The short story ‘The Color of Healing’, written by Vinay Leo R, appears in the Shades of Life anthology. It’s a beautiful take on colors and life. Vinay paints a picture with an array of colors – some gloomy, some happy – in the backdrop of Onam, perhaps the most colorful festival in India. I think the choice of Onam as the mise en scene of the story is brilliant.
The story revolves around the ramifications of an incident in the life of siblings Anjana and Akhil. Vinay manages to engage the reader throughout with an imagery that is at the same time powerful as well as very necessary to the narrative. He builds the suspense slowly but steadily and when it is revealed, you are a bit surprised because it turns out quite different from the way you thought it would turn out. It’s one of the things that lifts this story.
‘The Color of Healing’ teaches you that if you stop doing something because it hurts, then the best way out of it is to do that very thing. It’s never easy, and requires a great deal of effort against the wishes of your mind. But that’s precisely what Anjana does – cutting through the cobwebs in her mind, scaring the monster residing in the inner recesses of her brain and giving it a taste of its own medicine.
She does get a lot of help from Akhil. I absolutely loved the bond they shared. Anjana looks forward to Akhil’s company – she sees him as a person who can really understand what goes on in her muddled mind. Akhil does perfectly understand his sister. They work well like Yin and Yang.
Anjana has been characterized as a simple, God-fearing girl who values everyone in her family very much – until her world is turned topsy-turvy for which she holds herself responsible. She doesn’t appear confident to let go until the very end. Akhil on the other hand, appears more sure of himself and his sister. What goes on in Anjana’s mind is equally disturbing to him, but he seems to hold that strength to let go and move on.
Ultimately, we see the vibrant colors of Onam manifested by the marigolds and asters and the colors that hurt Anjana are the colors that heal her.
It’s a beautiful little story where colors of different hues are sprayed culminating in a happy note. I’m giving ‘The Colors of Healing’ by Vinay Leo R a rating of 4 on 5.