Saturday 17 September 2016

The Kite Festival

It is a well known fact that India is a diverse country, which is not a surprise given its vastness. Now consider this.

On the east side of my local train station, the annual kite festival is held in January.
And on the west side, where I live, the kite festival is celebrated today, on the 17th September.
All this within a distance of about five kilometres.

17th September is also when the grand festival celebrating the greatest architect, the demigod, Lord Vishwakarma takes place. He is said to be the creator of the mythical golden kingdom of Lanka (modern Sri Lanka) and Lord Krishna's kingdom of Dwarka in western India, which he supposedly built overnight. Ruins of a prosperous, ancient city has actually been found under the Arabian sea which sort of builds a bridge between the mythical and reality, apart from the overnight achievement of course.

And perhaps, by some unknown reasoning, there is a relationship between architecture and kite flying too. Or it might just be a social norm that has been handed down through generations, the reason now forgotten.

From the morning, every rooftop is taken up by groups of enthusiastic kite flyers accompanied by friends and families, their cheer leaders. Colourful and fragile hand made paper kites swarm the pre-autumnal blue skies, flying on strings strengthened by glue mixed with powdered glass. A battle ensues high above, the kites dancing to the rhythm of the deft hands that control them from the ground. A battle is won as the sharp string cuts off the string of the opponent and a chorus of 'Bhokkata' emanates from the roof top, declaring a win. And with that a different battle ensues on ground. Children run through the streets with long sticks pimped up with twigs on top to tangle the strings of the defeated kite now floating freely in the air. The winner is the one who grabs the prize.

This is how I remember it used to be the last time I was present.

Today I woke up to a bright day, but it was extremely stuffy and humid. A depression was brewing in the Bay of Bengal and the wind had dropped. This was soon followed by dense black clouds and heavy rains ensued. The rains eventually stopped in the afternoon, but the wind never picked up. A few kites made up to the sky, trying desperately to stay afloat, a few unexciting battles followed. But the fun never started. Newly bought kites and strings were left unused.

Well, at least it is still the weekend, so probably tomorrow will be a better day.
Or, the west side may just join the east side next year in January.

Spent the day clicking photographs on my mobile phone camera.

Spot the blue one

Kites being prepared to fly

A loner as the sun comes out

No fun not being flown 
The day ends,, uneventful

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