Two years ago, my summer job involved a lot of driving. To pass the time while on New York Interstate roads, I started checking out audio books from the library. One of the first I took with me on the road was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. With that audio book, arrival at the hotel was no longer a welcome event and I often sat in the car, waiting for a “good stopping point” until I could dash in and re-plug the CD back in once in the hotel room!
Part of the action of The Kite Runner, as its name suggests, takes place around an Afghani tradition of kite flying and – most especially – kite fighting. In kite fighting, contestants fly their kites from their (flat) roofs and try to cut the strings of other kites with their own string. The last kite flying wins. In Hosseini’s book, there’s a lot more drama than kite fighting – but his descriptions of the bobbing and weaving of so many colorful kites in battle made me from then on really want to go to Afghanistan and see a kite battle!
Who knew I didn’t have to make it quite to Afghanistan since the same tradition happens here in South Asia! I discovered my favorite holiday last week when school was canceled and from morning until evening kids (small and large!) flew and fought their kites from the rooftops! I went out running errands and kites were literally falling from the sky!
It looked like so much fun, I bought my own kites to try. Alas, mine never made it more than five feet off the rooftop! But watching the fighting and hearing the rooftop crowd erupt with each kite cutting made me feel like I was living a piece of The Kite Runner. Thanks to my neighbor kids to tried to teach me to fly the kites and to Khaled Hosseini who made me want to try in the first place!
This week’s shout out: Go fly a kite! Or or at least pick up Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.