Black car discrimination in India

Whenever we take a long car trip, my kids play the car color game. Each of them picks a color and Car colors counts the number of cars on the road with that color. First one to 10 wins the game. During our recent drive to Edmonton, my two daughters, Lekha and Divya, usually picked one of the popular colors — white, grey, black or blue — while my 3-year-old son, Rahul, for some reason, always picked purple, apparently deciding that he really liked last place.

Until they started playing the game, I didn't realize how popular white and grey were. Black is also a fairly popular color.

But if my kids were playing the game in India, they'd have to avoid black and grey. Those colors are rather unpopular in India, unlike in Europe and North America, as Paul Kedrosky notes. If you look at the Financial Times chart, you'll see that the top colors in India are white, silver and red.

So what do Indians have against black cars? That's what I want to know — and so does the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Black Cars (SPCBC). There are several possibilities:

1. Black is seen as an unfavorable or unlucky color, to put it mildly.

2. Black absorbs heat faster than lighter colors.

3. Black is the color of the Oakland Raiders and thus considered evil.

4. Black cars show dirt more readily, as well as the fingerprints of your mistress.

5. Black cars are harder to find in a parking lot, after a hard night of drinking.

6. Taxis in India are black and nobody wants to be hailed constantly.

7. Black is the color of crows, who tend to drop something that's overly visible on black cars.

Whatever the reason, it's just not fair. Imagine how that poor black car feels, sitting in a showroom in Kolkata, waiting for someone to take him home. 

Please don't despair, black car. It could be worse. You could be green. Nobody's going green these days, not even the environmentalists.

Someone will eventually pick you, black car. After all, 7% of cars sold in India are black. So be patient. Any day now, some rich man or woman will come along and buy you, telling the salesperson that you're the perfect gift for their mother-in-law.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. GoldenEmbers says:

    Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Black Cars (SPCBC)

  2. GoldenEmbers says:

    i meant to say:
    “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Black Cars (SPCBC)” haha

  3. kendall says:

    i love you

  4. Interesting article, never knew that even the color of your car discriminated you, interesting.

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