Holi, a Hindu festival in the spring, plays with colors like no other. Varying shades and hues, it’s an explosion of abundant visuals rivaled by no other festival in the world. Here, the colors stretch beyond their typical symbolism, they hold the mood like a red balloon filled with blue water splashing against a shoulder and creating a tsunami of laughter. Growing up in this world made me hide my early suspicions of being partially color blind. It became my own little secret, never vocal about my doubts of a certain color.
However, it’s hard to escape something like this. Once I recognized this in myself, I had to learn to approach the world in a unique way.
What is violet? For me, it represents a lost world. A world that seems to come naturally and easily to everyone else, but to me is one filled with doubt about color. I see a big question mark every time I’m presented with a color differentiation, especially sneaky colors like purple, or varying shades of brown. Pink and grey are almost impossible for me to discern. It’s a lonely feeling, yet somehow, simultaneously, I recognize it is special. I know I see things differently, and that’s where the fun begins. I get to live in my own world; one where not even two color blind people see things alike. My version of the color purple will always be unique.
In this world, when presented with shades that are ambiguous, I try to look beyond them, see if I can sense their energy. With time, I learned that getting caught up in frustrations is a dead end. Instead, concentrating on what colors have to offer brings me peace of mind. I have a different relationship with visual nuances, perhaps even deeper than what meets the eye.
Being colorblind is certainly a part of me, but it does not define me. I navigate life in my own unique way.
My colorblindness lets me experience colors that the world has not seen and will never see.
WRITER SAHIL FAROOQI
ILLUSTRATOR MICKAL STUBBLEFIELD