It’s Makar Sankranti (the kite festival) in a couple of days and kites are starting to take over the skies, attached to children taking over the streets. Last Makar Sankranti, I was landing in Mumbai after my English Christmas holiday and the children who live in the slums surrounding the airport were all standing on the corrugated iron roofs, flying kites. I had never seen so many kites in my life! The year before last, I upset our small neighbour by being unable to help him fly his kite…
Makar Sankranti has arrived in our home early this year. This afternoon Alfonso proudly brought a kite to me which he had found stranded on our terrace, It had obviously been a very well loved kite as it had been repaired several times.
This harvest festival has it’s share of traditions and significance, but the thing that makes this festival joyful for me is the sound of the children outside shouting ooopaar!! The children (and some big kids too) have battles with their kites and try to cut their opponents kite from it’s line by slicing across each other, which must be how Alfonso’s kite found its way onto our terrace. The winner screams opaar to proclaim their victory, whilst the loser runs away to find their kite.
The downside to Makar Sankranti is that for weeks afterwards, the nearly invisible kite lines litter the streets and tangle around your ankles. In a city with so many wandering animals (cows and dogs) it’s really dangerous. Luckily for our little dog, proud as he was to have caught a kite, he won’t be getting caught in the line because I have taken it from him (he wasn’t impressed by that decision). Many other animals don’t have someone to do that for them.
If you lose the battle and your kite this Makar Sankranti, please dispose of the line responsibly.
Have a lovely Makar Sankranti! OPAAR!