The Only Sin

I was reading “The Kite Runner” the other day. I had watched the movie some time back and loved it. Later, at the hospital, I was discussing the movie with my colleague Dr Gopal, and he said, the book was much better than the movie, and so I should read it. It didn’t take much time to realize what he said was true. Hosseinis style is simple and beautiful. The tragedy of childhood betrayal and mixed-up identity against the background of poverty and lowered circumstances was breathtaking. As was the palpably new sense of how horrible it would be like to live under the Taliban.

None of that is in the movie. The book, a seemingly sightless medium, offers greater vision.

I always believed that people live on memories. Sad memories never seem to fade away. Everything we have experienced in life….the bad, sad, painful, exciting… all together make us what we are today. The bad memories make us stronger, the happy more caring, the sad more sensitive. Getting rid of any part of memories is getting rid of part of life.

The Kite Runner is a young man’s memories of his life and childhood, and continues in to the present and through it, covers the history and social and religious system of Afghanistan and touches many sensitive aspects of human relationships.

It is the story of two boys – Hassan a Shi’a, Amir a Sunni; one from wealth, the other a servant – who grow up in Afghanistan the best of friends, until one fateful day when Amir is twelve in the winter of 1975. What Amir witnesses change the boys’ friendship forever, and sets events in motion which will have lifelong consequences.

This is a novel which explores many themes: family loyalty, the rigidity of religious division, the cruel effects of war, and the power of love and redemption. Hosseini’s writing is simple and powerful; a no frills spare style which stuns. There are graphic scenes which involve child rape and molestation. The violence in the book is painful to read…and heartbreaking.

The Kite Runner is an epic story, spanning as it does the cruelty of Afghanistan's recent history - the Soviet invasion, Mujahedeen, and the Taliban. But it is the story of internal strife that makes Khaled Hosseini's novel as beautiful and as terribly haunting as it is. As Amir's wife tells him, "sad stories make good books."

I liked what Amir’s father tells his son about sin.
“You asked about sin and I want to tell you. I mean to speak to you man to man. Do you think you can handle that for once?”
Yes, Baba Jan”
“Good, Baba said, but his eyes wondered.” Now no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one, and that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. Do you understand that?”
“ No, Baba Jan”. I said, desperately wishing I did. I didn’t want to disappoint him again.
“When you kill a man, you steal a life” Baba said. You steal his wife’s right to a husband; rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal some one’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see? “
“There is no act more wretched than stealing, Amir. A man who takes what is not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of naan…. I spit on such a man….. And if I ever cross paths with him, God help him”

I thought about it, and realized it was one of the best explanations I could think of. Is there a better way to look at what is going on in today’s world? Everyone tries to take what does not belong to him. Money, position, women, men, reputation…..everything. When we try to get any of these things truly not belonging to us, we are really stealing it from its rightful owner.
And then, who is not a thief?


  1. It was indeed a very inspiring book to read...every word of it is worth ur time.

    ...looking at what's happening in every corner of our world today will surely give us a lot of disappointments...but there is always a chance to change the path we are taking.

    "Amir jan, there's a way to be good again." -Rahim Khan.

    ---> that was one of the best line i personally liked in the book...reminding us that its never too late to change for the better.

  2. My daughter has the book on her shelf and I've not got to it yet. Thanks for sharing.

  3. kite runner can get tears in your eyes, its just amazing the way its been written, and I agree movies can never take the place of books....books give us a reel of our own, to imagine, to create images and to get lost in the world carved by a writers words..its just amazing :)
    Thanks for such a nice post!

  4. I've read the book and enjoyed every bit of it. haven't watched the movie though.As far as making movies out of popular novels,starting with Rebecca and Desiree and right up to Five point something that inspired the movie 3 idiots, I think novels are always better than the movies that have the box office returns in mind.BTW thank you for your input at my blog.

  5. Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment. You are welcome in my other blogs too.
    I liked your blog very much. I appreciate for your wonderful post. Though I have not yet seen this movie but heard that its pretty good. Very well written.

  6. @Charo
    I am surprised you remembered that statement.
    let me know what you think about the book.
    @ A new beginning
    Yes.Often one cannot do justice to the book.Words are equally or more powerful.
    @Hip Grandma
    I am a grand father too. Please do visit often.
    @ Babli
    Thanks for the comment.Sure,I am keeping track of your blogs

  7. This book is on the table beside my chair. I plan on reading soon. Thank you for sharing.
    You write very meaningfully.
    The post about your grandmother - made me cry.
    I am a mother and grandmother and my children and grandchildren are scattered all over the world. I miss them so. I have given them "roots and wings".


Post a Comment

Please spend another moment to make your comment before leaving.

Popular Posts