Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beyond the words-Khaled Hosseini

Some things I can teach you. Some you learn from books. But there are things that, well, you just have to see and feel."

So,the line goes in A Thousand splendid suns. Sometimes, how much ever we hear, how much ever we read, we may not understand the depth. One has to feel it.  
Afghanistan, a country, often ignored. In its oblivion, it has seen pain, anguish, unstability, war, and cruelty of the highest kind. Where the rest of the world, enjoyed the luxuries that modern living had to offer, the Afghans were deprived of their basic right of living. And there comes a writer, who impressively weaves the two most beautiful stories, I've read.  Based on this very same country. So intriguing, his words, and so beautifully compassionate is the story, you want to pack your bags and make the first trip. Oh! Screw the unstability.

Khaled Hosseini, not in the country where his heart belongs, presently, leaves little for imagination. He lifts you up, and places you on the streets of Afghanistan.Where you can hear Pashto and Farsi. Where you can see Burqa clad women, scurrying around. You can feel the atmosphere, by just sitting in your room and holding the book in your hand. Thats the basic essence of his writing. You feel for the charachters. You quietly shed tears when they're in anguish, and you can feel their innocence. He does not take sides in his books, he lets you do that. His writing style has such a stoic intensity, that it makes you want to sit up and wish you could do something for the country, once beautiful, and rich, and now in ruins.

The Kite Runner...
 “There was brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that even time could not break.”

Amir and Hassan's story, through the changing political scenario in Afghanistan is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and ever-lasting loyalty. Hassan,a lowly Hazara, the step-brother to the rich Amir, a Pashtun, a secret concealed all through their childhood, who imbibes the pure and noble traits of Baba, Aamir's father. The first word that Amir said when he was born was Baba, and Hassan, Amir. And that was how it was to remain all their life. Amir would want to do anything to please his father and Hassan, forever remained loyal to Amir.

"I had been the entitled half, the society-approved, legitimate half, the unwitting embodiment of Baba's guilt. I looked at Hassan, showing those two missing front teeth, sunlight slanting on his face. Baba's other half. The unentitled, under-priveleged half. The half who had inherited what had been pure and noble in Baba. The half that, maybe, in the most secret recesses of his heart, Baba had thought of as his true son."

The book talks of cruelty, the betrayal Hassan faces from the hands of the one person he loves and adores. The language, so rich, that your heart goes out to Hassan. You marvel at the innocence of the kids, unaware of the changes happening in their country, and the book clearly manages to tell the story of how its always the good that triumphs, irrespective of how powerful the enemy is. Years later, when Aamir leaves a well settled life in America to go to the Taliban-infused Afghanistan to rescue Hassan's blood, Sohrab ,you want to smile with satisfaction.

A thousand splendid suns

“Learn this now, and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam.”

Khaled Hosseini, talks in this book of the immense cruelty that the women in Afghnistan have to go through. Whether its the Pre-Taliban era, or during it, women were always considered lowly. With some quotes, that will definitely pull your heart strings, you have to shed a tear,

“Only one skill. And it’s this: tahamul. Endure.”

Mariam, the woman,who goes through immense pain, of being illegitemate, of being married off, without her consent, of being married to a man, who needed no reason to beat her to pulp, who married a girl, fit to be his daughter when Mariam was in her prime. She finds comfort in Laila, the girl, who inspite of having a very free childhood, has to marry Mariam's husband in unforseen circumstances. Together,the two women go through a painful, sometimes pleasant, mostly anxious journey. The book, gives this underlying message that it is the women of Afghanistan who have to bring change.

In a few years, this little girl will be a woman who will make small demands on her life, who will never burden others, who will never let on that she too has had sorrows, disappointments, dreams that have been ridiculed. A woman who will be like a rock in a riverbed, enduring without complaint, her grace not sullied but shaped by the turbulence that washed over her.

This is the Afghan woman, tender, but hardened by time.
Khaled Hosseini is one of the few Afghans, who's rid himself of the old-world mentalilty, who craves for nothing but change in his homeland, for develoment in the country once rich in culture. He vividly manages to capture that craving. And not only that, he pulls you into his web of thoughts. Beauty beneath the words, thats Khaled Hosseini for you.


Mehak said...

i love your writeup and i love love LOVE the books, especially the kite runner. i wish i could write like him.. he is truly amazing.

The Silhouette said...

Hey, Hi
A beautiful write up...i have read both the books, liked them both, the language is powerful and the writing style is simply amazing...
If you think about packing your bags, do take out time to travel our own country too, its not much'll find such "hassan amir" and "mariam laila" here also...
My job made me travel a lot around India, i have witnessed such atrocities...the saddest part is, i have seen them in Mumbai too...

Bring the change within, the whole world would seem to change with you....

The Silhouette...