Inspired By The Magic Cube
A simple request and promised surprise. Varun knew quite well that Shalini was game. “Try to solve this. Each face must have only one colour. You are not allowed to look at how-to videos rampant all over the internet.”
The six-faced puzzle bubbled feelings of desperation and anger in her. She could gather only two out of those six colours. Her prior attempts did no justice. This was no easy task. There had to be a secret trick to it. Exasperated and exhausted, she kept it aside and went to grab a cup of coffee. But her mind felt no comfort. The colours kept reeling inside. Red, white and blue arranged adjacently clockwise. The “plus yellow” logic resulted in the corresponding opposites orange, yellow and green. The colour theory classes from years ago tugged her towards a long unvisited memory.
Motherhood had been an easy escape for her. She was to pursue her PhD, but pregnancy was exhausting. She buried her dreams, quit her career and focused on raising her baby. Varun had always been supportive and appreciative. He had urged on rekindling her passion, but she acted a coward. She was scared her ingenuity had fizzled out. Her courage bled in the attempts to forbid her from retrospecting her self-worth. The thought of grovelling beside younger, brighter talent terrified her. She was scared to be left behind; just another artist among scores of others. Afraid to face her insecurities, she hid behind the blanket of societal values. She blamed society but also knew it was a deviant facade to not face reality.
The feel of fresh taut canvas and soft bristles, the smell of turpentine and linseed oil, overalls shaded in every hue and tint of colour there exists; the hours cooped up inside the studio, working out ways to bring an empty canvas to life. The freedom to express, the vibrancy and audacity to bring about change, all conveyed through art; hidden truths in layers of paint and gloss.
Yes, she missed painting! It was a part of her soul. A part neglected and caged deep within. She had restricted her individuality, diluted her voice, chained herself to the views of the society; an absolute moron to quit something she loved so dearly.
It was time to mould a new version of the old Shalini. One who paints emotions colourful and deep. Her spirits surged as she heaved a sigh of relief. She decided to re-adopt expression through art, her much-needed healing.
A unique art piece ideated in her head. These six strayed people towards reminiscing the colours of the Gay Pride Flag. Evidently known as the Rainbow Flag. The colours reflecting diversity. As Artie Bressan had rightfully deemed it, “the dawn of a new gay consciousness and freedom.” They had assigned values. Red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, indigo for serenity and violet for spirit. The inverted rainbow.
Shalini sat down with her cup of coffee and messaged her friends, asking them to associate their personal emotions with the colours of the magic cube. A number of responses and couple of rejects later, the collective resulted in red for passion, orange for innocence, yellow for happiness, green for lively, blue for calm and white for uncertainty.
The ideals of the public and the LGBTQ community matched in extremes. This was no coincidence. Homophobia was in no state to promote gender labels. They protested, “It is an abnormality. They are an abomination. It is against the rule of the universe.” If we are in such stark contrasts, then the possibility of expressing the same emotions would be a far-flung idea. But, the results proved that any man, irrespective of his sexual preference portrays the exact same emotions.
Then what exactly is different?
It is the ability to love and to express, transcending boundaries. We all are human. No other labels can define us.
Varun arrived home to a lovely hand-painted wall hanging. It was a Rubik’s Cube. But it had all the colours of the rainbow mismatched. Man is a collab of emotions and no amount of boundary can restrict his freedom. Every man’s a free bird. An art piece dedicated entirely to Ernő Rubik, for it was his Rubik’s cube that had inspired her to take a step towards self-growth and enrichment.
This article first appeared here.