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.