Does your daily commute look like this?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.