The Colours of a Rainbow – VIBGYOR

March 15, 2011 Off By Mani Padma

The kids of her mohalla were creating a ruckus. It was holi -the festival of colours. Colours-
How much they meant to her. She – whose life had only one colour now…

“Doctor! Why is she turning Violet?” Her father screamed. Yes, this was what he said though she remembered nothing. She was just one hour old. After which it was a battle for both- her and her mother. It had been a difficult labour. She survived. Her mother didn’t. It was an omen. She always survived.

The Indigo Jackal. That story was their introduction. He had recited the story very impressively in the class. Kindergarten years. How blissful they were-full of innocence and hope of better things. They became friends. Indigo turned to pink. They became lovers- finally they became what they were meant to be. Man and wife.

He was elated that he was going to finally see the land of Blue hills and the red river. Assam-His first posting in the paramilitary forces. But she was apprehensive. She had heard things about it. Of happy simple people who were not so happy anymore. Of blue hills that had turned red.

“Wear green.” Her mother in law had said with an authority that was difficult to challenge. “Green is the colour of fertility.” She had already messaged him the good news. He was speechless with joy. “I… am coming.” He had stammered but the green valley was not yet ready to let him go. Not yet.

The yellow of the turmeric looked becoming on her. There was also the glow of expectant
happiness. The goud bharai was going smoothly. Only he wasn’t there. But his letter was. He was deputed on a new mission after his promotion. Everything was perfect. The signs bade happy times ahead. Auspicious turmeric.

She remembered the day well or rather the Orange sunset. She was gazing at it . It was
beautiful and then, she had the first sensations of pain. What followed was a blur. The hospital. The labour room. She wanted him there. But all she remembered in the haze was their first orange sunset together.

She saw blood spattered in his uniform. Red the colour of blood. Red the colour of death. She
hated everything. She hated him. She hated that State. She hated the baby. She hated life. But she survived. After all she was a survivor. She was a woman. She was meant to survive.

Her colour was white now. The kids outside had left. She looked at the letter again. It was her daughter’s posting letter. She was assigned to serve in Assam. Fate! She hadn’t agreed initially but … now she was ready to make peace with fate. With everyone…

Yes! White the colour of peace.

White – the colour of hope.


This is a set of seven fifty-fivers. A fifty-fiver (also called 55 Fiction) is a short composition that narrates a story using a maximum of fifty-five words. The colours of the spectrum- VIBGYOR – are used to structure the pieces in this series. The seven fifty fivers independently tell storries of various shades of womanhood; strung together, they tell the life story of a woman in the backdrop of Assam and insurgency.

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