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School with the Colored Walls

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Color represents emotions. And happy, bright colors bring a smile on our face. In this age of utter madness in Pakistani society from which all happy colors have drained out, there is one place where a small sanctuary of color has been created to give children a sense of safety, harmony, and beauty of the world we inhabit. Can we, if you will, see our in our urban landscape for a minute with the eyes of a child? What colors do you see? I see blotches of sand colors, some green in few cities, a lot of smoke which is black, colors faded by the sun, dirt, dirt all over the horizon, on the buildings, on the cars, on the traffic signals. Then as we enter the homes, I see beiges, an abundance of brown and some magnolia…. basically bright colors are missing. Of course there are some spots of vivid color, like a beautifully kept garden, or a field of rice, or a lovely eating place. But, in general my range of sight is devoid of sharply defined bright happy and moving colors. I have noticed, in the last month, splashes of beautiful and sparkling color on some boundary walls in Lahore. Where was this color coming from and why? who suddenly wanted to do up our dreadful looking urban areas with a trickle of fresh deep colors. It obviously is a school, wasn’t obvious in the first place for colors weren’t the choice normally our schools make. Deep Turkish blue, a marigold/mango yellow, a candy pink, a sea-green, and a mossy yellow! On further inquiry I discovered a world of flamboyant colors in these schools on the inside as well, but used with a lot of white and different shades of grey so as to tone them down. Colors evoke feelings, they bring energy, and at times lull you into a calm. All schools use bright colors and a plethora of cartoon images for the ‘entertainment’ of young children. But I feel at times the usual images of cartoon figures on the walls, the garish colors, the over-decorated, the horrid hues used to excite and engage children actually end up having the opposite effect. Bombading the clear and sponge like senses of the very young with a multitude of heavy images, vying colors, overly decorated classes confuse and intimitade the children. Too much stimulation at a earlier level is certainly not good or can’t be good, if, as a grown-up, usual school decor gives me a migraine, what of little children?

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Colors on the boundary wall look attractive. They arouse curiosity. They are simply inviting. I want to find out what’s on the inside. Colors can bring a positive, healthy vibe to an enviornment, be it a school yard, a classroom, a doctor’s waiting office or a bedroom – provided they are chosen with discretion and used intelligently. The School with the colored walls has done all this and some more. Kudos to them for bringing a tinge of color in our lives and giving children a chance to appreciate art in color!