Meena Prabhu has her own style and gets deep into the culture, traditions and geography to the extent that a reader himself find himself travelling with her and gets a vicarious tour of the place she is pondering. Any travel writer interested in translating real good marathi travel scripts into English, so that everyone get to know about the facinating places writer visits and the information as well as her pespectives on those places,Meena Prabhu’s travel books are the best candidates for such work. Offcourse the Translator has to have great command on Marathi as well as English to do justice to the kind of Euphoria, this writer has created through her books.
Greekanjali takes you through the well known to the most remote corners of Greek Mainland and its Islands. Meena has a distinct knack of describing people, places, architectures and even if you have average imagination power, you can actually see all those places through her eyes. The descriptions are meticulous, lucid and carries a typical charm of her love for creating those places, incidences and even history related to those places in front of your eyes as vividly and colourfully as she can.
Greekanjali introduces you to the greek cuisine. Writer has mentioned the famous greek snack "Suvalaki" and savoured it at ample places. This seems to be a cousine of "Shavarma in Bahrain", "Franky in India" or "Gyro in US". There is a ample information on Olives and how olives have become part of greek life for centuries. Apart from olives being used in cooking it has lot of importance in greek mythology. The Olympic winners used to be given crowns made of olive leaves and it also has lot of medicinal values. Greece is also famous for its grapes and the wine culture there is quite flourishing.
Writer has given ample information on greek mythology,greek gods and that’s a distinctive feature of this book. I really doubt, if you can find so much of information, in one place, about greek tales of their gods and their importance to them.The information on all the greek Islands is extensive and there is quite a bit of effort gone in to understand the history and distinctiveness of all these islands. Each Island carries with it,its ancient history.There are few greek mythological stories associated with it and the architecture.She has also given good background on its rulers, the ancient kings, the foreign rulers and the fight for freedom. Greek plays are as old as the greek culture and there are good number of amphi theature all around greece.
Meena also has a knack of making quick friends and its amazing to hear from her, her stories of people extending a helping hand to her in those completely foreign lands, and making great friends in no time. There are ample incidences, where she has almost miraculously made it a great experience, while all the doors seem to be totally closed. Its also amazing to see the energy with which, she tries to get information,visit places, plans her trips and describes everything in utmost details, from names of the places, the stories associated to the places, few words in the Greek language, people, their opinions, the local culture and everything related to life.
Few things that I came to know for the first time were that 2nd Philip had already won all the smaller kingdoms in Greece and put them under one flag as a single greek kingdom when alexander was sworn in as a King. Alexander has a sister called as Thesalniki and the current capital of Macedonia is named after her. Alexander was a gay and even the Zeus the King of Greek God’s had some male companions. Eventhough greeks have such a great mythological history, the current greek culture is woven arround Greek Othodox and Catholic religion. Eventhough greece is the cradle for Word’s first Democracy, there were more salves in athens than the citizens and women were considered inferior to men and had limited rights.All the greek mythological stories are quite interesting, but the one which I liked was the story of Minitor, the one eyed demon.
If you are visiting Greece, this book seems to be a must read, as it gives you a good background on the places you would visit and gives you a good taste and understanding of the this great civilization, their architectures, the world’s first democracy, the Acropolis, the amphi theatures, the importance of Olympics, how the word "Spartan" came into existance , why Marathon is called as "Marathon" and the great philosophers trio, the Socrates, the Plato and the Aristotle. Basically all the great things that this great civilization gave to us before caming to end in 5th Century BC.