Cheap Color Therapy

Does your daily commute look like this?

The dismal commute in.

Do you notice something?
Montreal has officially entered winter this past weekend with our first slight snowfall.  So our 6 months of hard winter has started and it basically means hardly any daylight or sunlight, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. After watching people closely one thing I have noticed in “developed countries” is the complete lack of color in people’s lives here.

How much variety in color do you see here? How much can you expect to revitalize your eyes and vision by seeing these same colors all the time? Is anyone talking to each other?

Everyone is wearing black or navy blue, maybe a bit of red or green or yellow here and there, but by and large when I look at commuters on my daily ride into work on the subway (or metro as we call it) everyone looks like some black mole ready to bury themselves into the ground. I am convinced this monochrome existence also has some sort of effect on people’s psyches.
Even if you go into “fashionable circles”, those persons who work in the fashion industry as insiders, everyone is dressed up in black, gray or monotonous, neutral colors.

Fashion “insiders” – what a lively lot.

This is in contrast to what I grew up with, with periodic family visits back to India and Bangladesh.  The legendary editor of Vogue magazine, noted fashionista, Diana Vreeland once said that the navy blue of India was hot pink and it’s not difficult to see why.

Rickshaw jam in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Festival of Holi, India – the Festival of Color

The various color dyes, everyone throws at each other during Holi

Ladies in the village…

Ladies at home…

Ladies in town…

This didn’t hit me until I was living in Turkey and visited the ancient Greek ruins in Turkey and Greece.  The sunlight in the Southern Mediterranean, in the smaller islands and far from the cities, is completely unfiltered, the sky is an unbelievable shade of blue on most days.

Afrodisias, Turkey

When you walk among the ruins, nothing will prepare you for the pure, blindness you’ll experience as that pure sunlight hits the white marble. It’s not difficult to see what inspired all those ancient Greek philosophers. They took that clear light and vision and then directed that gaze on to themselves and the world around them, allowing them to question everything.

What do you think inspired the likes of Socrates?

I think that’s why I love that part of the world so much, the purity and simplicity of colors, the fuchsia of bougainvillea, the blinding white-washed houses and courtyards, the blue of the sky and water.

Samos, Greece

 I also noticed something else in these colorful parts of the world; people are less depressed, they’re generally more open, less hung up on themselves, everyone’s out walking around, old sassy grandmothers who will chat you up in an instant.

Elderly Greek grandmothers and widowers still yield a lot of influence in villages and local neighborhoods.

Everyone goes on about how great developed nations are, but I somehow don’t always see it. The monochrome color palate in some ways colors a lot of other things here as well.  It affects people’s vision, it affects the way they look at the world, and even, I hazard to say, the way they think. Technicolor may have been developed for the screen in Hollywood but for many, living in Technicolor is still a long way off…
I think I need to go back soon.
Categories: Raise your EQ, Those unseen things, Travels | 19 Comments

Post navigation

19 thoughts on “Cheap Color Therapy

  1. Linda-Sama

    yup. there’s a reason I feel physically lighter in India….. and I am such an ORANGE girl… purses, orange shoes, orange scarves…..

    • I love the marigold color you see in India so much. Everytime I wear it here, I get comments, people seem to love these richer jewel tones but no one wears it 😦

      • Linda-Sama

        I look good in chartreuse and I’ve been told that by more than a few people. apparently not everyone can wear chartreuse!

  2. searchingforfernando

    I’ve noticed this too.The official color of my state is navy blue, and it’s the second most popular color for clothing after black. It’s depressing enough to live here without having to look at the drab clothing. I wear hawaiian shirts and lots of bright colors (yellow-gold and coral are my favorites) so I tend to stick out a bit. I own exactly one article of clothing that is black.

    • I hate the way the fashion industry dictates which colors are “in” which basically means anytime you step into a boutique or store, all the clothes that are avaiable to purchase will be one of these colors. But I also think drab climates create drab colors. Scandinavia isn’t exactly known for it’s colorful landscape, but you go into Andean Peru, Mexico and equatorial Africa and everyone’s wearing bright, happy colors.

  3. Do you like flowers? I find them a great source of color and energy – pure therapy. Love it when my sardignes, orchids and violets just bloom anytime around the year bringing light to my home.

    • Yes, absolutely! I keep very large, leafy plants and cacti going inside during the winter and keep as many flowers as I can going in my yard and porch during the summer. I’m terrified of trying an orchid since I know they’re very delicate and it proabably wouldn’t be around for too long in my hands!

      • If you have others that you take good care of, you may as well do just fine with orchids. I wasn’t a ‘floral’ person myself until I was flooded with loads of orchids back in the agency. All of a sudden I was responsible for everyone’s orchid’s -not only mine- lined up by my office’s window. The orchids somehow just flourished and bloomed in my hands. Then I came to realize that it’s an Aquarian flower. You know that right?

        You should give the lovely orchids a try. I discovered them through a try. I don’t know about the climate and the sun.

  4. I did not know orchids were an Aquarian flower, now I’m definitely intrigued…

  5. I would think so. Just to give you a hint from some of mine from this past spring..

  6. :D

    Instead of winter, I just call it “almost spring”. So we have summer, fall, amost-spring and spring! It’s the only way I can stay sane.

  7. searchingforfernando

    I received an orchid as a gift, and when the flowers were gone I called the nursery it came from for instructions on how to get it to bloom again. It wasn’t difficult at all. I got as many blooms as were on it when I received it. Orchids are not really that difficult to manage. I’ve had several. Here’s a tip for getting masses of blooms on a Christmas cactus: put it outside in May or June, where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Leave it outside until just before the first frost. You’ll be amazed by the number of blooms you get.

  8. Pingback: Spring | JR: A Manifesto

  9. Mayuna Takagi

    My name is Mayuna Takagi, working as a TV assistant director in Tokyo, Japan.
    Now, we are looking for the photo of Bangladesh, for example, traffic jam, then we found the perfect pictures on your homepage. So, we would like to get a permission to use these photos on our TV program.

    Could you give us a permission to do that?

    We are looking forward to hearing from you.


    Mayuna Takagi
    Wood Office Co.,Ltd

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: