The kite Season is here and I have just come back after stockpiling the arms and ammunition for a very deadly battle in the skies.Me and Anant (my 4 yr old Son) had gone to one of the many shops that spring up during this time and we bought one Charkhi filled up with saddi ( white thread), some Manjhaand five big size Kites.It cost me about 200 bucks in comparison to the 20 we paid when we went on a similiar shopping trip for kites with Papa.The best kite that you could buy was Rs 2 only but these days or rather in these parts you can’t even think of getting something even close to that in terms of the intricate quality,balance,sheer strength of paper and the reinforcements at critical spots so that you do not loose out a Bada(betted)match. Those matchial Kites were a league of their own.Only a fine artist who had mastered the art of Kite making through zen and other techniques could make such a winner and only a connoisseur of Patang bazi would appreciate the skill and endurance that has gone into the task.
Meanwhile a few tips for those of you who did not get beaten up by their tutors,who did not cut their hands with the Manjha,who did not fall off roof tops trying to loot the most priced Navashera(a kite that has the distinction of winning 9 matches in a row)without being cut a single time etc.Here they are :
1.While buying the white thread keep in mind that this is what is going to take the maximum tension when the wind blows hard and on it will depend the fast manoeuvring while you go after that red kite of your neighbour.Therefore look out for strength and lightweight while choosing the thread.A simple test is to keep the thread between your two fists and try to break it off with a jerk thrice.If it stands you have your stuff.
2.The Manjha on the other hand has to be extremely thin so it cannot be seen conspicuously while your kite is up in the skies.In stealth lies the surprise and in sharpness the kill.But anything too sharp is not recommended as it is not good for your own hands plus it is going to help you only when you choose to cut across rather than to dive in.something that is smooth and yet sharp is ideal.
3.Have an assistant at your beck and call.It was Monu(my younger brother) for me.He is like your “man friday”.He will direct the charkhi towards you,watch the matches with interest of a Bookie,curse the opponent in choicest of abuses when he does not follow the rules (there are rules),whistle and howl “woh kaata”when you crush your enemies and finally praise you for your sheer skill and mastery of the craft even if you could not win a single “pench”.He will understand that it was the wind that blew against his master and it was destiny which conspired to support his adversaries.
4.Keep some food handy.It used to b Kababs and biryani for us but you can settle for some nutritous biscuits.You will never get the taste of a Lucknowi Galavati or Seekh which not only nourishes the body but also rejuvinates the soul.
And yes if yu want to get a glimpse of the nawabi daur of Patangbazi yet not indulge yourself in this game of great minds just watch “Shatranj ke Khiladi” .The scene where Nawab Wajid Ali Shah is flying Kites by the banks of River Gomti would be enough to drive home the point I am am trying to make.
As for me I am going to the terrace now.Anant is ready and Monu is here so what are we waiting for… ?