You had asked me in your previous letter that when did I start loving the colour orange. I don’t really remember when, but my vague memory says it was when we shifted to Mussoorie. Now that I try hard to recall, it was when I met him.
But I don’t like the colour because of him. I can assure you that. Not because when I saw him for the first time, he was wearing a bright orange t-shirt or because his fair skin would escape the hues of red and tan and turn orangish instead when he played football in the sun.
Not because we paired up together for our class third science project and changed the peaceful white of a rose to a bright orange and we got B grades in the project. Not because he rehearsed his proposal for his first girlfriend, with me and instead of a sensuous red rose which was booked for his love, he knelt in front of me with an orange genda Ka Phool. Not because we accidentally bought cheap, fake Team India cricket jerseys in a shady orange colour and still cheered and screamed at the top of our lungs during the match. Not because he bought a new orange umbrella in fifth grade and flaunted it in front of all the kids but broke it later while helping me rescue my kite from the tree.
Remember Maa, you had made me a cozy orange sweater and he had whined and tugged on your pallu, insisting on you making a similar one for him also. And you did make him one. Years later when we were leaving for college, you had gifted it to him and he had smiled. We had promised each other to stay in touch and I had tried also. I waited for him every winter break, clutching myself in that orange sweater, convincing myself that maybe, he will come home next winter and we would sit on the bonnet of his old car and watch the orange sunset.
But he did not come back. And what should have happened is that all the memories should have rusted and turned into a brown from a bright orange. But they did not Maa. They are still a bright orange in my mind.
But I don’t like the colour because of him. Not because his favourite colour was orange. Maybe because orange is the colour of sunset and I like sunsets. Yeah, that is why my favourite colour is orange, Maa.
P.S. Open the package with this letter carefully. It has that sweater. Give it away, Maa. I don’t need it anymore.