Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Kite Runner

Unfortunately, our bookworms blog died due to poor management, (HnH, Bantu, don't kill me for saying that) so I'll use this space to rave and rant about this novel and issues surrounding it.

I'm an avid reader, and it's not everyday I read a book with a story line that leaves a lasting impression on me (in fact, I can't even remember the title of the book I read before Kite Runner).

This is a powerful story about an Afghani who immigrated to the U.S. and is sharing his life story, going all the way back to his childhood in the 70's before the Russians invaded Afghanistan, when there was peace in that country, and a degree of freedom that will, perhaps, never exist again (at least in our lifetime).

Nevertheless, the caste system was rife, with the Pushtans being the elites and the Hazaras being their servants and considered the "scum" of society.

The story is told by Amir, a Pushtan, whose dad was a successful businessman, and is centered on his friendship with Hassan, the son of his father's servant - a Hazara. While growing up, they were like best friends, although they both understood their place in society. At the age of 12, Amir watched as the neighborhood bully sodomized Hassan, and he did nothing to help him. Aside from the political turmoil that affected Amir's life, this single event forever changed his life, defining his character, and setting off a chain of events that he would later regret.

I don't want to give away the plot, but this is one book I would highly recommend because the story is told with bluntness and a reality that makes it hard to believe that it's a novel, not a memoir. There are many scenes that are difficult to read due to their graphic nature, and there are so many tragedies that by the end of the book, all you can do is sigh in relief because you feel you can't handle one more tragedy. There are plenty of surprises in the plot too and this makes it that much better.

One of my greatest pet peeves with many novels is the "happily ever after" way in which the author chooses to end his/her story. There is nothing happy about the way this book ends, just a glimmer of hope. Rightly so too, because you really can't take two big tragedies like rape and war and sugar coat them because the effects on people are real and unfortunate.

Then comes the "controversial" movie. If what the family of the 12-year-old actor is saying is the truth (and I bet it is), then the film makers ought to be ashamed of themselves for lying to the family and cajoling the boy to act out the rape scene with the promise to take it out later. Of course if you take out the rape scene, then the movie doesn't make much sense since it is central to the plot.

The movie was slated for release in November, but it has now been pushed to December with the promise to take the actor and his family out of Afghanistan until next spring when the hype surrounding the movie dies. I'm not sure I like the way the film makers handled this. They should have been more forthcoming during casting in the first place and made full disclosure to the family about the content of the movie before the boy signed the contract. I'm not comfortable with the idea of uprooting a family from their home, especially since they'll still go back, and people may not be as forgetful as you would hope.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dalili ya Mvua

For real I'm in a dilemma. Why can't some choices in life be black and white and easy to make? How is it possible that you can want something, yet when it seems like it's a possibility it'll happen, you start tripping? What am I rambling on about?

Well, Steve and I have been dating for like a year and a half, and despite the mucho drama that accompanied our first few months together, and our recent switch to long distance, we're still going strong. This may seem like cliche, but within the first month we started dating, I had already decided that Steve was special, hence the patience and willingness to give him a chance, even when the odds seemed against him. In reality, it was during these drama filled days that his true character really shone through, and I loved what I saw. It was during this time that I decided I was going to spend the rest of my life with him. I was so sure of this to the point where, before I moved, I told him that if he proposed, I would say "yes".

Now, he's starting to show the "dalili" to propose and I'm starting to freak out. The other day we happened to be talking about one of my friends that's getting married and somehow the topic switched to wedding rings. It was during this period that he let it slip that he'd visited a few jewelry stores. I pretended I didn't hear that part and started joking about how huge my rock has to be.

Then came the phone conversation today. We've both had a rough week and even though I could tell there was more going on with him, tonight I wasn't emotionally prepared to cheer him up as I needed some cheering up myself. Needless to say, our conversation was lukewarm and we both hang up in frustration. One of the things we don't ever do is go to bed angry at each other. Imagine my surprise when I received a text message from Steve, apologizing for his mood and confessing that he's been thinking about marriage.

Of course, that text went unreplied cuz suddenly, I was in panic mode. Do I wanna marry him? YES!!! However, I'm just starting a new phase of my life and I know exactly how my parents will react, especially my dad who doesn't believe in getting married while in school. I personally have no qualms about it and sometimes even imagine that it might be better for me to be married (with no kids) so I can get the kind of support that only a lover can offer as I go through med school. If I follow my dad's advice, I would have to wait at least five years to get married, which is fine by me, but makes no sense when I already know I wanna spend my life with this man.

On the other hand, if I go ahead and don't heed my parents' advice (eventually they'll come around if I'm hell bent on getting married), I worry that it could easily turn into one of those tragic "I told you so" stories where I might end up wishing I'd waited.

So I see the dalili of the propasal forthcoming, but I'm stuck in this dilemma. Should I follow my heart and let it rain or should I seek shelter? After all, all forecasts project a storm, not a drizzle...