Wednesday, 7 December, 2022

A Brief Introduction About Los Angeles


Gandhi Raj Kafle

All travels, whether they are taken for travelling far distance or short ones, are sources of information, knowledge and enjoyment. However, the place, which is here in this under review book to read and talk about, happens to be a widely known city in the world. The name of it is Los Angeles in the US and the writer who has written this book is R. P. Bhattarai.
The author’s zeal and experience in creative writing and journalism as shown in his profile in the book is long. He is already the author of the book entitled “Hamra Pani Katha Chhan” (We also have our stories) and he had served as the editor of a few notable business and environment magazines in the past also. So, how could he have left his visit to Los Angeles barren without writing anything this time? The under-review book itself is the answer.

This book, which has thirteen essays, is exclusively about Los Angeles and California in the US. Dr Shiva Raj Bhattarai has said in his preface that he has tried his best to maintain feelings and expressions while translating its original texts in Nepali into English for the book. So, now, with the publication of this book, the readers will have the ease to read about the US with decoratively used information and statistics of Los Angeles and California in the international language of English.

Travelogue essays in it are very short and point to point descriptions in each piece of this collection have made the book very informative. In a travelogue book, readers love to compare their places and country with the author’s places of travel and try to make an independent opinion from the views of the author. Here the author has shared many political, social, economic, cultural, religious and personal facts to help readers to know about the values of the US life.

From the first piece ‘Los Angeles’ to the last piece ‘America’, the book offers only contrast with views and facts from the US, which is interesting for readers from far away countries like Nepal. Los Angeles is the top city on the map of the World filmdom and California’s composition of the human population is amazingly inclusive. Author R. P. writes – ‘the state of California is also the home to citizens of more than 50 nations’.

Cars are the vein of America’s busy life and the traffic rules, which are different from Nepal, are strict: Rules violators hardly escape punishment and they pay fines as per their mistakes. Roads are clean and broad. Unlike South Asians and Europeans, Americans drive left. Similarly, Bhattarai tells about the concept ‘Freeway’, which means one is on the road which is very wide with several lanes and with no traffic lights and zebra crossings. If a person wants to take a side on the freeway, he has to start moving car miles before for the exit road from ‘Freeway’, the author writes.
To readers of the mountainous country Nepal, the description of several sea beaches in California and the open cultures of the US is interesting. The author has also talked about the health system of the US in the book with the inputs, which he gained during the treatment of the ill-health of his wife at a hospital in California.

R. P. Bhattarai has also talked about the concept of cultural shock, which one may go through while living in the US. But, what may be amazing to readers here is the author has also tried to closely see the cross-culture values in celebrations of the festival like Halloween in the US and beautifully compares it with the festival like the Gaijatra and Deusi-Bhailo show in the Tihar festival of Nepal.
The author has categorically mentioned that this piece of publication is a travelogue. This is a valid claim in the sense that it is a literary product, which came from the author’s visit to Los Angeles in the US.

But, what can we say about the book is the updated information about the US and their analysis in it is important from the viewpoint of sociology also. In this way, we can say this book would have been more literary in the genre of travelogue if the author had been more decorative in his presentation.
Conclusively, the merit of talking about this book is it acquaints the contrast of US life for readers in the international language of English. Author R. P. Bhattarai deserves kudos because he brought out this book during the suffocating time of the coronavirus pandemic for the benefit of readers.