Feeling blue


Feeling blue

In a TV commercial, which was aired regularly some weeks ago, a young woman makes this puzzling pronouncement: “I’ve turned blue; how about you?” The blue tent out of which she peers reminds me of the time — some years ago — when I had the master bedroom painted blue.

My husband was not overjoyed. A civil engineer by profession, he believes that white is light and therefore right! Besides, I did not choose Blue Dove, Dusky Blue, Blue Demure, Dulcet Blue, or any such muted tint. I went in for a blue so vibrant that it leapt off the walls, engulfing us in a flaming fashion befitting its name. Blue Blaze has since faded, and I seek a worthy successor. I shall, however, stay true to blue.

This chromatic craze goes back to my childhood. Among my favourite works of fiction was Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did. Those familiar with the story will recall that it relates the doings of the Carr siblings, of whom Katy is the eldest.

While I enjoyed the children’s capers, I was especially drawn to an inanimate character called the blue-room, where Cousin Helen — an uncomplaining invalid and Katy’s mentor — stays as a guest of the family. At the end of the second book in the series, Katie’s sister, Elsie, prepares the blue-room for Katy and Clover Carr on their return from boarding school.

It is unlikely that even earnest Elsie would have gone to great lengths to acquire appropriate accessories, although we do hear of a blue rug and wallpaper.

Privileged invitees (no, they needn’t be blue-blooded!) to my blue bastion, however, are greeted by cushions, curtains, carpets, counterpanes, curios, clocks, calendars and candle-stands — a veritable ‘C’ of blue! If I discriminate on the basis of colour, I am warmly welcoming when it comes to shades of that colour. Azure, cerulean, electric, periwinkle, indigo, sapphire, turquoise and ultramarine — I delight in blues of all hues.

They are randomly represented in objects as disparate as a casually — sorry, calculatedly — displayed sky-blue bag, and a royal-blue feline on papyrus. Then, there are mugs and mirrors, basins and buckets, tiles, towels and toothbrushes. It is only fitting, after all, that a bathroom adjoining a blue room should be bathed in blue!

The response of visitors who are — you might say — bombarded by blue, is predictable. “So blue!” they remark, rightly but tritely; with one notable exception. “A symphony in blue!” somebody admiringly exclaimed.


Now, that was a perceptive comment. While much of what my cherished chamber contains is admittedly tawdry (cobalt-blue roses, for instance) it can also lay claim to artistic merit, for it houses a reproduction of a masterpiece. Thomas Gainsborough could hardly have foreseen that, over 240 years after he worked on his portrait of Jonathan Buttall, ‘The Blue Boy’ would be viewed in a distant land.

Proudly poised over a window, the elegant figure — complete with blue satin bows on his shoes — deserves a suitable setting. As I said earlier, our once-vivid backdrop has lost its lustre, and rapid renewal is required. Leafing through catalogues for an alluring alternative, I have just come across something called Lightning Blue that sounds singularly striking. Anyone who calls on us in the near future must bravely confront the proverbial bolt from the blue. To adapt an adage — none but the bold deserve the ‘blue’tiful!

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