Tuesday, June 06, 2006









GIRLS DONT FLY KITES...

School has closed for the summer, all the school books and uniforms are put away never to be seen again. My brothers are in the backyard huddled together, through the spaces between them I see different colored tissue papers flying about, glue and thinly shaved Bamboo sticks, and Reels of thread. I know what this is all about and I want "in" on this party. I go outside and beg to be included but I am not .One of them says" dont touch anything, you can only watch and anyway Girls dont fly kites". I agree,but feeling disappointed I drag my feet to the washing stone which was a few feet away, resting my chin on my knees I watch my brothers put together this kite with as much precision as building a plane.

Most people are happy just making one kite but my brothers were driven to make the biggest, fastest and the best kite. There were little kites, big kites, fast kites and slow kites. Kites for high winds and kites for low winds and when there was no wind they just admired their creation.
The kite was made of tissue paper and had a central spine and a bow made of bamboo. Sometimes these bamboo sticks came in handy to my mother when punishment was in order.The difference in the kites lie in the patterns and colors used.There were simple geometric shapes and designs and circles of contrasting colors.The front was more beautiful than the back because it faced the worldand had to be the best. Final touches to the kite include eyes of silver or gold and anything else you may fancy. After a couple of agonizing hours the kite is ready and is set aside to dry.

Out comes the reels of white thread, but it is not enough to use just plain thread, something called Manjha had to be applied to the thread. one of my brothers was busy grinding the glass into powder while the other was mixing a concoction of ingredients which was a much guarded secret.This I learnt later on was to make the thread strong. The thread was dyed a beautiful orange and set out to dry. T he whole day has passed , my mother is calling us for dinner, my brothers make a quick stop at the bathroom to get clean, hide the bruises and stains on their hands and pretend that nothing special was happenning. I played along not wanting to fall out of grace with them.I wanted to fly a kite.

The next day I see my brothers looking up at the sky. Is it windy enough? is it going to rain? these thoughts race through my mind, hoping the latter would not occur because I just wanted to fly a kite. There is nothing more beautiful than looking up at the sky on a warm summer day and seeing the kites of different shapes and sizes. There were square, triangular and diamond shaped kites. Some with fishtails and some with no tails and some with tails that looked like colored spaghetti just floating in the wind. Down below the grass was green and the Mayflower tree provided the shade and a carpetful of orange colored flowers.

I ask if I can hold the reel, but my brother says no, you need a steady hand. From where I am sitting I can see the glass coated thread glistening in the sun and being released in sudden long and short spurts depending how high the kite was and where it was in location to the other kites. The goal was to cut the other kites and the last kite flying was the winner. There were the kite runners whose sole purpose was to scramble over rooftops and across fields to catch the falling kite. My brothers wanted no part of that, they just wanted to win.Suddenly I see my brother cut off two opponents and was seething with joy but seconds later his ego came spiralling down into the trees and electric wires.

The kite is very inexpensive made out of tissue and Bamboo but it transcends countries, cultures, religion and brings people together and also lends a competitive spirit. It holds a special place in my heart, to me it meant freedom to just fly away and explore the world and most of all to spend a nice summer day with my brothers. I am humbled when I look up at the limitless sky and am reminded that I am just an insignificant speck in the Universe.

72 comments:

Jackal 1:10 PM  

ohh kites :)) wow i loved flying n my parents wud crazy ...but its fun ....brings so much peace at times....
hmm rooftops...just few days back a lil kid fell of a roof trying to catch the kite he died..lot of accidents too take place......nice n colorful post

Shankari 1:38 PM  

kites...brings back memories, my sis & I were perfect tomboys & we bought manjha thread and we used to compete with the boys in our colony. It was great fun!

chandni 2:11 PM  

I am humbled when I look up at the limitless sky and am reminded that I am just an insignificant speck in the Universe.

beautifully put.

I did fly kites as a kid but was never good at it....

and I always looked at better fliers wih envy and awe...

To me they also signify happiness..times gone by and recently, the book "The kite runner"

SCRIBBLEZ TO WAKEUP 2:27 PM  

Wow...those pics r very pretty...Esp the one at the beach...I didnt know all those details to make the secret mixture to make the thread strong etc...News to me.....I have tried flying kites but never managed to do so as they never went flying but came to me the minute I would leave them...Guess it is an art u ought to learn...Nice post Lady!! :)

sobrietybreedscontempt 2:44 PM  

You know, Starry... not only is it a colorful post like Jackal said, but its amazing how I feel nostalgic about this that I never indulged in myself.. You have a nice way of sharing what seems to be special memories and making them everybody else's simultaneously too... :) :)

starry nights 6:11 PM  

jackal... i loved flying kites, only later on did i get to fly a kite and was really thrilled.

starry nights 6:12 PM  

Shankari..I think i was a tomboy also , wanted to do everything my brothers did.

starry nights 6:14 PM  

I read the book kite runner and really loved it.

geetha 7:57 PM  

Who said girls can't fly kites? I'm sure they are as good. If we don't know how, there's always the first step of learning, isn't it?

I remember playing kites with my brother.. we made our own. Although it didn't fly so high, we had fun experimenting ways of making kites :)

neihal 7:57 PM  

Ahh kites..My cousins (or neighbours I dont remember) were sweet enough to let me be in charge of the reel...and i would even breath with caution...else i drop it and disappoint everyone..
the thread always fascinated me until the day i cut my right palm with it....after that it was only watching that i enjoyed..
loved the pics in your post.

starry nights 8:57 PM  

Geetha..yes later on I got to fly kites by myself and it was a lot of fun.even now if I had the opportunity I would love to fly a kite.

starry nights 8:58 PM  

Thank you jitterbug.I did not know this many people enjoyed flying kites.

starry nights 8:59 PM  

Scribblez..can picture you trying to fly a kite.I think there is no art just the right kite and the right wind. thanks

starry nights 9:01 PM  

Neihal..welcome to my blog and please do come again.The reel facinated me also, somehow it put you in charge and made you feel important.

Suji 10:25 PM  

Always wanted to fly kites when the neighbourhood children used to fly kites. Have tried it a few times, but it never used to fly very high. :(

I love Munich 12:44 AM  

You told that so vividly! I didn't have much chances to fly kites but my kids did ... and loved it! GREAT pictures!!
I love what you say about the limitless sky and self, being only a speck in the universe ... simply beautiful!!!

RefleXtion 12:46 AM  

I have done this only once recently, 4 months back with my GF...and it was so much fun...it just seems to bring out that kid in you..the joy and happiness on your face that you forgot.

Very pleasant post.

Manny 4:32 AM  

Those kites are awsome.

Nice pics. Put me in a good mood.
smile

Rose 5:14 AM  

I v never flown a kite :(.. But "Girls dont fly kites"??? Bullshit!!! I'll def fly a kite the nxt time i get a chance.. ~grin~

It must be amazing to just go where the wind takes you.. But isnt life like that too to a major extent..

:)

..Me

Manic Street Preacher 6:37 AM  

girls fly kites...they do!! i did. i'd covered a kite festival in kolkata once 2 yrs ago...whn they wer tryin to revive kite flyin its a dyin art u see...n u won believe. there were women who made most of the kites.
amazin post u did it again!!!
peace..!!
\m/

southpaw 7:27 AM  

Kites...:) brings back all those childhood memories...coz after school i dont rem flying them ever.

starry nights 7:36 AM  

Suji..My kite never flew very high either, it was just the feeling you got when the kite took off.When I was young I would run with the kite behind me hoping it would take off.

starry nights 7:36 AM  

I love munich thank you.

starry nights 7:37 AM  

Reflextion..Thank you. It does bring out the kid in me just thinking abut it.

starry nights 7:39 AM  

Rose.. I think that is what made kite flying special to me, I always wanted to be that kite to go wherever the wind took me.

starry nights 7:39 AM  

Manny thanks.WElcome to my blog and do come again.

starry nights 7:40 AM  

Manic street preacher...It is what my brothers always said because they did not want me to tag along, which I always managed to do anyway.

starry nights 7:42 AM  

South paw.. you are never too old to fly a kite, so buy a kite and some string, does not have to have manjah , go out into an open field and have fun.

chet 8:53 AM  

WOW! That was a great post! It brought back a lot of memories of my childhood and reminded me of the laughter and fun we had back then. Thanks for posting this.

jac 9:11 AM  

We are all specks, starrynight!

richunderconstruction 10:17 AM  

never tried my hand at it... :(
it sounds fun...n yes, limitless n boundless.

well, im mostly off blogging for awhile... will b here off n on, very irregularly, outta station for 6 mnths...

so thght id tell u... :)

starry nights 10:23 AM  

Jac...true arnt we all just specks in this universe. but these liitle specs cause so much of trouble in this world,you would think that we could all live peacefully.

starry nights 10:24 AM  

Richunderconstruction...Will miss you. take care and do stop by when you can.

southpaw 6:30 PM  

Yeah u r right but like i said after schools i never had time for all that and now even if i want i can't afford to coz when u hv a surgically repaired neck with 5 discs replaced u can't look high for too long, spins ur head like anything...:)

Inji Pennu 7:57 PM  

whew! your post gave me goosebumps...

Loga 8:03 PM  

Last lines are beautifully written..I haven't done it...I wished to do..but somehow, did not get a chance at all...

Keshi 8:05 PM  

oh how I loved to fly kites when I was a kid..being a girl was never a restriction to me :)

Keshi.

starry nights 9:16 PM  

Lg & Loga thank you

starry nights 9:16 PM  

Keshi. thanks for stopping by and please come again.

Keshi 9:32 PM  

:) sure I will Starry!

Keshi.

starry nights 9:40 PM  

Southpaw...Sorry about your neck I understand how you feel, I have a bad back and am actually waiting for a disc replacement. I think you should just watch others fly kites.

southpaw 9:56 PM  

Thats what i do sitting on a rocking chair during the season...:)

JamesBright 10:05 PM  

A wonderful kite related thought!

Ganesh Ranganathan 11:33 PM  

using manja is dangerous, lots of people get killed using it, that's why I hate kites...

Strictly for my friends 12:50 AM  

Hi.. this is my first visit. You are so good, i think you should publish your work.

Dew Drops 2:15 AM  

girls fly kites or not, i made a pathetic show once. ;)

nishu 4:42 AM  

come on girls do fly kites. its such fun isnt it.I love old classics. I often close all the lights and go deep in the songs. ur blogs real sweet

Raji 6:37 AM  

Starry nights,

I'm so glad you visited my blog.. That gave me an oppurtunity to find this treasure of cherished writing.

I'm so happy to read your posts..I've never tried flying kites before but did enjoy your write up.

I sure am coming back to read the rest from your archives

starry nights 7:29 AM  

Dreamsalittle...Thank you

starry nights 7:32 AM  

Ganesh..Welcome to my blog and please do come back..I m sad that you hate kiteflying, I may have seen a couple of cuts and bruises on my brothers hands but you can fly it with plain thread also which I eventually did.I think it is a simple sport, especially if you are poor and did not have other toys, and it kept you busy and not get into any trouble.

starry nights 7:35 AM  

Strictly for my friends...Welcome to my blog and please come again.Thank you for your compliment.

starry nights 7:36 AM  

Strictly for my friends..Welcome to my blog and please come back again. Thanks for your compliment.

starry nights 7:37 AM  

Dew drops..I have also encountered some pathetic kite flying episodes but persistence paid off.

Has to be me 7:38 AM  

Is it written by u or ur daughter? Its brilliant esp the last para. Loved it.

starry nights 7:40 AM  

Nishu..thanks for visiting my blog.and please do come again. I was passing by your blog and the song you had written touched a cord in my heart because it was very dear to me. Nothing like the old classics, I like them too. really meaningful.

starry nights 7:40 AM  

Ghost particle...welcome to my blog and hope you come back. Thanks.

starry nights 7:42 AM  

Raji..welcome to my blog and please come back again, thanks for your comments.

starry nights 7:45 AM  

Has to be me...It is not written by my daughter and if it was I would give credit to her.She was born over here and sorry to say did not have these special memories that I do. I wish sometimes that I can transport them back in time when I was growing up, times were simple, uncomplicated and we knew how to have fun even with the simplest things.

Haider Droubi 7:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Haider Droubi 7:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maya Cassis 3:31 PM  

ha reminds me of the time I was kite crazy.and how my parents had to run along with me until my first kite was air-borne :)

Prash 5:31 PM  

Very nice post on Kites.

It reminded me of my childhood days in Kerala and we used to fly kites with our cousins. Ah Ah Ah those lovely innocent days...

nandi23 8:51 PM  

the pics are beautiful!!!
luckily for my sis and I, girls do fly kites since my bro had only us to contend with:D.
lovely post!

smiley 10:29 AM  

u stirred up old memories...
it is just not f;lying kites alone...
manja... where u stick glass on the thread, so that u can cut other kite threads...
running across the roads to catch the kites
different colors and designs of kites....
good post :)

Dotm 5:27 PM  

Brought back some fun time memories.My brothers and I flew kites. Biggest dissappointment was when one of our kites would get caught in the top of a tree. We would start running in the open field, but while high flying we did sometimes get the string tangled in one of the many trees. We used to buy some strong kite string at the store, but it wasn`t treated like your brothers string.
Nice interesting post. You are a good interesting writer.

Tariq 3:06 AM  

kite flying... i used to watch my neighbour fly, the vast garden in front of my house was officially declared the landing ground for kites which were cut off their thread.... which invited loads of kids who run around the streets collecting kites..

fun, its really intriguing to watch those kite duels... amazing.. but an obliviating art..

cheers.
Tariq

starry nights 8:02 PM  

Thank you Tariq..welcome to my blog and do come again. I loved to fly a kite.

Sojourner 1:05 AM  

*I am humbled when I look up at the limitless sky and am reminded that I am just an insignificant speck in the Universe.*
that the best way to feel... takes all your load off...just great :)

starry nights 5:56 PM  

Sojourner..that exactly how I feel. an insignificant speck in the universe.

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