Yesterday was Basant Panchmi, a day otherwise synonymous with flying kites. A couple of years ago, one would see a couple of kites hovering and decorating the blue sky. Alas, now the numbers are dwindling. One odd kite that I saw across the horizon brought back a lot of memories and many questions too. Are our kids too busy following “flying superheros” on the idiot box or PS 4 so as to not want be interested in flying kites.


The Charm Of Flying Kites

Flying kites has been a sport rather phenomenon much popular in India. Come winter and one could see plenty of kites hovering in the sky. There are certain days and occasions synonymous with kite flying like Basant Panchmi, Independence Day, Republic Day etc. Kite flying has been an activity filled with a lot of enthusiasm and thrill. Things were quite different when we were kids. Kite flying was one of the in things those days and we almost had a sprain in the neck from constantly looking up at the sky. The mad scramble for the kites would start when one of the kites would cut off and then become the property of the one who got to hold it first. Or on the way down it could get tangled in a tree!

In more serious matches, one saw both skilled and unskilled participants bring in their fancy colorful kites and the joy they would receive when they cut their opponent’s kite was a sight to cherish. It was a family bonding activity with the whole family from the elders to the kids, doing their bit. Children learnt to fly kites from their elders, who themselves like flying them a lot. Interesting yet harmless kite fights were fun too.


Why Did Flying Kites Fly Into Oblivion

But kite flying has now lost its charm and is dying, thanks to the many distractions and invasion of technology. Kite-flying has become the victim of two conditions. The first is the popular belief that kids don’t play outside as much. Maybe it is easier for kids to stay in to play on their Playstations, and maybe it is easier for busy parents to let them do so. They prefer flying drones to flying kites. And who knows some day kids fly kites on an app.

The second is that many parents remember kite-flying being a complete pain in the butt. The traditional diamond kite, made with paper and two sticks and with a tail made of a strip of torn sheet with a few bows tied on to it, is a lousy thing to fly. Difficult to launch and difficult to keep airborne. When we were kids, how many times did we have to run with that kite to finally get it up in the air? Dozens? While kite-flying had certain romanticism attached to it, the execution was always difficult.

Whatever the reason be, we hope the trend changes again. For “A kite flies even higher with strong adverse wind. So don’t despair, enjoy flying your kite whilst the wind blows”.