Tujhse naraaz nahi zindagi, hairaan hoon main, Tere masoom savalon se pareshaan hoon main…
These lines were constantly playing and replaying in my head as I finished reading ‘The Kite Runner’ yesterday – finally, after about a fortnight’s off and on reading in between a lot of chaos.
Note: Plot partly revealed
The plot is a bit complicated (and typically Hindi-movie type), but the narration more than makes up for it. The story is simply and poignantly narrated. In fact, when I picked up this book, after going through the storyline, I was not sure I would want to read it. The praise about this book I had heard from a lot many people made me read it, and I am glad I did. I loved some parts of it. Especially the end. It left me touched. Towards the end of the book, I did what I hadn’t done all along. I cried.
‘The kite runner’ is the story of Amir, a poor little rich boy in Afghanistan. It is the story of his friendship with their servant’s son, Hasan, a Hazara, belonging to a supposedly lower caste than their own. Amir is the typical rich boy, with complexes, with problems of his own. Hasan is the proverbial faithful friend, choosing Amir’s friendship at times over his own self-respect. He just bears all the pain silently, and his love for Amir never falters. The story is about the mistakes committed by Amir in his childhood, with reference to Hasan, which continually haunt him, the impact of which becomes clear to him late in his life. His beliefs, which he has held close to himself till date, are shattered. At this stage, Amir begins a quest for redemption, which ultimately ends with Amir seeking deliverance in the tiny arms of Hasan’s son, Sohrab. The description of this phase in Amir’s life is just wonderful, and I would say I began loving the book after this point. Sohrab’s innocent questions, his gradual bonding with Amir and the way he sinks into silence when he feels let down – left me spellbound. As it always happens with me, a child’s innocence got to me. Ultimately, it is a kite which helps Amir gain his salvation, a smile on Sohrab’s silent lips, the same kite that led to the downfall of Hasan and Amir’s friendship.
The description of the way the Talibs treated the Afghans and the poverty in Afghanistan at that time was heart-rending.
I liked the way all the characters have been built in the story. I saw parts of myself in almost all the characters. I loved the character of Amir – a conscientious man, who takes the pain to go back and attempt to correct the mistakes of his past. Till a certain point, I respected the character of Baba – Amir’s father – the Afghan with high principles in life. I could relate to the character of Amir’s wife, Soraya, in a lot of ways. I loved the way she provided constant support to her husband and was there with him at every stage of his quest, like a true life partner should. Another character I liked was that of Rahim Khan, Baba’s close friend, who always desired good for Amir and his family.
A few lines that touched me in the book (some of them might not make sense unless read in the proper context):
“For you, a thousand times over.”
“We took our first steps on the same lawn in the same yard. And, under the same roof, we spoke our first words. Mine was Baba. His was Amir. My name.”
“We rode in silence for about fifteen minutes before the young woman’s husband suddenly stood and did something I’d seen many others do before him : He kissed Baba’s hand.”
“Come. There is a way to be good again.”
“Every woman needed a husband. Even if he did silence the song in her.”
“I tiptoed away. I understand now why the boys hadn’t shown any interest in the watch. They hadn’t been staring at the watch at all. They’d been staring at my food.”
“He’s selling his leg?” Farid nodded. “You can get good money for it on the black market. Feed your kids for a couple of weeks.”
“Will God put me in hell for what I did to that man?”
“Then I did what I hadn’t done in fifteen years of marriage. I told my wife everything. Everything.”
“What if you get tired of me? What if your wife does not like me?”
“Will you take me to that red bridge? The one with the fog?”
“You are still the morning sun to my yelda,” I whispered.
“It would be erroneous to say Sohrab was quiet. Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the VOLUME knob on life. Silence is pushing the OFF button. Shutting it down. All of it.”
“He walked like he was afraid to leave behind footprints.”
“A smile. Lopsided. Hardly there. But there.”
“It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything all right. It didn’t make anything all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight. But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.”
“I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the Valley of Panjsher on my lips.”
All in all, it is an immensely readable book, a likeable one too.
Song for the occasion:
PS: Progress on the Orbis Terrarum Challenge – 3 down, 6 more to go.