"There is a way to be good again.”



I kept checking my watch as I sat in The Grill at Fairmont Hotel in San Jose California. His first two books have been international best sellers, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and the first book which established his name around the world, and recently made into the movie – “The Kite Runner”.

As the time incremented onto half an hour late, my mind wondered, would I get the rushed celebrity sweeping in late with an entourage, catching his own reflection in the mirrors as he passed by?  Perhaps the self-absorbed, temperamental creative writer, reluctantly pulled away from his writing and higher mission of enlightenment?  At the very least, I expected an oracle into the human condition so compellingly conveyed in his writings. 

Finally he arrived with two handlers who he immediately left behind to sit at another table as he extended his hand, offering his apologies, saying welcome to San Jose.

He was younger than I imagined, only 43.  Physically fit, though showing the tired edges of someone who was still catching his breath after more than two years on the road promoting two best sellers, a movie and his various good works for Afghanistan, including being a goodwill envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. 

Different from his publicity photos, he had a short cropped beard now, no doubt a practical function of life on the road.  There was no pretence, or awkwardness.  He maintains sincere eye contact with you as he talks, and one is immediately at ease with his respectful manner, his disarming honesty and his genuine compassion for the world at large, and Afghanistan in particular.

to be continued ...