Colour my response

The other day I was glancing through some pages when I realised that my mind was sending me warnings. There’s something not quite right on the page and no amount of reading under, over or between the lines seemed to bring out the problem. It was then that I realised that the issue was with the photographs. All beautifully taken as is usual with us. But the car was in white. And the car was a Veloster. The combination was something that my mind wasn’t ready to accept as a valid proposition.

Between Oman’s traditional love affair with white cars and the safety found by dealers in keeping their test cars white so as to allow them an assured clientele for resale, you don’t have to look far for the raison d’être of a white Veloster.

Colour has come to define so many aspects of our lives that very often the message is more implied and subliminal that really overt. To the automotive maven some colours have natural connotations – Red is to Ferrari as Blue is to BMW and Yellow is to Porsche and Green is to Jaguar or Bentley. Oh yes, Silver is to Mercedes-Benz. But then what happens to a Lamborghini that also champions yellow? The shades start evolving in cadence with the growth of brands and very often to match with the launch of new models.

The strong association of a colour to a marque or a model is becoming a fine art. We were at a Lamborghini event where the car being promoted was projected in a particular cerulean blue. Why blue, you may well ask? As we did and the answer sat bang in the middle of “it really looks good in the colour” to “we have assigned this shade as the signature colour of the model”.

But our connection with colour harks back into antiquity and has become so pervasive that we don’t think twice about it. We have learnt to divide colour into masculine, feminine and neutral shades. We have strong shades that express emotions as well as gentler pastels that seemingly play out their roles in wall paints and sundry linen. We also tend to treat Black and White as colours rather than a complete lack of colours and an overdose as they rightly are. For the really adventurous among us, or the artistic minded there is a rainbow of colours even in Fifty Shades of Grey.

There are some ready combinations that we even associate with specific roles. Black and White seem to hog the limelight of weddings and funerals, red is thrown in liberally in the décor and signage of fast food eateries. And there is more than a passing association of purple and gold with royalty.

In the colour wheel that is building up, car companies have also grabbed onto blue and green with a vengeance. Although quite confusing to the mind – blue is greener than most because blue is the colour of the Earth as seen from space. So hybrid technologies usually get blue hued. Green is connected with plant life so we understand that going green is good for the environment. Add a bit of green on the lettering at the end of the mail and you have done your bit to save the earth – especially if you have convinced your recipient not to print out that mail.

In this kaleidoscope of colours we often have the weird and quirky ones on the sidelines. After all we have all heard of mauve, puce and tangerine, but have you ever heard of razzmatazz? The very name connects us with showmanship, so it is a given that the colour with its bright pinkish hues itself will be an extrovert.

While tangerine, orange and peach are also fruit we eat, one should look out for atomic tangerine and caput mortuum both of which sound far deadlier than they are. And why wouldn’t one love the creamy, nutty essence of café au lait?

So what does one’s choice of colours really say about you? I hope it really doesn’t say much, for between the wife and me we have a grey SUV and a greyish car in the house. While the lack of colour may say something about our outlook, the advantage is that we have two shades of grey in between us. Now we need to find the remaining forty eight.

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