Rains and ruins: A visit to Tintern Abbey

One morning in early July of 2009, I was contemplating ways and means to avoid thinking and writing out my dissertation, a dissertation which would culminate a year’s worth of stay and study in London. It was a year in which I studied a bit and travelled a bit (though not necessarily in that order). So when I received a mail about a day trip to Wales for a very affordable sum from the travel club I was a member of, I immediately signed up for it. So desperate I was to escape my dissertation that I didn’t even look at the details of where we would be travelling to in Wales.

It was only when I got into the tour bus that I got to know that we were headed for Tintern Abbey and Chepstow Castle via Gloucester. Now while neither Chepstow not Gloucester sounded familiar, Tintern seemed very very familiar. Literarily familiar. English school book familiar. But I just couldn’t place it nor get it out of my head. Even the heavy rain, which followed us all the way to Tintern and beyond and back to London, couldn’t distract me from trying place Tintern Abbey. By the time we reached Gloucester, I could take the uncertainty no more and sent a text message to my brother back home in India, asking him why Tintern sounded so familiar.

His reply took a long time coming. The route to Tintern from Gloucester took us through the ancient and beautiful Forest of the Dean, where upon Tintern vanished from my mind to be replaced by Harry Potter ! Tintern returned to my thoughts only after we left the Forest and passed through some of the most beautiful villages imaginable.

Just as I noticed the signboard for Tintern, my cell phone beeped. It was a one word text message from my brother, which said “Wordsworth”. A single word was all that it took me to place Tintern in context.

Continue reading “Rains and ruins: A visit to Tintern Abbey”

From B&W to 3D colour

This post won an IndiSurprize at the HP Take Flight with Colour Contest

Source: Microsoft Cliparts

Imagination is such a wonderful thing isn’t it? We all use it in our own unique ways. I use most of mine to give colour, form and shape to characters, places, and scenes described in books.

I was very fortunate to be smothered surrounded by all sorts of books growing up (and I still am—that is, both growing up and surrounded by books ;-)), which gave ample scope for my imagination. Even today, whenever I read something—even something as dry as a research paper that I am copy-editing—the B&W words on the paper immediately transform into an image matching the description, but shaped my imagination. This whole process is so instinctive and automatic that all I have to do is to pick up something and start reading for the B&W words to coalesce in my mind to form 3D images in full colour. This image could be static or moving; as I continue reading, the images flicker, change, or transform keeping pace with the narrative.

I find it easier to conjure up images of some words and narratives than others. Predictably, familiar contexts and settings, particularly those that I have experienced, are easy to imagine and visualise, but unfamiliar ones present a challenge. But, hey, that’s what a colourful imagination is for, right?

Continue reading “From B&W to 3D colour”