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A Journey to Jerusalem by Parumala Thirumeni  

Sea voyage was a new experience for him. Travelling in a ship, the was reminded of the Noah’s Ark in the Old Testament. In relation to the Old Testament account of eight people in Noah’s Ark, Parumala Thirumeni writes about “eight souls” in this Ark, in very interesting manner. And he prays these eight souls may be protected from the dangers of the sea. 

            Here we are in touch with the left hand of a writer-traveller. While travelling in a ship, he lis attempting to structure this journey in the framework of an Old Testament account which he recollects.           

            What is significant about a ship journey to be written after all? One can see nothing on the sea. Such journey is least interesting as well. But you never for once feel bored or disinterested as you are through Thirumeni’s descriptions.                  

The experiences during this sea voyage are as interesting as like that while you stay at home. The crew had provided them with two ovens for cooking. They prepared rice-meal once a day and managed with tea, bread and biscuits during the rest of the day. 

            Thus whicle they were happy and had no problem with their food, the ship was tosses by waves one day and water began to rush into the ship. The sea voyage comes to an end., as he describes each incident at every stage of the journey. Thus he transforms the day and uninteresting sea voyage to pretty interesting description. This obviously is the ability of the writer in the traveller.

As the journey proceeds past the turmoil of the “Red Sea”, the sight of the mountain ranges of Sinai fills the mind of the traveller with unbounded joy. Readers can share in the experiences and historical recollections which pass through the mind of the author, as the ship journey presents a sight of that mount on which Mosers received the tablets of Law from the Lord. 

            The author also notes that as the ship anchored at the mouth of the Suez Canal, a few houses in the city could be seen, with the help of the big electric lamp that was brought near the ship from the shore. The Suez Canal is described in lits minute details: 

            The canal is from north to south land our journey is to the north. The canal may be 80 meters wide and 90 kms. long. Though the canal was so wide, la ship would remain stationary, if another one were to pass ;by. Both sides of the canal are vast sandy deserts. At a distance in the west there are a few villages and trees. Nearby to this region a few hamlets and stations could be seen. At different places along the Suez, buoys and light houses have been placed. 

            Travelling by rail one may enjoy other wayside scenes and leave them at that. However, Parumala Thiruimeni transforms those scenes into beautiful descriptions. He shows a rare dexterity in delineating wordy pictures out of natural scenery. Here is a specimen: he lis describing the wayside scenes on the way to  Jerusalem by rail:

            The number of  mountains is increasing as we approach the holy city. They are mostly steep, full of whiter sandstone land some look like the wilderness. Along the valleys of some of these mountains, there were olive  trees and vineyards. It was not the fruit-bearing times of trees, when we were there; so we could not enjoy the full beauty of the vineyards. Some of the trees had sprouted, some had flowers, and a few others had fruits still not ripe. Olive was the most common tree. But they do not grow like the bigger trees in Kerala.

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