The kite conundrum
It is that time of the year again. When my city plunges into the depths of insanity. We love to bask in its unmatched profound revelry, and make a silent promise to ourselves, holding out strings of time in our hands whilst looking up at the sky in the backdrop,

“To never growing up!”

Turning the time handle to revisit glimpses from past, I remember, clear as crystal, doing the “kite-talk” with my friends at school. Some would be curious to know how many kites each one of us would be buying just to slap back condescendingly at our numbers, some would be bragging about their kite-flying skills, some would be teaching the correct manoeuvre to take down enemy kites, some would throw in unheard of kite-jargon making things even harder for the newbies to grasp, whilst I would be busy listening to each one of them with jaws wide open in awe. I remember rushing back home and sharing it all with my brother. Something had me convinced, if there was any truth in the world, it would only spew from the mouths of my friends.

With gusto written all over my face, I would always be found on the roof, every evening, months before the actual festival knocked on our doors. Hours wasted in sheer hope of catching a fleeting kite, ‘cause nothing compares the ecstasy of scoring one. When I would catch a fish, I would keep pestering my dad into flying it. I would initially be the live audience, the one that fuels the passion of the protagonist. “Papa! Cut the red one! Go compete with the green one!” would resound like little dares whilst my father would come back triumphantly, “Now, which one?”

Come the day of the festival and I would go loco! I used to be fond of a star-studded sky. But finding myself ‘neath a kite-studded one, hurled me into pits of unmatched euphoria. Those were my learning days. When slackened kites hovered over me, I would leave my own to catch hold of the ailing plaything. Sometimes I would wake up with dreams of strings that flew past mocking me.  I ended up being the joke of the town. Talk to my mom, and she still has my kite stories on the tip of her tongue. She loves that stuff! Having a good ‘ol laugh at stupid things I did!

Time taught me the ‘how’, and my verve got the better of me. Oncoming years found me a fad I am still trying to reason with. Two days of festivity under the hood of the punishing sun. But that’s not how our brains look at it. We see fun! Downright orgasmic leisure!

With tanned skin leaving my face burnt as cinders, I would be surprised to find out my friends talking to me normally at school. I would actually go with extreme honesty, “Dude, are you able to recognize me?” Then our relentless showing off would commence! We would flaunt our injured fingers, then the taped ones, then laugh at those who had all ten of them intact, brag about uncooked parts of our faces, (goggles would often leave an unmarked territory around our eyes) and we would pretend like superheroes, talk about our high scores or come up with a funny account.

Even today, the fever hasn’t run out and the fire is still burning. It is quite surprising how every year I somehow make it home during the festival. To that I am really grateful.

Name it as you may! You can call it Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal or Uttarayan. We really don’t care as long as we get our badass kites to soar! That’s the only thing we know of. This day has only one significance to us.

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