After going through the travelogue essay Memories of My Journey to Greece written by Nepali author Dr. Govinda Raj Bhattarai, I could not stop myself without writing.
I do not get good words to clarify how interesting it is. It is somewhat like the essay of English writers, which gives immense pleasure to the readers. The memory of the journey has encompassed several things like scenic beauty, mesmerizing natural circumstances, geography, civilization, tradition, and religious and cultural assets of Greece. Their historical importance points out similarities and differences with that of Nepal. Therefore, I would say it is full of knowledge too.
The writer’s imagination and thought, giving special meaning to everything and every happening he observes, is the center of attraction of this writing.
I could see Greece very clearly through this travelogue as if I had visited there myself. The writer has explained the difficulties he found to behave and function in a civilized manner in an unknown world he had been the first time. He has mentioned the necessity of inquiring once before using anything in the hotel of a country where different cultures prevailed. This is enough to give a sense to the readers of how the culture affects every doing of life.
The hotel culture of Greece is explained very well, and this culture is found very systematic. Availability of every requirement of daily life in a single room, manner of serving breakfast, use of different containers to throw different kinds of rubbish, etc.,are remarkable. Such a culture there gives a clue to guess perhaps the civilization came along in Greece.
The writer also touches on cleanliness, which is the symbol of civilization as he says, no garbage and no dust in the cities of Greece. Greenery on both sides of the road, the fragrance of seawater through the breeze, the spread of birds and insects over the sea, giving an appearance of bed sheets are all appealing. Among all the fall of the morning, sun rays on the seawater enhancing the beauty of sea tremendously are some of the sequences that allure the readers.
A kind of intentness to behave in a foreign land and excitement by seeing the scenic beauty and means of the comfortable and glamorous life, both are reflected side by side in the writing. Comparing a tree of Greece with Pipal tree of Nepal, both as ominous symbols differing only in respect to country, reveals the writer’s interest in searching similarities in-between cultures across the lands.
He also mentions that the scholars have found a parallel between the Panchatantra Katha of Hindu stories, Jatak Katha of Buddha Stories, African Tales, and Aesop’s Tales, the Greek Stories. The use of gestures to communicate with foreign languages people in Greece is commendable.
Further, the writer has mentioned the word Hellenic which characterizes the ancient Greek language and culture in Greek History. He has also focused on the necessity of preservation of own culture, as he writes he stepped in the sea to offer water to his ancestors as a part of Nepali culture. Culture is one of the essential aspects of human life preserved by our ancestors, and it is the responsibility of every generation to keep it. Even in the foreign land, the writer did not hesitate to show his immense respect to his ritual and values.
The seawater flow is described variously in a fantastic way as he observed at different times. The waves of seawater hitting with force on the shore creating a big sound seemed to the writer as the sea was angry. The waves striking against the hard substance and water unable to irrigate the sandy banks gave him a sense that the banks were thirsty.
As explained here, the combination of wind and sea seems inseparable, like life and heartbeat. The sea wind blowing somewhere in the form of a gentle breeze and heavy wind is enough to tell people to compare it with the different life situations. The birds feeling difficulty to peak up the things but all in vain due to continuous waves one after another compared by the writer with many useless efforts of human life during the course of survival.
It touches the human heart, but at the same time, it makes them feel proud as he says there is some rhyme and rhythm of life on it. The ability to compare the happenings in the surroundings with the struggles of human life is the most incredible quality of the writer reflected in this writing.
The beauty of the Aegean Sea on the right with blue water, men and women swimming on the sea, and many boats drifting on it are just magnificently pictured in words. Samos town on the left with the vehicles moving to different destinations, different land structures, similar and beautiful houses representing Greek sculpture. The beauty of the surroundings and areas is explained interestingly, which gives a feeling as if one is watching a movie where scenery passes through on the screen.
The writer relates his emotions and feelings created by seeing the circumstance sometimes with some special happenings. For example, the drifting of boats on the ocean looked like small stars upon the blue surface for him, and sometimes with beautiful poems giving similar sense has added further height to the literature.
The writer is very successful in making the readers read the episodes until the end with the same interest.