Happy Makar Sankrant to all of You…It’s a day to Fly Kites or ‘Patangs’…… I’m Crazy about Flying them !…My wife says I’m crazy…period !
I used to bunk school and reach the terrace by 6 am to begin flying kites and return only by late evening….It was an addiction….A personal record of cutting 14 kites with a single Kite continues to be a source of great pride…though every year the figure of cut kites does tend to vary !…Loyal Mothers of us kids kept sending up Popcorn and other Food and Drinks right through the Day…..These days Wives are not so loyal !
Gujjus know Sankrant as ‘Uttran’…….Shouting yourself Hoarse,yelling “Lapate !” or “Kite Bochhe !” when you cut off a Kite or “Dheel De !” to your ‘Firki’ Holder,when you get entangled in a Kite Fight High in the Sky just simply gets you on the same High too ! …notwithstanding getting sunburnt and cutting your fingers !..I used to tape my Fingers and replace the tape when the ‘Manja’ cut through it !…..Used to often attach long paper tails to kites with cooked rice being the adhesive !
Am so passionate about Kites that i get Wild when the Person hoding my ‘Firki’ is a novice or is busy chatting away with others while I’m engrossed in flying…My Wife simply refuses to hold my ‘Firki’ now !
Just Flew a kite with a Ten foot long Tail at Marina Beach in Chennai in December when I visited the city…..years ago regaled a whole School Class of 40 children on what Makar Sankrant stands for and about Types of Kites and their Flying in various countries,before we flew kites at Cross Maidan in Mumbai…
The hallmarks of an expert Kite Flyer are many….ability to fly the Kite without wind assitance….tying the right ‘Kanni’…1-0 normally and 0-0 when high winds exist….steering the kites…selection of ‘manja’ and kites….strategy when in a ‘Pache’
I use to Bunk College too and later even office to go fly kites…sadly these day ‘Kite Flying’ has more figurative undertones than literal
There is a fantastic debut bestseller titled ‘Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini….it brings to life the fact that childhood choices affect our adult lives and is a splendid and moving tale of two inseperable Boys,one affluent and the other not so,growing up together,flying and selling kites in Afghanistan.Later the affluent Amir,hit by guilt pangs,returns to his Homeland from USA to save the enslaved son of his less affluent Friend, Hassan who has been killed by the Taliban….There is also a Great Book by Edwin Lefevre,first published in 1923 called ” Reminiscences of a Stock Market Operator “…..Mine may well be titled ” Reminiscences of a Kite Flier ”