The Good Old Books

by shz

I was in Bangsar briefly just now. That’s where I get my occasional dose of worldly needs. And one of it was the search of good movies at those DVD shops selling not only new released, but some old and foreign ones too. Back in UK I fed this need of mine by renting at Blockbuster frequently, especially I lived just across the street from it. I’d examine the cover, the pictures, tried to remember the actor’s name, see if they’d won anything or whether I’ve seen them in their previous works. Read the usual one sentenced review from the critiques which mostly were very misleading. Hoping the money I was going to pay will be worth the gamble. Occasionally I get lucky, and some of the bets turned into my favourite movie ever. JFK, Meet Joe Black, Departures, Before Sunset, The Shawshank Redemption and The Kite Runner, to name a few.

The Kite Runner. What masterpiece that is.

I was there quite early and the shop was not even opened yet. I decided to wait out at the most logical place to kill time – The Borders. Usually being the shallow me, I’d head to the magazine section. Flipping through the glossy glam magazines that would immediately give me the rush to go to the boutiques and stock up “fashion”. This time I had a different urge. I went to the novel section and read a bit of Haruki Murukami. Strangely titled, ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’. “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” it said. I snickered. Then read a bit of Norwegian Wood. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.” Haha, am feeling the love for this guy already. Then found out that Hillary Duff apparently wrote a book, until “Hey.. The Kite Runner!”

Its easier to read a book when you already know what it was all about. The introduction part when Amir received the phone call from Rahim-Khan. The part he and Hassan played as a child.. I skipped of course, I was there to kill few minutes, not days. Then I skipped to one part which was not done in the movie. One whole chapter of Rahim-Khan telling the story of grown up Hassan, how he persuaded Hassan to go back to Kabul and how Hassan’s mother, Sanaubar, who left him when he was a baby, came back to find him. This character was literally not in the movie by the way, just mentioned once, but not of her name. And I could feel my eyes tearing up as I read these words:

Her good eye rolled to him. “I have walked long and far to see if you are as beautiful in the flesh as you are in my dreams. And you are. Even more.” She pulled his hand to her scarred face. “Smile for me. Please”

Hassan did and the old woman wept. “You smiled coming out of me, did anyone ever tell you? And I wouldn’t even hold you. Allah forgive me, I wouldn’t even hold you.”

I finished one chapter just in time Fakhrul finished purchasing his Top Gear. What a waste, I could add RM25 more and get The Kite Runner. But RM25 equals two discs. Maybe later I thought. But the point is, I’d forgotten how good it felt to flip papers filled with beautifully written words and have those emotions dwelling up inside by reading it. I miss reading books. I couldn’t even remember why I stopped reading books. Perhaps I got used to looking at pictures in books as an architectural student rather than reading written words. The assumption that made me regret a little. The last book I read was, well, this is soooo embarassing – Sophie Kinsella’s The Confession of Shopaholic. It wasn’t even good. And the movie was worse! The fact that made me regret a lot.

They always say, movies (that are based from books) make only half of what’s written in the book. I was prejudiced then, I had always thought the movie was as good as it gets. How naive and ignorant of me. Its time to grow up. Its time to read books again and more importantly, read the rest of The Kite Runner’s stories. Because suddenly I remember why I stopped reading – there were no Facebook and Twitter then. And I must bring this patheticalness to end.