I have read the Kite Runner a multiple number of times. And every time, I start reading the book, I run my hands over the cover, over the embossed letters that read, The Kite Runner. And after I have finished reading the book, I have no words to explain my feelings.
Those letters that read, The Kite Runner mean so much to me.
Those letters have such a deep impact on my life, that I cannot put it into words.
So what do I feel after reading the Kite Runner?
Above everything else, love. I feel immense love towards the characters of this book. From Hassan to Amir, the Sultans of Kabul to the understanding Rahim uncle to the distant Baba, I loved every character from this book.
And I feel anger, towards everything that went wrong in their lives. I felt disgust at what happened and what should never have happened.
I feel horror, that is not macabre, but so vicious, so cruel, it hurts. An undercurrent of anguish haunts me whenever I think about this book.
And I feel a lot more.
And I feel a lot more, that I just cannot put into words.
For you, a thousand times over.
And yes, I did cry not just the first time I read it, but even after multiple readings, I still cry as this book haunts my imagination, like no other book.
Here are some quotes from the book (in no particular order), that reminds me that some stories truly leave footprints on your heart and mind.
Time can be a greedy thing-sometimes it steals the details for itself.
Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.
And this is what I want you to understand, that good, real good, was born out of your father’s remorse. Sometimes, I thing everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself. And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good.
For you, a thousand times over Then I turned and ran. 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.
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.
I unfolded the letter. It was written in Farsi. No dots were omitted, no crosses forgotten, no words blurred together–the handwriting was almost childlike in its neatness. I began to read: In the name of Allah the most beneficent, the most merciful, Amir agha, with my deepest respects, Farzana jan, Sohrab, and I pray that this latest letter finds you in good health and in the light of Allah’s good graces. Please offer my warmest thanks to Rahim Khan sahib for carrying it to you. I am hopeful that one day I will hold one of your letters in my hands and read of your life in America. Perhaps a photograph of you will even grace our eyes. I have told much about you to Farzana jan and Sohrab, about us growing up together and playing games and running in the streets. They laugh at the stories of all the mischief you and I used to cause! Amir agha, Alas the Afghanistan of our youth is long dead. Kindness is gone from the land and you cannot escape the killings. Always the killings. In Kabul, fear is everywhere, in the streets, in the stadium, in the markets, it is a part of our lives here, Amir agha. The savages who rule our watan don’t care about human decency. The other day, I accompanied Farzana Jan to the bazaar to buy some potatoes and _naan_. She asked the vendor how much the potatoes cost, but he did not hear her, I think he had a deaf ear. So she asked louder and suddenly a young Talib ran over and hit her on the thighs with his wooden stick. He struck her so hard she fell down. He was screaming at her and cursing and saying the Ministry of Vice and Virtue does not allow women to speak loudly. She had a large purple bruise on her leg for days but what could I do except stand and watch my wife get beaten? If I fought, that dog would have surely put a bullet in me, and gladly! Then what would happen to my Sohrab? The streets are full enough already of hungry orphans and every day I thank Allah that I am alive, not because I fear death, but because my wife has a husband and my son is not an orphan. I wish you could see Sohrab. He is a good boy. Rahim Khan sahib and I have taught him to read and write so he does not grow up stupid like his father. And can he shoot with that slingshot! I take Sohrab around Kabul sometimes and buy him candy. There is still a monkey man in Shar-e Nau and if we run into him, I pay him to make his monkey dance for Sohrab. You should see how he laughs! The two of us often walk up to the cemetery on the hill. Do you remember how we used to sit under the pomegranate tree there and read from the _Shahnamah_? The droughts have dried the hill and the tree hasn’t borne fruit in years, but Sohrab and I still sit under its shade and I read to him from the _Shahnamah_. It is not necessary to tell you that his favorite part is the one with his namesake, Rostam and Sohrab. Soon he will be able to read from the book himself. I am a very proud and very lucky father. Amir agha, Rahim Khan sahib is quite ill. He coughs all day and I see blood on his sleeve when he wipes his mouth. He has lost much weight and I wish he would eat a little of the shorwa and rice that Farzana Jan cooks for him. But he only takes a bite or two and even that I think is out of courtesy to Farzana jan. I am so worried about this dear man I pray for him every day. He is leaving for Pakistan in a few days to consult some doctors there and, _Inshallah_, he will return with good news. But in my heart I fear for him. Farzana jan and I have told little Sohrab that Rahim Khan sahib is going to be well. What can we do? He is only ten and he adores Rahim Khan sahib. They have grown so close to each other. Rahim Khan sahib used to take him to the bazaar for balloons and biscuits but he is too weak for that now. I have been dreaming a lot lately, Amir agha. Some of them are nightmares, like hanged corpses rotting in soccer fields with bloodred grass. I wake up from those short of breath and sweaty. Mostly, though, I dream of good things, and praise Allah for that. I dream that Rahim Khan sahib will be well. I dream that my son will grow up to be a good person, a free person, and an important person. I dream that lawla flowers will bloom in the streets of Kabul again and rubab music will play in the samovar houses and kites will fly in the skies. And I dream that someday you will return to Kabul to revisit the land of our childhood. If you do, you will find an old faithful friend waiting for you. May Allah be with you always. -Hassan
A man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer.
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.
When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal a wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing.
He walked like he was afraid to leave behind footprints. He moved as if not to stir the air around him.
….there is a God, there always had been. I see Him here, in the eyes of the people in this corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him, not the white masjid with its bright diamond lights and towering minarets. There is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need, I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.
I’m so afraid. Because I’m so profoundly happy, Dr. Rasul. Happiness like this is frightening. They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.
I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.
It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…
And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.
A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.