When Pink Leaves You Feeling Blue

Susan Narjala   |   April 27, 2016 

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Every few days, my six-year-old asks a list of questions about my preferences. They roll off her tongue with practiced ease: “Mama, what’s your favourite number? What’s your favourite animal? What’s your favourite colour?”

If I reply “Pink” to the last question, she wrinkles her nose in horror, “Pink? But that’s for babies.”

Yup, the six-year-old is now officially in the “I’m-so-over-the-pink-thing” phase. After a prolonged love affair with all things pink (think: dresses, hair-clips, nail polish, water bottles, you-name-it), she has now staked her claim in the “Blue Rules” camp. The pink rebellion is well underway at our house.

Her mom, on the other hand, continues to unapologetically cling to her love for pink.

Pink. It is sticky cotton candy at hot and dusty local fairs. It is my dad enthusiastically asking at every ice-cream parlour if we wanted “pink ice-cream” (long after us kids knew it was officially called strawberry). It is flouncy tutus at my daughter’s first ballet lessons and marshmallows at Easter.

But more than anything else, pink reminds me of cherry blossoms.

When we lived in the US, every Spring, I would gather the troops (a.k.a. my family) for a photo shoot. Not any old photo shoot, but one with the prerequisite cherry blossoms in the background. Despite years of seeing the cherry blossoms every single Spring, I just couldn’t get enough of them. I indulged in buying teapots with cherry blossoms etched on them. I planned crafts for the kids with cherry blossoms made of popcorn or little bits of pink tissue paper. Cherry blossoms made me stupid happy.

This is my first Spring in India in a long while. When my friends back in the U.S. began posting Facebook pictures of cherry blossoms, my heart started to sink. If I could afford to buy a ticket to the U.S. or Japan, I would. Just to see the pink in bloom. To feel again like I’ve stepped into my ever-favourite Anne of Green Gables novel. To exclaim in delight like Anne after passing through an avenue of cherry blossoms,

"Pretty? Oh, pretty doesn't seem the right word to use. Nor beautiful, either. They don't go far enough. Oh, it was wonderful--wonderful. It's the first thing I ever saw that couldn't be improved upon by imagination.”

So, I decided to take up my pink problems with God. (Okay, I'll admit I also indulged in some whining with the husband.) “Pink is supposed to make me happy, God. Not plunge me into gloom. Really!” I argued.

And, God answered with a “Just wait and see.”

So I did.

I didn’t quite see the profusion of cherry blossoms like a bower of cotton candy arching over perfectly clean streets.

Instead, I caught surprising glimpses of beauty as we drove along garbage-lined roads. It seemed like God was lifting my eyes away from the dirt and chaos to see beauty. I looked up to catch a glimpse of fuchsia bougainvillea bursting over fences. I saw the delicate stem of a pink orchid clinging to a branch. I noticed the cluster of pink roses piled high on road-side carts beside eager vendors.

And it didn’t stop there. God said, "You want pink? I’ll give you your very own patch of pink."

In my little terrace garden, despite the crazy summer heat and my decidedly black thumb, pink blossoms with vibrant fierceness.

Every morning, before the sun starts beating down, I sip my coffee in my terrace getaway and drink it all in. I can’t name every flower that’s in bloom, but I do know that they make my heart sing. I think about Anne’s words when she wakes up to see the beauty of the world outside her bedroom window, “Don't you feel as if you just loved the world on a morning like this?”

I do.

It’s a pink of possibility. It’s a pink of fresh perspectives. It’s a pink that chases away the blues.


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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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