Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Kite Runners of Mardin

Watching the children of Mardin fly their kites in the cool evening breeze over the Turkish-Syrian border made me think of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The Mardin version is a bit different - Hosseini's kite-running involves one person holding the string and the other running far ahead with the kite, which works on the wide Afghan plains but would be a bit difficult to practice on a Mardin roof terrace.

For a novelist, the advantage of the Afghan version is that it's done in pairs, providing a neat metaphor for friendship:

"Do you want me to run that kite for you?"

His Adam's apple rose and fell as he swallowed. The wind lifted his hair. I thought I saw him nod.

"For you, a thousand times over," I heard myself say.
(The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini, 2003)

Here in Mardin, the boy on the terrace lay his kite on the ground, then somehow jerked it up using the strings. The girl's main task was to be a sceptical observer.

It's not as efficient as the running method, I think, because the kite kept falling flat. But it looked like they had lots of fun.

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