Trouvaille-A Travel Anthology Edited by Sreetanwi Chakraborty
Trouvaille A Travel Anthology
Ed. by Sreetanwi Chakraborty©
Published by Penprints
Price: 30 | $2
First Edition 2022
Cover Photo by Sreetanwi Chakraborty
The onslaught of the worldwide pandemic has clearly revealed a strong yet suspicious binary: One, what the world was before the pandemic, and two, what the world is after the pandemic. Across the serrated passages of time, the gongs and the old churchbells, cityscapes, waves of the ocean and the miniature heavens on the earth, what ensued is the thirst- the thirst to rekindle the passion for travelling. Travel, tours, peregrination, globe-trotting, voyage, journey, in fact the trail to synonyms is matchless in this respect. The issues of mobility and migration give rise to several cultural exchanges, and hence, the nature of travel narratives has also expanded manifold. For quite a long time, travel stories or travel narratives were considered to be part of creative writing only, highlighting the non-academic flavour that was associated with it. However, over the years, several researchers and academicians have incorporated their own arguments about the academic importance of travel narratives. As Jacqueline Tivers and Tijana Rakie have pointed out in their praiseworthy work Narratives of Travel and Tourism:
“Travel and tourism ‘stories’ have been told and recorded in almost every culture and period of oral and written history and across the breadth of the fact/ fiction continuum; in fact, ‘storytelling’ is an essential part of human nature (McCabe and Foster 2006: 194) and narration, in its many forms, may be seen to lie at the very heart of both travel and tourism (Bendix 2002).”
Hence any type of travel narrative is not just a collection or collage of memories and places, locales and geographical details, it is a fine blend of the recreational, the contemplational, the facts and the fictional. The concept of Trouvaille occurred to me during one of those lazy afternoons when the entire world was in the tentacles of this deadly pandemic. Connecting with the finest narrators of short stories, poems, travel narratives was not sudden. All our contributors have woven some of the finest travel stories, narrated experiences that are enriching, refreshing and that bring a fresh relief after the pandemic- if you call this an excellent version of wanderlust.
Ketaki Datta, apart from her academic pursuits, is an avid traveller and a voracious reader. The account of her visit to Lisbon is filled with marvellous, picturesque description of the archeological enigma of the place. City, gardens, fountains, palaces, and everything from chandelier to her experiences at the airport, she has portrayed intricate details in the most moving forms.Sunil Sharma’s travel narrative is succinct, giving our readers an exquisite variety of photos and special moments that our author spent near the Niagara Falls. He has drawn a ubiquitous comparison when it comes to assessing different cities, with their supine charms and overactive glories. The photos of light and sound around the Niagara Falls are a feast to the tired eyes. To see the cascade falling with a staggering force, as the author narrates, is a delight in itself.
Cityscapes and monuments, the cacophonies, and symphonies of the city, across the larger pixels of time-travel; author Gopal Lahiri takes us on a wonderful journey to New York, the city that never sleeps, the city that is punctuated by different cultures, festive moments, songs, Thanksgiving, changes, splendid cathedrals, and colossal Empire State Buildings. How to interpret change? How to rekindle the enigma of a melting pot of several cultures? Read to know! Next comes our author Aneek Chatterjee, who writes, “It was a chilly, but sunny November morning in the year 2005 when my TGV train reached Gare du Rennes, — the train station in the city of Rennes, in Northwest France. I boarded the train from Montparnasse station in Paris about two hours ago.” The travel narrative is enthralling, about half-timbered houses, about the rich history of France. The author weaves a rich tapestry of images, descriptive passages, light hearted conversations, and scenic grandeur to highlight what constitutes an ideal holidaying!!!
Gayatri Majumdar, our next author, is eloquent about her wish-fulfillment journey (after all, we all do have our own bucket list ready, isn’t it?) to Boudhanath, Kathmandu. She is a wizard of words, weaving leisure with studies, often verging on the more reflective and detailed portrayal of the places in a fresh and innovative manner. Her journey is tinged not with a replica of boredom or exhaustion, but soothes, allows us to contemplate and re-discover Boudhanath. Our next author for Trouvaille is Paramita Mukherjee Mullick, an ardent reader, an active traveller trying to structure her journey narrative in the most photographic pattern. The Masai tribes, the majestic lions and the wild, rugged landscape in Kenya are sure to quench the travel-thirst in all our readers. There is a certain sense of domestic dimension contrasted with the wilderness that allows the moments to seep in slowly, so that the readers can participate in Paramita’s excursion!!!
From wildlife lens to a splash in the azure, crystal water of the Maldives- Trouvaille author Sangeeta Sharma presents what an ideal rendezvous with Maldives can be! what can be the more delectable way other than enjoying the moments at Nalaguraidhoo Island? This serene, pristine island, as the author says, is among the top Maldives’ points of interest, and engages the reader’s attention with her unique description of the beaches, beautiful tropical flowers, and lavish greenery. Next, author Rajorshi Patranabis takes us on a coffee and culture ride to one of my most favourite destinations in India; The spirit of Pondicherry, the tunes of Auroville are enlivened with Rajorshi’s often-terse, simple narrative, verging on personal beginning, journey, penance, and passion. Instances arise when we do question myriad experiences which are bittersweet in nature, but the travel narrator is consistent enough not to leave us with a bruised soul, but with a promise to describe some future vigorous pursuits in the same place. A special point to be noted is how Rajorshi explains/ calculates/ relates to/ highlights/ re-affirms/ analyzes the whole concept of UTOPIA!
Prasasti Pandit, just like the heading of her write-up, presents us with an ‘incredible’ journey to Yellowstone National Park, USA. She has a pattern of enumerating the various natura structures across ages, the fluidity in her narrative moving forward profoundly to a direction across the abyss of time. Through her writing, we explore not just the vastness of the spring and the hot geysers, but as if, the subconscious that wails from somewhere dark, deep, penetrating, and wild! The vulnerability of human life against an all-encompassing, omnipotent force of nature is tremendous. Our next author, Jagari Mukherjee gifts a fine blend of Oriental finesse combined with the parallel narratives at two places that offer her reason to celebrate. Summer Christmas and a German Town in Michigan are not just ‘spots’; in Jagari’s poignant account, they play an incessant role in redefining how a tourist re-explores a certain place. Her personal threads, bustling market scenes, trade shows, dolls, fairy-tale like atmosphere, holiday mood all are set to do a fine tuning of a traveller’s actual paradise. As a slight departure, author Amanita Sen’s reflective travel story raises some of the most pertinent questions that perhaps any traveller would ask. Revisiting Berlin is enigmatic, and this is also a parallel story that Amanita writes:
“For me, however dramatic it might sound, it was revisiting the concepts of existentialism, nihilism, mortality, justice, God, and His ever-questionable verdict on death of few million people. I instantly knew, this visit to Berlin will not be easy for the senses.”
History and myth, past and present, war and peace, people and memorial condense into a composite whole. Time stops, trots, and then gallops at a pretty faster pace, as the Bard himself had said, and what remains, is the tourist’s vision, the writer’s pen and the artist’s palette.
Our next author, Rolf E. Doppenberg discusses Anugraha Durga Devi Mandir in Vijaywada, exploring the rich culture and heritage of India. The Temple town of Vijaywada, glimpses of Rangoli, the carvings on the wall interiors, cultures associated with the shrine all of these clubbed with the daily diary account of Rolf’s stay in India is an explorer’s dream collection. It is a fine testament to the kaleidoscopic vision of India, in all its colourful, heterogeneous glory, where we still believe atithi devo bhava. As the pages move on, we find one of the shortest travels that I found extremely interesting- how author Ronnie Tucker describes the journey to the grave of his father. Mortal wounds and pains that have no anodyne, but someone resting peacefully inside the grave still beckons, across borders, in the woods, standing on the countryside soil, the present and the eternity accompany him to toss and turn, to cry in anguish and loving his father even more. And after this, we are happy to have with us author Ashraf Aboul-Yazid, who writes about two weddings in Vietnam. From the authentic delicacies of the place to the marriage rituals, crockery, guest, honour, and places of interest, Vietnam gets a new splash of colours this summer!
So, the editor here presents a palette of destinations for you all, our dear readers! ‘Life is a highway’, as the song says. Travel, Innovate, explore, find delight in the smallest moments, cityscapes, undulated lands, and offbeat bays; let the wings of imagination spread in the distant sky, enjoy the nectar of happiness like never before, get enthralled about what an ideal sojourn looks like! Trouvaille is all yours. Bon Voyage!