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.

32 comments:

Mampi said...

The first paragraph was totally incurably funny, it happned with me too, in the Indira Gandhi's biography which I finally managed to finish a few days back.
Yes, life does have its own ways to make you realize what you have been consciously or unconsciously running away from during all your existence.
There have been numerous reviews of this particular book on the blogosphere, but Gaz, I have not come across such a subjective view or a view this poignant and sad.

Suma said...

aww gazal, this was so touching that i don't know what to write here...mebbe i'll come back later...


yes, some memories are best left happy so that you can visit them everytime and derive soem joy out of it...

and now, kite runner lady, go read a happy book...

--xh-- said...

G, this is one of the most touching blogs I have read from you... you put across your mind so well that I almost saw you running around with your cousins, and the beautiful home and attic..

Agree with you, some memories are best left happy...

now how about reading some calvin and hobbes???

satish said...

funny. how life can be so surprising. iyem just realising what you do.

Does it matter said...

Yes, so true.. Home IS where the heart is.

And a city/ place that you lived in (or even didn't live in) for a while, becomes so much a part of you.

Childhood memories ofcourse, are another thing altogether - and every thing we remember about those memories is so rose-tinged as well...

And, btw, good to have you writing regularly again!

Veena said...

Gazal, that was one of your best posts.. dont know what to say.. I have my hair standing on its edge ( rongte khade ho gaye :) )..

Childhood memories of an ancestral home are really unforgettable.. I have written a similar post ( Mangaloruuuuu )

I could almost visualize you sitting in the attic .. and ransacking the cherry trees..

beautiful..!

Veena said...

Yaa.. about this book.. even i thot it was a thorough waste of time.. and left feeling very heavy and irritated at the author

Gazal said...

@mampi
its a disease..you cant put the book down till you finish it and don't mind being seen with it everywhere.

its been difficult getting the book and memories off my mind.Thanks for the instant response.

@suma
yes,i need to read something funny now.reading R.K laxman's book of cartoons.

@xh
thanks a ton buddy.calvin...have to shamefully admit,that i have read none till date.

@satish
welcome back to the B world!!!

@does it matter
childhood memories are precious indeed...but knowing that you can never go back to that place...is painful.

@veena
will go back to that post of yours.
its been a while since i visited your blog.sorri !!!its a sad book no doubt...but has its moments as well.

brocasarea said...

liked the way u have narrated it!:)...touching..and thanks for the review....[one of my classmates is a kashmiri too:)]

Suma said...

whaaat? you have not yet read Calvin?!!!!! go read one at least...you'll appreciate your students more ;)

how's the mood now?

kunalc said...

guess wat!.....i completed the same book around 1 month back....and the way of reading was pretty much the same!

~nm said...

i hope to read it next. After reading such good reviews from all I just HAVE to read it. But once I finish what I'm reading currently.

I loved his "Thousand Splendid Suns"

dharmabum said...

the book also filled my heart with love. i have always wanted to go to the valley...i hope the call comes soon enough!

Parul Gahlot said...

nostalgia is like a shadow that suddenly becomes an apparition and appears to be so much latger than you on a moonlit night.

Gazal said...

@brocasarea

go and read the book,even though it may make you sad.

@suma

sigh...i have to.

@kunal

it has its own advantages.don you agree?
thanks for dropping by.

@dharma

how have you been?
take the plunge...its worth it,even in these times.

@parul
esp when you realize you were gulity .


@

Sal said...

Gazal,
Interesting to see a different (emotional) side of yours. Good one. Keep them coming.
Cheers,
Salil
PS : I am a BIG fan of Calvin. You will find most of the strips here -http://www.marcellosendos.ch/comics/ch/index.html

zoram said...

I always tell myself that I'd either read or watch the movie which I failed completely :((( very nice post

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Comrade Chakra said...

i guess its time i read the book.

thanks for sharing your memories. while working in Delhi in 1997-98 i had a couple of close colleagues who were both Kashmiri Pundits.

Yes, in our quiet moments they would fondly recall their 'homeland'.

padma said...

very touching gazal. i could sense it comes straight from your heart.
What KK i have just begun to read Kite runner!!
lady its high time you improve your reading habits!! ahemm ahemm;-) i have read clavin & hobbes1

Gazal said...

@salil

i am addicted !!!!

@zoram

thanks for visiting.will try it out.

@comrade chakra

go ahead and read the book.

@pady
have to say."KK"
i have admitted long ago that your reading habits are better than mine.ONLY reading.lol

Mampi said...

You are awarded Gaz Girl...
You are my million dollar friend.
So give me million dollars, hehe
come over to my blog and accept it please.

Aarzu said...

Hi there,

Just wanted to tell you that you are my name sake. Now that might look like a silly reason for commenting to you but I never came across anyone else in my age group with my name ever. Especially people spelling it without an H. I cant comment with my name here. I had once created a blog with my daughter's name and now, I cant get google to stop showing me as Aarzu.

Aarzu said...

Trying again to use my name!
BTW u can check my current blog at www.tearsndreams.wordpress.com

Gazal said...

@aarzu

thanks a lot.Who said whats in a name!!

yes,its true i havent come across many people with the same name.I guess that makes us special.

Gazal said...

@mampi

graciously accepting

Guruprasad said...

hey, i don't want to say much here... except that some of these books touch us the most because they put our thoughts and feelings in words... something which we would otherwise not have been able to express ourselves...

a thousand splendid suns is also a sad book but again a book which you have to read... there are bits there that you will love!

How do we know said...

aah.. that book! we have something to share(not the migrant bit tho).

I wrote abt this book a long time ago on my blog too..

How do we know said...

aah.. that book! we have something to share(not the migrant bit tho).

I wrote abt this book a long time ago on my blog too..

brocasarea said...

[read my post on blog anniversary and be a part of it:)]

ghazal said...

Wow. Not only do we have the same name. But I was born in Srinagar as well.

We're not Kashmiri Pundits but my mum was born adn brought up in Srinagar. We moved in 1991 as well.

I completely understand what you're saying. It is even more difficoult for me cause my parents continuously talk of th eplace but I know/remember nothing.

After reading both of Hosseini's books my mum told me how she used to dream of going back all the time.

Ziah said...

So I'm back in blogville... to be welcomed by a touching point of view:) I totally relate to your predicament... Me and the husband find it hardest to sum up in a line when questioned about ethncity:) You should read a thousand splendid suns:)

Gazal said...

@guru
i will.

@how do we know

will go back to that post of yours.if possible pls send me the link.

@ghazal

its great to meet a namesake.hope to see more of you.

@ziah
welcome back..already have a copy.but want to take a break before reading something similar.