Significance? It was one of the ways the Citizens showed their elite status
Meera Singh stepped into the communications booth. She pulled back the hood of her all-enveloping burnous and ran one slender finger down the cling-me line that held it together at the front seam, before sliding it off her shoulders and hanging it on the waiting hook. Underneath, she wore a traditional shalwar kameez, in her favourite colours of turquoise and peacock green, appliqued with sparkling gold and ruby flowers. Today not even that could lift her mood.
The inhospitable climate of Shiva meant everyone, Citizens, resident Terrans and visitors, had to wear an all-encompassing burnous when out of doors. These were all white, as the best colour to deflect the harsh sunlight. To compensate, the young Citizens wore brilliantly coloured clothing indoors.
Inside the salt-white buildings, Terra-born residents wore drab pastels or subdued prints and the young Citizens arrayed themselves in an eye-watering variety of florals and dazzling borders.
Cornelia Conti, a Terran with grey hair and a penchant for drab clothing, was especially affected by Meera’s choice.
How she must have looked to that beautiful, vibrant, Shivan girl in her peacock and turquoise silks!
Meera’s taste in brilliant colours was partly cultural (the Shivan Citizens were encouraged to array themselves in the best) but may also have been inherited from her mother Diya, whose wedding saree was a beautiful confection of gold and purple.