Up until very recently, I never realized a common link existed amongst all items on my list of favorites – from the most desired car to the most loved team.
The common thread… as I would like to think as, was more apparent than anything else in those chosen items… but had always successfully eluded my observant vision. May be I was so absorbed in my decision-making process that I failed to see through the choices I was making… and discover that common link. And after having spent a considerable time playing with brands and advertising, I still visualized my life in black and white without even a droplet of anything colorful. But lately, seeing my 13 year-old domestic-help Quamrul being obsessed with anything of a particular color; I began to reflect back on life to see if any such common link existed or not. Ironic it may seem, there was more than just a link, it was more like a string that held my life’s choices in place… the common thread that tied it all together. This is the story of that common thread…
The missing thread was nothing more than a simple color that existed or were associated with all of my desired things… the color of blood… RED. Undoubtedly red remains a “primal choice” for the most coveted colors competition; but there is more to it than simply the CMYK scale.
Growing up, I enjoyed an abundance of exposure to the color of nature, GREEN… considering the fact I spent most of my childhood in serene cantonments in distant cities where the greenery and Army green were the only colors to be seen. By the time I was five, my instincts were going green in nature as well… I was shy, calm, unnoticed in a group and slow to react to anything unfair around me. The life of green, wasn’t too appealing at all… nor were the consequences of being labelled a “green man” for my tree-like attitude towards everything around me.
But just like everyone else reading this, my horizon expanded as I experienced more changes, progressive mostly… through life. I started growing a stronger affection towards the center-piece of our national flag, the red circle on the plain green field. Red, as I remember from tiny-tot days; was the color of devil himself and everything not-right would inevitably be labelled in red (i.e. WARNING!) or just be red in color (i.e. blood and coke). It seemed, there was a color specifically made to draw more attention for its destructive powers than everything else and just enjoyed having a stronger recall in the process.
From my earliest memories…. I recall, it was the global brand guru, who came home one day… asked me if I wanna chigy-wiggy (taste) with it or not! From that very day on, a bond of loyalty, love and friendship was formed that remains rock-solid till this date; and yes my dear readers… that love of mine is fondly called Coca-Cola and it is still the biggest brand in RED. Moving from that, my dad’s “Old Spice” cologne and after-shaves along with his motorbike back then, a Honda H100 CDi (my favorite ride to-date) was also red. Some of my earliest, scariest and most adrenaline pumping memories are recorded while I was sitting on that bike’s fuel tank seeing the world go blurrrrrr…
During my teens, as I started spending more time on TV than books, the love of red grew even stronger by the day. Cable television had just gone big in town, and I discovered myself to be a bigger sports fan than anyone else in the family right then. I enjoyed the thrill and excitement of racing… both on and off television. And it was no surprise which way my allegiance would lean once the question of Super-bike or Formula 1 came up. Initially, I was more into motorbikes and thus followed the MotoGP schedules more regularly, with my choice being none other than the Ducati Marlboro Team. But the interest soon diverted to Formula 1. Don’t recall if it was because of all the hue and cry after Senna’s tragic accident or not, I was suddenly following those tiny cars sitting on mammoth engines screaming past each other. The “prancing horse” or Ferrari, clad in scarlet red was the most obvious choice, and I never meant to go against the flow. Ferrari soon had Magic Schumacher on board and I was also grown up enough to get permission to watch races from the red lights-off to the checkered flag. As if Schumi’s HITLER dominance on track wasn’t a big enough influence, along came the most loved game in the world, football.
I believe, it was around the ’98 World Cup when all the newspapers around were covering the star footballers of every team; the name of David Beckham came along. He was charismatic, a dead-ball specialist but on top all, he played for the Red Devils. That name… Red Devils instantly got me awed, as I looked on for every possible information on this “devil on pitch”. Manchester United, as it turned out to be… was soon inducted into my list of “most followed teams” and has remained to be so there on. The game of football, as we all have come to know; is simply too beautiful and exciting to be compared to anything else… and with only a dozen races around the year, Formula 1 and Schumi were soon lost in oblivion. Branson and his all red “Virgin” examples (Records, Mega store, Atlantic Airways, Mobile, Rail, Drinks and what not) would be my other noteworthy mentions from this era.
Graduating from college and heading into the “roller-coaster ride” called career; the old love for red soon sprung up as I joined the “company of immortals”, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. Not too surprisingly, this was also a company that breathed red… not only in the color guides but also even had sub-agencies names redworks and redcard. I was in red-heaven once again, and the love of red seemed never-ending. Career also brought in more disposable income for this wretched soul, and I could afford a lot of things I didn’t even dream of. Going places around the world, I kept on falling victim to this red menace and fell for more red-brands i.e. Vodafone in India, Air Asia in Malaysia and the list goes on and on.
Surprisingly enough, it was not only the products that were red in color; but also their actual owner brands were red, too. I never went on to a self-discovery meditation asking myself the subliminal causes behind this love for red, nor did I ever stop seeing red as the “color of life” (as opposed to popular belief). May be its the vitality red adds to the otherwise mundane life, or even the energy that flows through your veins every time you experience it; I just know my life would have been incomplete without RED.