hair's colour in Sanskrit

Allen Thrasher athr at
Wed May 7 20:22:36 UTC 1997

 I have also observed Indians referring
> to clothing  as "black" (and therefore unsuitable) because it was a color
> that an American would call light beige or off white.

I encountered an interesting parallel to this.  In Dalhousie in 1978 I was
having several shirts made to order and choosing cloth.  I was shown one
bolt of inverted V-stipes (^^^^^^^^) in white and very pale pastel shades
of yellow and pink.  I was thinking it might do for a party shirt (this
_was_ the '70s) but decided against it.  The merchant praised the cloth
saying "it's very somber."  Somber was about the last thing it seemed to
me.   I decided what he meant was that the colors were very washed out or
what I believe is called technically in colors "unsaturated."  The other
fabrics I was buying, to which he was probably implicitly comparing this
bolt, were forest green, chocolate brown, and cobalt blue.  I wonder if
the washed out and muddy shades of very pale brown that the Indian middle
class male seems to favor in shirts when they aren't just white are
favored as being "somber."  (And is the latter the salesman's mistake for

So perhaps the conclusion is that certain shades are viewed as "dark" as
compared with pure white.  Or can someone give another explanation?

Allen W. Thrasher

The opinions expressed do not represent those of my employer.

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