My mother said yellow mustards were in full bloom when I was born. Be it coincidence or my destiny, yellow has been with my every cry and every smile.
As an enthusiastic little boy, I used to run around in the village searching for the tubers of yellow dahlia to plant them in my garden. The impatient wait for the flowers to grow and bloom left me with an immense sense of joy and satisfaction. As dahlia, marigolds were my favorite too. My sister chooses beautiful tufts of the marigold to make a garland, especially for me, during Tihar. I can never weave words to make the garland as beautiful as sister's.
My father brought a sapling of the kind of yellow flower from Darjeeling and planted in the garden in front of our porch. When the plant grew to its natural maturity, its bud bloomed to full flower within five minutes, that too in the evening. We all sat on the porch to watch the buds bloom. Very intimate I felt when each bud took its time to break open its green sepals, revealing delicate yellow petals inside. Bumblebees with large yellow spots came humming for the fresh nectar. Deep inside, I was jealous.
Year's later father brought stepmother, again from Darjeeling, and planted her in our home. My mother sat on a straw mattress in the porch and watched the blooming yellow flowers in the garden and wept silently. I found the reflections of the yellow flower in the waters of her eyes. I laid my head in her lap and felt her body quivering with agony and pain. Not only that, I couldn't share my mother's grief; instead, my resentment with father grew to new heights.
When I went to Darjeeling to continue my high school studies, father bought me a yellow cardigan. A timid boy with yellow cardigan explored the unknowns of life and Darjeeling hills. My inquisitiveness went to the wilderness of Botanical gardens, searching for the yellow orchids. Unknown bonds of love between the orchids and me became stronger ever since. The cardigan stayed with me for almost five years, which I changed into 'home-made foot warmer' when its ankles were torn. The warmth of its yellowness was unparalleled in the colds of Darjeeling.
Years later I was gifted a large collared yellow shirt. Well into my teens, I adored the shirt and, with parted brows, watched my reflection in the mirror. I found myself no lesser than 'Amitabh Bachchan', an icon in Bollywood filmdom.
The ebb of this 'high spirit' though subsided as I grew to maturity. But 'yellowness' of the yellow never left me.
I don't know what Vincent van Gogh had in mind while painting wheat field with yellow in 'Wheat Field and Cypresses'. Neither do I know Laxman Shrestha's turbulence within while painting yellow enriched gems in his paintings. The vibrancy and coherence of yellow in these paintings have caused these paintings to have eternal aesthetic value. My mother possesses the same poise and perseverance at the age of eighty now.
Some argue that 'yellow' is a sign of cowardice, death, and degeneration. They cite the example of setting sun. Maybe! But if the sun doesn't set, how can it rise the next day with full hope and life? Isn't it a part of the continuum called 'time' or 'eternity'?
My joy flew to new boundaries when my friend Manu suggested Laxman's painting for the cover of my debut collection of short stories "Tyo Pahenlo Phool." I have dedicated the book to my mother.
When I visited her in Ilam last month I said, "Mom, this is the book I wrote."
"What you wrote in it?" She said.
"Little of your life, little of mine, lots of your tears and those yellow flowers!" I said.
"Oh.. Kale...!" she said with eyes full of tears, where I saw my life being reflected.
Thus, yellow has become an inevitable part of me. It composes several components of a conglomerate of emotions, which I prefer to call 'My life.'