Plastic kites in Busaiteen, Bahrain
I took some pictures of kite-flying enthusiasts playing with what they now call kites.
Made of plastic and fibre, with fibre strings as well, these ‘birds’ just fly in the wind, with no skill involved and no sense of adventure.
A roadside string ‘factory’ in Ahmedabad
courtesy: Tales Along the Way
Traditional kites being sold on a pavement
Compare this with the days when we indulged in this sport (yes, it was SPORT then) when kites were made of bamboo sticks and thin paper and the string used was a fine cotton thread laced with a fine mixture of colour, glass powder and glue!
During the kite season, the streets of almost every Indian city (except in Southern India), were ‘littered’ with kite sellers, men and women, as well as roadside kite string ‘factories’.
There were competitions, there were teams of kite flyers, and most of all, everyone indulged in the activity – young and old, men and women, boys and girls. The spirit was infectious.
The spirit still exists but the kites of yesteryear are rarely to be found. The die-hard enthusiasts are still there but one has to look for them because they are the ones who still stick to tradition in the real sense.
Most kites are now machine-manufactured though in some parts of India, traditionally the strongholds of kite-flying like Ahmedabad and Amritsar, there are still a lot of bamboo and paper kites.
But here in Bahrain, I have never seen those. There are festivals to mark occasions, in keeping with the Indian traditions, but only plastic “China-made” kites are used.
This is the modern sport anyway. Things change with time and like many others, kite-flying has also turned the corner.
Clearly, this is not the way.
But who would know? And who cares?
Also take a look at this brilliant blog: