self as they grow up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Saran. That’s exactly what I want to do. Make every child realise sooner than later that there’s nothing wrong with being themselves, and to not blindly give in to stereotypes.

    Like

    1. Sure did. I loooveed Power Rangers for a really long time. Probably from when I was around 4 years old. The excitement died down after I turned 7 or so

      Liked by 1 person

        1. SPD all the way. I even made my parents get me the Red Ranger’s hand gearπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Although, I don’t remember much from the show now.

          Like

  4. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment, Kevin ! Means a lot to me.
    Sure is a very powerful lesson πŸ™‚
    I’m grateful to the people around me to have made me realise sooner than later.

    Like

    1. To a child, to be forced to like a colour by their peers is to an adult to be forced to take up a particular role in life. That is what I meant.

      Thank you so much πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting reflection on an important period of your life. I like the way it started, and how I got pulled in as I kept reading. It was great getting to know you a little better. I did not have a favourite colour until I was twelve then it was all pink, which turned to purple by the time I turned 14. I have several favourites now, and I like having options.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: