We’re moving house. In winter the gas supply on our street drops to almost nothing, meaning that last year we had three months of cold showers, cold food and constant shivering. You wouldn’t think that being cold would be a problem in Pakistan, given the searing summer temperatures, but the lack of central heating and carpets, together with the surprisingly chilly winters, means that winter can be unpleasant too.
One of the benefits of moving is that it enables us to paint the house however we like. Pakistani landlords are wonderfully open to repainting, certainly compared to British ones, so the entire palette of paint colours is open to us to do as we like.
And what marvellously daft names they have! Acapulco Blue. Cashmere Beige. Antelope, Coriander, Pumice. Wild Orchid. Champagne – funny, that, in a dry country. My mind boggles at the thought that someone, somewhere, is paid money to think up this kind of euphemistic nonsense. Some poor sap is sitting in an office somewhere, desperately trying to think up new and exotic ways to describe the colour “red”. So if you think your job is dull and unedifying, spare a thought for that guy.
Anyway, the paint catalogues made me think about creating a palette of colours to describe some of the things we see in everyday life here in Pakistan. So, without further ado:
Rickshaw Blue: the pale, blue-grey colour of the smoke clouds that rickshaws belch out as they clatter around the place.
Revolting Brown: the colour of the water after I wash my hands in it after a day in the bazaar.
Murree Green: the deep, lush, verdant green of the mountains of northern Pakistan in early summer.
Bougainvillea Purple: the vivid purple of the exuberant mounds of flowers which spill out of gardens all over Pakistan.
Kaghan White: the colour of the snow which clings to Pakistani mountains well into the summer. Basically just white, but, you know, you’ve gotta make it sound fancy.
Loadshedding Black: just black. Like when the electricity dies and all the lights go out. For the fifth time that day.
There must be more, but for now I need to go and choose some paint colours…