Posts Tagged 'The Kite Runner'

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.

The Kite Runner

Yesterday I finally got a chance to read Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. This book has been on my wish list for a long time. And then my team at work presented it to me. I was glad, ecstatic. Books are no less than a passion for me, they give me fuel to live on.

My date with The Kite Runner was being delayed with my inability to take out energy and time, while coping with challenges associated with new job. But once I started, it was hard to stop. I started reading it at night when clock struck 12. Once I had read the first few chapters, it was hard to put the book down. But sleep I did, it was impossible to ignore my granny’s angry rebukes to sleep.

Sleep was difficult to come by, I had read about 6 chapters in half an hour. It had summed up most of the first part of the story. I deeply felt Amir’s torment and imagined Hassan’s anguish. The book had done something to my insides. When the lights were switched off in my room, I tried to reach out to my best friend; I was deeply moved. But it was not to be as my friend was sleeping. After all it was about 1 a.m. in night.

I slept for 8 hours, only to wake up and resume reading The Kite Runner without brushing my teeth, without moving out of bed. It took my granny’s exasperated reprimands to finally get me moving to bath and have breakfast. I was eager to know what happened next in the book. I was curious if Amir and Hassan met again. Were things between them were as glorious as before? How does redemption come for Amir? Is Hassan doomed for life?

I finished the book in afternoon. It was such a gripping and captivating tale that I could not bring myself to interrupt my reading to even speak to my aunt who was visiting me. So much that she asked me if she was disturbing me. I could not dare to be honest; instead I tried to sum up the tale for her. (I had then reached the third part of the story where Amir, the narrator meets his arch nemesis, Assef.) As if that would explain my impoliteness!

In the backdrop of Amir’s story, history of Afghanistan is stated. The first part describes the glorious Afghanistani era of Buzkashi, soccer, and kite-running competitions, dotted with caste differences and ironies. The second part describes war-ridden Afghanistan when attacked by Russia. The third part is about Taliban take-over, it is most gruesome and sad part of the story. Yet it ends on a note of optimism. I hope that the story does not die here.

This book is story of both cruelty and love, and sin and redemption. It does not preach, yet has a message. It is not a historical chronicle, yet educates. It is not an outright tragedy, yet your heart bleeds for the characters in the story. It is not a comedy, yet it gives you a smile and a hope.

If you have not read the book yet, visit here to read the summary of first seven chapters of this wonderful book. I am sure after you read more, you would want to know more about the author, Khaled Hosseini. You wonder, how much of his first book was auto-biographical. You might want to read his interview here and listen to his radio interview at this Web page.

And me, I am going to call my aunt to apologize to tell her why I could not be attentive to her yesterday.

P.S: Admist my internal turmoil after reading the book, I tuned in to Idian Idol 3 results only to watch my favorite contestant, Ankita, voted out. It was a day certainly high on my emotions.

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