It always hurts more to have and lose than not to have in the first place- The Kite Runner.
The Kite Runner Review
The Kite Runner is a book by Khaled Hosseni. For the most part, I didn’t even know such an author existed but for a quote I saw online by chance. Still glued in my memory, it goes ‘that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say, they think everyone does too….’ It touched me. That quote did. As I read the book, I found out that prior to this quote, the narrator (Amir) had said ‘Till today, I still find it hard to look at people like Hassan…People who mean everything they say…’
The Kite Runner is a good book, simply put, for lack of a more sophisticated word. It reminded me at first, of a conversation I had with a friend earlier this week where he asked me for the definition of a good man. I was flustered but as this conversation was via text messaging, I had a few minutes to organize my thoughts before answering. I told him a good man was a man who was remorseful. But that answer not seemingly good enough, I further went on to say goodness was a nebulous concept and there was nothing like a good man, just men who commit good deeds. Actually, to me, there is no yardstick for measuring good or evil as men are defined by the choices they make. This choice whether good or evil, followed by its aftermath is the definition of a good man. If a man gives money to a beggar on the streets and on his way back to his car, spits on the sidewalk due to the stench from the beggar that has permeated his nostrils, is this hypocrisy? If he goes home and hits his wife, what is that? Goodness? Also, if a man who has enough means to feed the poor doesn’t feed the poor but instead has good relations with his family? Can he be said to be evil? What of a highly religious person who kills? What of a murderer who is remorseful? Following this train of thought, I find I am even more confused now than when the question was first asked. And finally, came to the conclusion that a good man was a man who was remorseful. As though to taunt me further, my friend asked me another question. Can you condone cheating? And I screamed, NO. For me, cheating was an unforgivable sin. I don’t care if the man was drunk, under duress, gang raped, beaten or even dead. If he cheats, I’m booting him. And my friend laughed at me, or I think he did because he typed it. And he asked, Even if he’s remorseful? And that stumped me. And back we were to the question, who was a good man?
Reading the Kite Runner, I saw there were lots of bad men. Or so I thought at first. I could see just one good man, and his position of goodness in my heart was maintained till the very last chapter of the book.
That was Hassan. Hassan would apologize to you for hurting him. He was loyal. And he was good. These attributes flowed through him like blood. He was content with his lot in life and didn’t aspire to be more. He was intelligent and giving, trusting as he was trustworthy. He was so damn real he made everyone else look phony in comparison. And he was honest. And loving. And kind. And loyal. And I could go on and on extolling his good virtues a thousand times over. Then there was his father, Ali. Also filled with so much goodness, it feels like nature has committed a crime by concentrating the entire composition of goodness on one family.
Rahim Khan was also a good man. He helped a little child achieve his dreams.
That little child, however was a vicious and cunning and wicked little child. Amir wasn’t by any standards a good boy. From the way he teased Hassan, to his thoughts about him. And it brings me back to the question, who is a good man? Is it a man who thinks differently on the inside and acts differently on the outside? Like Amir?……. whose craving for his father’s love led him to dishonest ways? Or his father who through his actions pushed his son to dishonest ways?
Later, though, all I remember was that it became hard to say. And again, I came to the conclusion that a good man was a man who was remorseful. Just like Amir was in the end. It might have taken him a long time to get things right, but he did try. And again, I say a good man shouldn’t just hold that remorse in his heart but try to put things right.
The Kite Runner isn’t just a book about loyalty, and friendship and betrayal and love and hurt and remorse. It is a book that shows the contrast in human nature. And I understood that there were two kinds of people in this world; people who take the heart out of you and those who put it right back. As I read, I saw fragments of myself in Amir’s actions. The way he never wanted Hassan to be better than him. And I realized that this was what caused most of the problems in our society. If we’d only relax a little and be content with where we are in the world, just like Hassan. And be the stepping stone, instead of the obstacle for our loved ones, then we’d never get lost. And when we die, we’d go silently with a smile on our face because we are right where we want to be.
For you, a thousand times over…….