Why The Kite Runner Moved Me

I have been trying to wonder for past few days why The Kite Runner had shaken me so hard. As I wrote in my last post about this book, I had felt very lonely and wanted to reach out my friend. My friend, unfortunately, was unavailable.

I eagerly read reactions from others who read the book, also spoke to other readers of this book. Though most seemed to like the book and were moved, no one seemed to be as shaken as me. Deep in my heart, I knew there was some darker reason for my intense reaction to the book. It was a niggling doubt, but I have finally gathered the courage to admit it. It is high time I faced the truth. It concerns my little sister.

My sister is MSW (Masters in Social Work) student, some years younger to me. Like most younger sisters, she holds me in esteem, without me doing anything special to earn her esteem. She trusts me completely, and looks up to me to guide in every situation. Though I believe I have never given her a reason to break her trust, I am sure I have failed her completely in latter.

Like Hassan in The Kite Runner, my sister is as pure and loyal. For her, my word is the last word. She has never complained, she never will. But it is difficult for me to hide my guilt. My sister was interning in an organization in an alien city, at least 6-7 hours faraway than the city I live in. She was very unwell—with a malfunctioning liver that would not digest her food, a swollen hand due to a spinal cord stress, and a viral fever. (She told me about her hand too late, and I had advised her to consult a doctor immediately.) When she was unwell, struggling alone in that unknown city, I was only advising her, instructing (sometimes harshly), how to take care of herself. I did my best to provide her every comfort that money could buy. But I did not give her what she wanted most, what perhaps could have been her cure.

I did not give her my presence, my shoulder to lean on. I understand her too well to know part of the reason for her sickness was loneliness. Instead of visiting her, what did I do? Kept myself as immersed in work as always. Perhaps I did not even speak to her adequately, because when I am at work, I don’t remember anything. That’s how I have been. I have been known to go without lunch for months. It would either take either throbbing headaches or some caring friends to remind me that it is mealtime. When I am at work, I don’t remember if I have an ailing granny at home. When I am home, I do not remember that nasty colleague either. So until my day at work ended, I never remembered my sis was ill!

Of course, if she called me in day, I would call her back. But she is my sister, has similar genes. She wouldn’t call when she knew I was working. She slogged herself in that organization in such a state of illness. Such heightened commitment when you are just interning! And what I did, I shouted at her, in my frustration and guilt, why are you going to work? Why are you eating this? Why don’t you get the physiotherapy done? Find a better doctor? Buy almonds, buy this, buy that…I will send you more money… All reeking of money, as Amir said in The Kite Runner. No real concern or love.

When I read The Kite Runner, it all came back to me. I knew what the color of Amir’s guilt was. As soon as my sister’s internship was over, I put her in flight to our parents’ place. She wanted to meet them. She was lonely, needed love, home-cooked food, and thorough medical check-up. She got it all and now she is better. She has returned today, we had a very happy time together after long time. She will leave tomorrow, leaving me her warmth.

Like Hassan, she has thought nothing bad of my attitude. No complaints from her, but I know me better. Now that when I am writing his post, she is right here beside me, and she will be the first reader of this post.

I hope I do not turn out like Amir.

P.S: This is also my first personal post.

12 Responses to “Why The Kite Runner Moved Me”

  1. 1 ish September 6, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Ah, I don’t have words. This busy life has made us such that we have no time to care for people who we love. We know we should be there to protect them, to help them..or just so that they can be sure that they have someone who cares.

    I hope your sister is well now. And it wasn’t your fault. What possibly could you have done? If you went to her to take care, that would be putting your job in jeopardy and well we have to face it, money is necessary for everything these days. It was a choice you had to reluctantly make, there was no way out.

    I can totally understand how Kite Runner made you feel. It really hits you hard when you feel that you neglected somebody when he trusted you. I am sure you will not turn out like Amir. And If I may say it, even Amir did realize his guilt and tried to do everything he could for Hassan’s son right? He did fight Assef and in a way kind of felt sorry for not having helped Hassan when he needed him.

    You know why I liked Kite Runner?
    I liked it because of the character of Amir’s father. The book so easily showed that how within such a small time, a person as great as Baba was left to do his normal chores in an alien country. It just so touchingly shows that you can never be sure of what might happen in the future and should be ready for everything. It’s a beautiful thought.

    And good you’ve started expressing your personal feelings in your blog too. It’s a brand new birth for a blogger. And yea, don’t worry about what happened. Just try and be there for your sister for the rest of your life and everything will be fine.

    And thanks for that e-mail too, I wasn’t expecting it but it did feel wonderful to know that people come to know when I don’t post comments. You’re great!

  2. 2 rameshindiatimes September 6, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    I never feel bad when my mom chides me because I can always listen a soft voice of a caring mother withing that harsh sounding voice,warning her son about possible harm that may occur to him, which either, she can anticipate from her past experience or she just doesn’t want her son to take any chance which could possibly come as an unwarranted happening to her son.
    So, whenever she comes to know anything that I did/doing of that sort (according to her) a sudden spurt of anxiety and concern, that she had been gathering for me for long,tries to burst out of her heart(mind it, its from heart not from brain) in the form shouting. It gives me immense pleasure when I see somebody on earth caring for me so much.
    Why she never bothers when a girl from my neighborhood walks through the rain and drenches herself head to toes ; But, yells (without disrespect to her) at my sister as soon as she tries to catch few drops of water in her palm stretching her arm out of the roof shade. It is because she doesn’t care what may happen to others but she does care if it happens to her daughter.
    I can surely tell that, your sis certainly gets a reason to celebrate when she reads this article bcoz very few in this world get such a caring person in their life.

  3. 3 rajiv September 7, 2007 at 5:56 am


    i am not sure what the story of the kite runner is…but I am sure your sister knows you are a rock she can depend upon..

  4. 4 Poonam Sharma September 7, 2007 at 10:19 am

    @Ish you were fast to catch up that slip 🙂 yes, Amir did turn out right in the end. I dont want be Amir of the first part of the book. While working, you become so insensitive to your kith and kin. And thnaks for enquiring, my sister is better and she has safely made to her hostel. I miss her.

    As for Baba in kite runner, he certainly was a very well-etched up character in the book.

    @ Ramesh: Thanks buddy for being there when I posted this. My sister had said dont post it, di. It’s nothing like that. But I did, was very pensive about writing on my personal thoughts. Your reaction kinda comforted me.

    @Rajiv: Finally, you did write comment in my blog. 😀 And thanks for empathizing, I appreciate and hold that close to my heart.

  5. 5 shuz September 8, 2007 at 7:26 am

    hey, this is probably one of the best books iv read… simply superb… i cant pin point one character that moved… everyone controbuted in ways that this book looked complete… it had it all…
    probably one book where iv cried 5-6 times…

    see ya:)

  6. 6 Poonam Sharma September 8, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Yes, shuz every character is well-etched in the book. It has this quality to make you cry…But you would be surprised to know that there still are reviewers on web who have criticized it as a “hyped” novel. 😦

  7. 7 rashmi September 25, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    To begin with, I have read the book and can clearly see what an earnestly written book can do to people! For once a book steers clear of forced ‘isms’ and nonsensical philosophy. the onle ism that it propogates is humanism. What sets this book apart from the literature of our times is the sheer passion and energy that the writer has invested in it. It is a moving personal account. You can almost feel the shards of guilt piercing Amir’s heart.
    At times, we actually feel like speaking out for him and unburdening him of the guilt he is carrying. On other occassions we feel like giving him a tight slap. Paradoxically, both the actions stem from the fact that in some ways we all identify with Amir.

    So my dear daft friend when you feel that you see remnants of Amir in you I think I can it is but natural. hats off to you for summoning up the courage to admit it.
    And yes I know another Poonam as well…One who feverishly searched on the net to find the PERFECT course for her little sis. I cannot forget the tears in your eyes when you were not able to locate at at Talkatora Stadium where she had to come to see your salsa performance. Enough of guilt trip…I have seen how much both of you love each other so…No saying sorry in love:) Cheers

  8. 8 Poonam Sharma September 25, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Rush, you are as always apt in summing up the book..
    …and you remember those old days well…(touched!)….when me searching colleges on web while at work 🙂

    And what I am going to say next is my favorite part: “You chweet daft girl, it was NOT salsa, it was JAZZ that I had performed ….” 😛 I know you can also imagine the tone of my voice and expression on my face while I say this… 😀

    Truly, what you said touched me…keep on reading…it feels good when your friends read and share stuff….

  9. 9 Gency January 9, 2008 at 6:11 am

    hi all,

    poonam. hats off to you for facing the inner truth. i dont know if today i can do such a thing. Like I wrote in my mail to you the devil has sunk deep in my being..

    a few year earlier, i was honest to myslef, today i hardly look at the face in the miiror. i am scared of the ugliness i might have to see.

    but reading all the posts above, i feel i should face it, beacuse a small angle voice keeps saying it is not too late.

    i hope the same for the sake of my loved ones… my husband most importantly, who loves with loyalty and pride and thinks i can beat the wrold at whatever i do……

    I never thought I would right this but here it is….

    I failed a lot of peope and aspirations that people had for me, but that was ok. Today as I retorspect, I feel I have failed myslef. I hope there is redemption for that kind of failure.

    In my life I have read a lot of books, but none have moved me as much as the “kite runner”.

  10. 10 Poonam Sharma January 9, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Oh, Gency..stop doubting yourself so much. The book does have strong reaction, I agree. But girl, there is nothing to fear. It was perhaps for realization and now the purpose is served.

    And certainly it is not too late. I can assure you of this from my experience. 🙂

    You can introspect boldly and do whatever is the best. I trust you to do that, girl. Cheer up!

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