FEATURED WRITER : Ragini Ravichandran's Colours in my Dream

Netra walked down the stairs. Each step felt icy cold against her feet, making squeaky sounds as they touched the wooden flooring. The railing felt cold against her palm. 
The air was filled with the scent of coffee, jasmine and incense. Netra walked towards the kitchen and noticed her mother busy peeling the potatoes. 

“Good morning, sleepyhead! Slept well?” enquired her mother, smiling at her.
“Good morning, Maa! I slept well. I had a weird dream, but a sound sleep…” she shrugged as she filled a kettle with water and placed it on the stove to boil. 

She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She loved how the kitchen smelt. She could hear birds chirping outside. She smiled at the sound. She could smell the mowed grass from the garden outside the kitchen. Turning off the stove, she proceeded to make a cup of black tea for herself.

“Let me finish cooking the breakfast. I will call you once it is ready. I am making something special and this will definitely make you feel better!” said her mother, who was now busy chopping the onions. 

Netra adored her mother, with whom she had spent 20 years. Netra’s mother had made sure to provide her with all the comforts. Netra was born and brought up in Mysore, the city with its old-world charm and palaces. She lived with her mother and grandparents, and had lost her father two years ago, in a road accident.

Passing through the hall, she noticed her grandmother stringing the jasmine flowers and humming a song by M.S. Subbulakshmi.

“Good morning Ammamma!” she said as she gave her grandmother a tight hug. 
“Good morning little Netra!”
“I am not little anymore!”
“Oh, is that so? But you will always be my little kid, no matter how old you grow!” smiled her grandmother. 
“Ammamma, you’re the best! Where is Ajja?” 

Netra had always called her grandfather ‘Ajja’, a word which sounded cute and joyful like her grandfather.

“He has gone for walk with his friend. He should come home in a while dear.” 
“Okay Ammamma, let me freshen up now.”

Her grandmother smiled and nodded, before going back to humming the song.
Walking back to her bedroom, Netra placed the mug of black tea on the little table by the bed. The table felt smooth as she opened the draw and took out her diary. She had to write down her dream, but she was scared to do so…

Opening the diary, she flipped through to see the last entry. There never was one. All she could see were dates and nothing beyond that. She took out a pen from the cylindrical, metal pen stand on the table. She sat down on the bed, placed a pillow behind her. She leaned back against the pillow and closed her eyes. 

“I have to do this…”

Date: 27 March 2019

Dear Diary,
I am Netra. I am 20 years old; I will turn 21 in a week. Did you know, my name means ‘eyes’. I feel this sounds so ironic, you want to know why? Well… I was around 8 years old when I was diagnosed with Achromatopsia, a condition that makes one colour-blind. I was taught about colours in the nursery school. I knew red, yellow, blue, green, orange, black and white better than anyone. I lost my vision to see colours, even before I was introduced to newer colours - this means, I can read the names of different colours but I can never see the colour for what it really is. If you had asked me back then, I would have told you that green was my favourite colour. Ask me about it now, I will tell you it doesn’t matter because everything I see is grey. I remember telling my parents that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I eventually followed my heart and learnt to draw. I paint and sketch, but I haven’t used colours for nearly 12 years. The sky is no more blue to me - it is grey... And to you, it could be any colour you see. Oh, don’t pity me… By seeing life in grey, I have zero understanding of the term ‘judgement’. Every time I go out with my friends, I hear them look at things around them and say “My God! What an awful colour!”, I simply see only grey. So no matter how someone appears, they are just grey in colour to me - life is less complicated this way! Don’t you agree? 

I think I am digressing a bit too much! Let me tell you about the dream I had last night…
I dreamt of painting. The colours weren’t grey anymore, I could see them as they were. My fingers trembled as I added colours to the palette. The paint smelt strange yet familiar, and nostalgic (if ever I could term nostalgia as a smell).
I painted the most beautiful and colourful picture. 

I woke up with tears in my eyes. I felt disoriented after seeing so many colours - some whose name I had forgotten and some whose name I never knew. I looked around, hoping to see colours around me. I felt disappointed when I couldn’t. I remembered my father’s words just before the fatal accident two years ago…

“Colour your life however you want to. It doesn’t matter if the sky you paint looks yellow, the trees look orange or the earth looks blue. What matters is, to never let your condition get to you. Paint from your heart! Not because you have to prove yourself to others, but because you are beyond what your eyes show you. Go my little cub, take that leap and hear yourself roar!”

It has taken me this long to finally grasp his words. I think I am going to paint today. I will mostly pick the colour my heart says. That dream was surely some revelation!

Will be writing soon again.

Netra shut the diary with a light thud. She put it back in the drawer, along with the pen. She walked over to her workstation, with butterflies in her stomach. She found an unused canvas on the table. The canvas felt rough against her palm. The frame to which the canvas was attached felt cold and smooth. She placed the canvas on the easel next to the workstation. She added different colours onto the smooth palette that was on the table. With a slight shiver, she reached out to a cup containing different brushes. After having chosen a brush, she began painting. Her fluttering heart began calming with each stroke she painted. 

She could hear her mother climbing up the stairs as she stood with her back to the door. 

“Netra… Let’s have breakfast. I have made your favourite today. Can you…” Netra’s mother stopped mid-sentence as she noticed what Netra was doing.

“How is it Maa?”

“I… I think it’s the most beautiful painting ever! Your father would have been so proud of you!” she sniffed.

Netra turned around to notice her mother wiping her eyes, “Maa…”
Netra hugged her mother, who hugged her back tight. “I am glad you decided to go for it. Never too late, kiddo…!”
“I am glad too. I will tell you all about it over breakfast. I hope Ajja is back!”
“Yes, he is back!” Netra’s mother smiled as she picked up the mug of tea that had turned cold. “Let’s go down. I will make you a cup of hot tea after breakfast.”

Netra and her mother walked down the stairs, towards the kitchen. The air smelt of fried onions, asafoetida, potatoes, batter and ghee.

“Aha! Masala Dosa!” exclaimed Netra as her face lit up with a grin.
“There’s nothing a plate of masala dosa can’t fix!”, she thought to herself as she made her way to the dining table.

About the Writer:
Ragini Ravichandran grew up reading Enid Blyton. A brief stint at a company gave her exposure to writing and that’s when she fell in love with it completely. Apart from this, she spends her time doodling and gardening.

Ragini decided to work on her writing through a CreativeFiction Writing Workshop with Shweta, the editor of Inkspire. This piece is what Ragini wrote after six weeks of working on her non-fiction writing skills. She had this to say about the workshop experience – 

I loved reading the assignments and coming up with a story every week! After attending the fiction writing program, I get a better understanding of how things have to be described and the key role that the senses play in conveying a plot.”


  1. Lovely story Ragini! All the best!

  2. Excellent nostalgic moments with parents and grandparents. This is what Indian culture is all about "family". All the best keep up the good work.

  3. What a colourful story you’ve painted!

  4. Awesome story writing..... heart touching... really loved it.... spread your wings far high....☺️ waiting for more stories....

  5. Awesome, loved the details and could almost imagine the setting! You brought words to life!


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