“...I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan--the way he’d stood up for me all those times in the past--and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run.
In the end, I ran...”Well, there have been times, in fact too many of them, in my life when I have strived hard to be a reader. A simple reader. Hearing something about some novel or biography or anything has always managed to intrigue me with trying my hand at reading it. Some of my earlier posts on this blog have been on my time-outs with certain books some that I started and a few that I managed to finish.
To go on with a book to the level where it actually finishes has always been difficult for me. Lack of concentration towards reading can not be blamed for this in any way. Being in a profession wherein you are a student for life, you just can't have that lack of concentration. But then yes, reading and studying are totally different things altogether.
Anyways, there has been many a books that I have started in the past and left them without ever finishing them. I remember Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. I probably started reading that book somewhere in 2001 and then I had to restart it a whole lot of times before somewhere in 2009 that I finally managed to complete it. There were a few books that I started and completed too but recently, over a couple of years, again that same string of starting and then leaving a book unfinished is continuing with me as if it was a curse.
I remember, I started them all, Dickens' Great Expectations, Dostoyevsky's The House of the Dead, Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mario Puzo's The Family amongst others. The Family is still placed in front of me on my table but all of them have been left unfinished. I just don't know where did I lose them. Anyways, even after all these unfinished books all in front of me, I have been starting new ones. There is the hope that they won't end-up like these and then there is the fear of the contrary.
Siddharth Mukherjee's The Emperor of all Maladies: A biography of Cancer and Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner are the recent addition to the ever increasing list of my tried books. Incidentally, this time both these books have managed to mesmerise me in some way or the other. Hopefully, both these books will not remain in that same expanding list of my tried books but will find an entry into a somewhat constant list of my finished books.
I am really close to finishing The Kite Runner. I am totally mesmerised by the way this beautiful yet grotesque story has been written. The way it leads you to feeling really bad about the protagonist and the way the story unfolds and leads you to the lively scenes of a politically unstable and socially robbed Afghanistan is simply awesome. More on the story and my thoughts about the book, I will try to put in my next post once I finish the book. Till then, another excerpt from the book giving the vivid details of the street of Kabul that must have been present there in the tougher times.
“...RUBBLE AND BEGGARS. Everywhere I looked, that was what I saw. I remembered beggars in the old days too--Baba always carried an extra handful of Afghani bills in his pocket just for them; I’d never seen him deny a peddler. Now, though, they squatted at every street corner, dressed in shredded burlap rags, mud-caked hands held out for a coin. And the beggars were mostly children now, thin and grim-faced, some no older than five or six. They sat in the laps of their burqa-clad mothers alongside gutters at busy street corners and chanted “Bakhshesh, bakhshesh!” And something else, something I hadn’t noticed right away: Hardly any of them sat with an adult male--the wars had made fathers a rare commodity in Afghanistan....”