Tuesday, December 9

full circle....Kite Runner

I finally finished reading the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and it has taken me two months to do so.Well,its a feat, given the fact,that I was able to spend only about 10 mins everyday with the book.Reading a book, over such a length of time has its own pros and cons.Everybody...from people in the lift,security guards…. to those in the gym and at the bus stop(where i wait for my colleague to pick me up)knew what I was reading.I won't be surprised if they would be calling me the 'kite runner woman' and would be laying bets,as to when I would(finally) finish my book.The pros are that you get to read several parts of the book over and over again(and savour and sip the book),coz despite the bookmark,you tend to forget the exact place where you last left it at.

Anyways,I don't think the book has too many parts and details,that I would like to savour and revisit.The book filled me with sadness,anger and hatred, towards the politics of war and the fact and realization that the innocent always get sacrificed at such altars.Surprisingly,I was eager to watch the movie,knowing very well the fact,that movies are seldom a fitting tribute to the spirit of the book.Watching the movie of a book that you have just read isn't one of the most advisable things to do.For 99.999% of the times,you shall be terribly disappointed with the comparison.Well,I tried very hard to keep the two aside and have to admit, that I did a good job.

To say that a part of me identified with the book,would be an understatement(didn't everybody,in some way or the other).But,this wasn't a kind of empathy, you felt for the protagonist .This was a penance for something I had been guilty of, for a long long time.

My family (i.e my parents, are Kashmiris).Although I was born and brought up in Delhi,we always went back to Srinagar for our summer vacations.Frankly,for me as a child,Delhi was my real home and Srinagar just a beautiful resort which would be bustling with relatives,food and lots of scenic drives around the Dal Lake.After the unrest of 1991,when there was a mass exodus of Kashmiri pundits from the valley(was when my grandparents and close family members fled,with their bare minimum belongings),there was always an air of utmost gloom and despair at home.However,as a child, the pain of being a 'migrant',homeless and without identity,was something I completely failed to understand.I was irritated with the continuous stream of relatives,who discussed nothing but Kashmir.I resented my dad calling himself a migrant(i failed to understand why he did that when he had a home,in Delhi).Only,years later,I realized that like the lakhs of Kashmiris,he did have a house in Delhi,but his home was still in the land they could never go back to.Many Kashmiris still dream and hope for peace to return back to the valley and going back home.But,it seems like a distant dream.My grandfather sold his large palatial home in the heart of the city(and he passed away very soon after that.I think he gave up all hope of ever returning ) and with that beautiful house,were sold all those precious childhood memories,which I have begun to treasure ,even more,as I am growing older,for some strange reason.

That night,I too dreamt of being in my grandparents house,not amongst the ruins,that it would be in ,right now.It was a happy dream.I was in the attic which also doubled up as a library(my favourite place in the house).Ransacking the cherry trees and the strawberry bushes,with my cousins ,till my belly hurt.Of long drives,with my father on his cycle,to buy fresh bread from the kandervan(kashmiri bakers,who are known for their fresh breads).Of crowding around the old television,to watch Doordarshan’s Krishi Darshan,with rapt attention,and not understanding even a word.

I have been having the same dream ,for the past three consecutive days,now.Like a reel it starts and ends at the same place each time and I can’t get it off my mind the whole day. Like Farid says in the book,some memories are best left happy.I don’t think I have the courage to visit that house,and see it in shambles.
It took me two months to read the book, but a moment to realize that I too was a ‘migrant’,in so many ways.A word that I had so vehemently fought against for so many years.Funny,how life comes a full circle.