Colourful kites in the sky warms the cockles of the heart

Posted by The Open Page | 13th January 2018

Colourful  kites in the sky warms the cockles of  the heart
Makar Sakranti is celebrated here as Uttarayan , where young, old every age of people take interest to take part in flying kites ,It  is the day when the sun starts to travel northwards marking the decline of winter. Days become longer, the sky is clear and the breeze is cooler. The festival of Uttarayan is one of the grandest and stands tall as it is not only one day celebration ,here children enjoy flying kites before January month . In Gujarat, Uttarayan is a most favorite festival for all and there   is a holiday in schools and at every working area so every family can be met outdoors to enjoy this festival. We find the same enthusiasm in all people, of all ages, they  fly kites from dawn to dusk. Everywhere we see the mess crowd on the rooftops, with noisy, colourful kites and  fun-loving rivalry to outdo each other in kite flying skills and delicious traditional Gujarati feast are the hallmarks of the day.
 This festival shows the fascination and the revelry associated with the kite flying cuts across age groups, class and communities.  This festival  mostly influences  Hindus  where it shows  the awakening of the gods from their deep slumber, history has it that India developed a rich tradition of kite flying due to the patronage of the Kings and Nawabs who found the sport both entertaining and a way of displaying their prowess. Trained fliers were employed to fly kites for kings. Gradually, the art started becoming popular amongst the masses. Looking to the today’s craze  , manufacturing of kites is a serious business of earning as it has made a important place in heart of every individuals. I
Months before the festival of Uttarayan, homes in the localities of various cities in Gujarat turn into kite producing factories with all family members doing their bit in the seasonal cottage business. Thousands of kites are prepared in the market.  On the strings  special kind of paste of  glass powder and rice paste are coated, all set to cut each other's strings and knock down the kites.  Different  size of the kites of different  ranges from nine inches to three feet are prepared.
The festival creates self-employment  for the people  who want to do business , various communities irrespective of cast and creed are engaged in the business of kites. Rich or poor, people enjoy this festival in their own ways and style..
We find that  the excitement continues even after dark. At  night the whole sky becomes a magical  sparkling ,bright  a big umbrella where we can feel  that stars have come closure to us when there is the arrival of the illuminated box kites, often in a series strung on one line, to be launched into the sky. We are calling it as  tukkals, these kites when reached on heights adds a touch of splendor to the dark sky. Whole  day is marked with the traditional food/delicacy festival of Gujarat like the undhiyu , jalebi , til ladoo  and chikki .
 The  ceaseless amazement  we find , to indulge and show our talent by taking part  in the most pulse racing kite competitions. There are kites and more kites, in all shapes and designs, but some stand out for their sheer size and novelty. People have made records of flying biggest kites.
Every year, the fanfare associated with the paper works of art and craft  brings people together for far and wide - be it from Japan, Australia, Malaysia, USA, Brazil, Canada and European Countries - to participate in the International Kite Festival.
Colourful kites filling up the sky on Uttarayan is a mesmerizing sight. This is that time of the year when celebrations ring in the air and happiness touches every heart. But in spite of all the happiness, there can be certain incidents that can mark your fun-filled day.
Accidents, cuts, eye-damage, skin tans and the list is endless. Remember precaution is better than cure. So, it's better to enjoy the festival in a healthy and safe way. Every year we come across sad incidents like someone falling off the terrace while flying kites or meeting with a road accident while trying to catch a kite, or bikers getting deep cuts on necks or even deaths because of the killer maanjho. Such incidents are disheartening and frightening too.Drive slowly to avoid such accidents.  "Wear a helmet/ duppatta while driving, along with muffler/scarf/stole and sunglasses too,
Few things are suggested to take  care of your eyes while flying kites because they are directly exposed to sunlight and UV rays can cause severe damage to your eyes. Wear glares. Parents must take care and ensure that kids don't play with sticks of torn kites as those are too sharp and can hurt one's eyes. While flying kites, it is advisable to carry a first aid kit along to treat small cuts on fingers due to kite-thread . 
.We should not forget our humanity and Birds safety should be taken care, Just think what step of ours can make the birds also secure on the Uttaryan ?
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe Uttarayan!!!!
Hardi Patel

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