Tuesday, 23 July, 2024

Journey Through Los Angeles


Sindhiya Shrestha

Travel diaries, travelogues, travel memoirs are always very precious. They hold all the complicated and simplified feelings of a traveller when s/he has to come out of their comfort zone to materialize his passion. Travelogues are the collections of unforgettable moments described and patterned into words so that the memoirs are cherished forever, passing on to the generations. One must not forget the notable travelogue Jung Bahadurko Belayat Yatra by former Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana which initiated the trend of writing travel accounts in Nepal about 200 years ago and stands as a milestone in the genre to date.
Since then, many travel diaries got published. While some were highly appreciated, some got severely criticized accusing one of plagiarism. Therefore, the authenticity and the originality of the traveller cum writer is the heart and soul of his travelogue. Originality is the key to people's heart. My Journey to Los Angeles by R.P Bhattarai gives that very feeling of originality.
My Journey to Los Angeles is a translated version of Mero Los Angeles Yatra. Both the books were released at the same time. The first time, Mr Bhattarai along with his wife went to Los Angeles to visit their daughter and son in law who were expecting their first child. After their 4.5 months stay in the US, they left for Australia to visit their younger daughter and son in law. A few months later, they had to revisit the US for one sole reason i.e. Mrs Bhattarai's treatment. She was diagnosed with Lupus which is a disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your tissues and organs (autoimmune disease). After six months-long battle with acute body pain, fever, weight gain, kidney dialysis, glandular surgical removal, 3-4 repeated surgeries and 32 litres of fluid removal; she started getting back to her normal life.
The events described under 18 subheadings are independent and the language is very easy to understand. Minimum use of complex words has made the book even more readable and understandable. The writer's detailed and conscious observations have led him to note down the places, events, cultures and even very insignificant practices that he finds unusual and unethical in his homeland. He has mentioned how the government has looked after its people providing all the basic facilities of health and education. The writer expresses his amusement when he comes to know that the hospital takes all the responsibilities of their patients providing them with all the necessary medications and diet on time. Also, the practise of isolating the patients by their family members and paying them once a while visit shocked him.
Going through the book, it is realized that a country is developed only when its people are disciplined and their perspectives are broad. Clean roads and hospitals, properly maintained public infrastructures, immediate implementation of the rules, etc. are the basic disciplines which are not taught but learned automatically. Potholes and pollution are very rare to find while taking care of dogs and cats is as important and delicate as taking care of your child, the writer says. With every page you turn, you discover something new that your mind tends to compare with our practices in Nepal.
The writer mentions how he got used to the language there, how he was easily accustomed to the environment and got along with his granddaughter and neighbours. He also describes the beauty of SIN CITY and the guilty pleasure that he had to let go of. Trust me, you cannot help but smile. The blinding bright nights of Las Vegas, hospitals giving five-star hotel vibes, a sight of sea lions jumping off the shore to the Pacific, the gatherings at Thanksgiving, the ear hurting fireworks of Independence Day, etc. keeps you attached with the book and make your read interesting. The acute descriptions of the places and a short history about California at the end give a perfect climax to the book. It is one stay read that can be read several times with sheer curiosity and awe.