The Kite Runner.

That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.

I remember hot, summer days spent on the attic leading to the terrace in my grandma’s house, making kites, preparing ‘manja’. I was the ‘official helper’ to my cousin, who was an ‘expert’ in making kites. Hours and hours spent on the terrace, flying those kites, until our throats were sore from all the screaming we’d do.
That childhood memory flashed across my ‘inner eye’ (as they call it), when I first heard of ‘ The Kite Runner’. And knew, once again, I’d be making a tryst with a book, despite all my efforts to not get too attached.

Then I glanced up and saw a pair of kites, red with long blue tails, soaring in the sky. They danced high above the trees on the west end of the park, over the windmills [….] And suddenly, Hassan’s voice whispered in my head: For you, a thousand times over. Hassan, the harelipped kite runner.

Right from page one, the book has you hooked. Not so much in terms of style, but definitely with its honesty.What amazed me the most was the remarkable ease with which the author changes tone and mood. Sometimes there is a total change in feel with just one line. While describing Hassan and Amir’s childhood together, there is a distinct childishness to the emotions felt and expressed. And then you see a very conspicuous shift in values, thoughts; as they grow older.

To this day, I find it hard to gaze directly at people like Hassan, people who mean every word they say. […..]. And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.

While you start out hating the protaganist for his ‘cowardice’, you later realise how strong his conscience is, to remember it all his life and make amends for it, however small. I identified the most with him, though. The same selfishness, the same cowardice, the same emotionality. The book is speckled with beautiful insights like the one above, which I’d call nothing short of awesome.

Make morning into a key and throw it into the well,
go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.
Let the morning sun forget to rise in the east,
go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.

As you read, you get a glimpse into how life was in Afghanistan, but it is not overly dramatised or exaggerated. It is a perception, a genuine one, of life then, and perceptions can never be dramatic or ugly. It is this refreshing honesty which keeps you hooked till the last page. Not a single line is out of place. Not a single emotion overplayed. It is what I would call a ‘clean’ style. No unnecessary adornments, no extra frills.

Every woman needed a husband. Even if he did silence the song in her.

The Kite Runner has tantalising amounts of exoticism and sensousness woven into it. You can actually see Hassan running the kite, and feel the sand on his feet. You can hear their voices and taste the pomegranates they eat. It is all alive, vibrant. Not just words, but a whole life stitched along with them. It brought back my past, of kites and Sankranthi, of guilt and happiness. It moved me. I am sure it will move you too.

“Do you want me to run that kite for you?”
“For you, a thousand times over.”

For you, a thousand times over.

2 Comments so far

  1. Gangadhar (unregistered) on July 23rd, 2006 @ 1:51 pm

    Nice write up!!

  2. Vaidehi (unregistered) on July 23rd, 2006 @ 4:07 pm

    Thanks, Gangadhar…:)

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